The U.S. attorney's office in Oxford targeted convenience store operators in north Mississippi, many of Middle Eastern descent, despite a lack of any connection to terrorism, according to documents obtained by The Clarion-Ledger. The Convenience Store Initiative arose from meetings with local law enforcement officers in the years following 9-11 - when Middle Eastern terrorists flew hijacked planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center Twin Towers.
U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee of Oxford said the government was "looking to see any links to terrorism, but what we found was criminal conduct." Instead of arrests for alleged terrorist plots, state and federal officials since 2006 have charged more than 60 people in Mississippi with such illegal acts as the sale of excessive amounts of pseudoephedrine - used to make meth. Those who ran the Convenience Store Initiative say the FBI found nothing wrong with the initiative, which arose from tips from local law enforcement. In fact, they say the Justice Department in the Bush administration praised the concept.
Those involved in the initiative say the money from the illegal activity was being sent back overseas, where it couldn't be traced and possibly could have gone to funding terrorism. But they acknowledged the money could have gone to relatives instead. Greenlee denied the suggestion those of Middle Eastern descent were targeted. "Did we look at it from an improper purpose? No," he said.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
"It's my decision to move forward as U.S. attorney and not dwell in the past," Bogden said as he prepares to become the only one of nine federal prosecutors ousted in 2006 to return to his appointed post. He expects to begin before Oct. 10.
"I did not do anything wrong that merited my firing without notice," said Bogden, a 53-year-old career criminal prosecutor who measures words and their meaning and calls himself politically nonpartisan. Bush nominated him in 2001 at the suggestion of Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada.
U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader, wanted Bodgen to return to his old post to "right the wrong" of his dismissal, said Reid's spokesman, Jon Summers. President Obama gave his blessing, and the Senate confirmed Bodgen on Sept. 15.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Federal prosecutors in Chicago have asked a judge to reconsider her ruling last month that four convicted drug traffickers deserve a new trial because prosecutors engaged in misconduct. The prosecutors from U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's office on Sept. 18 filed a motion for reconsideration in the case, telling U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow that the government witness who she determined gave false testimony at the trial actually "was truthful, but inaccurate." When taking into account additional evidence not cited in Lefkow's decision and viewing the case as a whole, no finding of misconduct is justified, the prosecutors argued.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
But tonight, in a an op-ed written for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Latimer gives insight into the incompetent hiring practices by the Rove Republican Racket.
Appropriately titled "GOP Succumbed to Unchecked Power," Latimer writes:
Every administration politicizes hiring to a degree, but some in the Bush administration went beyond the pale. Much is known about the political firings of U.S. attorneys and the party-line enforcers who removed or intimidated qualified personnel at the Justice Department. Less well known is what happened outside Justice. For nearly three years at the Defense Department, I saw young, inexperienced political operatives enjoy nearly unrestrained power. Like schoolyard bullies who picked on people because they could, these operatives pursued personal vendettas, blocked hirings, delayed promotions and pressured high-ranking officials. Backed by the White House political shop, some operatives refused to hire experienced communicators to help the president and the defense secretary work effectively on Afghanistan and Iraq. They insisted on hiring friends or mediocre candidates from a White House-approved list.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Lawyers for Alex Latifi wrote...that former U.S. Attorney Alice Martin and two Assistant U.S. Attorneys violated their Brady obligations by withholding information from the defense. Latifi was acquitted in October 2007 of charges that he violated the Arms Export Control Act. Prosecutors alleged that Latifi falsified a report to the Defense Department and sent a drawing of a Black Hawk helicopter part to China. He is CEO of Axion Corp., which manufactured military equipment, including Humvee machine-gun mounts. The defense team ... said they have “explicit, unequivocal evidence” that Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Estes and Angela Debro and Army investigators David Balwinski and Marcus Mills allegedly conspired with trial witness James Oglesby to conceal evidence and defraud the court.“All of these individuals sought to present false evidence to the court with the hope of convicting defendants of a crime they knew defendants had not committed,” the defense filing says.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
A few weeks ago I made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Justice seeking a copy of the government's immunity agreement with Ed Peters. DOJ refused my request. Here is a copy of DOJ's refusal letter. According to the DOJ, I am not entitled to the information because Peters did not consent and there was no showing that the public disclosure outweighs Peters' privacy interests. My request letter to the DOJ did not identify a public interest for the disclosure. My limited research on the topic, however, suggests that this is not the type of private information that the privacy act was designed to protect. In addition, it's my understanding that the government should produce the information with the private information redacted. The suggestion that the public in not interested in the Peters immunity deal is a joke. I suspect that the DOJ does not want to produce the agreement because it is embarrassed that DOJ granted Peters immunity. My informal reading of public opinion both in and outside the bar is that Peters should have been prosecuted.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
"The essence of the honest services fraud charge was that the defendant allowed his judicial decisions to be manipulated by outside influences from improper sources, such as the requests of particular individuals who had his ear regarding special treatment for some of those who appeared or had cases before him," said Acting United States Attorney G. F. "Pete" Peterman, III. "Our goal throughout this and related prosecutions has been to ensure that judicial and law enforcement decisions made in the Alapaha Judicial Circuit are properly based on the dictates of the law and basic fairness, in an open and public proceeding, rather than through favoritism and improper influence in private chambers."
Friday, September 11, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Now, sadly, comes revelations that a prosecutor in Fitzgerald's office engaged in prosecutorial misconduct.
"A federal judge has found that a prosecutor in U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald's office committed prosecutorial misconduct by allowing a government witness to testify falsely in a drug conspiracy trial that resulted in the convictions of four defendants in March. In a 27-page ruling issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow ordered a new trial for the four on some counts, including the key conspiracy charge. But she refused to dismiss multiple other counts, meaning each faces sentencing for those convictions."
