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U.S. Civilian Sentenced for Bribing U.S. & Iraqi Officials
Court Feed News | 2007/02/05 18:54

WASHINGTON - A former U.S. army civilian translator was sentenced to three years in prison for attempting to bribe a senior Iraqi police official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of Columbia announced today.

Faheem Mousa Salam, 29, of Livonia, Mich., a U.S. citizen, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the Hon. Judge Richard J. Leon.

Salam was arrested on March 23, 2006 at the Dulles International Airport upon his return from Iraq, and pleaded guilty on August 4, 2006 to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Salam admitted that in January 2006, while working in Baghdad as a civilian translator for a U.S. army subcontractor, he offered a senior Iraqi police official $60,000 in exchange for the official's assistance in facilitating the purchase of 1,000 armored vests and a sophisticated map printer for a sale price of approximately $1 million. Salam requested the official use his position with the Iraqi police force to coordinate the sale of the material to the multinational Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT), an organization designed to train the Iraqi police and border guard in Iraq. Salam admitted that he later made final arrangements with an undercover agent of the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction who was posing as a procurement officer for CPATT. Salam admitted that during the subsequent discussions with the undercover agent he offered a separate $28,000 to $35,000 to the agent to process the contracts.

At sentencing, the government argued that Salam was motivated by greed and the prospect of financial gain, rather than any desire to provide the Iraqi troops with equipment; in fact, Salam made no attempt to check the brand names, quality or source of the vests, demonstrating that his motives were anything but altruistic.

The case is being prosecuted jointly by the Criminal Division's Fraud Section Deputy Chief Mark F. Mendelsohn and Trial Attorney Stacey Luck and Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia Bradley Weinsheimer. The case was investigated by the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction.

Court rules for man arrested for cursing
Court Feed News | 2007/02/04 00:27

A federal appeals court has ruled that a police officer who arrested a Michigan man for using a curse word in a public meeting violated the man's right to free speech.

The ruling reverses a lower court's decision that the officer had probable cause to arrest Thomas Leonard, who cursed while addressing the Montrose Township board in 2002. At the time, his wife was suing the town over a towing contract.

A three-judge appeals panel ruled that the use of "mild profanity" while peacefully advocating a political position is not a criminal act.

Michigan appeals court rules against same-sex benefits
Court Feed News | 2007/02/04 00:26

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that an amendment to the state constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman also prohibits Michigan public employers from offering benefits, such as health insurance, to same-sex partners of homosexual employees. The appeals court overturned a lower court decision finding no conflict between the 2004 amendment and providing the benefits.

In its ruling Thursday, the court wrote:

It is undisputed that under the marriage amendment, heterosexual couples that have not married also may not obtain employment benefits as a couple on the basis of an agreement "recognized as a marriage or similar union for any purpose. . . ." The amendment is grounded in the longstanding and legitimate governmental interest in favoring the institution of marriage. . . . The amendment is narrowly tailored to further the legitimate governmental interest in protecting and strengthening the institution of marriage, and not to arbitrarily or invidiously exclude individuals from the protections of the laws of this state. . . .

Because the marriage amendment does not make arbitrary or invidious distinctions in furthering the legitimate governmental interests of the state, does not violate the equal protection guarantee of the Michigan constitution. . . .

The marriage amendment's plain language prohibits public employers from recognizing same-sex unions for any purpose.
In March 2005 Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox issued an opinion asserting that the amendment's language barred public employers from offering domestic partner benefits. After the lower court ruling, the Michigan Senate approved resolutions preventing taxpayer money from being spent on same-sex benefits until the state Supreme Court decides the issue. The ACLU of Michigan expressed disagreement with appeals court decision, claiming that the voters were told the amendment would not affect domestic partnership benefits, and said that an appeal to the state high court is planned.

White House tapes played in Libby trial
Court Feed News | 2007/02/02 06:13

US Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald played portions of White House briefing room videos Thursday as the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby continued. Fitzgerald said the tapes show Libby's eagerness to publicly conceal conversations he had with reporters about CIA official Valerie Plame. US District Judge Reggie B. Walton allowed Fitzgerald to play portions of the videos that show former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan publicly clearing Libby's name and announcing that individuals responsible for the leak would be fired. Judge Walton did not allow Fitzgerald to show a heated question and answer session between McClellan and reporters.

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the investigation into the leak of former CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. Libby's defense team has indicated that they plan to call Libby's former boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, to testify and that Libby also plans to take the witness stand himself. Walton has denied a request from several news organizations seeking the daily release of audio recordings of arguments and testimony.

Ex-Enron prosecutor joins law firm in D.C
Headline News | 2007/02/02 05:58

Former Enron prosecutor Kathy Ruemmler has joined the law firm of Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C.

Ruemmler was one of three Assistant U.S. Attorneys who took leading roles in the 2004 Enron Nigerian barge case and the criminal trial of former Enron executives Jeff Skilling and Ken Lay last year.

Prior to joining the Department of Justice in 2001, Ruemmler was Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton. She also handled white collar criminal defense cases and civil litigation at both Latham and Zuckerman Spaeder in Washington.

She joins former Enron Task Force chief Sean Berkowitz, who joined Latham in November.

Former NYT reporter Miller testifies at Libby trial
Court Feed News | 2007/02/01 03:47

Former New York Times reporter Judith Miller testified on Tuesday in the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby concerning conversations Libby had with Miller, during which he allegedly told her about his frustration with the CIA and revealed to her the identity of undercover CIA agent Valerie Wilson. On cross-examination, defense counsel wanted to ask Miller about other sources with whom she had discussed a separate intelligence leak, but the prosecution argued that she should not have to answer the questions, since they were not specifically relevant to Libby's case. Judge Reggie M. Walton will rule on whether he will admit the line of questioning on Wednesday.

If Miller is called to answer the questions and refuses, she could face charges of perjury, as she did in July of 2005 when she was jailed after refusing to reveal sources in conjunction with the federal criminal investigation into the leak of Plame's identity. Miller resigned her post at the Times after her release from the 85-day jail term.

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with the CIA leak investigation.

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