Marlowe Treit was driving his dream car -- a virtually flawless 1985 Lamborghini Countach -- on a road through the Aurora Airport last spring when something went horribly wrong.
A Cessna airplane collided with Treit's black Lamborghini, slicing into the exotic car and badly mangling one side. A propeller churned up the driver's side of Treit's prized car -- the one he bought in 1998 as a 60th birthday present to himself after spending two years looking for the perfect model.
Treit walked away from the collision without any injuries, but his car hasn't been driven since. He estimates the crash did about $100,000 in damage. And now he's suing for damages.
And what about that Cessna? Turns out a trio of FBI agents were in the plane, which was under lease. Two agents, John Jeffries and Robert Brockmeyer, were co-piloting the plane that day in May 2006, according to federal court filings. The agents were on a "familiarization flight," according to the National Transportation Safety Board's report on the incident.
One of the agents wrote in a report filed with the transportation safety board that the plane was "moving down the taxiway about to enter our hangar area, moving at about a fast walk and crossing a narrow inner taxiway perpendicular to us when the aircraft crunched to a sudden stop.
"Out the left side window of the aircraft I saw a small black sports car dart from under the prop moving to my left, gushing fluid," the unidentified agent wrote.
Treit, a licensed pilot, says he had the right of way and that the pilot should have spotted him.
Treit, who lives in Aurora and owns a business at the small airport, this month filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, accusing the pilots of negligence. He is asking for $105,500 in damages.
A spokeswoman for the FBI's Portland field office declined to comment about the incident, citing the lawsuit.
BY JERRY CAPECI June 28, 2007 URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/57477
The Brooklyn district attorney's office has taken a bold step to beef up its sensational case that charges a retired FBI agent, R. Lindley DeVecchio, with aiding a Colombo capo, Gregory Scarpa, in committing four murders between 1984 and 1992, Gang Land has learned.
Sources say prosecutors plan to use a long-imprisoned mobster son of the late Scarpa, Gregory Scarpa Jr., to back up their key prosecution witness — Scarpa's longtime lover, Linda Schiro — regarding two mob rubouts the son was involved in before he was incarcerated in 1988.
After months of secret talks with the younger Scarpa, prosecutors have decided that his intimate knowledge of his father's dealings with Mr. DeVecchio far outweighs the heavy baggage that he will carry with him to the witness stand, sources have told Gang Land.
Scarpa Jr. is a multiple murderer with at least half a dozen killings on his extensive mob résumé. Worse, at least as far as being a credible witness goes, he has lied under oath at least twice, at his racketeering and murder trial in 1998, and in 2004 at a post-conviction hearing on behalf of a one-time acting Colombo boss, Victor "Little Vic" Orena.
But the story he has offered to tell is clearly tantalizing to prosecutors: Sources familiar with numerous debriefings say Scarpa Jr. has linked Mr. DeVecchio to the 1984 murder of a former girlfriend of a top Colombo mobster, Mary Bari, 31, and the 1987 gangland-style slaying of mobster Joseph "Joe Brewster" DeDomenico, 44. The younger Scarpa was the triggerman in the DeDomenico killing, and he held Bari down as his father shot her dead in a mob social club, according to court records.
Mr. DeVecchio, 66, is also charged with helping the elder Scarpa orchestrate the 1990 murder of Patrick Porco, 18, then a potential witness against Scarpa and Schiro's son, Joseph, and with the 1992 murder of a mob rival, Lorenzo Lampasi, during the height of the bloody Colombo war.
The 55-year-old turncoat has told prosecutors for District Attorney Charles Hynes that he helped kill both Bari and DeDomenico after Mr. DeVecchio gave the elder Scarpa negative information about them, sources said.
Bari, a former mistress of a then-fugitive underboss, Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico, was killed, Scarpa Jr. told authorities, after the elder Scarpa related that Mr. DeVecchio had reported that "she was about to flip," and Colombo family higher-ups sanctioned the hit. Scarpa Jr. said approval was obtained at several mob meetings, sources said, including one with the gangster for whom he would testify 20 years later, Little Vic Orena.
Scarpa Jr. has told Mr. Hynes's staffers that his father decided to whack Joe Brewster after Mr. DeVecchio warned him that DeDomenico had become a "born-again Christian and could become a major problem" for the elder Scarpa, sources said.
"He's risky. I'd keep my eye on him" is what Mr. DeVecchio reportedly told his father, Scarpa Jr. said, according to sources familiar with the turncoat's account.
In addition to fingering the exagent in the Bari and DeDomenico homicides, sources say Scarpa Jr. also corroborates Schiro's testimony to the grand jury that his father paid Mr. DeVecchio tens of thousands of dollars in bribes during their long relationship.
He never met Mr. DeVecchio — he was the elder Scarpa's control agent from 1980 to 1992 — but for several years the younger Scarpa kept a ledger detailing his father's monthly payments, as high as $2,500, under the heading "miscellaneous," sources said.
Scarpa Jr.'s current federal prison term for racketeering and murder conspiracy doesn't end until 2035. While he will receive immunity from prosecution for his testimony, he will not receive any reduction of his sentence for his cooperation with state prosecutors.
In fact, while technically his admissions to committing murders that were part of his federal case should not hinder a pending motion for a new trial, they certainly will not win him any sympathy from the federal judge assigned to his case.
Sources say Scarpa Jr. has admitted lying from the witness stand at his 1998 trial, primarily about his involvement in murders that he blamed on his father. He insists, however, that he testified truthfully when he linked Mr. DeVecchio to payoffs, supplying his father information about mob rivals and other criminal activity, and alerting the younger Scarpa of an impending federal drug arrest in 1987 several weeks after he killed Joe Brewster.
