Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Political adviser Karl Rove and other high-ranking figures in the Bush White House played a greater role than previously understood in the firing of federal prosecutors almost three years ago, according to e-mails obtained by The Washington Post, in a scandal that led to mass Justice Department resignations and an ongoing criminal probe. The e-mails and new interviews with key participants reflect contacts among Rove, aides in the Bush political affairs office and White House lawyers about the dismissal of three of the nine U.S. attorneys fired in 2006: New Mexico's David C. Iglesias, the focus of ire from GOP lawmakers; Missouri's Todd Graves, who had clashed with one of Rove's former clients; and Arkansas's Bud Cummins, who was pushed out to make way for a Rove protégé.
Read the full article here.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
U.S. Department of Justice lawyers argued yesterday if the FBI had a responsibility to protect victims of serial slayers James “Whitey” Bulger and Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi from murder, so, too, did their families.“They had a duty to protect themselves from harm,” attorney Lawrence Eiser said during closing arguments in the bench trial of three wrongful-death suits brought by the families to inflict financial pain on the feds for not containing the dangerous duo. Eiser’s theory did not sit well with U.S. District Court Judge William G. Young, who snapped at him, “Are you saying these people were asking for it?”Eileen Davis, the sister of Flemmi’s slain girlfriend Debra Davis, wept as her attorney, Michael Heineman, described how Flemmi and Bulger - fearing Davis, 26, would reveal they were in cahoots with corrupt FBI agent John Connolly - duct-taped her to a chair in 1981 before strangling her to death and pulling out her teeth. The monstrous Flemmi “pulled her hair back, gave her a kiss and told her she was going to a better place,” Heineman said.
Attorney Ann Donovan, representing Marion Hussey, whose daughter Deborah Hussey, 26, Flemmi molested for years while living with her mother, said Bulger broke Deborah’s ribs in 1985 trying to squeeze the life out of her with his legs while simultaneously choking her to death.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
The top government witness [Nick Bailey] in the 2006 federal conviction of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges is providing new evidence that prosecutors failed to fulfill their legal obligation to provide the defense with all records documenting witness-coaching....Even more explosive than an alleged failure by prosecutors to comply with federal trial procedures is a sworn statement by Bailey's current employer Luther "Stan" Pate, another Alabama businessman. "Nick was told that the government was working to prevent the publicizing of an alleged sexual relationship between Nick and Don Siegelman," Pate wrote. "Nick also told me that one of the agents working the Siegelman/Scrushy prosecution asked him whether he had ever taken illegal drugs with Governor Siegelman or had a sexual relationship with him. These comments had a dramatic effect on Nick, and, in my observation, added significantly to the pressure he felt to go along with whatever the prosecutors wanted him to say."
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Now James O'Toole, Jr. (pictured), a prominent attorney from the City of Brotherly Love and Chair of the Environmental and Toxic Tort Group of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is reassuring the public that the failures in Montana won't effect prosecution of environmental crimes in the future. We say, Thank God! O'Toole, in a company news release, states:
"The government took it on the chin with [the star-witness]", O'Toole said. "When a judge says that your main witness can't be trusted, that can't help your cause. This case was difficult when it started but became all but impossible when it came to light that the government had failed to adequately disclose its relations with the star witness." Despite the outcome, some believe — including O'Toole — that this particular case will not set a precedent for future cases dealing with the EPA."I don't believe you're going to see the Justice Department or the EPA shy away from criminal prosecutions in the future simply because of some of these missteps in the past. The agency's proposed budget is going to have at least a $600 million increase, with $32 million for enforcement alone. They're going to hire 30-plus additional positions just to handle enforcement and investigation: When you have a robust budget and a focused agency, and a commitment supported by the administration, you can't help but think there's going to be greater scrutiny and enforcement across all environmental programs."
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Meet Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Damm of Las Vegas, Nevada. In 2008, he was ripped a new one by the 9th Circuit for prosecutorial misconduct. Now he's caused a new controversy.
