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Top News Story! Campaign Secrets!
Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:41pm PST - Updated:
RALEIGH, NC -- Condemning the role of money in elections, a Wake County judge on Wednesday banned Gov. Bev Perdue’s former fundraiser from the political world for two years and ordered him to pay a $25,000 fine. Peter Reichard, 54 (pictured left) pleaded guilty to a felony count of obstruction of justice for his role in concealing an alleged scheme to funnel $32,000 from a wealthy Perdue donor through his Chapel Hill investment bank to a campaign aide. Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens called Reichard’s actions “sheer foolishness.” Ignoring campaign finance laws creates “an absolutely uncontrolled free-for-all in which honesty and truth and fairness is completely vanquished, where money talks and where money frequently tries to buy elections,” the judge said in issuing his ruling. “It seems like every election cycle we’ve got to revisit that.”
The governor’s re-election campaign moved quickly to distance itself from Reichard. In the campaign’s first comments about the indictment, Perdue attorney John Wallace said they were unaware of Reichard’s arrangement. The campaign acknowledged on Wednesday receiving an illegal benefit and forfeited $32,000. Three more Perdue aides face charges related to her 2008 campaign. Juleigh Sitton, the aide who allegedly received the secret payments, and Trawick “Buzzy” Stubbs, a top Perdue donor who provided unreported campaign flights, are charged with obstruction of justice and causing the filing of false reports. Robert Lee Caldwell, a retired magistrate and Perdue supporter, is charged with obstruction of justice after a separate investigation alleged he concealed the source of a payment for a campaign flight.
In court, Reichard appeared soldiered as the prosecutor recited the evidence against him and the terms of the plea deal. He gave polite, confident responses to the judge’s questions, saying he “absolutely” understood his sentence. Attorneys mentioned Perdue’s name just once during the hearing. Reichard entered an Alford plea that allowed him to not admit guilt and avoid a jail term. He refused to comment as he left the courtroom but issued a statement acknowledging he has “made some mistakes along the way and today (paid) the price.” The Greensboro businessman, who is the son of world-famous spiritual leader Ram Dass, will spend two years on probation during which he cannot solicit political contributions or work for a political organization in any fashion. He has 90 days to pay his fine.
His attorney, of Raleigh, told the judge about Reichard’s record of community service and presented letters of reference from two friends and a pastor. He emphasized that his client received no personal benefit from the arrangement – a point the judge said kept Reichard from prison. At the hearing, Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby revealed new details about the under-the-table payments, saying that Reichard helped find investment opportunities at the same time he solicited contributions from Charles Michael Fulenwider, the donor who provided the money to pad Sitton’s salary.
The prosecutor said Fulenwider, a Morganton businessman who owns fast-food restaurants, initially discussed getting Sitton an economic development job but later reneged. Sitton, 49, a Morganton attorney and former staffer in the governor’s office, asked Fulenwider and Reichard about going on one of their companies' payrolls while working for Perdue’s campaign. Both men declined, the prosecutor said. But after further discussion, Fulenwider agreed to pay Reichard’s company, Tryon Capital Ventures, about $2,000 a month under an investment consulting services contract. Reichard then signed a consulting contract with Sitton and funneled Fulenwider’s money to her starting in August 2007. “Neither Ms. Sitton nor Tryon provided consulting or investment advice to Mr. Fulenwider,” Willoughby told the judge. At the same time, the Perdue campaign paid Sitton $3,000 a month, apparently unbeknownst to Fulenwider, for campaign work. After the May 2008 primary, Fulenwider expected his payments to stop but Reichard asked them to continue “because the campaign needed her but could not afford to pay,” Willoughby said. At this point, the prosecutor said, Sitton moved to the state Democratic Party’s payroll earning $3,000 through the November election in addition to the off-the-books payments.
Reichard cooperated by providing documents to prosecutors.
Fulenwider has not been charged in the investigation; Willoughby called it “not appropriate at this time.” But he also suggested more indictments could be forthcoming. As for Reichard, the prosecutor said the sentence was appropriate. “Sadly this type of behavior is becoming the expected norm in campaign finance,” he said. “I believe we should demand more of those persons who directly influence our elections. If the courts and the community don’t take this type of behavior seriously, I don’t think we can expect the public to have confidence in the electoral process or our government.”
Posted: July 31, 2011 - 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
Updated: 08/02/2011 10:11:58 PM PDT
Federal authorities are investigating whether any of the 26 AK-74 assault rifles and a Dragunov rifle stolen from the Fort Irwin Army Post has ended up in Fresno, California, a spokesman said Saturday. The AK-74 is an updated version of the more commonly known AK-47. The modified version of the assault rifle was introduced by the Soviet army in the 1970s. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of individuals behind the July 15 theft of firearms from an army supply warehouse in Fort Irwin, California, an ATF official said. Authorities said some arrests were made after employees at the storage warehouse were interviewed, but no further details were available Saturday and other suspects were still being sought. Federal authorities have received reports that some of the firearms have reached Fresno, and authorities have notified officials there of that possibility, a spokesman told media sources.