In 1997, when Mr. DeVecchio was granted immunity and forced to testify at a post-conviction hearing for a new trial by Orena, the retired agent angrily denied leaking any FBI secrets to Scarpa Sr. or taking part in any criminal activity with him.
"That's nonsense," he snapped. "I did not give him investigative information. I have never given him any investigative information."
In 1996, two years after three FBI agents reported their belief that Mr. DeVecchio, who was their supervisor, had engaged in numerous improprieties with his top-echelon informer, an internal FBI inquiry cleared him of any wrongdoing. He retired soon after.
In addition to Scarpa Jr. and Schiro, Brooklyn prosecutors plan to elicit trial testimony from the FBI agents who reported Mr. DeVecchio to their bosses, as well as several Colombo family defectors who told the feds after they cooperated that the elder Scarpa had a high-level law enforcement source.
A Brooklyn Supreme Court justice, Gustin Reichbach, has scheduled a trial for September 10.
A month earlier, however, prosecutors must establish at a pretrial hearing that they received no information, directly or indirectly, from Mr. DeVecchio's immunized testimony to obtain their indictment. The burden will be on the prosecution to show that the grand jury investigation was not tainted by members of Mr. Hynes's office, or by information that emanated from freelance forensic analysts and journalists whose work triggered the district attorney's probe in 2005.
Two weeks ago, the FBI general counsel, Valerie Caproni, was heard apologizing that the FBI had been too aggressive and had overstepped its power to collect telephone records, e-mails, financial data, and other information under the guise of justice.
Two decades ago, however, when Ms. Caproni was an assistant U.S. attorney in Brooklyn, the FBI was anything but aggressive in her view. She was so frustrated by the FBI's do-nothing approach in finding a murderous federal drug fugitive who'd been indicted in November 1987 that she decided to call in the U.S. Marshals Service to track him down.
And that was before Ms. Caproni began to suspect what she and most authorities now believe: Mr. DeVecchio tipped off the elder Scarpa about his son's imminent arrest and the dutiful son fled with his wife and 2-year-old son, according to FBI documents.
But a superior advised the young prosecutor to tread softly, noting that the FBI would not be happy if she usurped its jurisdiction in Scarpa Jr.'s case. So in April 1988, she called the FBI's fugitive squad leader and asked whether "there would be any problem" if she sought help from the U.S. Marshal's office in Brooklyn. When he told her to "do what you gotta do," she did just that, according to an internal FBI memo about the episode.
In August 1988, nine months after the Drug Enforcement Administration had officially asked the FBI for help it never received, deputy U.S. marshals located Scarpa Jr. at a Best Western Hotel 70 miles away in Lakewood, N.J., contacted the DEA, and arrested him.
The next day, when FBI officials read about the arrest by deputy U.S. marshals and DEA agents in the New York Daily News, they sent no congratulatory letters to either agency. Instead, they commissioned an inquiry to determine why the U.S. Marshal's office had not notified the FBI about the impending arrest, as it had done with the DEA.
In explaining the agency's angst to Ms. Caproni's supervisor, the FBI agent who conducted the inquiry into the matter stated: "The FBI considers its Fugitive Program to be a significant investigative program."
The site is the first opportunity for all of the nation's 2,000 coroners and medical examiners to share information on unsolved cases, said John Morgan, science director of Justice's research arm.
Coroners and medical examiners determine causes of deaths that are either suspicious or outside a physician's care.
More than 400 John Doe cases were uploaded to the site Monday, including an infant found in a duffel bag in Atlanta and a homeless man with "5231" marked on a denture who died under a bridge in Houston. Both bodies were discovered in March.
The announcement comes one week after the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that the nation's medical examiners and coroners held at least 14,000 sets of unidentified human remains in 2004 — more than twice the number recorded by the FBI.
The idea for the new site, called NamUs, comes from online directories of unidentified remains that some medical examiners and coroners have maintained for the past few years, Morgan said. The sites made relatively few matches, he said, because the lack of a universal website made it hard to share information.
The new system, Morgan said, can "break down walls that often separate the diverse individuals who resolve these difficult cases.
We're hoping to get some good early wins."
The new site uses search software to match descriptions of unidentified remains in the database with search terms entered by users at http://www.namus.gov. By late 2008, the site is scheduled to be able to match descriptions of the unidentified remains, including dental records, tattoos and other body features, with descriptions of missing persons posted by law enforcement or families.
In January, the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice estimated that there are as many as 100,000 active missing persons cases "on any given day."
Local officials will likely welcome the new site as a "step in the right direction," said Mike Norris, coroner in Cumberland County, Pa. Norris served on a 2005 Justice Department task force that recommended the federal government post John Doe information on the Web.
"This is a mobile society, and people die a long way from home," Norris said. "We need one-stop shopping if we really want to find them."
A legislative committee investigating the Bureau of Conveyances plans to review its use of a report by a separate investigator on the same matter, after claims of bias surfaced against the investigator.
"Given the concerns we have heard, the committee needs to take the time and make the effort necessary to ensure that we are proceeding in a fair manner," Sen. Jill Tokuda, co-chair of the committee, wrote in a posting this week on the Senate Majority Caucus blog.
The joint Senate-House committee looking into the bureau is scheduled to resume its work tomorrow, with members reviewing subpoenaed documents relating to the investigation.
Those documents were to include a report prepared by Hilton Lui, an independent investigator hired by the Ethics Commission to conduct its probe into the bureau. Lui, a former FBI agent, also was appointed by the legislative committee to serve as its lead investigator.
