Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ass of the Year

Time Magazine may have the Person of the Year, but our blog names the Ass of the Year, a loyal member of the Rove Republican Racket.

This year's honor goes to none other than the witch of Alabama, Queen of the Rove Racket, Alice H. Martin (pictured).

Ms. Martin, the former U.S. Attorney in Northern Alabama, targeted and terrified Democrats and engaged in political prosecutions.

From former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman to former State representative Sue Schmitz, Martin ran-over the constitution and applied the dishonest honest services crime against anyone not carrying a Republican registration card.

Martin truly is the Ass of the Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Banned in Washington State

Prosecutors, even those who are not part of the Rove Republican Racket, are always looking for a win. They are looking for a lopsided number of successful prosecutions either by trial or by plea bargain.

Now a municipal judge in Washigton State, Ralph Thompson (pictured), has felt the wrath of a prosecutor who saw his cases tossed aside or on the losing side.

So outraged, the prosecutor had the judge banned from hearing criminal cases! They accused the judge of having a "lack of knowledge" but maybe it was more a "lack of following the prosecution."

The Yakima (Washington) Herald-Republic reported Monday:

A Yakima County judge is no longer hearing District Court criminal cases because prosecutors expressed concerns that too many of his rulings showed a lack of legal knowledge. District Judge Ralph Thompson now handles county civil cases and contract judge duties for Grandview Municipal Court, where no complaints have been raised about his decisions. Chief District Judge Kevin Roy said he reassigned Thompson in early November, days after the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office first indicated its attorneys intended to request that Thompson not hear any criminal matters.

Although incredibly rare, state law allows prosecutors to file a continuing affidavit of prejudice against a judge. The so-called "blanket affidavit" means Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty's office doesn't have to block Thompson each time a case is filed. Hagarty said he made the decision only after months of review in hopes that Thompson's decision-making process would improve. And he says he will stand by it, meaning Thompson won't hear criminal cases through 2010.
Interesting the judge had no complaints now that he is hearing civil cases.

This is prosecutorial bias and it is empowered and sanctioned by state law.  State legislators in Washington need to yank this "blanket affidavit" and force a judicial review by an independent body. Prosecutors wield too much power with this in-house political procedure.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Marsh Goes Roman

Last June, we reported that Nicholas Marsh (pictured), the disgraced and humiated federal prosecutor who botched the case against former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens by withholding evidence, was removed from his post and put on the international desk of the DOJ.

Now a new swirl of controversy surrounds Marsh. The Alaska Political Corruption Blog reports:
Reaching even farther back to catch up, the New York Times has reported that Department of Justice attorney Nicholas Marsh has been working in his new Department of Justice job to get filmmaker Roman Polanski extradited to the U.S. to face sentencing for having sex with a minor more than three decades ago.

A former prosecutor of ex-U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens and other defendants in the federal probe into Alaska public corruption, Marsh left DoJ’s Public Integrity Section after the Ted Stevens prosecution collapsed in April. The lawyer was re-assigned to the lower-profile Office of International Affairs to handle extraditions, including that of the movie director who has long been a fugitive in Europe.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hope for Paul Minor

Paul Minor, the prominent Democratic fundraiser from Mississippi, targeted by the Rove Repubican Racket in part with the "dishonest" honest-services crime, now sees hope and possible liberation from federal prison. Earlier this month, several criminal charges against Minor were tossed out.

The Associated Press writes:

JACKSON (AP) — Disbarred lawyer Paul Minor and two judges he’s accused of bribing hope an unrelated case before the U.S. Supreme Court will get them out of prison. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said the federal statute for honest-services fraud is too broad, joking it could make a crime of a worker calling in sick so he could go to a ball game.

A recent hearing before the Supreme Court has many legal experts believing the high court is poised to strike down the statute, which makes it illegal for public officials to fraudulently deprive constituents of honest services. Some observers say such a move would help Minor and former Coast judges Wes Teel and John Whitfield.

In March 2007 a federal jury convicted the three on corruption charges because Minor had helped to guarantee or pay off loans of the judges, who heard some of his cases. It was a scheme, prosecutors said, to influence the judges’ decisions and deprive the state of their honest service. They were convicted of bribery, conspiracy and fraud, and Minor also was found guilty of racketeering.

If justices throw out the statute, it would be the second victory for the three, which saw a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently toss out all their bribery convictions after finding a lack of federal jurisdiction. Matt Steffey, professor at the Mississippi College School of Law, said the application of the federal bribery statute to a state court judge whose salary and office receives no federal funds is “shaky at best.” He said he believes they would go free if the high court finds the honest-services statute unconstitutional.

“There is some possibility that prosecutors will say the claim is procedurally barred,” he said. The 5th Circuit ruling on the bribery charges means they could be resentenced on the remaining charges. It’s not clear how much the reversal will reduce Minor’s sentence; he got the most time for a racketeering conviction, which was upheld.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Month More of Freedom in Alabama

Former Democratic Alabama State Representative Sue Schmitz, who was targeted and prosecuted twice by the Queen of the Rove Republican Racket, Alice H. Martin,was given a month more of freedom this week.

Schmitz (pictured) was eventually convicted for a non-crime--being paid to do little or no work.

The Birmingham News reports:
Former State Rep. Sue Schmitz will not have to report to jail Dec. 30 as scheduled after a federal judge extended her reporting date to Jan. 28. Schmitz, 65, was convicted in February on fraud and mail fraud charges involving federal money that paid her salary while she worked in Alabama's two-year college system. She served in the Legislature at the same time. Prosecutors argued that she did little work for her pay.