"Although our agents and officers are vigorously investigating this theft, we request the public's assistance to help us arrest and prosecute those individuals responsible for this crime," special agent John A. Torres of the ATF's Los Angeles office said in a statement. "Community participation is necessary to improve the likelihood that ATF and our law enforcement partners will track down the firearms as well as the criminals who have sought to destabilize our community through illegal activity."
July 26, 2011
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Federal prosecutors have rested their case against nine people, including lawmakers, in a gambling corruption trial that rocked the Alabama statehouse. The judge dismissed jurors for the day and said he would spend much of Wednesday hearing arguments from defense attorneys seeking to have charges dismissed against their clients. Defense attorneys are expected to begin presenting their cases by Thursday. The defendants include casino owners and four current and former state lawmakers. All are accused of buying and selling votes on a bill before the Legislature in 2010 to legalize electronic bingo. The prosecution's case has largely been built evidence from phone wiretaps and recording devices worn by cooperating legislators.
Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:00pm PST - Updated:
Former U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Edwards arrives at a federal courthouse for an appearance in Greensboro, N.C., Friday, Dec. 16, 2011. Edwards is accused of using about $1 million in undisclosed payments from campaign donors to cover up an affair during his 2008 White House bid. He has pleaded not guilty.
GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A federal judge will not rule out two former Federal Election Commission members from testifying for former Democratic presidential contender John Edwards, who's defending himself against campaign finance violations while hiding his mistress. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles in Greensboro said Friday she will decide later whether the commissioners could testify as experts on campaign finance law. She says she wants to hear the prosecution's case at Edwards' upcoming trial. Those commissioners are expected to say Edwards did not violate the law when he failed to report nearly $1 million in payments from two wealthy friends to hide and care for his pregnant mistress during his 2008 White House run. Federal prosecutors wanted to disqualify the commissioners' testimony.
June 15, 2011
Former U.S. Senator John Edwards, pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and campaign law violations in early June. His mug shot was obtained by CNN following a Freedom of Information Act request. The plea came after a federal grand jury indicted him on six counts, including conspiracy, issuing false statements and violating campaign contribution laws. A grand jury has been investigating whether money given to support Edwards' mistress, Rielle Hunter, by benefactors of Edwards should have been considered campaign donations, a contention Edwards' team has disputed. A plea deal between the two-time presidential candidate and the U.S. Justice Department fell apart over the the Department's requirement that Edwards serve jail time. Wanting to have "minimal" impact on his two younger children, the former senator refused to agree.
Judge My Guy!
Mon Jun 13, 5:00 am ET
SAN FRANCISCO – A retired federal judge's long-term relationship with another man will be the subject of an unusual and possibly unprecedented court hearing Monday involving California's same-sex marriage ban.
Lawyers for the sponsors of the voter-approved ban are asking the chief federal judge in San Francisco to vacate the decision issued by his predecessor last year that declared Proposition 8 an unconstitutional violation of gay Californians' civil rights. They maintain that former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker should have recused himself or disclosed his relationship status before trial because he and his partner stood to personally benefit from Walker's verdict.
Attorneys for the ban's backers and for two same-sex couples who successfully sued to overturn the measure in Walker's court are scheduled to present arguments on that question to Chief U.S. Judge James Ware, who could rule from the bench or at a later date.
Walker publicly revealed after he stepped down in February after 20 years on the federal bench that he is in a 10-year-old relationship with a same-sex partner, although rumors that he was gay had circulated both before and after he presided over the Proposition 8 trial in early 2010.
Ted Olson, one of the couples' lawyers, said he is unaware of any other cases in which a ruling was challenged because of the issuing judge's sexual orientation. He called the move to disqualify Walker "frivolous" and "demeaning" and said that expecting judges to reveal parts of their personal lives when hearing gay rights cases would set a dangerous precedent.
"What would a judge do who was Mormon knowing the Mormon Church took such an active role" in campaigning for Proposition 8, Olson asked. "What would a judge who had a nephew or niece or son or daughter who was gay or lesbian do? We have an unlimited number of permutations of what a judge might be asked to disclose."
Many legal scholars have said they do not expect Ware to overturn Walker. They point out that while a having a judge's impartiality be questioned because he is gay is new territory, efforts to get women judges thrown off gender discrimination cases or Hispanic judges removed from immigration cases have failed.