But Ethics Commission Executive Director Dan Mollway sent a letter to the committee last week saying he cannot turn over Lui's report and supporting documents because he considers the report "null and void because Mr. Lui was so biased with regard to the investigation."
Mollway said Lui openly displayed his opposition to the re-appointment of former state Department of Land and Natural Resources Director Peter Young and lobbied a senator to vote against him.
The Bureau of Conveyances is a division of DLNR.
Tokuda (D, Kaneohe-Kailua) said she spoke to her co-chairman, Rep. Joe Souki, "and we both want to make it clear that at this point, we are not rendering an opinion as to the quality of Hilton Lui's work for the Ethics Commission or the conclusions he reached in that investigation."
She said Lui is in Japan with his family and attempts to reach him have been unsuccessful. She added that she and Souki "will review these matters with him upon his return and make decisions at that time about the appropriate course of action to take."
Lui is expected to return Saturday.
Republican Rep. Cynthia Thielen, who serves on the committee, said she plans to introduce a motion seeking Lui's removal as investigator for the legislative committee.
Thielen (R, Kaneohe-Kailua) also has asked that subpoenas be issued for up to 29 people who had business dealings with the Bureau of Conveyances.
"Simply put, blame can be found everywhere, just point at someone or something at or associated with the Bureau of Conveyances," Thielen wrote in a letter to Tokuda and Souki.
The Ethics Commission and the state Attorney General's Office have conducted separate investigations into the Bureau of Conveyances. They have focused on security of documents recorded with the bureau, computer access and overall operations of the agency.
A probationary agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation may have lost his job as a result of the same 2003 Internet prostitution investigation that ended with disciplinary action against a Kalamazoo police sergeant.
One police investigator's report obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette had said the prostitution suspect's clients may have included police officers and attorneys.
Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officials passed the case to the FBI, said Bruce Johnson, supervisory special agent in the bureau's Grand Rapids office, in an interview last week.
Local investigators questioned the woman and an associate in the case, and the reports say the women were cooperative and that evidence and records were seized. Both women's names were withheld in records released by the city.
Neither the FBI nor the Department of Public Safety charged the primary suspect
or anyone else in the
Sources, who requested anonymity, said one of the suspected prostitute's clients was an FBI agent working in Kalamazoo.
One investigative report released by the city shows the suspected prostitute said that one client ``claimed to have inside information on what was going on in the criminal justice world.'' According to that report by a federal agent who aided in the investigation, the woman said on one occasion she observed ``a gun strapped to his (the client's) waist'' and she suspected the man ``was a police officer and/or a prosecuting attorney.''
She said he was a ``workout fanatic with a tan.''
The report also says that later, in what she alleged was a three-month liaison, she quit accepting money from the man because she hoped to establish a ``personal relationship'' with him.
Police reports, released by the city of Kalamazoo in response to a Gazette Freedom of Information Act request, do not reveal the man's name. The reports were heavily deleted or obscured. The Gazette has filed a formal appeal, asking the city to disclose more information.
In a Gazette report published on July 1, a Detroit FBI spokesman said he had no knowledge of the Kalamazoo case being referred to his agency.
But Johnson confirmed that it was and said an agent was allowed to resign from the FBI shortly after the Kalamazoo case unfolded. He had worked for the FBI less than two years, was assigned to Kalamazoo and was still on probation, Johnson said.
Johnson would not release the agent's name, citing federal privacy statutes.
An FBI agent who engages a prostitute would be guilty of a state misdemeanor, Johnson said. That would be grounds for dismissal, he said.
``He probably would be allowed to resign,'' Johnson said.
After receiving the case from Kalamazoo, Johnson said, the FBI did its own investigation and took its findings to a U.S. attorney. The federal prosecutor declined to charge the woman, Johnson said, because the evidence uncovered by the FBI ``didn't meet federal guidelines.''
``If we brought a local prostitution case to a federal judge, they'd laugh at us,'' Johnson said. ``Kalamazoo (Department of Public Safety) didn't want to bring charges and it didn't meet our guidelines.''
Johnson said the FBI rarely takes on local prostitution investigations unless there is evidence of interstate law-breaking or human trafficking that forces people into prostitution against their wills.
Johnson said he believes the FBI agreed to get involved when local police found the woman was using the Internet to arrange meetings. According to a recent Department of Public Safety memo to Mayor Hannah McKinney, Kalamazoo police asked the FBI to take over the case because it ``revealed conspiracy beyond the jurisdiction of the city/county of Kalamazoo.''
Kalamazoo Sgt. Stacey Geik's 2003 report on the investigation said the unidentified woman accepted money from him when he was working undercover posing as a customer. Geik's report indicates he met the woman twice at a local hotel.
Kalamazoo officers arrived and questioned her during that second meeting at a hotel and also searched her apartment. Other records show officers recovered computers, an address book, cash and paper records from her apartment.
Within weeks of the June 2003 search, supervisors transferred Geik out of the Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team, which conducted the prostitution investigation, assigning him to the KDPS Operations Division. He also was suspended for three working days.
Geik is now a department lieutenant, promoted in 2006.
Police reports released to the Gazette reveal few details about Geik's suspension. But his personnel records, obtained by the Gazette through a FOIA request, said Geik disclosed ``confidential information'' and engaged in ``prohibited activity while on duty,'' resulting in his suspension and transfer.
Records released by the city do not explain why KDPS never charged the woman.
And a public record that could provide additional details is not in Kalamazoo County District Court files, the Gazette found.
