“FBI searches ex-Reagan aide Robert McFarlane’s apartment for evidence he lobbied for Sudan”

March 21, 2013

The Washington Post on March 21, 2013 released the following:

“By Associated Press,

WASHINGTON — The FBI has searched the apartment of former Reagan administration national security adviser Robert McFarlane for evidence of whether he lobbied on behalf of the government of Sudan in violation of federal law.

A search warrant on file in U.S. District Court in Washington shows agents seized items this month including handwritten notes about Sudan and White House documents with classification markings up to Top Secret.

It is against the law for Americans to do business with Sudan because of its alleged support for international terrorism and human rights violations, among other things. Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, has been charged by the International Criminal Court with genocide and other crimes during the deadly conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region.

In an accompanying affidavit, FBI agent Grayden R. Ridd cited a host of emails between McFarlane and Sudanese government officials obtained prior to the search.

“I believe that these emails are evidence that McFarlane was entering into an agreement with the government of Sudan to lobby the U.S. government officials on behalf of Sudan and to provide it advice during negotiations with the United States,” Ridd wrote. He said he believed the emails are also evidence of an attempt by McFarlane and a Sudanese government official “to hide McFarlane’s relationship with Sudan by construing the agreement to make it appear that his contractual relationship was with Qatar, when in fact it was not.”

The affidavit said that the FBI investigation has established that in February 2009, McFarlane entered into a one-year agreement with the government of Sudan to act as its consultant and to lobby the U.S. government on its behalf.

Ridd wrote that the source of the emails to McFarlane appeared to be someone from the Sudanese intelligence service.

The affidavit is listed as “under seal” but is viewable online.

The FBI is also investigating whether McFarlane violated a law that requires anyone working as a foreign agent of another country to disclose that to the Foreign Agent Registration Act Unit of the Justice Department.

The investigation into McFarlane was first reported by The Washington Post.

McFarlane has not been charged with a crime. The case is being handled by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. A spokesman for the office, Peter Carr, said McFarlane is cooperating with the ongoing investigation and, through his counsel, has asserted his innocence.

McFarlane’s lawyer, Barry Levine, did not immediately return telephone and email messages Thursday. Levine told The Post that McFarlane didn’t violate any laws.

“He has devoted his entire adult life to the interests of this country, and he cares deeply about the people of Darfur,” Levine told the newspaper.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Prosecutors, Defense Attorney Agree to Extend Deadline for Federal Indictment of Arlington Strip Club Owner

May 10, 2012

Star-Telgram on May 9, 2012 released the following:

“Prosecutors, defense attorney agree to extend deadline for indictment of Arlington strip club owner

BY PATRICK M. WALKER

FORT WORTH — Federal prosecutors and the attorney for the owner of an Arlington strip club who is accused of targeting Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck in a murder-for-hire plot have agreed to push back the deadline for an indictment.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Wolfe and J. Warren St. John, who represents Flashdancer Cabaret owner Ryan Walker Grant, agreed to extend the deadline by 71 days to July 19, according to court filings. The filings say the two sides are conducting discovery as well as negotiations that could lead to a plea bargain.

Under the Speedy Trial Act, federal indictments must be filed within 30 days of the arrest. Federal agents detained Grant on April 9, meaning Wednesday would have been the deadline.

St. John declined to comment through his office. Wolfe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mark Daniel, a Fort Worth attorney not related to the case, said the deadline extension isn’t surprising, given that a public official was involved and federal agents moved quickly to make an arrest.

“Due to the complexity and the seriousness of the case, it’s not entirely unexpected,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t know the details behind the move.

Hit-man accusation

Grant is accused of trying to hire hit men from Mexico through an intermediary to kill Cluck and Dallas attorney Tom Brandt, who represents Arlington in cases involving sexually oriented businesses.

The intermediary was an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration.

FBI Special Agent Matthew Wilkins testified at a detention hearing April 20 that several days after Grant contacted the informant and expressed interest in having Cluck and Brandt killed, he gave a final green light April 9 to proceed with the slaying of Cluck.

“Let’s do the mayor. Let’s hit him tomorrow,” Wilkins testified that Grant told the informant.

After receiving Grant’s instructions, the informant left Grant’s home in Kennedale, and Grant never contacted him again, Wilkins said. FBI agents arrested Grant a few hours later.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton ruled that Grant poses a flight risk and a threat to the community and ordered him held without bail.

When agents arrested Grant, they seized 22 guns, two bulletproof vests and nearly $150,000 in cash, Wilkins testified.

Club closed a year

Flashdancer, at Randol Mill Road and Texas 360 in north Arlington, has closed for a year under a settlement with the Texas attorney general’s office and the city in a nuisance lawsuit. In labeling the club a nuisance, city and state authorities cited the prevalence of drugs, prostitution and assaults.