Nonetheless, in a fundraising appeal to Proposition 8's supporters Friday, Ron Prentice, chairman of the religious coalition that qualified the gay marriage ban for the November 2008 ballot, said, "We are much more hopeful for success with a judge presiding over the case who has greater respect for legal precedent and the rule of law."
Ware also is scheduled to hear arguments on whether he should unseal videotaped recordings of the trial. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, after Walker proposed having the proceedings uploaded on a YouTube channel, that the trial could not be broadcast beyond the federal courthouse in San Francisco. Lawyers for the gay couples that sued to overturn Proposition 8 and for the news media are asking Ware to now make those recordings public.
The fight to preserve the same-sex marriage ban also remains before a federal appeals court that is considering whether Walker properly applied the constitutional principles of due process and equal access when he overturned Proposition 8.
Posted: 05/04/2011 10:36:06 AM PDT
Updated: 05/06/2011 11:23:24 PM PDT
A faulty breathalyzer used by San Jose police to arrest 865 DUI suspects could lead to drivers walking free -- even if they were drunk behind the wheel, authorities revealed Tuesday.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office said it would undertake a special monthlong review to determine how many of the cases it would drop because San Jose police officers used the Alco-Sensor V breathalyzer as part of their field sobriety tests. The breathalyzers -- one of the methods used by officers to determine whether to arrest DUI suspects -- may have shown incorrect readings because of a manufacturer's error that can cause condensation to build up in the tube. The devices -- which were also used by Palo Alto police -- are not usually used as evidence in court.
However, prosecutors and defense attorneys say it's a technicality that could get some suspects off the hook -- by a dropped case or reversed conviction -- even as the usual DUI suspect averages a 0.19 blood-alcohol level, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08. Others who were not drunk but wrongly believed to be intoxicated because the device was faulty would see justice.
Federal Judge Guilty!
Last Updated On: 11/19/2010 16:28:08 PM (PDT)
Atlanta, Georgia (CNN) -- A federal judge pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of drug possession and another charge, admitting he had paid a stripper to buy drugs for the two to use together. Senior U.S. District Court Judge Jack Camp Jr. admitted to giving money to a woman to buy drugs, according to prosecutors. He pleaded guilty to two counts of drug possession, federal prosecutors said. He also pleaded guilty to one count of conversion of government property for giving the woman a government-issued laptop.
As part of a plea deal, Camp did not plead guilty to a firearms possession charge included in the initial federal complaint. The plea came shortly after Camp, 67, retired from the judiciary (allowing him, a convicted felon to receive a pension at tax payers expense). Federal prosecutors accused Camp of giving Sherry Ann Ramos, 26, money to buy drugs including cocaine, marijuana and roxicodone, which the two then frequently used together. FBI agents arrested Camp on October 1, 2010 after he tried to buy drugs from an undercover officer. Camp's attorneys issued a statement saying the judge took responsibility for his actions and would spend the next several months trying to understand the "uncharacteristic nature of his actions." He will be sentenced March 4, 2010.
Federal Judge Arrested!
Last Updated On: 10/4/2010 12:57:08 PM (PDT)
ATLANTA, GA -- Federal Judge Jack Camp has been arrested as part of a Federal drug case. The U.S. Marshals report he is in jail awaiting drug and gun charges. Camp is a senior judge for the Northern District of Georgia and has presided over numerous high profile cases, including cases related to the Sidney Dorsey trials and Larry Lonchar. According to officials, in Spring 2010 Judge Camp propositioned a confidential informant who was working as a private dancer at the Goldrush show bar on Metropolitan Parkway. Officials say, the confidential informant offered him a private dance in the VIP. Camp bought one, officials say.
o MORE: Criminal Complaint Against Jack Camp
Officials say, Judge Camp returned following day to purchase another dance, only this time, he allegedly paid the informant in exchange for sex as well. That night, Judge Camp asked the informant what kind of drugs she was taking. She told him cocaine. He asked if she had any more. According to reports, she did.
Officials say Camp paid $40-$50 for cocaine, then snorted it in front of her.
Federal officials paint a picture of sex and drugs that only grew. On increasing occasions, they say, Judge Camp paid the informant in exchange for sex. Camp would often buy and use cocaine, roxycodone, and marijuana when they were together, they allege.
Then in June 2010, Camp reportedly gave the informant cash to to buy roxycodone pills. Authorities allege, Judge Camp followed the informant to a home in Marietta, unbeknownst to the informant. Afterwards, when the informant approached him in his vehicle, she saw a small black semiautomatic handgun. Judge Camp, officials say, told her he had the gun for protection.
Attorney Bill Morrison would not comment on the drug charges again his client, but said it was a case "between [Judge Camp] and his wife".