Judge Richard Santoni has asked Public Safety Chief Dan Weston to provide the affidavit officers presented Santoni when they asked the judge to authorize the 2003 search warrant for the woman's apartment.
A search-warrant affidavit generally names the person or location targeted, the probable cause for the search and the items being sought by police. The affidavit is returned to the court after the search, along with a listing of confiscated items, and generally becomes a public record after 56 days.
Weston told the Gazette the search warrant was never technically executed because, he said, the woman consented to the search.
Johnson said the FBI would consider that search warrant executed under its practices.
``If you have a search warrant, you use it even if consent is given because you never know if someone is going to decide later that consent was no good,'' Johnson said.
Several weeks after Kalamazoo officers searched the woman's apartment, records show, the city agreed to return half of more than $7,000 in cash that officers had seized from her, plus other personal property. That seized money included marked bills Geik had used to pay the woman during the sting operation, according to police reports.
Records indicate the settlement agreement may have resulted from the woman being ``very cooperative'' with investigators.
Mayor McKinney last week announced the city had hired Bloomfield Hills attorney Audrey Forbush to respond to the Gazette's appeal for more information from the prostitution investigation. Forbush also will examine the city's handling of requests for public records and the Department of Public Safety's in-car audio/video recording practices after a Gazette investigation raised questions about the availability and quality of police tapes sought by the public.
After weathering retaliatory reviews, an unwanted transfer, threats of being fired and a resignation under duress, former Minneapolis FBI agent and whistleblower Jane Turner was awarded more than $500,000 in compensation Monday for the agency's actions following her filing of a sexual discrimination claim.
A U.S. District Court jury in Minneapolis awarded Turner $565,000 — including $60,000 in lost wages and $505,000 for emotional distress and damage to her reputation.
"Today is a true vindication for whistleblowers in the FBI," Turner said after the verdict. Several jurors embraced her, in tears.
The 2001 case — dismissed in 2004 and then reinstated in 2005 by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — focuses on Turner's stint as an FBI agent in Minot, N.D., in 1998 and 1999.
A 20-year agency veteran at the time, Turner, 55, of St. Paul, noted in her lawsuit that she had always received performance ratings of at least "satisfactory" but usually "superior" or "exceptional."
But in 1998, she filed a discrimination claim with the FBI alleging that female agents were not being given equal credit for cases.
Turner said her immediate supervisor, Craig Welken, then began to retaliate: not assigning Turner to a high-profile child pornography case involving a North Dakota man named Larry Froistad, who stood accused of distributing child pornography and murdering his 5-year-old daughter.
The then-U.S. attorney for North Dakota, John Schneider, intervened, demanding Turner be placed on the case because of her expertise in investigating crimes against children.
"She had already established herself as a leading national expert in profiling and obtaining confessions in child sex crime cases," said Stephen Kohn, a Washington attorney who served as Turner's lead counsel.
"She was able to get confessions on these really horrendous child crime cases that nobody else had ever done — that's why these prosecutors (who worked for the Department of Justice) were willing to come in and testify," Kohn added, referring to two North Dakota assistant district attorneys who spoke on Turner's behalf during the trial.
Government attorneys representing the FBI could not be reached for comment on the verdict.
Welken agreed to Schneider's request, and Turner obtained a confession from Froistad, who was sentenced to life in prison. Schneider later credited Turner for the conviction in a private e-mail to her.
But Turner said Welken criticized her handling of the case, accusing her of "poaching" it from a male agent and "sandbagging" him with Schneider.
Turner complained to Welken's superior, James Burrus, who then forwarded the complaint back down to Welken.
Days later, in an unscheduled interim performance review, Welken gave Turner her first negative marks in 21 years, rating her "minimally acceptable/unacceptable." Two more negative reviews followed that year, and despite her protests, FBI managers transferred Turner to a Minneapolis desk job, which she began in May 2000.
Things did not go well in Minneapolis: By May 2003, the bureau said they intended to fire Turner because her performance did "not meet expectations." She said she received few job assignments in her area of expertise, and the year before, she accused agents in Minneapolis of stealing a Tiffany crystal globe from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. She reported the theft to other federal authorities, and the Department of Justice's inspector general later confirmed the allegation.
Still, Turner resigned in October 2003, before the firing process could be completed.
The jury Monday found that Welken's negative performance reviews were retaliatory — but the involuntary transfer was not.
And a separate case remains before the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General, pertaining to the FBI's push to fire her after her report about the Tiffany globe. That case was on hold, pending the outcome of Monday's verdict — which, like Turner, Kohn called "a complete vindication" with national implications.
"The culture of the FBI has been one to punish employees that have attempted to come forward," he said. "They knew that documentation was wrong, and they refused to chase it. One can only hope the FBI will reform its ways."
By Joline Gutierrez Krueger (Contact)Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Far less infamous flotsam than I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby have been snared by the federal obstruction of justice trap, and in New Mexico a woman in love stands out among the rest.
She was Lynn Wingate, an FBI special agent based in Albuquerque whose judgment was shaken by the pitter-patter of her heart - and, federal prosecutors initially argued, the cha-ching of profit.
Unlike Libby, she did not have friends in high places, at least none who could commute her sentence or pardon her outright.
Then again, she was not sentenced to prison as Libby had been, likely because she chose to plead guilty in June 2006 to the obstruction of justice charge rather than force a ridiculously long and expensive federal trial.
"This is not a case where she was, in my view, attempting to hide anything or attempting to evade responsibility for anything she'd done," her attorney, Michael Schneider, said at her sentencing in New York, where the case was prosecuted.
