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Tag: grand rapids

Lawyer: FBI Agent Who Shot at Officer in Michigan Felt Paranoid

Planet Fitness logo.

Planet Fitness logo.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI agent who fired his gun at a police officer outside a fitness club in Grand Rapids, Mi., was paranoid and couldn’t recall most of what happened, his lawyer said.

Police responded to Planet Fitness after 911 calls that a man was brandishing  gun inside the fitness club. It turned out to be FBI Special Agent Ruben Hernandez, who was in Michigan from Los Vegas for an investigation. The officer tried to make contact with Hernandez, who opened fire. No one was hurt. He was arrested on assault charges.

Attorney Larry Willey said  the agent’s recollection of what happened was “vague, hazy” and may have been affected by alcohol, the Associated Press reports. 

FBI: Michigan Man Had Nothing to Do with Capture of Osama Bin Laden in 2011

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

In case you were wondering, a Michigan gem dealer had nothing to do with the capture of Osama bin Laden.

So says the FBI after Grand Rapids resident Tom Lee claimed he gave accurate information about the terrorist’s whereabouts in 2003, MLive.com reports.

Lee’s information was “not actionable” and “did not contribute” to his capture and death in Pakistan in May 2011, FBI spokesman David Porter said.

Therefore, Lee is not entitled to a $25 million reward for bin Laden’s capture, MLive wrote.

Lee made news in the past after his Chicago lawyers claimed his client provided critical information to tracking down bin Laden.

Michigan Man Says He’s Owed $25 Million Reward for Tip About Bin Laden’s Whereabouts

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Michigan man claims the FBI owes him $25 million because he provided a tip that led the U.S. to Osama bin Laden, Yahoo news reports.

Tom Lee, 63, of Grand Rapids, said he deserved the reward for bin Laden’s capture because he told authorities in 2003 about the terrorist’s whereabouts.

Yahoo News reported that Lee maintains he pointed the FBI to the same compound where bin Laden was found.

Lee said he got the information from a Pakistani intelligence agent.

But in 2011, the U.S. said bin Laden’s whereabouts were discovered via electronic surveillance, not a tip.

Pres. Obama Filling Final U.S. Attorney Spots as 1st Term Draws to a Close

Patrick Miles Jr./law firm photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

With just seven months to go until election time, President Obama is filling the final U.S. Attorney vacancies around the country.

In a White House press release issued late last week, the president announced the nominations of Patrick A. Miles, Jr. for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids and Danny C. Williams, Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma, respectively.

Miles, Jr., a Harvard Law School graduate, has been a partner with Dickinson Wright PLLC since 2006.

Williams has been a partner at the firm of Charney, Buss & Williams since 2003. From 1991 to 1993, he served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office.

Ex-Secret Service Agent Says Betty Ford Was Like a Mother to Agents

Gerald and Betty Ford at their wedding in 1948/gerald ford museum

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Ex-First Lady Betty Ford, who died Friday at age 93,  had fans in the Secret Service.

Ex-Secret Service agent Mike Shannon, who protected the Fords, and showed up Saturday at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids to pay respect, told WOOD-TV that Betty Ford was like “a mother” to him and other agents.

He told the station that Ford was always concerned about the agents and once gave him a bag of oranges to take home for his wife.

Gerald and Betty got married on Oct. 15, 1948 at the Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids.

Column: Defense Attorney Says Some Fed Prosecutors Need to be Fired and Indicted for Their Acts

James Burdick is a former Wayne County prosecutor in Detroit and is a criminal defense attorney who also practices health care discipline and is a reinstatement expert at the firm of Burdick Law, P.C. in Bloomfield Hills, Mi. He has also appeared regularly on Larry King Live, Court TV, Geraldo, Good Morning America and other national shows.

James Burdick

By James Burdick

I was reading a recent USA Today article cited in ticklethewire.com, which found 201 cases since 1997 in which courts concluded that federal prosecutors violated laws or ethics rules. In some of  those instances, cases were tossed or sentences were reduced.

It’s good to see those facts unearthed. Still, someone needs to ask the Justice Department: How many of the ASUAs (assistant U.S. Attorneys) who got caught doing these things were fired? (I’m sure only a fraction of offensive behavior was ever discovered, just as few ever get caught pulling off their first bank robbery.)

The other pressing question for the Justice Department is: How many were indicted as they should have been for obstruction or related charges? Answer: Few, if any.

Example: In a drug case I tried in the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids, the U.S. Attorney ADMITTED to the Court that the trial AUSA and case agent had withheld “potentially exculpatory evidence.”

In May of 2009, the government filed a motion that said: “A preliminary inquiry had indicated that the Government was in possession of information which may have corroborated the claim of this defendant that he presented at trial, that he himself provided the information which led to his arrest and this indictment. In the interest of justice…..the government will thereafter move to dismiss the indictment…Furthermore, an investigation of Defendant’s allegations has been initiated.”  (Read document)

The case was dismissed against that defendant as a result, but the AUSA is still prosecuting cases and the promised “internal investigation” has resulted in nothing at all (no public disclosure) or has concluded that the AUSA could stay, continue to prosecute, and not get indicted.

What do you think would have happened to a defense attorney who acted that way? He/she would have lost their license, been prosecuted for sure, and landed in prison.

People don’t want to believe that some guardians of justice in this Country can be as corrupt as the criminals they pursue. There’s a reason why prosecutors often joke: “Anyone can convict the guilty; it takes real work to convict the innocent.”

It would be funny if it weren’t so scary.