"Judge Camp has had his initial appearance today based on the federal criminal complaint that was also filed today in Atlanta," an FBI spokesman said. "It is anticipated that the Dept. of Justice will provide further comment at a more appropriate time. Until then, we have no further comment on the matter."
Stay with Corrupt Justice™ for more on this developing story.
August 13, 2010 - 18:27 hrs
Most Americans probably assume that the First Amendment has locked in solid free speech and press rights for all eternity, but that has not always been the case nor may it be the case in the future. One of the most important under covered stories received some much-needed attention in The New York Times: the erosion of freedom of speech and the press around the world.
A New Jersey online radio talk show host and blogger was convicted Friday of threatening three federal appeals court judges in Illinois after their ruling on handgun bans in the Chicago area last year. Prosecutors had alleged that Hal Turner, of North Bergen, N.J., said three judges from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals should be killed following their ruling in June 2009. They said the threats were made after the appeals panel upheld a lower court's decision dismissing several lawsuits challenging handgun bans in Chicago and Oak Park, Ill.
Jurors in federal court in Brooklyn convicted Mr. Turner, 47 years old, after about two hours of deliberations on Friday. The case was moved to Brooklyn last year and had previously ended in two mistrials. "There is no place in society for threatening federal judges with violence. Period," said Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, who brought the case. A lawyer for Mr. Turner didn't immediately return a call seeking comment Friday. Mr. Turner's bail was revoked following the conviction. No date has been set for sentencing. He faces up to 10 years in prison on the charges. Prosecutors had alleged that Mr. Turner wrote: "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed." He also posted photographs, phone numbers and work addresses for the judges and promised to post their home addresses, prosecutors said.
"'“In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,” Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment.”
“But in the United States,” Professor Schauer continued, “all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”
Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.
Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.
By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.'"
-- NYT reporter Adam Liptak
August 18, 2010
While the evidence presented at any, or all of the three (3) trials may have proven that Hal Turner made the statement: "Let me be the first to say this plainly: These Judges deserve to be killed[,]" The First Amendment of the United States Constitution, when interpreted with judicial restraint, prohibits the United States Government from applying criminal statutes to such statements.
[On June 27, 2010, in a] 5-4 decision[,] [The United States Supreme Court] ruled that the Constitution's guarantee on the right to "keep and bear arms" prohibits states — and, in this case, the city of Chicago — from banning the possession of handguns, reversing a lower court's ruling and remanding it for further proceedings.
"We have previously held that most of the provisions of the Bill of Rights apply with full force to both the Federal Government and the States," Justice Samuel Alito wrote. "Applying the standard that is well established in our case law, we hold that the Second Amendment right is fully applicable to the States."
As gun rights were extended throughout the country by SCOTUS, Chicago was recovering from another violent weekend that left at least 29 shot and three dead. Even with the gun ban in place, shootings in Chicago have been rampant. [a week before the handgun ban was overturned], at least 52 were shot and ten killed in just three days, and th[e] weekend [prior to the Court's decision] the gunfire continued. According to CBS, shots were fired into a group of about 30 people Sunday night--likely a crowd gathering in Uptown after the Gay Pride Parade. Two men were wounded in the incident, at least one suffered serious injuries.
CBS report[ed] that another rash of shootings occurred between 10:45 p.m. Saturday and 4 a.m. Sunday, where at least 13 people were shot and one person was killed. Most of the incidents took place on the Northwest and Southwest sides. From midnight to 6 a.m. on Saturday, another 13 people were shot--two fatally, the station reports.
It's quite plausible that when Mr. Turner stated the "... judges deserve to be killed[,]" he could have been impressing the point that under the handgun ban, murderous criminals remained armed and murderous. If you're stilling reading this piece, then you've read firsthand how handgun bans place the lives of innocent (and the not so innocent) civilians at risk. Circuit Court judges on the other hand, are at minimal risk of being the victim(s) of handgun violence in the city of Chicago. They receive 24 hour armed protective services.
The United States Marshals Service, through The Office of Protective Operations (OPO) provides guidance and support to district offices and Judicial Security Inspectors (JSIs) conducting high threat proceedings and protective responses. OPO also provides supervision, support and guidance for protective details for the Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, all members of the federal judiciary, to include U.S. Tax Court and other high-level government dignitaries, including the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Deputy Attorney General, U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys. On any given day, the USMS is responsible for safeguarding more than 2,000 sitting judges, and approximately 5,250 other court officials at over 400 court facilities throughout the United States and its territories. In fiscal year 2009, over 1,300 threats/inappropriate communications against USMS protectees were investigated, analyzed, and assessed – some of which resulted in around-the-clock protective details.