U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor Monday issued the order to extend her reporting date, following a request by Schmitz's attorneys. Federal prosecutors opposed the request, noting that Schmitz had already obtained two extensions. Schmitz is appealing her conviction and also has a request before the 11th Circuit Court to allow her to remain free on bond during her appeal.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

U.S. Attorneys Blasted in Georgia

On November 18th, Mark Shelnutt (pictured), a prominent criminal attorney in Columbus, Georgia, was acquitted, found not guilty on all 36 charges brought against him by the U.S.Attorney's Office of the Middle District of Georgia.

The Rove Republican Racket, upset that Shelnutt had successfully defended those accused of criminal conduct and embarrassed aggressive prosecutors, targeted Shelnutt. They accused him, among the 36 charges, of distributing cocaine and money laundering.

A smear campaign, a hit job.

Now, a month later, allegations of prosecutorial misconduct by federal prosecutors have received harsh words from the Judge who oversaw the case. The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer wrote Friday:

U.S. District Court Judge Clay Land is continuing his harsh criticism for the U.S. attorneys in the failed prosecution of Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt.“The Court was particularly struck by the zeal with which the U.S. Attorney’s Office pursued Shelnutt and the Court became concerned when it learned of information suggesting that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had crossed the line from independent prosecutor to law enforcement,” Land wrote.

Land pointed to the actions of an assistant U.S. attorney who wore a hidden wire and recorded an interview with Shelnutt. When Shelnutt asked the prosecutor if he was recording it, the U.S. attorney lied. In a pretrial hearing and in the Shelnutt trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason Ferguson of the Middle District of Georgia Office based in Albany testified he did not tell Shelnutt the truth when Shelnutt asked him if he was wearing a recording device.

Land also questioned the deals that some of the defendants received from the U.S. attorneys in exchange for testimony against Shelnutt. “The Court became concerned that the focus of the U.S. Attorney’s Office was on getting a high-profile lawyer and negotiating sweetheart plea deals with the actual drug dealers to accomplish that,” Land wrote. The “defendant’s deal was not the only sweetheart deal in the various cases arising from this massive conspiracy,” Land wrote.
The prosecutorial misconduct and jury's vindication has caused Shelnutt to file a  motion "asking a federal judge to award him attorney fees and expenses, arguing that prosecutors waged a 'baseless, vexatious, frivolous, bad faith, harassing and stubborn' case against him," according to a report in today's Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Utah U.S. Attorney Wastes $500,000 on Government Witness

Brett Tolman (pictured), the Rove-Bush-Cheney appointed U.S. Attorney of Utah, is under fire. It appears this soldier of the Rove Republican Racket freely spent a half-a-million dollars on a government witness.

The Salt Lake Tribune posted this story late last night:
In the recent court battle of experts trying to determine whether Elizabeth Smart's accused kidnapper is mentally competent, forensic psychiatrist Michael Welner was the highest paid warrior.  The New York-based expert, who testified for federal prosecutors, was paid approximately $500,000. Two defense psychologists who testified last week earned less than $50,000 between them for their work.

There were differences. Welner spent more than 1,000 hours of work reviewing records, interviewing witnesses, writing a report and testifying in court.  Much of the work of the two defense psychologists was done several years ago for an attempted prosecution in state court. Each was paid about $50,000 for their evaluations in that court, according to Mitchell's defense team. 

U.S. Attorney Brett Tolman said Welner's work could help move along a case that has stalled for years over the question of whether Mitchell can understand the charges against him and assist his attorneys in his defense.  "I think it was worth every penny," Tolman said Friday. "This case is unique because Mr. Mitchell would not submit to psychological testing. Any case deserves the most attention you can give to it, especially when it involves violent crimes."

Now, we would think that Tolman would have a cap of let's say $150,000 and arranged a volume discount based on hours worked. But being a government bureaucrat, he sold the family farm.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Newspapers Seek Morrison Search Warrant

Breaking News: The Akron Beacon Journal and Indianapolis Star have filed a motion to unseal the search warrant issued by embattled Acting U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Morrison of the Southern District of Indiana in the case against the Ohio and Indiana companies owned by high-profile Indianapolis Republican donor Timothy S. Durham

The motion states, "The sealing of such documents only serves to undermine the integrity of the judicial process and enhance the perception that Mr. Durham’s political connections will save him.”

Read the full-story here and here.

So Yeah, Morrison is a Sloppy Fool

Acting U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Morrison of the Southern District of Indiana, a proud member of the Rove Reublican Racket and a left-over from the Bush years, is more than a partisan politico who helps his well-connected Republican friends.

He also is a sloppy fool.

According to the Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal, Morrison has no idea when materials seized from a company accused of allegedly running a Ponzi scheme will be returned.

No one has been charged criminally and Morrison's civil lawsuit seeking to seize and freeze assets of the operator was voluntarily dropped.


Morrison also appears to have tried to help another Republican donor whose asphalt company was target by protestors. Morrison sloppily issued a subpoena in that case that generated national headlines and forced him to withdraw it.

The Beacon Journal writes:

The company's computers will be returned by federal investigators in Indiana who continue to investigate Fair Finance, its co-owner Tim Durham and related Indianapolis business Obsidian Enterprises. In federal court documents, investigators said they suspect Fair Finance was being operated as a Ponzi scheme.

''We have the material we need from the computers. So yeah, they'll get them back,'' Timothy M. Morrison, U.S. Attorney for the southern district of Indiana, said Friday. The computer files were ''forensically copied,'' he said. Morrison said he was unsure when the computers will be returned to Fair Finance. He said his office was legally obligated to return the equipment once the data from the hard drives were obtained and copied. ''The investigation continues,'' Morrison said.

