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Posts Tagged ‘DOJ’

TPM Muckraker
Ryan J. Reilly February  2, 2012,  5:24 PM

The Justice Department has written a very pointed letter to a lawyer for Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, telling him that they’ll sue Maricopa County Sheriffs Office very soon unless they go forward with negotiations to settle issues regarding the office’s alleged pattern of civil rights abuses.

DOJ and MCSO officials are supposed to meet on Feb. 6, but Deputy Assistant Attorney General Roy Austin wrote in a letter to Arpaio’s lawyer on Thursday that if the purpose of the meeting “is solely for you to tell us in person that you do not agree with our findings, there is no reason for us to meet.”

An extensive investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division found that Arpaio had “promoted a culture of bias” within MCSO. Arpaio’s team has been disputing their findings and Arpaio has said the probe is all just part of the Obama administration’s re-election bid even though the investigation began during the Bush administration.

DOJ’s letter said they were not willing to debate their findings with Apraio’s office.

“Your letter suggests an unwillingness to resolve this matter though a negotiated settlement — a position which makes litigation inevitable in the very near term,” Austin wrote. DOJ’s letter was in response to a letter Arpaio’s lawyer sent Wednesday which again disputed the conclusions of DOJ’s investigation.

SOURCE

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Collins, Lieberman Want Answers From DHS Over Anti-Muslim Counterterror Training

TPM MUCKRAKER

Ryan J. Reilly | April 4, 2011, 10:50AM

Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) are requesting information on the federal funding of counterterrorism training programs following a report on trainers who espouse anti-Muslim views during training sessions for local cops.

Collins and Lieberman wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano that they “are concerned with recent reports that state and local law enforcement agencies are being trained by individuals who not only do not understand the ideology of violent Islamist extremism but also cast aspersions on a wide swath of ordinary Americans merely because of their religious affiliation.”

“Media reports cite some of these self-appointed counterterrorism training experts as engaging in vitriolic diatribes and making assertions such as ‘Islam is a highly violent radical religion’ and that if someone has ‘different spellings of a name… That’s probable cause to take them in,'” Collins and Lieberman wrote, citing the story in the Washington Monthly. “These comments, of course, are neither factually accurate nor consistent with our nation’s fundamental values and are not made by adequately trained personnel. It appears, however, that some of these so-called experts have neither the academic nor operational background in the material about which they train.”

(more…)

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Brady Campaign: DOJ Meeting Shows Obama Is ‘Serious’ About Combatting Gun Violence

TPMMuckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | March 16, 2011, 3:20PM

A coalition of pro gun-control groups met with Obama administration officials at the Justice Department Tuesday to discuss ways to prevent gun violence.

The meeting at DOJ headquarters, the first in a series of meetings the administration is trying to schedule to address the issue, was led by Christopher H. Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy. Representatives of the White House, the Vice President’s office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also in attendance.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign on Gun Violence, told TPM that the government representatives didn’t tip their cap for what direction they planned on taking to combat gun violence.

“We asked a lot of questions, and they indicated they don’t have any particular policies that they’re pushing or any particular legislation that they’re pushing, right now they’re basically out gathering pieces of information,” Helmke said.

The White House had invited the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the meeting, but NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told the New York Times that he didn’t see a reason to “go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, LaPierre and NRA Executive Director Chris Cox wrote that for Obama “to focus a national dialogue on guns – and not criminals or mental health issues – misses the point entirely”. The said gun laws aren’t the problem.

MORE HERE

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Crooks & Liars- By Heather Wednesday Jul 14, 2010 9:00am

Rachel Maddow reviews the case against six New Orleans police officers who are now finally facing federal charges for shooting unarmed citizens on the Danziger Brige in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It’s really sad that it has taken this long for the Justice Department to finally be doing something with this case. It’s long overdue. TPM has more.

DOJ Charges Six NOPD Officers Involved In Danziger Bridge Shooting:

The Justice Department has charged four New Orleans police officers with opening fire on unarmed civilians in the days after Hurricane Katrina, killing two and wounding four. The DOJ has also charged them, and two other officers, with conspiracy relating to the resulting cover-up.

U.S. Attorney Jim Letten and Attorney General Eric Holder announced the charges in an afternoon press conference today, five years after the shootings on the Danziger Bridge in New Orleans.

Four police officers — Kenneth Bowen, Robert Gisevius, Robert Faulcon and Anthony Villavaso — are being charged with civil rights violations in connection with the shootings. If convicted, they could face life imprisonment or the death penalty.

The two others, Archie Kaufman and Gerard Dugue, are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice. Kaufman and Dugue were the investigators in the original case, and are accused of falsifying reports and false prosecution.

Five other police officers and one civilian have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the cover-up. The four accused of the shooting had been charged with murder in connection with the incident, but the case was thrown out in 2008.

On Sept. 4, 2005, seven NOPD officers, including the four charged today in the shootings, rode to the Danziger Bridge after getting reports of officers under fire. There, they encountered a family on their way to the supermarket for supplies. For unknown reasons, the officers allegedly opened fire, killing 17-year-old James Brissette and wounding others.

The officers then allegedly drove to the other side of the bridge, where they found another group of people and again opened fire. Ronald Madison, 40, who was mentally disabled, was shot in the back and killed.

Faulcon is the one who allegedly shot Madison, according to the indictment. Bowen is accused of kicking Madison as he lay on the ground dying.