These 24 hour protective details lull Judges into delusional beliefs regarding law enforcement's ability to provide public safety. The three (3) judges' decision to uphold the handgun ban proved they are out of touch with reality (a common judicial characteristic) and "deliberately indifferent" to the life, rights and safety of the citizens affected by the high rate of criminal gun violence in Chicago. It goes without saying the citizens affected by this violence tend to be overwhelmingly minority citizens.
Mr. Turner makes a compelling point with his statement set forth above. If these three judges were at risk of death by gun violence, they'd feel much differently about handgun bans. In fact, most judges have concealed (handgun) weapons permits. They carry handguns, some carry them into court, on the bench. Here we have judges who are armed and provided 24 hour armed protection, upholding a law disarming law-abiding citizens, while criminal murder rates skyrocket, yet they incarcerate a man over mere words. Any reasonable person can see the judges take their personal safety more seriously than yours. In conclusion, "photographs, phone numbers and work addresses for the judges," are by law, a matter of public record. Simply placing the judge's address on the internet is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. When you hold public office, particularly the office of a judge (judiciary) you forfeit your right to privacy (with respect to where you live). After all, as a judge, one sits in judgment of others. As a result, the public has the right to know where you sit.
-- Harry J.Williby, Editor-in-Chief
Oakland in Texas
August 17, 2010
Edcouch, Texas - Officials arrested La Villa Mayor Hector Elizondo (pictured left) on Monday morning as part of an ongoing investigation. Elizondo was arraigned on two counts of official oppression and two counts of prostitution by Judge Placido Rodriguez. Though the charging documents allege Elizondo solicited a prostitute, the official charge is prostitution. In a criminal complaint, a woman said Elizondo had supplied her with $10 worth of crack cocaine in exchange for sexual favors. Another said he paid her $30 dollars for oral sex several times over the past year, according to the complaint. The woman also said Elizondo would threaten to have her arrested if she didn't do what he asked of her.
Eloy Cardenas, police chief in both La Villa and Edcouch, said Elizondo's arrest was connected to a separate arrest made Monday morning. The other person’s arrest stems from a case involving narcotics and stolen property, Cardenas said.
More charges could be brought against Elizondo as the investigation continues, Cardenas said. "As chief of police, this is hard," Cardenas said of arresting a city official. "But it was the victims who came to our department, our office to ask for help." In the Elizondo case, one of the women who filed the criminal complaint said she had tried filing police reports in La Villa before, but nothing was done.
“This entire situation all started before I was chief in La Villa,” Cardenas said. “I've been working with my staff to investigate this matter since I started in La Villa eight months ago.” The mayor’s arrest Monday came the same day that Cardenas was due in court for jury selection in his own trial on evidence tampering charges. Hidalgo County sheriff’s deputies arrested the police chief in 2008, alleging he shot at his wife’s ex-husband as the man drove past his house and then buried casings from the incident in his yard. His trial is set to begin this afternoon. Even though he remains under indictment for a felony crime city leaders in Edcouch have allowed him to continue in his post. Those in La Villa contracted with him to take over the department.
La Villa residents re-elected Elizondo to a second term in May. Many were upset at the allegations being made against the city leader.
Gloria Marmolejo said she was shocked when she heard that the mayor had been arrested. Marmolejo, 41, of Edcouch, had Elizondo as a teacher when she was in elementary school. She said he was her favorite teacher and she cannot believe the allegations that have been brought against him. “He is a good person,” Marmolejo said. “I never would [n]ever believe that he would be involved in something with prostitution.”
Elizondo’s attorney, Robert J. Salinas, was also shocked Monday. Salinas serves as the La Villa city attorney, but was clear to say he was not representing Elizondo as a city official. “I’m doing this as his personal attorney,” he said.
During the arraignment Monday, Rodriguez allowed a personal recognizance bond for Elizondo. Rodriguez said he trusts that the mayor will not skip any court proceedings. “I know him very well,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t like what he did, but I know he won’t try to leave the city.”
Spies who phoned Us!
July 16, 2010
"I was actually thinking it would be fun to get back into it."
-- Walter Kendall Myers to undercover FBI agent posing as Cuban Spy Handler.
WASHINGTON – A federal judge on Friday sentenced a former State Department worker who is the great grandson of Alexander Graham Bell to life in prison without possibility of parole for spying for Cuba and sentenced the man's wife to more than 5 years behind bars for helping her husband steal U.S. secrets. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said Kendall and Gwendolyn Myers betrayed the United States for three decades and should receive heavy punishment for having done so. In a 10-minute explanation to the judge of his conduct, Kendall Myers said he stole secrets with no intent to harm the United States and that his goal was to pass along information about U.S. policies toward Cuba, a nation that he said feared the United States because of its opposition to the Cuban government. The judge said he was "perplexed" at how Myers, 73, could believe that he was not hurting the U.S., given the level of antagonism between the two countries. "The Cuban people feel threatened" and "they have good reason to feel threatened" because the U.S. has pursued a policy of regime change in Cuba, Myers replied. "Part of our motivation," Myers said of himself and his wife, was to report as accurately as possible about what he thought U.S. policy was toward Cuba, to warn Cuba and to try to assess the nature of the threat.