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Greenlee's actions are as bad as his New Jersey colleague, U.S. Attorney Ralph Marra, who is under scrutiny for opening his big mouth to the media.
Greenlee, who successfully politically prosecuted several top Democrats in Mississippi for the Rove-Bush-Cheney Administration, suffered this ugly legal black eye last week.
According to the Clarksdale Press Register:
U.S. District Court Judge Neil Biggers Jr. issued a stern warning that prosecutors had until Friday to produce cell phone records and other information which had previously been requested by...defense counsel. Biggers also asked the government to explain the reasons behind their delays. On Friday, prosecutors filed their response. According to the response filed by U.S Attorney Jim Greenlee and assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Roberts, prosecutors and [defense] attorneys had informally agreed upon an August 31 deadline for producing the information. “The government mistakenly did not seek an order from the Court formalizing the August 31st deadline agreement with counsel opposite,” reads a section of the prosecutors response. “The government apologizes for any inconvenience to the Court and respectfully requests that the Court impose no sanction upon the case due to the government’s failure to request an extension of discovery deadline and states that it will keep the Court informed of any problems related to timely discovery in the future.” Defense attorney’s had issued 27 separate requests for detailed information related to the extensive undercover FBI investigation....
If defense counsel had done so once, Greenlee would have sought sanctions. Greenlee apologizes blaming a procedural failure while protecting his apparently sloppy or intentionally contemptuous criminal division.
Like Marra, Greenlee and staff should be under the scrutiny of the Office of Professional Responsibility of the U.S. Department of Justice.
Read the full article here.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
David Iglesisas says U.S. attorneys should be appointed for six-year terms that overlap administrations to minimize the influence of politics on what should be an independent federal office.
The former U.S. attorney for New Mexico—one of nine federal prosecutors fired in a series of politically tinged dismissals in 2006—spoke Friday at the Hispanic National Bar Association's annual conference in Albuquerque. "When you talk or think about prosecutors, there should be two adjectives that are attached: independent and integrity. If you don't have those two, you don't have a legitimate prosecutor," he said.
In addition to advocating longer terms for U.S. Attorneys, Iglesias said in an interview they should only be removed for misconduct to insure that politics stay out of federal prosecutions. "I think one very practical thing to do would be to change the term because, right now, there is a four-year appointment. Maybe make it a six-year term so there's an automatic overlap into the next administration," he said.
Iglesias spoke about phone calls he received in 2006 from former Rep. Heather Wilson and former Sen. Pete Domenici, both New Mexico Republicans. He claimed the two pressured him to bring an indictment in a public corruption case before Election Day in November 2006.
Friday, September 4, 2009
A quick review:
- When he was law license was being revoked by the state bar, Peters arrogantly said he didn't care since he was planning to retire anyway and wouldn't defend the matter.
- Then after his good friend and co-conspirator Judge Bobby DeLaughter struck a plea deal and pleaded guilty to lying to the F.B.I. in a bribery case, we pointed out the monstrous Mississippi mistake when U.S. Attorney Jim Greenlee granted Ed Peters full immunity and only required partial payment of the money Peters earned off the same bribery case.
- Early last month, news reports discussed how Ed Peters was involved with aerospace company Eaton Corporation's lawsuit against another aerospace firm called Frisby for stealing trade secrets being heard by his pal (and now disgraced) Judge DeLaughter. Eaton had a rock solid case against Frisby, until this revelation tainted their case and raised speculation that Eaton corporate executives would be possibly indicted.
Now, this week, the Pied Piper Peters caused an expanding legal fight in the Eaton vs. Frisby case.
From the Jackson Clarion Ledger:
Read the full article here.
Frisby attorneys allege DeLaughter's rulings favored Eaton once Peters, a former Hinds County district attorney, entered the case on behalf of Eaton. Peters' alleged influence on DeLaughter in the Eaton vs. Frisby case has come up in DeLaughter's unrelated criminal case involving former lawyer Dickie Scruggs. DeLaughter pleaded guilty to a federal obstruction of justice charge in that case. Peters was granted immunity. In motions filed Tuesday, Frisby's legal team asks the judge overseeing DeLaughter's criminal case to release all statements or grand jury testimony made by Peters regarding Eaton vs. Frisby.
"The Frisby litigants are now trying to determine exactly who was involved, along with Peters, in the (alleged) successful attempt to influence Judge DeLaughter's rulings in Eaton v. Frisby," according to court documents. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bob Norman said he wouldn't turn over the information without a court order because grand jury information is kept secret by law. He wouldn't comment further. No ruling has been made on the motions.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
A federal judge in Milwaukee has taken the unusual step of refusing to accept new criminal cases and recusing himself from existing ones, in a move observers say is about politics, impropriety and, possibly, hurt feelings....it all started after a ruling in July by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Prosecutors thought Stadtmueller showed bias in a gun case and took the rare move of asking the appeals court to remove him, which it did. Stadtmueller accused the U.S. Attorney's office of judge-shopping.Before Stadtmueller was given a lifetime appointment to the federal bench in 1987, he ran the U.S. Attorney's office in Milwaukee. Over the years, he has criticized the type of cases his successors have brought to federal court. When Stadtmueller was a prosecutor, most federal cases involved white-collar crimes. Now, there are many more gun and drug cases, and the judge's frustration is apparent in court documents. In taking Stadtmueller off the gun case, the appeals court ruled that he broke judicial rules by suggesting a plea bargain. Stadtmueller had questioned the government's decision to bring the case to federal court, calling it "an embarrassment to the justice system." Documents also show Stadtmueller sought to avoid a conviction that would have sent the defendant to prison for at least 15 years.