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DOJ, Arizona officials meet over immigration law

Huff Post- PAUL DAVENPORT and PETE YOST | May 29, 2010 02:08 AM EST | AP

PHOENIX — Justice Department officials told Arizona’s attorney general and aides to the governor Friday that the federal government has serious reservations about the state’s new immigration law. They responded that a lawsuit against the state isn’t the answer.

“I told them we need solutions from Washington, not more lawsuits,” said Attorney General Terry Goddard, a Democrat.

The Justice Department initiated separate meetings by phone and face-to-face in Phoenix with Goddard and aides to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer to reach out to Arizona’s leaders and elicit information from state officials regarding the Obama administration’s concerns about the new law.

The strong message that the Justice Department representatives delivered at the private meetings – first with Goddard, then with Brewer’s staff – left little doubt that the Obama administration is prepared to go to court if necessary in a bid to block the new law, which takes effect July 29.

Goddard said he noted that five privately filed lawsuits already are pending in federal court to challenge the law.

“Every possible argument is being briefed,” said Goddard, who is running unopposed for his party’s nomination for the governor’s race.

Brewer, who is seeking re-election, later said in a statement that her legal team told the Justice Department officials that the law would be “vigorously defended all the way to the United States Supreme Court if necessary.”

MORE HERE

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Obama’s Immunity For CIA Agents Still Leaves Prosecutions Of Senior Bushies On The Table

Think Progress- By Ali Frick at 1:42 pm

Yesterday, as he released four Bush-era legal memos authorizing the torture of terrorist suspects, President Obama made it clear he would not support any prosecutions of low-level interrogators who actually carried out Bush’s policies. “[I]t is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.”

Obama also added, “This is a time for reflection, not retribution,” and said “nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.” Some progressive commentators were outraged; Keith Olbermann pleaded, “Prosecute, Mr. President.” CBS’s Andrew Cohen interpreted this to mean Obama would not support any prosecutions for torture:

One by one, the hammer blows fell upon civil libertarians and millions of other Americans who believe that the people who legally sanctioned and then implemented torturous “enhanced interrogation tactics” should have had to defend their conduct in our courts of law. One by one, those enthusiastic supporters of the Obama administration’s legal values and policies realized that they had just lost a battle (been wiped out, in fact) that they had every reason to believe they would win. There will be no torture trials. Period.

However, Obama’s statement was carefully worded to include only “those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice” — not the Bush officials who actually gave out that advice. ACLU lead counsel Jameel Jaffer told Glenn Greenwald that Obama did not shut the door to all prosecutions:

I think it’s a mistake to read the grant of immunity too broadly. I don’t think that President Obama’s statement should be taken as a sign that there’s no chance that the architects of torture program will be prosecuted. And even with respect to the interrogators, it’s only the interrogators who relied “in good faith” on legal advice who are protected.

MORE HERE

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Rove agrees to be deposed under oath after three subpoenas

Raw Story- John Byrne
Published: Wednesday March 4, 2009

The House Judiciary Committee announced late Wednesday afternoon that they had secured the agreement of former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to testify in transcribed depositions under threat of perjury.

The Committee did not immediately announce what terms, if any, had been reached with Rove, but said the agreement had been made with representatives of the former Bush Administration.

They did say that they would get access to Administration documents, and that Rove and Miers had agreed to testify publicly if called. But the announcement left open the possibility that Rove and Miers could testify in private.

“The Committee has also reserved the right to have public testimony from Rove and Miers,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) said in a statement.

MORE HERE

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Justice probe may pose ‘enormous consequences’ for Bush officials

Raw Story- David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Tuesday February 17, 2009

A Department of Justice report has called into question the entire legal basis of the Bush administration’s repeated justifications of abusing prisoners captured in the former president’s terror war. According to Monday night’s guest on MSNBC’s The Rachael Maddow Show, the “consequences” of some of the report’s findings could be “enormous” for members of the Bush administration.

A draft of the report from the Office of Professional Responsibility, the department’s watchdog unit, was submitted during the waning days of the Bush administration, but former Attorney General Michael Mukasey objected to it, according to a Monday report by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff.

“The [Justice Department] report is expected to focus on three former officials of the Office of Legal Counsel, the Justice Department office that advises the executive branch on the interpretation of the law,” reports the International Herald Tribune. “They are John Yoo, a Berkeley law professor, now a visiting professor at Chapman University, who was the primary author of opinions on torture while at the counsel’s office in 2002; Jay Bybee, now a judge on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, who as head of the office signed the 2002 opinions, which were later withdrawn; and Steven Bradbury, who wrote three more still-secret opinions on interrogation in 2005, when he was the top lawyer in the counsel’s office.”

Mukasey and his deputy wanted the report to contain responses from Bybee and Yoo, along with Steven Bradbury, chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), at the time the report was submitted.

The OPR is now working to include the ex-officials’ responses before presenting a final version to Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. If Holder accepts the report’s findings, it could be forwarded to state bar associations which may choose to disbar the attorneys.

On Monday night’s The Rachael Maddow Show, Isikoff took time to shed additional light on the subject, offering several stark possibilities.

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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DOJ blocking Obama transition team from reviewing documents on wiretapping and torture.

Think Progress- By Amanda Terkel on Dec 12th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

According to the Blog of Legal Times, the Justice Department is blocking President-elect Obama’s agency review team’s request “to review classified legal opinions related to secret CIA and National Security Agency programs.” Included in these documents are the “legal rationale of the NSA’s warrantless spying program and the CIA’s detention and interrogation policies, among other intelligence initiatives.” According to a senior Justice Department official, they are “reluctant to provide the opinions to Obama’s team without permission from the two intelligence agencies whose activities they address.” (HT: Daily Kos and Talk Left)

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