He said he did not know if Fair Finance will also be getting back paper files that FBI agents took out of the East Market Street headquarters. The search warrants used in the raids remain sealed, Morrison said. No one has been charged or arrested in connection with the investigation. Morrison had filed a civil lawsuit containing allegations of a Ponzi scheme on Nov. 24, naming as ''defendants'' some assets of Fair Finance and Durham, but he voluntarily withdrew the suit less than a week later.
Morrison's actions in this case (that could cost investors hundred of millions of dollars in loses) smell like prosecutorial misconduct.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Alaska's Sex Scandal Erupts

Bill Allen (pictured), the government's star witness in the trial against former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, allegedly had an unusual sexual appetite according to news reports from Alaska.

The charges and convictions against former Senator Stevens were dropped last April because of prosecutorial misconduct. Last month, we reported that prosecutors of the Rove Republican Racket manipulated and intimidated Allen by holding a stick: investigations of inappropriate sexual relations.

Now the truth is out. According to a report from the Anchorage Daily News:

Anchorage resident Lisa Moore says she traded sex with then-Veco boss Bill Allen in 1996 for an apartment, money and jewelry. He was 59; she was 19. She also says she introduced him to a 15-year-old girl who became his sex partner. But the next year, an ex-boyfriend of Moore's got into legal trouble and threatened to blow the whistle on Allen's relationship with Moore and other teens, including the 15-year-old, Moore said, triggering a string of alleged cover-ups that now threaten to undermine the Alaska political corruption investigation.

Allen's conduct with that underage girl and at least one other has been the subject of an active Anchorage police investigation since 2008. That inquiry developed more urgency last spring when a prosecutor with the Justice Department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section joined local detectives in the case and began traveling to Anchorage to interview witnesses, including a visit just last week.

But long before the authorities got involved, Allen reportedly went to great lengths to keep his sexual activities secret. When Moore told Allen she expected to be called as a witness at her ex-boyfriend's trial and forced to reveal Allen's seamy and possibly criminal private life, Allen immediately sent her, her brother and her fiance on the lam to California to prevent her from being subpoenaed, Moore told n Anchorage police detective and elaborated in recent interviews with the Daily News.
Read more here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Shameful" Campaign Leads to More Dismissals in California

As we reported on Monday, the Rove Republican Racket was given a huge setback when a federal judge in the bastion of Republican politics, Orange County, California, dismissed charged and vacated a guilty plea of Henry Samueli, a technology company executive and owner of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team.

Federal prosecutors were accused of prosecutorial misconduct which including leaking grand jury testimony and intimidating plaintiffs in regards to the case against technology firm, Broadcom.

Now two more Broadcom executives who worked with Samueli saw criminal charges against them tossed out yesterday.

The Los Angeles Times reports today:
Accusing prosecutors of a "shameful" campaign to intimidate witnesses and obtain unjustified convictions, a federal judge threw out high-profile criminal stock fraud charges against Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry T. Nicholas III and the company's former chief financial officer. U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney issued his ruling Tuesday, less than a week after he overturned a guilty plea by company co-founder and Anaheim Ducks owner Henry Samueli
The judge also dismissed a civil lawsuit that the Securities and Exchange Commission had filed against Broadcom executives, wiping away misconduct allegations that had plagued the Irvine-based microchip giant for years. Samueli and Nicholas, both in the Santa Ana courtroom, embraced and sobbed. William J. Ruehle, the chief financial officer, thanked Carney and then hugged his attorney, Richard Marmaro. "It's the ultimate vindication for Broadcom," Samueli told reporters outside Carney's courtroom. "To see Broadcom's name smeared was so painful to me."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dawson's Dilemma

Tom Dawson, the embattled former Assistant U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Mississippi and former protege of Ken Starr, is trying to hide the truth, even on live radio!

He has co-authored a book with right-wing blogger Alan Lange mostly about the prosecution of famed anti-tobacco attorney Dickie Scruggs and his associates who foolishly bribed a state judge.

The book has created a stir in Mississippi; Dawson was still working for the government when he agreed to write it. Dawson retired in January and returned to the office on an usual contract basis until June.
Twice now, once on Mississippi public radio last week and previously on the Northern Mississippi Mike Gallo Radio Show, Tom Dawson has stated he left the U.S. Attorney's office in January.

That's a bold-face lie.

Days after retiring in January , Dawson signed a Secret Contract with U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee that paid him a monthly retainer through June.

Dawson's dilemma is this:
  1. Did he sign the Secret Contract so he could research and access files and staff of the U.S. government for his book?
  2. Or did he sign a Secret Contract and receive thousands of dollars in fedral funds for little or no work?
The latter sounds like honest services fraud and Dawson should be prosecuted vigorously like Sue Schmitz of Alabama was by the Rove Republican Racket.

We remind readers that Dawson has yet to publicly answer our three questions.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Media Leaks Lead to Stunning Dismissal

The U.S. Government suffered a "stunning" dismissal of a guilty plea last week of Henry Samueli (pictured), owner of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, after Assistant U.S. Attorneys were accused of engaging in prosecutorial misconduct: intimidating defendants and leaking information to the media.

All of this happened in the heart of the Rove-Bush-Cheney Republican world: Orange County, California.