"At the expense of the United States," Walton interjected.
Justice Department prosecutor Michael Harvey said that Myers and his wife were given medals by Cuban intelligence officials and that in 1995, the two were flown to Cuba where they had a private audience with Fidel Castro. Kendall Myers had daily access to classified information and he pursued his colleagues in government for more, said Harvey. When the FBI launched a sting operation that brought the couple down, Kendall Myers was videotaped telling an undercover agent that he wanted to resume his work for Cuba. "I was actually thinking it would be fun to get back into it," Kendall Myers said on the videotape, according to the prosecutor. In June 2009, right after the arrests, Castro questioned their timing — just 24 hours after the Organization of American States voted to lift a decades-old suspension of Cuba's membership in that group.
"Doesn't the story of Cuban spying seem really ridiculous to everyone?" Castro asked, without commenting on its validity. There was no immediate reaction from Havana on Friday to news of the sentences. Prosecutors said Myers, a descendant of Bell, the inventor of the first practical telephone, was a child of wealth and privilege and could have been anything he wanted to be, but instead chose to spy for Cuba for 30 years from inside the State Department. Myers's wife, Gwendolyn, 72, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, with time off for the 14 months she has already served. That works out to a sentence of just over 5 and 1/2 years for her. Their Defense attorney said that the Myerses had undergone hundreds of hours of debriefings by interrogators from multiple federal agencies. The FBI concluded that Kendall Myers had withheld some information. This same defense disputed that, saying Myers had worked diligently to recall all of the information that was relevant to the criminal case. He pleaded for a shorter sentence for Gwendolyn Myers than the 90 months she could have gotten, saying that she has suffered a heart attack and a couple of minor strokes. "Ninety months could be a life sentence," Green told the judge.
The judge agreed to recommend to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that the couple be imprisoned near each other.
The judge cautioned, however, that prisons are places where inmates can readily be radicalized and that he has concerns Myers would impart his political views on them. While behind bars, Kendall Myers has been teaching English to non-English-speaking inmates and has been teaching illiterate prisoners to read.
Top News Stories, Cont.! ex-C.I.A. Boss Pleads Guilty!
June 7, 2010
WASHINGTON (WCJB) – A former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official in Algeria pleaded guilty Monday to charges of abusive sexual contact and unlawful use of cocaine while possessing a firearm, prosecutors said. Andrew Warren, 42, (pictured left) made the plea before US District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle in Washington, said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Criminal Division, US Attorney Ronald Machen for the District of Columbia and Ambassador Eric Boswell, Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security. Warren confessed that on February 17, 2008, he committed abusive sexual contact while on US embassy property in Algiers, "by engaging in sexual contact with a female victim after he rendered her unconscious," a statement from prosecutors said. "Additionally, Warren admitted that on April 26, 2010, he unlawfully used cocaine while possessing a Glock Model 19, 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistol in Norfolk, Virginia," they added.
Warren faces a maximum of 10 years in prison, a 250,000-dollar fine and a lifetime of supervised release. He also must register as a sex offender for a period of at least 25 years. Sentencing has been set for September 9.
In January 2009, ABC television reported that Warren the CIA station chief, described as a convert to Islam who was in his post since September 2007, was ordered home the preceding October after two women came forward with separate allegations they were raped in the official's residence in Algiers. There have been fears that the case could potentially deal a major blow to the US image abroad at a time when President Barack Obama has called for "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect" with the Muslim world. Algeria in particular is seen as a hotspot because of the presence of Al-Qaeda's North African branch there. The case "will be seen as the typical ugly American," former CIA officer Bob Baer told ABC News last year. "My question is how the CIA would not have picked up on this in their own regular reviews of CIA officers overseas."
According to an affidavit filed in federal court by the State Department's Diplomatic Security Service, a copy of which was posted on the Web last year, the first alleged victim said she was raped by the officer in September 2007 after being invited to a party with US embassy employees at his residence. She said that while there, she was served mixed drinks of cola and whiskey that were prepared out of her sight. Later in the evening, after the final drink served by the officer, she suddenly felt ill and vomited, and woke up in the officer's house the next morning nude after being apparently raped, according to the affidavit. She said she had no recollection of having sexual intercourse.
The second alleged victim described a similar incident that occurred in February 2008, according to the affidavit. When interviewed by diplomatic security investigators, the officer claimed he had "engaged in consensual sexual intercourse," according to the affidavit posted by ABC last year. Monday's statement from prosecutors did not mention the second alleged victim that was addressed in the media reports last year. [Original Story]
Bush Attorney under Arrest!