Wingate had been a 34-year-old FBI agent with a squeaky clean life when she became romantically involved with fellow FBI agent Jeffrey Royer, court documents say.
Royer, prosecutors say, had a little side job, a lucrative insider-trading venture with Wall Street short seller Amr Elgindy.
Royer's role in the scheme, according to court records, was to access the FBI's confidential law enforcement computer systems to search for information that Elgindy could use to determine which stocks to sell profitably short.
That little side job earned them millions.
All corruption comes to an end - unless it derives from the White House, apparently - and when Royer sensed his FBI buddies might be on to him, he enlisted the aid of girlfriend Wingate to keep tabs on the confidential databases lest his name or Elgindy's crop up as being targets of investigation.
When she spotted their names, she made the call to Royer that would cost her everything.
"She made that call because of that personal relationship," Schneider told the court. "Her intent was a hope Mr. Royer would realize that he was in a bad situation and come to his senses, stop chasing the almighty dollar, whatever he was doing."
It was too late, of course.
In January 2005, both men were convicted of racketeering, securities fraud and other charges connected to the scheme and shipped off to federal prison.
Wingate was sentenced to three years of probation, a $2,500 fine and 550 hours of community service. U.S. District Judge Raymond Dearie could have sentenced her to 10 years in prison but elected not to, saying Wingate's aberrant action was based on misguided love that had plunged her into "extraordinary tragedy."
"The collateral consequences for her are enormous," Dearie said. "She suffered. I look at her and she continues to suffer. Based on what I know about her and what I've read about it, she will continue to suffer in an odd sort of way parallel to the other victims in the case who lost a lot of money."
Royer and Elgindy will serve their sentences and go on to "do whatever," he continued. "But the victims, the financial victims, will continue to suffer, and I have a feeling so will you."
And she did. She was fired from her $60,000 a year FBI career, lost her home, her self-respect, any chance of getting a date, at least for a while, after love and legal acumen went horribly astray.
"It is not an overstatement to say her arrest or prosecution or conviction in this case has had dire financial consequences for her," Schneider said. "I mean, this is a woman 38 years old living with her parents working hourly jobs."
Today, her home on Tompiro Drive Northwest belongs to someone else. She has begun her second year of probation. She is 39.
A call to her mother, Elaine Wingate, in Oklawaha, Fla., provided little else.
"She is living out of state," she said. "She is fine."
Alas, Libby is, too.
by Bill McAllisterWednesday, July 11, 2007
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- When former legislator Tom Anderson was found guilty of public corruption charges Monday, the news was that the FBI had got their man.
But now it's coming to light that other people feel they were put on the spot by the federal agency during and after Anderson's trial.
No one's saying any legal boundaries were crossed, but the witnesses have questions, and in some cases complaints, about the relentlessness of agents who reportedly would not take no for an answer.
Bernadette Bradley, owner of the Bradley House Restaurant and Bar in South Anchorage, testified Thursday morning for the defense in the Anderson trial.
As the president of the hospitality trade association known as Anchorage CHARR, Bradley said in 2005 then-state Rep. Anderson, despite having been paid consulting fees by the organization, nevertheless voted against CHARR's position on several major issues before the Legislature.
That testimony was intended to counter the charges that Anderson accepted bribes to take certain positions on corrections industry-related issues.
Within a couple of hours after her testimony, the FBI was desperate to find her. Bradley said she mistakenly left her cell phone at the U.S. district courthouse, and did not get four messages from the FBI until mid-afternoon.
Unbeknownst to her, in the meantime agents first called the Bradley House, talked to day manager Amy Dewitt and then showed up at the height of the lunch hour.
"Urgency. They wanted to speak to her immediately, and so I just did what I could to take care of that," Dewitt said. "They pulled me away from the customers during business hours and come to find out it wasn't even having anything to do with this business at all."
Dewitt said the agents flashed their badges in the restaurant, attracting the attention of all the customers.
Bradley said the disruption upset her.
"I guess what angered me is: I just testified as a witness, should have been done at that. With them coming in here to my place of business, flashing their badges, questioning my employees -- they have no idea what's going with me. It's tarnishing my reputation. I have to explain to everybody why they were here and I just thought it was wrong," Bradley said.
Rep. Bob Roses succeeded Anderson in the state House as the representative from Muldoon. He said he thought it was strange when an FBI agent called him in the late evening on July 4 to ask him how he planned to testify the following morning.
Federal agents called him down to FBI headquarters Monday, just a couple of hours after the verdict, to ask him follow-up questions about his testimony that many conflicts of interest exist in the Legislature.
Roses said he's not easily intimidated.
"I think any time you're asked to come to a building and you've got a couple of police officers or agents or whatever in the room ... presents some kind of intimidation to people," Roses said. "You don't know what they're going to talk about, or whether they're out on some fishing expedition for you or somebody else."
Roses said after he answered "yes" or "no" questions, they would be asked again.
Bradley said she doubts the FBI has any misgivings about the actions of its agents.
"I don't think they would feel that they need to apologize. They probably feel that's their job ... to get what they want," Bradley said.
The FBI got what it wanted in the Anderson case, but some witnesses got more than they bargained for.
No one from the FBI would comment on-camera for this story, and FBI Spokesperson Eric Gonzalez said there's really not much to respond to.
He said the FBI tried to serve a subpoena on Anchorage CHARR Thursday, but discovered the office was closed. They then tried to find board members, starting with Bradley, the president.
They were looking for documents concerning consulting fees paid to Anderson. As it turns out, the defense rested, making the issue moot.