According to the Orange County Register:
A federal judge's decision to toss the guilty plea of Broadcom Corp. co-founder Henry Samueli – in the middle of the trial of another defendant – was highly unusual and has implications for related cases, lawyers unconnected to the case said today. "I have never, ever heard of this from any judge anywhere in the country," said Lawrence Rosenthal, a former federal prosecutor who is a professor at Chapman University School of Law in Orange. "It is stunning." After hearing Samueli's testimony, and without giving prosecutors a chance to argue, Carney told Samueli on Wednesday that he was setting aside his guilty plea and throwing out the criminal charge against him of lying to the Securities and Exchange Commission. John Hueston, a former top federal prosecutor in Orange County who now does white-collar defense work, said Carney's ruling was "virtually unprecedented and extraordinary." "Here, the defense effectively put the government on trial but was aided by some real-time misconduct by the government during the trial itself," Hueston said.
Bloomberg news wire gives more details and insight:
“I’ve looked at the plea agreement, I’ve listened to your testimony, and you didn’t make a false material statement,” Carney told Samueli, according to a transcript of the proceeding. Carney said that answers Samueli provided to the SEC may have appeared evasive and non-responsive. Based on Samueli’s testimony in court, those answers were truthful, the judge said. Samueli could have faced five years in prison for making a material false statement which his response to the SEC’s questions didn’t justify, Carney said.

“The fact that you truly understood what happened here means a lot to me,” Samueli said to the judge according to the transcript. “You have restored my faith in the criminal justice system, and I must be honest, that faith was shaken in the early days of this whole process.” Carney said he was “a little bit disturbed” by the way the government had treated Samueli and that he would take appropriate action at the appropriate time. The judge earlier agreed to Samueli’s request to bar one prosecutor from cross- examining him because he allegedly leaked information about Samueli’s grand jury testimony to reporters.
Media leaks to traditional reporters and bloggers appears to be standard operating procedure for many corrupt Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Rove Republican Racket.who wish to influence the jury pool.

Readers may recall that big-mouth New Jersey U.S. Attorney or that leaky U.S. Attorney's office in Mississippi.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Paul Minor Conviction Tossed Out

Breaking News: The government's case against Mississippi Democratic fundraiser Paul Minor was dealt a huge blow today by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Jackson Clarion Ledger reports:
A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has tossed out a bribery conviction in the public corruption case against former lawyer Paul Minor, but the remainder of his convictions remain intact.  It will be up to U.S. District Judge Henry Wingate to decide what reduction, if any, he will give Minor in his 11-year sentence as well as $3 million in fines and restitution.

In 2007, a federal jury in Mississippi convicted Minor and two former Mississippi Gulf Coast judges — Wes Teel and John Whitfield — of corruption because Minor had helped guarantee or pay off loans of judges who heard some of his cases. The three-judge panel had previously raised questions about federal jurisdiction, asking prosecutors how a bribery charge could constitute a federal crime if it didn’t involve "any business, transaction, or series of transactions of such organization, government or agency involving any thing of value of $5,000 or more" as required by statute.

Readers may recall that the Rove Republican Racket went after Minor because of his Democratic political connections in Mississippi.

Framed by Fitzgerald's Staff?

In September, we wrote about one of  U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's proecutors who was accused of prosecutorial misconduct after allowing a government witness to testify falsely in a drug conspiracy case.

Later, Fitzgerald's office attempted to justify the prosecutor's action by labeling the testimony "truthful, but inaccurate."

Yesterday, a prominent developer, Peter Palivos (pictured), targeted by Fitzgerald's office, claimed he was framed. He accuses Fitzgerald of using a bogus witness who testified falsely.

The Rove Republican Racket enjoyed unjustly locking away political operatives and fundraisers during the Bush years and Palivos was one of them. It seems this pattern of using witnesses who testify falsely is a regular occurence in Chicago.

Fox News Reports:
A former Chicago developer on Thursday claimed that the House Judiciary Committee is in the middle of a four-year investigation into his long-standing complaint that he was framed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office six years ago. Fitzgerald has been at the forefront of a slew of high-profile political cases and currently is leading the corruption case against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Peter Palivos claims Fitzgerald's attorneys framed him during an investigation into another politician, former Gov. George Ryan. Palivos says the attorneys slapped him with a bogus obstruction of justice charge after he wouldn't lie for prosecutors seeking Ryan's conviction in the corruption case, and he claims they even got witnesses to lie in their testimony against Palivos. Palivos was convicted in 2003 and sentenced to a year in prison in 2005. Since then, he has been engaged in a vigorous campaign against Fitzgerald's office and has dragged Congress into it.
Read more here

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Indiana U.S. Attorney Helps Republican Donor

Timothy M. Morrison, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, a left-over of the Rove Republican Racket, has done a huge political favor for a prominent Republican donor,  Timothy S. Durham (pictured), who allegedly ran a million-dollar Ponzi scheme.

He's letting Durham keep his cash and valuable property.

 The Associated Press reports:
The government no longer is suing to seize bank accounts and other assets of an Indianapolis businessman whom it alleged was operating a Ponzi scheme. The U.S. Attorney's office in Indianapolis...filed papers to dismiss a lawsuit to seize property belonging to Timothy Durham, including a 30,000-square-foot home on Geist Reservoir and a 2008 Bugatti sports car. Acting U.S. Attorney Tim Morrison says he dropped the case because he's been assured Durham will not try to shed the assets. FBI agents last [month] raided the offices of Durham businesses, Obsidian Enterprises of Indianapolis and Fair Financial of Akron, Ohio. A recent Indianapolis Business Journal story questioned whether Fair Financial could repay people who bought nearly $200 million in investment certificates.
We think Morrison dropped the case for seizure simply because Durham is a prominent Republican donor who has supported the Rove-Bush-Cheney machine. How else can Durham continue donating if his accounts are frozen?