June 8, 2010
A former White House attorney charged with trying to kill his wife at their Connecticut home has posted bail and is undergoing treatment at a mental hospital. Fifty-seven-year-old John Michael Farren (pictured left) who worked in both Bush administrations, posted $750,000 bail Monday and was sent to the Institute of Living in Hartford. After treatment, he will live at a relative's home in West Hartford under house arrest. Farren has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and other charges. Police say he beat Mary Farren in their New Canaan home in January after she filed for divorce. He was deputy White House counsel for President George W. Bush and undersecretary for international trade under President George H.W. Bush.
ex-G.O.P. Chiefs under Arrest!
June 7, 2010
A Republican leader accused of groping or trying to grope three women will get a jury trial on the three sex abuse charges against him. Three women have accused Ozwald Balfour, 54, (pictured left) of sexual abuse. The women said he grabbed their breasts, or tried to, during 2005 job interviews or class registration in his office, court documents state. He faces three second-degree felony charges of forcible sex abuse and one third-degree felony charge of attempted forcible sex abuse. Balfour, of South Jordan, is the founder of the Utah Republican Black Assembly. His trial will take place Sept. 28 and 29 in front of 3rd District Judge Ann Boyden.
The former chairman of the Florida GOP and a longtime ally of Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running for Senate, has been arrested on charges that he tried to cheat the party. Jim Greer (pictured left) who resigned his party post in February amid reports that he spent Republican Party money on fancy hotels, meals and private planes, was taken into custody Wednesday morning at his Orlando-area home, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced in a post on its website. Prosecutor Bill Shepherd said that Greer, 47, was indicted on one count of organized fraud, one count of money laundering and four counts of grand theft. Greer had been closely tied to Crist, the popular Republican governor who was forced to run for Senate as an independent after "tea party" activists denied him his party nomination. It was unclear what Greer’s arrest would mean for Crist’s Senate campaign, but Democrats lost no time reminding voters of their ties. In a prepared statement, Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman noted that Crist had picked Greer to head the GOP and called for an end to the culture of corruption in Florida.
“Now with disgraced Republican Speaker Ray Sansom under indictment, Former Republican Party Chair Jim Greer under arrest and most of the Republican leadership in Florida, including Crist and Speaker Marco Rubio, under criminal investigation, Floridians are forced to watch the car wreck that has become the Republican Party of Florida and wonder which GOP party boss or elected official will be taken off in handcuffs next,” she stated.
According to authorities, at the start of Greer’s second term as party chairman he appointed Delmar Johnson III as party executive director and fundraiser. Investigators say Greer told Johnson they would take 10% of funds coming into the party and the two of them would split 10% of all major donor fund-raising coming into the party. Johnson and Greer formed Victory Strategies in February 2009, a move investigators said was designed to hide the flow of money to Greer, who owned 60% of the firm but held no office. Victory became a fund-raising vendor for the state GOP. From February to October 2009, investigators said the party paid Victory Strategies $199,254. Of that, Greer was paid $125,161 for services never performed while he kept his ownership interest hidden, investigators allege.
June 7, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, ILL — A jury is expected to be ushered to the McLean County jail later today to view the area where former correctional officer Robert C. Hall allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct with two female inmates and intimidated a third by threatening her. Hall, 36, of Normal, is charged with custodial sexual misconduct during 2006 and 2007 with two women identified by initials in court records. He also is accused of threatening a third inmate, telling her he “would be waiting for her” when she was released from jail, according to charges. Jury selection in the case started this morning. A defense lawyer for Hall did not object to a request from Assistant State’s Attorney Bill Workman to allow jurors to make a trip to the jail adjacent to the Law and Justice Center to see where the alleged misconduct took place. The three alleged victims arrived in McLean County this morning from the Department of Corrections where they are serving terms on drug-related charges. Prosecutors previously dismissed three other counts of custodial sexual misconduct against Hall.
This story will be updated
KKK in Georgia Classroom!
May 25, 2010
(AP) A North Georgia teacher is on administrative leave and could lose her job after she allowed four students to don mock Ku Klux Klan outfits for a final project in a high school class Thursday, administrators said. The sight of people in Klan-like outfits upset some black students at the school and led at least one parent to complain. Catherine Ariemma, who teaches the advanced placement course combining U.S. history with film education, could face punishment ranging from suspension to termination, Lumpkin County School Superintendent Dewey Moye said Monday. Ariemma has spent nearly six years teaching in the rural county about 75 miles north of Atlanta. She told The Associated Press Monday that students were covering an important and sensitive topic - but one that she might handle differently in the future. "It was poor judgment on my part in allowing them to film at school," Ariemma said. "... That was a hard lesson learned." The incident happened at Lumpkin County High School. Ariemma said her students spend the year viewing films and later create their own films to watch in class. She said the students brainstorm and pick topics to cover. This particular class decided to trace the history of racism in America. She said the class has 15 students of multiple races, but no blacks.
