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Tag: public integrity section

Justice Department Public Integrity Section Gets New Leader

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s powerful Public Integrity section, which investigates politicians and judges, has a new leader, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.

U.S. Attorney Jack Smith, who has been a federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, brings a wealth of background and knowledge to the position. Smith was a criminal prosecutor, for example, in the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

Smith has tapped a top deputy – Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Raymond Husler, who has been acting chief of the Public Integrity section.

The Washington Post has more.

DOJ’s Top Public Corruption Investigator, Jack Smith, Takes New Job

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Section has overcome some embarrassing blunders, from caving in to politicians to failing to convict former Sen. Ted Stevens and Sen. John Edwards.

In 2010, Jack Smith became the head of the beleaguered section, shouldered with the daunting responsibility of improving the prosecutors’ images as they go after public graft.

By most accounts, Smith turned around the section and last year won a highly publicized conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Smith will become the top assistant to David Rivera, the U.S. Attorney in Nashville, TN., giving him an opportunity to return to trying cases, which he has missed.

Washington Post Editorial: Questions Remain About the Ted Stevens Prosecution

Ted Stevens

By The Washington Post
Editorial Page

WASHINGTON — IN THE SPRING of 2009, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. took the extraordinary step of asking a federal judge to dismiss corruption charges against former senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). This was no easy decision.

Mr. Stevens had been prosecuted by the Justice Department’s vaunted Public Integrity Section and convicted of failing to report hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of gifts from an Alaskan oil services firm and its former chief executive.

Yet Mr. Holder rightly sought a reversal of the conviction and vowed not to relaunch the prosecution after learning that his lawyers had failed to turn over information to the defense that could have called the government’s case into question.

To read more click here.

Edwards Case a Test for Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — After screwing up the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section will get another chance — this time with ex-Sen. John Edwards– to prove it can take down a high profile public figure without any major goofs.

You might recall the Public Integrity Section convicted Ted Stevens on very-straight forward public corruption charges in 2008, only to have the whole thing tossed out for prosecutorial misconduct after prosecutors failed to turn over key evidence to the defense.

“This case is just as important for the government as it is for Edwards,” Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and co-author of “The Prosecution and Defense of Public Corruption” told the Christian Science Monitor.

The Public Integrity Section “certainly understands they’re under the microscope,” he said.

Since the Stevens case, the unit has gotten a new new chief, former New York-based federal prosecutor Jack Smith, the Christian Science Monitor reported. And the Justice Department has ordered training for prosecutors to assure that they disclose key evidence to defense attorneys.

“Will a federal prosecutor ever make another mistake in the course of complying with his or her disclosure obligations?” US Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer asked at a recent symposium, according to the paper. “Of course. We are human – and in an age when the discovery in a single case may consist of terabytes of information, the challenges are significant.”

The paper reports that the Justice Department will have its challenges when prosecuting Edwards. The two-time presidential candidate  has claimed he had no idea his aides spent hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars to hide his lover, campaign videographer Rielle Hunter during the 2008 bid for president.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Higdon Jr. and Brian S. Meyers of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina along with Deputy Chief Justin V. Shur and Trial Attorneys David V. Harbach II and Jeffrey E. Tsai of the Public Integrity Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Justice Dept.’s Public Integrity Section Could Be Screwing Up Another Public Corruption Case in Ala.


By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section which blew the case against Sen. Ted Stevens, may be screwing up a big public corruption case in Montgomery, Ala. Both cases involve allegations of withholding evidence from the defense.

The Associated Press reports that an angry U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Capel Jr. is fed up and said at a pretrial hearing on Friday that he may impose sanctions against the government for repeatedly failing to hand over all  the documents pertaining to FBI wiretaps in a gambling case involving alleged payoffs to politicians to pass legislation.

“This is supposed to be some elite group coming down from D.C., and how this case has been conducted is ridiculous,” the judge said at a pretrial hearing, according to AP. The trial is set for June 6.

The judge did not say what sanctions he might impose, but the defense is asking that the judge toss the case because the  government failed to share certain documents.

AP reported that Casino owners Milton McGregor and Ronnie Gilley, four present and former legislators, and four others are charged with buying and selling votes on legislation. The votes would have kept opened Gilley’s and McGregor’s shuttered electronic bingo casinos.

Prosecutor Steve Feaga said in court, according to AP: “In the course of this case, there have been some mistakes made by the government.”

But AP reported that Feaga said the mistakes were unintentional, such as handing over computer disc without the passwords to access data.

The government has conceded that it has made mistakes, but they weren’t intentional, AP said.

The Public Integrity Section convicted then-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens in Oct. 27, 2008 of public corruption charges shortly before his re-election. Stevens lost the election, but the Justice Department subsequently  moved to vacate conviction because its Office of Public Integrity failed to turn over evidence to the defense.

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