The Indianapolis Star writes:
[Durham] moves at the top of Republican political circles in Indianapolis. Durham, 47, a former attorney at the prominent Ice Miller law firm, is regarded as a close friend of Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi's and a major contributor to [Indiana] Gov. Mitch Daniels' re-election campaign. He served on Daniels' re-election steering committee.
Doing favors for Republican donors is not new for Morrison.

As we investigated and wrote about last month, it looks like Morrison was pursuing a case against protesters who targeted a shady asphalt company whose CEO contributes heavily to Republican causes. After Morrison served a subpoena on an independent news website, he abruptly withdrew it after being scrutinized by free speech and libertarian advocates for violating DOJ guidelines.

Morrison should have kept those assets frozen and seized everything, regardless of Durham's assurances or political connections.

Yesterday, Consumer Affairs reported this upsetting tidbit:

It has now been nearly two weeks since Fair Finance closed its doors, and investors are becoming increasingly nervous. Last week, Durham's lawyer said that the company planned to reopen today, but so far the offices are still shuttered. Some investors have taken to camping out in the company's parking lots, hoping against hope that someone will show up and open the doors.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Alabama Slammer

Sue Schmitz, the grandmother and popular former Democratic State Representative from Alabama who was targeted by the Rove Republican Racket, is going to jail, won't pass go, and won't receive $200.

Schmitz was sent to trial twice (she won the first round) for a non-crime: being paid to do little or no-work. What Karl Rove's friends did is drag her through some Alabama mud after the entity that paid her used federal funds to do so. Read more background here.

We hope the Obama Administration pardons or commutes her sentence as a Christmas gift.

FOX Affiliate WBRC writes:
Former State Representative Sue Schmitz begins her prison sentence on December 31st. A judge denied her request to remain free while she appeals her conviction. In February, Schmitz was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison for a fraud conviction. She must also pay $171,000 in restitution. Prosecutors say Schmitz was paid for a job with the two-year college system, but did little or no work.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mississippi Liar

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney from Mississppi Tom Dawson,who appeared to be planning, outlining, and preparing to write a book while still serving as a federal prosecutor and consultant to the local U.S. Attorney, appears to have shown the world he is a liar.

Dawson co-authored a book with right-wing blogger Alan Lange about the Scruggs judicial bribery cases and the political prosecution of Paul Minor, a Democratic fundraiser from Mississippi.
Dawson has repeatedly said his motives in writing the book are for the public good not greed. As Steve Seale commented on the Magnolia Marketplace blog:
I do have concerns about Mr. Dawson’s role and said so. To amplify, I don’t believe a prosecutor (particularly one with the major role Mr. Dawson had in this case) should profit in any way from the sale of a book or otherwise about the investigation or the prosecution of the parties concerned. While I don’t question the fact that he followed whatever rules are established in this regard, Mr. Dawson himself spent several paragraphs at the beginning of the book explaining how he followed such rules and why he felt it was his duty to the public to participate. One question: absent participation in any profits/pay for being an author, why didn’t Mr. Dawson just make himself available to Mr. Lange as a source for the information in the book?
What we find ineresting is Dawson is now attempting damage control by having handlers boast about an award he recently received from fellow members of the U.S. Department of Justice or shall we more accurately say, fellow members of the Rove Republican Racket.   As we all recall, Dawson has failed to answer three simple questions about when he started to plan to write this book. Why? The writing could be a breach of ethics and involve prosecutorial misconduct.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interviewing the Alaska Six

Agents of the Rove Republican Racket in Alaska had egg all over their faces when corruption charges and convictions against former U.S. Senator Ted Stevens were respectfully dropped and voided last April by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder because of prosecutorial misconduct.

Last Friday, it was reported the probe into the Rove Racket's dismal political prosecution is gaining ground. The Washington Post reports:
The special prosecutor investigating whether criminal contempt statutes were violated in the government's botched case against Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has scheduled interviews with the six Justice Department lawyers at the center of the episode, according to three sources familiar with the effort. Henry F. Schuelke III, named to the assignment this year by a U.S. district judge who oversaw the Stevens case, is nearing the end of his investigation and already has sifted through thousands of documents related to the prosecution, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe is still underway. The interviews are expected to conclude by the end of January. They may help Schuelke determine whether prosecutors did not share critical evidence with the Stevens defense in an effort to hide material, or because of sloppy mistakes by a government team burdened by tight deadlines and inexperience.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fundamental Fairness in Rhode Island

Gerard Sullivan (pictured), the Assistant U.S. Attorney who was caught allegedly drunk driving on Thanksgiving Day and allegedly refused to take a breath test, was formally charged with a DUI on Friday.

Citing "fundamental fairness," the local police chief filed the DUI charges belatedly after being criticized for playing favorites with a member of the Rove Republican Racket.

Sullivan pled not guilty.

Sullivan allegedly used his credentials as an Assistant U.S. Attorney to intimidate local police officers.

From the Associated Press:

WARWICK, R.I. — A veteran federal prosecutor pleaded not guilty Friday to drunken driving after Warwick police charged him following questions about whether he was initially let off the hook because of his law enforcement connections. Gerard Sullivan, 50, was arraigned on one count of driving under the influence and left the courthouse without commenting on the case. District Court Judge J. Terence Houlihan Jr. released Sullivan after he promised to appear at his next court hearing on Dec. 15. Unlike others arrested over the holiday weekend who refused breath tests, Sullivan was not charged with driving under the influence, a criminal charge. That decision contradicted a police department policy of charging suspected drunken drivers who refuse breath tests with the more serious criminal charge when other evidence supports it. After a legal review, [the local police chief] said Friday in a written statement that Sullivan should have been charged with driving under the influence. He called it a case of "fundamental fairness."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Silence from U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island

Breaking News: On Tuesday, we told you about the allegedly drunk driving Assistant U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island who was pinched on Thanksgving Day. Yesterday, the story  about Gerard B. Sullivan went national, picked up by the Associated Press, CBS News, The Boston Globe, etc.