County of L.A.!
County of L.A.!
Corruption in L.A. Courts!
June 9, 2010
The fix is in! It is extremely rare for pre-trial rulings to favor the defendant. The court is engaging in conduct designed to undermine the People's case!
-- Corrupt Justice™
The trial over a police shooting captured on video is set to begin here Thursday morning after a prosecutor revealed a final piece of evidence - a photograph he said the victim snapped of the officer who would shoot him just minutes later. The picture shows then-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, 28, pointing his Taser at 22-year-old Oscar Grant on the platform of Fruitvale Station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009, said Alameda County prosecutor David Stein. Grant - like many fellow BART riders that morning - had a cell-phone camera.
What happened next is the focus of the trial, which was moved to downtown Los Angeles to find a jury that had not been inundated by publicity about the case in the Bay Area. First up, in a trial expected to last two to four weeks, are opening statements.
Mehserle is the first Bay Area police officer and one of just a few nationwide to be charged with murder for killing an African-American male. Prosecutors say he acted with malice when he shot the unarmed Grant once in the back while arresting him. The ex-officer has yet to give an honest account of the shooting, prosecutors say. In a reference to the photo Grant took, Stein wrote in a legal motion, "Mr. Grant knew that the defendant possessed a Taser because minutes before he was shot, he was seated on the platform in front of defendant and defendant was pointing his Taser at him."
While the evidence in the case is unique, the verdict in the trial is seen by many people to carry broader implications because Grant was black and Mehserle is white. The killing sparked a riot in downtown Oakland, and police in the city are making plans to deal with more potential unrest if Mehserle is acquitted.
Dion Evans, an East Bay church leader and radio host, said many community activists believe Mehserle would not have been prosecuted had they not pressured authorities. "The people decided, we are not going to allow something like this to occur again," Evans said. "When we saw the videotape, we were told that what we saw was not what we thought we saw." Evans said many people want punishment not only for Mehserle, "but for all of the officers before him who got away with transgressions."
In his final pretrial rulings Wednesday, Judge Robert Perry said he would allow jurors to learn of a statement made by Anthony Pirone, a former BART officer who first detained Grant at Fruitvale Station and made the decision to arrest him for allegedly resisting. Just before Mehserle took Grant to the ground and shot him, video footage shows, Pirone shouted at Grant, "Bitch-ass nigger, right? Bitch-ass nigger, right?" Pirone was responding to being called the name by Grant, Rains said. The prosecution believes Mehserle overheard the exchange, and that it contributed to his actions.
The judge also allowed testimony by Grant's girlfriend Sophina Mesa, who says she spoke to Grant briefly on his cell phone before he was shot. Grant, she says, sounded scared and said he was being beaten for no reason. Finally, the judge said both parties could introduce their own "synchronizations" of video footage of the incident from multiple angles. The defense had argued that the prosecution botched its footage.
June 6, 2010
LOS ANGELES — To a lay person watching the daily proceedings of the murder case against former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, it might appear as if Mehserle's defense team is slowly gaining an advantage as it moves toward opening statements this week. A number of pretrial rulings by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry have been made in favor of the defense, angering the family of Oscar Grant III, of Hayward, who was shot and killed by Mehserle on the Fruitvale BART station platform early New Year's Day 2009.
Last month, Perry ruled that the jury could learn that Grant had a scuffle with the San Leandro Police Department during which he resisted arrest. The jury will also learn, Perry ruled, that Grant was a parolee at the time he was shot and killed by Mehserle. And just last week, Perry once again sided with the defense, allowing Mehserle's attorney, Michael Rains, to have a video expert testify during the trial about what he sees in the half-dozen videos of the shooting. That expert said he will testify that he saw both Grant and one of his friends try to swing a punch at two officers just before the shooting. Here's the Video in full. Where's the punch?
The rulings were criticized by Grant's family and, before he was covered by a gag order, the family's attorney John Burris. "Our view was that it was irrelevant," Burris said last month about the motion allowing Grant's scuffle with police to be entered as evidence in the trial. "We certainly would have preferred if the judge ruled differently."
Also, Stein objected to two motions made last week by Rains, who was seeking to prevent the jury from hearing that another officer used a racial slur just before the killing and to prevent Grant's girlfriend from testifying in the case.
On Monday, Cephus Johnson, Grant's uncle, also questioned many of Perry's rulings. "It appears that we have been getting a lot of disadvantages," Johnson said outside of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. (Cont., >>>)