Dewitt said every time she said anything, the agents rephrased it and asked her if that's what she said, which she says it never was.
Gonzalez said asking questions in different ways is a technique for spurring memories, one that he said reporters often use.
Contact Bill McAllister at bmcallister@k
Special Agent Bradley W. Orsini, 44, was described by former colleagues in the Newark, N.J., office as "abrasive and self-centered," with a former supervisor characterizing him as a "bully."
The Office of Professional Responsibility, the department which investigates allegations of wrongdoing by agents, initiated four investigations into Orsini's behavior between 1997 and 2000. Those investigations, which were consolidated into one case, found Orsini:
• Engaged in a prohibited sexual relationship with another agent for nearly two years, which came to light after Orsini presented his paramour at bureau Christmas parties in 1998 and 1999 with a pet collar inscribed with the note "If found, please return to Brad Orsini" and a toy wheel with a guide for assigning the best cases, which always landed on her picture when spun
• Damaged government property by punching holes in office walls with his fists and breaking chairs
• Made unprofessional and insensitive "homophobic remarks" while joking around with other agents in the office.
For those transgressions, Orsini was demoted from a supervisor's role within the Newark public corruption squad to a street agent working narcotics investigations in an outlying field office. He also was suspended without pay for 30 days, placed on probation for one year and forced to undergo sensitivity training.
That investigation also found Orsini violated bureau procedures by signing other agents' initials to interview reports in 1993 and 1994. Orsini told investigators he did not know how many times he had done so, but said he did it only because "it was a convenience and a shortcut," according to the reports.
In 1998, Orsini was suspended for five days without pay for falsifying chain of custody forms and evidence labels by signing other agents' names to the documents. Investigators found that Orsini committed these infractions between May 1995 and January 1997.
Both times that he was reprimanded, Orsini was warned that future infractions could result in his dismissal.
Orsini transferred to the Pittburgh FBI office in 2005.
The disciplinary reports were unsealed today by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab. The judge originally ordered that the documents should be made public in June 2006 after the Tribune-Review and other media outlets sued. The government appealed Schwab's decision to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia, which sided with Schwab.
Wecht's lawyers have said they plan to use the documents to raise questions about Orsini's truthfulness and character during trial. Prosecutors have vowed not to place Orsini on the stand.
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan and local FBI officials were not immediately available for comment.
Buchanan previously said that releasing the records "would constitute an invasion of Agent Orsini's personal privacy."
She also called Orsini "an extremely experienced investigative agent who has contributed significantly to public corruption cases in New Jersey and the Western District of Pennsylvania."
In court documents, Wecht's lawyers have referred to Orisini as an "agent with a known bad reputation within the FBI, including having urged witnesses to perjure themselves in a case involving his own misconduct." Wecht's lawyers say they have a witness who would testify to this.
In January 2006, Wecht was charged with 82 counts of fraud and theft in which prosecutors say he billed private clients for travel expenses paid for by Allegheny County taxpayers, received private lab space by allowing the use of unclaimed bodies for an autopsy program at a local university and used county employees to do work for his private pathology business while on county time.
Schwab today also said he would allow Wecht's lawyers another chance to have certain evidence in the case tossed out. He also said he no longer plans to hold a contempt hearing against Wecht's lawyers for not following his pretrial schedule.
The case against Wecht has been virtually on hold since September 2006, when the 3rd Circuit issued a stay of his trial while several appeals were considered.
CIA, FBI Computers Used for Wikipedia Edits
NewsMax.com WiresFriday, Aug. 17, 2007
People using CIA and FBI computers have edited entries in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia on topics including the Iraq war and the Guantanamo prison, according to a new tracing program.
The changes may violate Wikipedia's conflict-of-interest guidelines, a spokeswoman for the site said on Thursday.
The program, WikiScanner, was developed by Virgil Griffith of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico and posted this month on a Web site that was quickly overwhelmed with searches.
The program allows users to track the source of computers used to make changes to the popular Internet encyclopedia where anyone can submit and edit entries.
WikiScanner revealed that CIA computers were used to edit an entry on the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. A graphic on casualties was edited to add that many figures were estimated and were not broken down by class.
Another entry on former CIA chief William Colby was edited by CIA computers to expand his career history and discuss the merits of a Vietnam War rural pacification program that he headed.
Aerial and satellite images of the U.S. prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were removed using a computer traced to the FBI, WikiScanner showed.
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CIA spokesman George Little said he could not confirm whether CIA computers were used in the changes, adding that "the agency always expects its computer systems to be used responsibly."
The FBI did not have an immediate response.
Computers at numerous other organizations and companies were found to have been involved in editing articles related to them.
Griffith said he developed WikiScanner "to create minor public relations disasters for companies and organizations I dislike (and) to see what 'interesting organizations' (which I am neutral towards) are up to."
It was not known whether changes were made by an official representative of an agency or company, Griffith said, but it was certain the change was made by someone with access to the organization's network.
9/11/2007 Woman held at gunpoint by FBI agent An Arlington man received felony charges Friday after holding a woman against her will in their apartment, Arlington Police Detective Steve Gomez said. The woman wanted to leave the apartment on the 300 block of S. 23rd Street on Thursday night. The FBI agent, who had a gun, wouldn’t let her go for several hours. When he left, she called police, Gomez said. Carl Lee Spicocchi, 54, former head of the Toledo Ohio FBI office and now working at FBI headquarters in DC , was charged with abduction, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, and assault and battery. – Maria Hegstad
Yesterday was the third day of Eric's trial. Below is a very long, detailed report about what happened...