Now comes word that the Sullivan's boss has gone silent. The Providence Journal just posted this story:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island on Thursday refused to comment on a veteran prosecutor’s arrest early Thanksgiving Day for refusing to take a chemical breath test after a Warwick police officer saw him driving erratically. “The Department of Justice instructed us not to talk about it,” Thomas Connell, spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha, said in response to questions about Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard B. Sullivan. Connell told The Journal earlier this week that the office was aware of the charge and would work with the Department of Justice to address any administrative consequences Sullivan might face.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Strip-Searched in DC

In 2008, a human rights lawyer became unruly with federal prosecutors in a U.S. District Courthouse in Washington, DC. For that, he was arrested.

Goons of the Rove Republican Racket ended up strip-searching the poor fellow.

The National Law Journal writes today:
The defendant, Ning Ye, a solo defense and human rights lawyer who is licensed in New York, was charged in October 2008 for a skirmish that happened months earlier in the vestibule of a courtroom in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Ye, who at the time was representing a man in a high-profile drug conspiracy case, was being escorted out when prosecutors say he became unruly. Ye was handcuffed and later strip-searched. He suffered cuts and bruises in the altercation.
Ye was charged with two felonies and taken to criminal court. Yesterday, the case was resolved and Ye was simply ordered only to pay a fine of $500. Federal prosecutors were forced to abandon their pursuit of two felonies after the judge stated he had no desire to have this case go to trial. The National Law Journal adds:
The presiding judge, Richard Leon, rejected the government's request that Ye serve a year of probation and take an anger management class.Assistant U.S. Attorney Karla-Dee Clark dismissed criticism from Ye and his lawyer that the prosecution was overreaching and that the case should not have been filed in the first place. She said the government takes "very seriously" how individuals behave. "None of this had to happen, and he knew better," Clark said. "We sincerely hope it doesn't happen again."
We, too, sincerely hope the bulliness of U.S. prosecutors doesn't happen again, with or without a strip search.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Drunk Driving Assistant U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island

With the arrogance and above-the-law attitude the Rove Republican Racket established at the U.S. Department of Justice and the 93 U.S. Attorney offices across the nation, it was no surprise to learn that on Thanksgiving morning, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island was caught for allegedly driving under the influence.

The Providence Journal writes:
A veteran federal prosecutor was charged early Thanksgiving morning with refusing to take a chemical breath test after two drivers told the police a man at the wheel of a small BMW appeared "out of it," was "driving all over the road" and had hit curbs on Airport Road. After he was pulled over shortly after 1:15 a.m., Gerard B. Sullivan, 50, of Lincoln, an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Rhode Island, told the arresting officers more than once that he was a prosecutor, according to the police chief. He said he knew the police chief, according to the police report, and asked the arresting officer if there was "anything he could do."
What is more disappointing is until a few years ago, Sullivan was head of the criminal division. (He ought to know better.) The police report has a damaging description of Sullivan drunken behavior  according to the Providence Journal.
[The police officer] asked [Sullivan] to submit to a series of standardized field sobriety tests. Sullivan had "extreme difficulty keeping his head straight and following the stimulus with only his eyes without moving his head as instructed," was "unable to stand in the heel-to-toe stance," "repeatedly missed heel-to-toe contact," continually raised his arms more than 6 inches from his side for balance, and "placed his foot down continuously" when asked to stand on one leg, according to [the officer's] report.
We can only wonder for all the prosecutorial misconduct and political prosecutions during the Rove-Bush-Cheney years if more Assistant U.S. Attorneys have now resorted to heavy drinking during the era of Obama.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Secret Hearings

While most of us were enjoying Thangsgiving dinner, Nicholas Slatten of Tennessee (pictured, right) is fighting for his freedom. Unfortunately, Slatten is one of five Blackwater security guards who allegedly participated in the Baghdad, Iraq massacre in 2007

This year the Rove Republican Racket had to drop charges against Slatten because of the lack of evidence.

However, in recent secret hearings and a filing two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Justice wants to re-open the case against Slatten.

According to the Associated Press:

The recent secret hearings focused on whether statements some of the guards gave to the State Department after the killings in Baghdad under a grant of immunity tainted the government's subsequent criminal case. U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina has yet to rule. In its court filing Wednesday, Slatten's defense team called the U.S. government's handling of the charges against Slatten "a disturbing case of prosecutorial misconduct, undermining the integrity of the judicial process."

The case against Slatten became untenable, not merely because of a fundamental lack of evidence against him, but also because the trial team repeatedly mischaracterized the testimony of witnesses and excluded evidence that ran in Slatten's favor from the grand jury that indicted him, Slatten's lawyers wrote in asking for a public hearing before the judge. "The collapse of the government's case against Mr. Slatten should be as public as the baseless allegations against him," Slatten's lawyers added. "He should not be required to endure the government's repeated public mischaracterization of the evidence while non-public proceedings tell a very different story."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Buckeye Turkeys

Firstly, we would like to wish our readers a Happy Thanksgiving.

In honor of this holiday, we have a news story about two Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers who were fired recently for being real "turkeys."

From yesterday's Cincinnati  Enquirer:

Drunken behavior off-duty in Clermont County got two Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers fired....Lonnie M. Butler, a trooper for about two years, and Joshua N. Baker, a trooper for about three years, were both terminated after the investigation of an Aug. 5 disturbance at the Cheeseburger In Paradise restaurant on Eastgate North Drive in Clermont's Union Township.