From last year's National Law Journal:
Roundly denouncing a Las Vegas federal prosecutor for withholding 650 pages of evidence potentially helpful to two lawyers charged in a stock fraud case, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld dismissal of all 64 charges and refused to allow a retrial. "This is prosecutorial misconduct in its highest form; conduct in flagrant disregard of the United States Constitution; and conduct which should be deterred by the strongest sanction available," wrote Judge Kim Wardlaw. Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Greg Damm, identified in court records as the trial attorney, assured the defense and the trial judge that he had turned over all documents. But one day before trial in 2006, he announced that the case agent, who was not on the witness list, would testify. None of his statements, memos or notes had been disclosed to the defense. When the trial judge demanded proof the records were given to the defense, Damm said he could not verify the claim and kept no log of the 400,000 pages of discovery given to the defense.
Now, last month, Damm made headlines after subpoenaing the Las Vegas Review Journal when folks commented on a news story about a tax evasion case Damm was prosecuting. Damm demanded to know names, addresses, phone numbers, ip addresses, and all pertinent information about each and every commentator.
The ACLU stepped in to defend their first amendment rights. The legal community was abuzz. After the subpoena was narrowed in scope, the newspaper finally agreed to give information on two commentators who allegedly made "threatening" comments.
Monday, July 20, 2009
[T]he 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to allow Minor and two former judges to file court briefs addressing points the Supreme Court made in a possible double-jeopardy case that has some similarities to the Minor case. In both the Minor case and the one that was the subject of a Supreme Court ruling, the defendant was retried on charges in which the jury could not reach a verdict. The key is whether the charges on which jurors couldn't reach reach a verdict are based on the same essential facts as the charges on which they were acquitted.
"We are very encouraged and gratified," said Hiram Eastland Jr., one of Minor's attorneys on his appeal. "It's very unusual for the court to ask for a supplemental brief." In 2007, a federal jury in Mississippi convicted Minor and two former Gulf Coast trial court judges - Wes Teel and John Whitfield - of corruption. Prosecutors said Minor helped guarantee or pay off campaign loans of the judges who heard some of Minor's cases. The verdict came two years after a jury deadlocked on some counts in the same case while acquitting then-state Supreme Court Justice Oliver Diaz Jr. of all charges.
In the first trial in 2005, jurors acquitted the three men on some corruption charges and failed to agree unanimously on others. In Minor's case, he was acquitted on six
counts, but jurors couldn't agree on eight others. Whitfield was acquitted on one count, but jurors split on four others. They could not agree on any counts against Teel. Minor and Whitfield were reindicted with some new charges added. The June 18 ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court .... reversed the 5th Circuit and remanded the case to the lower court. The high court's decision said the hung jury on [other] charges shouldn't have figured into the 5th Circuit's decision.
"Because a jury speaks only through its verdict, its failure to reach a verdict cannot - by negative implication - yield a piece of information that helps put together the trial puzzle," according to the Supreme Court ruling. Eastland said the reversal in the case gives additional hope for Minor in his appeal.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Now we have solid proof that members of the legal and political arm of the Rove Racket, the bias appointees of the U.S. Attorney offices, lie to entrap.
Ferguson became an Assistant U.S. Attorney after Rove and Bush took over the White House in 2001.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has referred to the Justice Department's internal watchdog a complaint alleging prosecutorial misconduct filed by a political activist targeted in a federal obstruction investigation in Kansas.
Siobhan Reynolds, president of the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Pain Relief Network, is being investigated by a federal grand jury in Topeka for her role in the case of a Kansas doctor whose clinic has been linked by prosecutors to 59 overdose deaths.
Reynolds told The Associated Press on Friday that she has been informed that Holder read her complaint June 22 against Assistant U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway, and that it was referred to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility. The office examines possible ethics violations by Justice Department employees....
Reynolds' group has supported Dr. Stephen Schneider and his wife, Linda, who were indicted in December 2007 on 34 counts accusing them of unlawfully prescribing painkillers and overbilling for services at their clinic in the Wichita suburb of Haysville.
The Pain Relief Network, which opposes what it sees as federal efforts to crack down on chronic pain treatment, has helped the Schneiders line up attorneys and expert witnesses, and has put up billboards supporting them.
The Justice Department has issued a grand jury subpoena for Reynolds and her group seeking all correspondence and other documents related to the Schneider case, including Reynolds' interactions with attorneys, patients, Schneider family members, doctors and others.
Reynolds has refused to comply with the subpoena. She said Friday that she has not yet been found in contempt of court.