By Charles Sweeney Brooklyn Daily Eagle JAY STREET — In an unexpected move on the eve of a blockbuster trial in which a retired FBI agent stands accused of leaking information that led to four homicides, law enforcement sources have quietly confirmed a major shakeup in the prosecution’s trial team.
In a move meant to preserve the integrity of their case against alleged corrupt FBI agent R. Lindley DeVecchio, who faces four counts of second-degree murder, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has replaced two prosecutors on the case — Monique Ferrell, head of the office’s Appeals Bureau, and Kevin Richardson, of the Rackets Bureau.
“To avoid any concerns that so-called protected information was used in the prosecution of former FBI agent DeVecchio, we’ve decided to assign ADAs Jacqueline Linares and Laura Neubauer to work with chief of the Rackets Division Michael Vecchione and Joe Alexis on the case,” said Brooklyn DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer.
In their place will be Assistant District Attorneys Neubauer, of the Appeals Bureau, and Linares, of the Rackets Bureau. The replacement of Ferrell and Richardson came on the heels of accusations by defense attorneys that the two had exposed themselves to so-called “immunized” material, testimony and statements their client gave while under a grant of immunity.
After a series of hearings looking into the issue, known as a “Kastigar” issue, state Supreme Court Justice Gustin Reichbach denied both defense requests to dismiss murder charges and to disqualify Ferrell and Richardson.
No Protected Info The prosecution’s case against DeVecchio is based on the allegation he leaked sensitive information to a mob-linked informant, who used that information to commit four homicides that bolstered his position within the Colombo organized crime family.
At a series of Kastigar hearings before Reichbach, who will be presiding at DeVecchio’s upcoming trial, the judge let the charges against the former G-man stand, despite the defense’s claim they were based on protected information.
DeVecchio’s defense attorneys, Douglas Grover and Mark Bederow, both spent several days questioning witnesses whom they claimed supplied prosecutors with testimony DeVecchio gave at a pre-trial hearing for a convicted mobster, which was given under a grant of immunity.
Grover and Bederow also alleged that prosecutors made use of a statement DeVecchio gave to investigators from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), who conducted an internal FBI investigation in the mid-1990s. That previous internal probe also looked into allegations DeVecchio leaked information to his top-echelon informant, Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa.
Though DeVecchio was eventually cleared of any wrongdoing as a result of the OPR probe, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Rackets Bureau opened up its own investigation in 2005, after learning about newly revealed witness accounts of the allegedly corrupt relationship between DeVecchio and Scarpa.
At a subsequent grand jury hearing, former Assistant District Attorney Noel Downey (now in private practice) questioned several witnesses with direct knowledge of DeVecchio’s relationship with Scarpa, resulting in an indictment charging the one-time organized crime special supervisory agent with four counts of second-degree murder.
The Replacements During the recent Kastigar hearings, Grover had also asked Justice Reichbach to exclude Ferrell and Richardson from participating in the trial, a request he denied — but not before admonishing the District Attorney’s Office for not foreseeing the potential problem. Reichbach wondered aloud why a separate set of attorneys wasn’t assigned to examine the issue of immunized material.
During the hearings, the court had ordered signed affidavits from the attorneys working the case stating they’d not been exposed to the so-called protected material. That plan was scrapped when the prosecutors decided to call Ferrell, Richardson and Alexis to the stand to testify that no protected material was used in making the murder case against DeVecchio.
Citing the law against making use of protected or immunized material, Ferrell testified that at no time did the prosecution ever use such material to bolster its case. Indeed, she said, the so-called immunized material provided no information on which to base a prosecution, Ferrell testified.
Grover wouldn’t comment on whether he thought the DA’s decision to replace Ferrell and Richardson — both of whom read the so-called immunized material — constituted a vindication of his pre-trial arguments.
The Eagle then asked Grover whether Ferrell and Richardson undermined their own position by reviewing the immunized material before the trial, knowing they would be among those attorneys who would later try the case.
“It’s not for me to judge if they put themselves in an untenable position or not,” Grover said, “But as far as I understand, they did change the team.”
An attorney with knowledge of the Kastigar issue, which usually occurs in federal proceedings, stated that the usual method to avoid compromising a prosecution is to create an “ethical screen,” whereby a separate set of attorneys review any immunized material, preserving the integrity of those trying the case.
The replacement of two prosecutors so close to the start of the trial has led the court to push back the start date until the first of October.
If convicted of the charges against him, DeVecchio could face up to 25 years to life for each count of second-degree murder.
