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Crown requests jail time for 75-year-old fraudster
Court Feed News | 2007/02/21 14:31

A prosecutor wants federal prison time for a 75-year-old former lawyer who bilked his elderly clients of millions of dollars.

Gordon McGilton's spotless reputation as a volunteer, church member and veteran lawyer specializing in wills was exactly why people trusted him, Crown prosecutor Francois Drolet said yesterday. He said McGilton abused that trust by misappropriating $1.7 million of his elderly clients' money.

Defence lawyer Jeffrey Boro said his client has a heart condition and is legally blind, and asked that McGilton serve two years less a day under house arrest when he's sentenced on April 10. McGilton has had to sell his Westmount home and lives in a small apartment with his wife, Boro said.

McGilton transferred the stolen money to a company owned by his cousin who was investing in a bogus Nigerian oil investment.

Texas Man Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crimes
Court Feed News | 2007/02/20 17:22

Dennis Rodriguez of El Paso, Texas, pleaded guilty today to criminal environmental crimes related to the operation of his company, North American Waste Assistance, LLC (NAWA), also located in El Paso. Under the plea agreement, entered in federal district court for the Western District of Texas, Rodriguez admitted to making a material false statement or representations in a manifest used to transport hazardous waste and to two counts of transporting hazardous waste to a facility that did not have a permit issued pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Both Rodriguez and his company were indicted in November 2005 for violations related to the handling and transportation of hazardous waste. According to the indictment, Rodriguez and NAWA were hired to dispose of over of 155 gallon drums of construction-related waste. Approximately 75 of the drums contained expired petroleum-based concrete curing compound, which is an ignitable hazardous waste when disposal becomes necessary.

The indictment alleged that on or about March 27, 2002, Rodriguez and NAWA transported the drums using several Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifests that stated that the drums contained “Non-RCRA, Non-Regulated” waste. Rodriguez then made arrangements to transport the drums, for disposal, to landfills in Avalon, Texas, and Walterboro, S.C. that were not permitted under RCRA to accept hazardous waste. The drums of hazardous waster were then disposed of at unauthorized facilities.

Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and a total maximum fine of $250,000 per count.

This case was investigated by Special Agents of the EPA, with the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and is being prosecuted by the Justice Department’s Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas.

Post-9/11 anti-terror case data inaccurate: DOJ audit
Headline News | 2007/02/20 17:17

Federal investigators and prosecutors fudged data on the number of anti-terrorism investigations and cases for the four years after 9/11, according to an audit by US Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn A. Fine released Tuesday.

In a report on terrorism-related incidents and case-loads, the inspector general found that "some of these statistics were significantly overstated or understated." According to the audit, DOJ officials used non-terror-related immigration violations and drug trafficking to inflate the number of anti-terror cases reported.

The data was collected from multiple DOJ divisions, including the FBI, the Executive Office of US Attorneys, the Criminal Division, and the US Attorney's Office , and is used to monitor the DOJ's efficiency in fighting terrorism.

Final arguments heard in Libby trial
Legal Career News | 2007/02/20 17:15

Lawyers made their final arguments in the perjury trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Tuesday, with the defense arguing that Libby was a scapegoat for presidential aide Karl Rove's disclosures. In its final remarks, the prosecution argued that Libby was merely trying to a cover up a potentially illegal intelligence leak. In response, the defense said the government's witnesses were not credible and to accept the testimony of Meet the Press moderator Tim Russert as truth "would just be fundamentally unfair."

Libby's defense team rested last week, one week after the prosecution finished presenting its evidence against Libby. Also last week, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Robert Novak testified that Libby did not leak Plame's identity to him. It was Novak's July 2003 column that publicly outed Plame, thus igniting the CIA leak scandal. Libby is not charged with leaking Plame's identity, but instead faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges in connection with the investigation into the leak.

Federal appeals court upholds MCA habeas-stripping provisions
Court Feed News | 2007/02/20 13:19

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Tuesday that provisions in the Military Commissions Act stripping foreign nationals held as "enemy combatants" of the right to file habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions do not violate the Suspension Clause of the US Constitution. The ruling came in the consolidated cases of hundreds of Guantanamo Bay detainees. The court also held that Congress was clear in its intent to strip federal courts of habeas jurisdiction even in pending challenges. The DC Circuit vacated the lower court decisions in the cases and dismissed the detainees' petitions for lack of jurisdiction.

President Bush signed the MCA into law last October and shortly thereafter the the US Justice Department sent letters to the DC district and appeals courts, notifying the lower court that it no longer had jurisdiction over some 200 pending cases filed by Guantanamo detainees, and urging the appeals court to reach the merits in the present cases. Tuesday's appeals court ruling is expected to be appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Justice Department to Monitor Election in New York
Headline News | 2007/02/20 10:25

The Justice Department today announced that on Feb. 20, 2007, it will monitor the special election in Richmond County (Staten Island), N.Y., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act. The Department monitors will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in the county. A Civil Rights Division attorney will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of federal observers from the Office of Personnel Management, as well as departmental staff, to monitor elections across the country. During calendar year 2004, a record number of 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel were sent to monitor 163 elections in 105 jurisdictions in 29 states. This compares to the 640 federal observers and 103 Department personnel deployed during the entire 2000 presidential calendar year. In 2006, another record was set for the mid-term elections with more than 800 federal observers and Department personnel sent to monitor polling places in 69 jurisdictions in 22 states on Election Day. The Department’s election monitoring program also has been very active in non-federal election years. In calendar year 2005, for example, 640 federal observers and 191 Department personnel were sent to monitor 47 elections in 36 jurisdictions in 14 states.

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