"Trooper Baker took it upon himself to take a pineapple from a restaurant fruit basket and cut it up on the bar, making a mess of the bar and causing several cuts to the plastic bar surface," a report says. Butler grew indignant when his buddy, Baker, was confronted about the mess.

The bar manager asked them to leave. "When the manager threatened to call the police, Butler challenged him to do so, announcing that he and Baker were both the police and that the police would not do anything," the report says.

The men, both 30 years old, left when they realized police were on the way, the report says. When Baker and Butler met with Union Township police who were investigating the bar's report of disorderly conduct and criminal damaging, Butler again grew indignant and used profanity when talking to the Union Township officers, the report says, attracting attention of neighbors around Butler's home.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

California Travesty

In California, a gang of correction officers won an appeal to be reinstated after being fired for an alleged beating scandal.

According to Sunday's Monterey County Herald:
A state appeals board has ordered reinstatement of eight correctional officers who were fired from Salinas Valley State Prison in the wake of revelations about a rogue gang of guards known as the Green Wall.  The state Personnel Board ruled last week there was insufficient evidence to support allegations that the officers stood by or helped beat up an inmate during an unauthorized "extraction" from a caged exercise yard.  A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said her agency and the state Attorney General's Office will consider appealing the decision.
So who is to blame in this fiasco, this travesty of justice? Foot soldiers of the Rove Republican Racket who ignored requests for an investigation.

According to the local warden, the FBI and his office contacted the U.S. Attorney's Office

Edward Caden, the former warden of Salinas Valley State Prison who initiated the investigation and who later testified regarding the Green Wall, was appalled at the board's decision. He said the case was mismanaged by the CDCR, which assigned at least three different attorneys to handle the case during its pendency. Caden said he and the FBI also tried to get the U.S. Attorney's Office to prosecute the case, to no avail. "This is just an absolute travesty. This sends a clear message" to both honest and dishonest correctional officers, said Caden, now a Sacramento-area attorney. "If you commit a crime under the color of authority and stick together and keep your mouths shut, no one can do anything."
Bush-appointed U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California Joseph P. Russoniello (pictured)allegedly did nothing and let this travesty occur.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Endgame in Alabama

From 2001 through 2009, the Rove-Bush-Cheney Administration and left-over members of the Rove Republican Racket have successfully targeted leading political operatives across the country for political crimes against the state.

From Pierce O'Donnell in Los Angeles to Jim Tobin in Maine, politicians have been dragged through a deep puddle of vengence with a strong stench of injustice by U.S. Attorneys.

So what is the endgame? In other words, what pieces are left after all this turmoil?

In Alabama, the question has been answered. From the Associated Press:

The Alabama Republican Party has a new campaign video filled with lots of Democrats — the convicted kind. State Republican Party officials unveiled a video Tuesday that they plan to use in campaign ads and online during the campaign for the 2010 legislative elections as they push for GOP majorities in the House and Senate, which Democrats have controlled for more than a century.

The video includes images of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman; former state Reps. Bryant Melton and Sue Schmitz; former Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford; former Democratic Party chairman Bill Blount; former Democratic Party executive director Al LaPierre; former state two-year-college chancellor Roy Johnson; and former state Sen. E.B. McClain. All are Democrats, and all have been convicted or pleaded guilty to government corruption charges.

The sound of jail doors closing can be heard in the background of the video, which then shows screens with the words “Alabama Democratic Party leaders. Scandal, corruption, crime.”

Friday, November 20, 2009

Extra Well-Done Grilling in the Silicon Valley

In the posting, we quoted from the San Jose Mercury News that in Santa Clara County, home of the Silicon Valley, only one prosecutor has been held accountable for misconduct, a Mr. Ben Field.

Now comes news that Field is appealing his four-year suspension before the State Bar of  California. Fortunately, the review panel grilled Field's lawyer extra well-done on Wednesday.

The Mercury News writes:
Former Santa Clara County prosecutor Ben Field on Wednesday took his fight to clear his disciplinary record to a State Bar of California appellate panel, but he ran into a tough inquiry from judges who sent strong signals they believe his four-year suspension for misconduct may not be harsh enough.

During an hourlong hearing, Field's lawyer, Allen Ruby, encountered generally hostile questioning from the three-judge appellate review panel, which is considering the former prosecutor's bid to overturn a ruling last summer that suspended his law license for four years "because he abused his prosecutorial power" in a series of cases over a decade.

At least two of the judges, Presiding Judge Joann Remke and Judge Judith Epstein, grilled State Bar prosecutor Donald Steedman on why his office didn't seek to permanently strip Field of his law license, given the argument at trial that he'd repeatedly violated ethical rules and the constitutional rights of defendants in criminal cases.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

An Important Question from Mississippi

On Sunday night, the Greenwood (Mississippi) Commonwealth newspaper's editorial asked, "Why isn't Peters facing prison, too?"

Ed Peters is the corrupt DA from Mississippi who we affectionately call the "Pied Piper." Pied Piper Peters plays a tune so wonderfully that he worked out a sweet immunity deal with disgraced and embattled U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee of the Northern District of Mississippi. The immunity deal has been sealed tight and the U.S. Department of Justice won't provide details.