FBI agent pays fine in shooting into hotel cooler Sito NegronLAS VEGAS SUN An FBI agent who fired two rounds into a walk-in cooler at a Strip hotel in May has paid the Barbary Coast $12,517 for the damage and paid a $105 fine after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, authorities said. John Hanson III still faces investigation by his agency, said Special Agent Todd Palmer, spokesman for the FBI Las Vegas office. Police reports indicate that Hanson, who was in Las Vegas to attend an accounting seminar, was caught on surveillance cameras firing his .45-caliber handgun into the walk-in cooler. No one was inside at the time, although there was a lobster. Hanson was charged only with a misdemeanor because of the late-night time of the incident, and the fact that the freezer was in a back area with no one inside, District Attorney David Roger said. "The only victim in that case was a lobster, and Nevada statutes don't provide for attempted murder of a lobster," Roger said. Roger said Hanson did not receive preferential treatment in court. "I can tell you anybody else with the same record and same circumstances would have received the same deal," Roger said. "He pleaded straight up to the charge, made restitution and paid the fine." After the shots, security officers at the hotel detained Hanson, recovered the shell casings and called police, who confiscated the gun. They then called supervisors to tell them an FBI agent was involved in the incident. The weapon and a copy of the tape were given to another agent, who was in town for the same seminar as Hanson, the police report indicates. According to the police report, Hanson said he did not remember firing his Glock handgun. Officers cited Hanson with a misdemeanor, discharging a firearm, and released him. Hanson pleaded guilty to that count June 26 and paid his fine. Hanson has been an instructor at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va., but Palmer said he could not say whether Hanson still was on duty. Disciplinary action against Hanson could range from leave without pay to firing. Apr. 14, 2006PRODUCT LIABILITY: Drunk driver sues truck maker FBI agent files lawsuit after pickup caught fire in January 2005 By BRIAN HAYNES REVIEW-JOURNAL An FBI agent who pleaded guilty to drunken driving has sued the maker of his pickup because it caught fire after he passed out behind the wheel.Robert Clymer, who was involved in a high-profile investigation of the Crazy Horse Too strip club, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.306 percent, nearly four times the current legal limit, and was unconscious when Las Vegas firefighters pulled him from his burning truck on Jan. 29, 2005.Advertisement
An FBI agent who fired two rounds into a walk-in cooler at a Strip hotel in May has paid the Barbary Coast $12,517 for the damage and paid a $105 fine after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, authorities said.
John Hanson III still faces investigation by his agency, said Special Agent Todd Palmer, spokesman for the FBI Las Vegas office.
Police reports indicate that Hanson, who was in Las Vegas to attend an accounting seminar, was caught on surveillance cameras firing his .45-caliber handgun into the walk-in cooler. No one was inside at the time, although there was a lobster.
Hanson was charged only with a misdemeanor because of the late-night time of the incident, and the fact that the freezer was in a back area with no one inside, District Attorney David Roger said.
"The only victim in that case was a lobster, and Nevada statutes don't provide for attempted murder of a lobster," Roger said.
Roger said Hanson did not receive preferential treatment in court.
"I can tell you anybody else with the same record and same circumstances would have received the same deal," Roger said. "He pleaded straight up to the charge, made restitution and paid the fine."
After the shots, security officers at the hotel detained Hanson, recovered the shell casings and called police, who confiscated the gun. They then called supervisors to tell them an FBI agent was involved in the incident.
The weapon and a copy of the tape were given to another agent, who was in town for the same seminar as Hanson, the police report indicates.
According to the police report, Hanson said he did not remember firing his Glock handgun. Officers cited Hanson with a misdemeanor, discharging a firearm, and released him.
Hanson pleaded guilty to that count June 26 and paid his fine.
Hanson has been an instructor at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va., but Palmer said he could not say whether Hanson still was on duty. Disciplinary action against Hanson could range from leave without pay to firing.
Apr. 14, 2006PRODUCT LIABILITY: Drunk driver sues truck maker FBI agent files lawsuit after pickup caught fire in January 2005 By BRIAN HAYNES REVIEW-JOURNAL
An FBI agent who pleaded guilty to drunken driving has sued the maker of his pickup because it caught fire after he passed out behind the wheel.
Robert Clymer, who was involved in a high-profile investigation of the Crazy Horse Too strip club, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.306 percent, nearly four times the current legal limit, and was unconscious when Las Vegas firefighters pulled him from his burning truck on Jan. 29, 2005.
The 2004 Chevrolet Silverado had jumped a curb outside a gated community in northwest Las Vegas and began to smoke and caught fire after the engine had been running for a long time, according to a Las Vegas police report.
Police found an empty 25-ounce bottle of Captain Morgan rum on the passenger seat and a SIG Sauer 9 mm pistol in the truck's cab.
Clymer, 41, was cited for misdemeanor drunken driving and sent to University Medical Center because of complications from smoke inhalation and intoxication, the report said.
He later pleaded guilty to the charge in Las Vegas Municipal Court and was given a suspended 30-day jail term and 48 hours of community service.
During sentencing in November, Clymer's lawyer said his client wanted to take responsibility for his actions.
"Public officials make mistakes," attorney Gary Booker said. "With public officials, we expect them to own up to their mistakes and correct them. That is exactly what happened in this case."
Two weeks later, Clymer filed a product liability lawsuit against General Motors and Bill Heard Chevrolet, who had sold him the truck. He was seeking more than $33,000 in medical bills and nearly $11,000 in lost wages.
The lawsuit says Clymer stopped on the side of the road to make a telephone call. He left the engine running and the car in park.
Clymer then "somehow lost consciousness" and the truck "somehow produced a heavy smoke that filled the passenger cab," the suit said.
Lawyers for Clymer, GM and Bill Heard Chevrolet did not return phone calls seeking comment. Clymer did not return a phone message left at his office.
The lawsuit was filed about six weeks after Clymer and his wife, FBI secretary Tracy Clymer, filed for bankruptcy. In their bankruptcy papers, the couple said they owed creditors more than $580,700, including nearly $122,000 in credit card debt.
Robert Clymer, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, makes about $102,000 a year. He moved out of the family home on Father's Day 2005, and his wife filed for divorce in January.
On the night of his drunken driving arrest, Robert Clymer was involved in an incident at the Suncoast, police said.
Security guards at the hotel called police about 3:20 a.m. to report a man in the parking lot with a gun.
The man left before officers arrived, but he left behind a 15-round magazine from his gun. Officers matched the magazine to Robert Clymer's gun.
A weapons charge was dismissed in a plea agreement on the drunken driving charge.
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