"Ms. Treadway's conduct in the case has been nothing short of shocking and ruthless; she has in fact displayed the kind of 'win at all costs' mentality that you have publicly stated your department will no longer tolerate," Reynolds wrote in her June 18 letter to Holder.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Our post from yesterday was right on target. We concluded that federal prosecutors in Mississippi appear to be leaking information out to the media to manipulate the jury pool in a judicial bribery case.
Our take on the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi was reaffirmed today in the Jackson Clarion Ledger.
As you may recall, that particular office in Mississippi is a hillbilly branch of the Rove Republican Racket and has successfully prosecuted "them Democrats" like the segregationists before them prosecuted "them colored folks."
One way is to stack the jury.
The Ledger writes:
Hinds County Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter wants the jury pool for his federal corruption trial pulled from the entire northern half of Mississippi so he has a better chance of finding jurors not tainted by media coverage....Jurors for federal trials in Oxford usually come from a 17-county area, but DeLaughter wants that expanded to the entire 37-county northern district because of media attention in the case.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should use his power over the U.S. Attorney's Office in Northern Mississippi and end the prosecutorial misconduct and gross injustice by Rove and his hillbilly friends.
Read the full article here.
Monday, July 13, 2009
The brief states:
The footnote states:
In addition, it has recently come to undersigned counsel’s attention based upon prejudicial articles published in the Jackson Clarion Ledger, that further irregularities may well have occurred in the conduct and supervision of the grand jury in this matter.
This suggests that federal prosecutors or staffers from the U.S. Attorney's office have been leaking internal or circumstantial facts to manipulate the jury pool.
These articles are: (1) an extremely misleading and inaccurate June 10, 2009, story regarding the existence of plea negotiations between Defendant and the government attorneys; (2) an ad hominem July 5, 2009 story regarding the fact that Judge DeLaughter remains suspended with pay that incorrectly suggests that this is the doing of Judge DeLaughter; and, (3) a July 9, 2009, article detailing a deposition transcript of Co-Schemer Timothy Balducci taken by the lawyers for the Frisby Corporation in the matter of Eaton orporation, et al., v. Jeffrey D. Frisby, et al., Civil Action No. 251-04-642-CIV, currently pending in the Hinds County Circuit Court.
This kind of media manipulation caused a federal judge in Boston recently to grill prosecutors and demand detailed briefs on the "public relations" effort by the Boston U.S. attorney's office.
Is this slew of anti-DeLaughter media coverage part and parcel of a orchestrated media relations campaign from the good old boys in backwards Mississippi? Sho' looks like it.
Read the full brief here.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
She had provided evidence that members of Rove Republican Racket were engaged in repugnant legal conduct. Now the Racket has fired her.
From the Daily Kos:
A U.S. Department of Justice whistleblower has been fired from her job after speaking out about wrongdoing in the Middle District of Alabama. Tamarah Grimes, who served on the prosecution team in the case against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, received notice of her termination on June 9....Grimes provided documents to Justice Department watchdogs showing that Leura Canary, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, had stayed on the Siegelman case long after she had supposedly recused herself. Grimes also provided evidence of improper contacts between jurors and members of the prosecution team.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
A federal judge has ordered prosecutors to produce affidavits explaining why photographs were released and any news conferences held following the arrests of two Boston politicians on corruption charges. Judge Douglas Woodlock said Thursday at a pretrial hearing that he wants to evaluate whether prosecutors tried to "gin things up" among the public following the arrests last year of former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and Boston city councilor Chuck Turner. Woodlock said he wanted affidavits by July 16 from anyone involved in the decision-making process, potentially including former U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Rove deposed in U.S. attorney probe
By: John Bresnahan and Josh Gerstein July 7, 2009 07:29 PM EST
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Newton County Prosecutor J. Edward Barce, who is serving as special prosecutor in a case involving a Gary lawyer charged with trafficking with an inmate, let his law license go into inactive status for more than three years. Until four months ago, Barce's license had been on inactive status since Aug. 5, 2005, according to Donald Lundberg, executive secretary of the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission. Barce reactivated his license on Feb. 23, Lundberg said. Barce's license status was one of the reasons cited by Jerome Taylor in seeking the dismissal of the trafficking with an inmate case Barce filed in June 2007 against Taylor's client, Gary attorney Carl Jones.