The Commonwealth correctly opines:
Why has Ed Peters, who was hired by [Richard] Scruggs and his friends to try to bribe [Judge Bobby] DeLaughter, gotten off so lightly? It was Peters who federal prosecutors say dangled the poisoned fruit -- a lifetime judicial appointment in exchange for a favorable ruling in a multimillion-dollar dispute over legal fees -- in front of DeLaughter. It was Peters who was the go-between, ferrying messages and documents between the judge and the Scruggs team. Yet, the former Hinds County district attorney has been able to skirt prosecution by turning on his onetime protegĂ©. Peters’ only penalty, other than losing his law license, was giving back what was left of the $1 million the Scruggs team had paid him.

“I find it rather odd that the man who got $1 million is out fishing, and Bobby DeLaughter is going to prison,” [DeLaughter's lawyer] said. “At least in Chicago we chase the money.”

So have federal prosecutors in Mississippi, except when it comes to Peters. So far, six plaintiffs’ attorneys, three state judges and a former state auditor have drawn prison time in three judicial bribery cases -- some of them for misdeeds that were a lot less culpable than Peters’.

Why did he get such a sweet deal? That’s a question the feds have yet to answer.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Alaska Debacle Continues

The Rove Republican Racket is getting slapped around again.

Earlier this year, the Racket was slapped around for witholding evidence in regards to the case (and eventual conviction) against former Alaska U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder voided the convictions and withdrew the charges due to prosecutorial misconduct on April 1.

In June, we reported how the two federal prosecutors who withheld evidence of a star witness in the case were reassigned.

Now a related case is making headlines. From today's Alaska Dispatch:

Federal prosecutors and defense attorneys faced off in federal court Tuesday in an attempt to win the mind of the judge who will decide whether the corruption convictions against Pete Kott should be thrown out. The former Alaska representative, convicted of bribery, extortion and conspiracy in September 2007, was freed from prison in June pending a review of withheld evidence that his lawyer claims seriously discredits Bill Allen, the feds' star witness.

Specifically, the newly discovered evidence counters Allen's own statements that the transactions were bribes to keep Kott as a well-greased political ally, [Kott's lawyer]claims. The government had documents and interviews that showed Allen at times had made statements that Kott didn't extort the oilman, but that Allen gave Kott money out of friendship and as a bonus for the flooring work.There is also the matter of whether Allen had motivation to cooperate with the government out of fear that his alleged sexual indiscretions with prostitutes and minors -- which resulted in police investigations but no charges against Allen -- might come to light. McCloud argues these allegations were strong motivators for Allen to cooperate with the government, and Kott's defense team should have been allowed to question Allen about them at trial.
Looks like the Rove Racket took a heavy gamble on Allen and is losing on all bets held. Bill Allen was sentenced last month to three years in federal prison for bribery.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goodbye Mary Beth!

Today, another queen of the Rove Republican Racket leaves office, U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Pennsylvania, Mary Beth Buchanan.

She enjoyed political witch hunting and will always be remembered for jailing Tommy Chong of "Cheech and Chong" fame for selling bongs...excuse us, water pipes. By jailing him for nine months, her reputation went "Up in Smoke."

Main Justice reminds us of how political she was:
[Regarding the] unsuccessful prosecution of former Allegheny County medical examiner Cyril Wecht. Her office dismissed all charges against the Democratic defendant after a federal judge threw out evidence that he ruled was improperly obtained. Wecht’s supporters accused Buchanan of targeting him because of his politics. Former Attorney General Richard Thornburgh asked Attorney General Eric Holder to discipline Buchanan for “vindictively” suggesting at a news conference that Wecht was guilty....
Good-bye and good riddance!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What was Indiana's U.S. Attorney Morrison After?

On Saturday, we posted a story about the erupting controversy surrounding U.S. Attorney Timothy M. Morrison of the Southern District of Indiana. In January, this left-over from the Rove Republican Racket issued a subpoena to an independent news site,, and demanded a list and identifying information of all the individuals who had visited the website on June 25, 2008.

On top of that, Morrison demanded that the website remain silent on the matter --a gag order. The subpoena, which was illegally issued, was eventually withdrawn.

What is still not known is what Morrison and his staff were looking for in their fishing expedition that violated U.S. Department of Justice rules. CBS News writes:

Still unclear is what criminal investigation U.S. Attorney Morrison was pursuing. Last Friday, a spokeswoman initially promised a response, but Morrison sent e-mail on Monday evening saying: "We have no comment." The Justice Department in Washington, D.C. also declined to respond.
We decided to do a search of that specific date and we have found two possible issues related to that date on the website: a New York rights organization blasting the Anti-Defamation League or an item we think would be in Morrison's backyard, the protesting and blocking of the construction of Interstate 69 near Evansville, Indiana.

A link sent us to another independent  news website that discusses this event which occured (you can guess it) on Wednesday, June 25, 2008:
Protesters arrived at Gohmann Asphalt’s construction yard in Haubstadt, IN at 10 AM Wednesday morning. While one individual stopped a truck leaving the site, others deflated the tires, immobilizing the vehicle. Four individuals locked themselves to the undercarriage beneath the truck, and yet another climbed on top and locked his neck to a bar that was fixed to the trailer. Within minutes a long line of trucks stretched down the road, some trying to enter the facility and several trying to exit. As the lines grew longer, supporters arrived and began chanting, holding banners, and supporting those locked on with water and food.
We believe that Morrison either was targeting those protesters involved, looking for the persons who posted the photo dated June 25, 2008 (right), or targeting the asphalt company.

Gohmann Asphalt and Construction has a shady and spotted past.

Interestingly, John R. Gohmann, CEO and Vice-Chairman of the asphalt firm, gave over $10,000 in campaign contributions to Rove Republicans during the 2008 calendar year according to the website Is there a link?

Morrison, who violated DOJ rules for unknown reasons, should be held accountable and forced to answer the question publicly about what he was after this past January.