Police Chief Theron Bowman has revoked the club’s sexually oriented business license on the grounds that Flashdancer filed a misleading application with the city and allowed rampant sexual contact between employees and customers. Grant wanted Cluck and Brandt killed because he felt they stood in the way of the reopening, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


JetBlue Pilot Charged with Alleged Interference with a Flight Crew

March 29, 2012

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on March 28, 2012 released the following:

“AMARILLO, TX—A federal criminal complaint was filed in the Northern District of Texas today that charges JetBlue pilot Clayton Frederick Osbon, 49, with interference with a flight crew, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Sarah R. Saldaña.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, Osbon, a pilot working JetBlue Flight 191 from New York’s John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport to Las Vegas, according to witnesses, arrived at JFK later than he should have for the flight and missed the crew briefing. As the plane was leaving JFK and climbing in altitude in its scheduled five-hour flight, Osbon said something to the first officer (FO) about being evaluated by someone, but the FO did not know what he meant. Osbon then talked about his church and the need to “focus” and asked the FO to take the controls and work the radios. Osbon began talking about religion, but, according to the FO, his statements were not coherent.

The affidavit goes on to say that the FO became concerned when Osbon said “things just don’t matter.” According to the FO, Osbon yelled over the radio to air traffic control and instructed them to be quiet. Osbon turned off the radios in the aircraft, dimmed his monitors, and sternly admonished the FO for trying to talk on the radio. When Osbon said “we need to take a leap of faith,” the FO stated that he became very worried. Osbon told the FO that “we’re not going to Vegas” and began giving what the FO described as a sermon.

The affidavit states that the FO suggested to Osbon that they invite the off-duty JetBlue captain who was on board the flight into the cockpit; however, Osbon abruptly left the cockpit to go to the forward lavatory, alarming the rest of the flight crew when he didn’t follow the company’s protocol for leaving the cockpit. When flight attendants met Osbon and asked him what was wrong, he became aggressive and banged on the door of the occupied lavatory, saying he needed to get inside.

While Osbon was in the lavatory, at the request of the FO, a flight attendant brought the off-duty captain to the cockpit, where he assisted the FO with the remainder of the flight. When Osbon exited the lavatory, he began talking to flight attendants, mentioning “150 souls on board.” Osbon walked to the rear of the aircraft but along the way stopped and asked a male passenger if he had a problem. Osbon then sprinted back to the forward galley and tried to enter his code to re-enter the cockpit. When the FO announced over the public address system an order to restrain Osbon, several passengers assisted and brought Osbon down in the forward galley, where he continued to yell comments about Jesus, September 11, Iraq, Iran, and terrorists.

The FO declared an emergency and diverted the aircraft to Amarillo, landing with passengers still restraining Osbon in the galley. Osbon was removed from the aircraft and taken to a facility in the Northwest Texas Healthcare System in Amarillo for medical evaluation, where he remains.

A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The maximum penalty, upon conviction, for interference with a flight crew is a 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.

The ongoing investigation is being led by the FBI with the assistance of JetBlue, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Transportation Security Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Amarillo Police Department, and the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport Police Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy L. Drake, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Amarillo, is in charge of the prosecution.”

Clayton Osbon – Federal Criminal Complaint

49 U.S.C. § 46504

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


FBI Says Hysen Sherif, Accused Terrorist Plotter, Wanted To Kill Witnesses

January 25, 2012

Huffington Post on January 24, 2012 released the following:

“Hysen Sherif, Accused Terrorist Plotter, Wanted To Kill Witnesses: FBI

By MICHAEL BIESECKER

RALEIGH, N.C. — A North Carolina man sentenced to prison recently as part of a homegrown terrorist ring has been accused in a federal court document of plotting to kill witnesses who testified against him at trial.

An affidavit unsealed in federal court Monday accuses Hysen Sherifi of plotting against the witnesses from his jail cell. Authorities say an FBI informant posing as a hit man met with Sherifi’s brother and a female friend and accepted $5,000 and a photo of an intended victim.

FBI agents have arrested the brother, Shkumbin Sherifi, and Nevine Aly Elshiekh, a school teacher. Now in federal custody at the New Hanover County Jail, each is charged with a felony count of use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire.

Hysen Sherifi, 27, was sentenced to 45 years in prison earlier this month in what prosecutors described as a conspiracy to attack the Marine base at Quantico, Va., and targets abroad. Five others, including construction contractor Daniel Patrick Boyd, have been sentenced to federal prison terms for terrorism charges related to raising money, stockpiling weapons and training in preparation for jihadist attacks.

No charges have been filed at this time against Hysen Sherifi related to the new plot, according to a search of a federal court database.

Shkumbin Sherifi and Elshiekh await a scheduled first appearance Friday in federal court in Wilmington. The two have applied for court appointed lawyers, who have not yet been assigned.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh has released no information about those arrested.

In a 10-page affidavit filed under seal Friday, FBI Special Agent James Langtry writes that he developed a source as a confidential informant inside the New Hanover County Jail near Wilmington, where Hysen Sherifi was sent after a jury convicted him in October.

The informant soon befriended Sherifi, who requested help in hiring someone to kill three people who had testified against him at his trial, according to the affidavit. Sherifi specified that he wanted the witnesses beheaded and that he would be provided photos of the severed heads as confirmation of the deaths, according to the document.

FBI agents said in the document that they arranged for a second informant to pose as a hit man and monitored Sherifi during a series of jailhouse visits with Elshiekh.

Following a Dec. 21 visit at the jail, Elshiekh left a voicemail on the fake hit man’s cell phone, identifying herself as “Hysen Sherifi’s friend,” according to the affidavit. It added that the FBI observed and recorded subsequent meetings between Elshiekh and the fake hit man, during which she provided names, addresses and photos of those targeted and $750 in cash toward the first murder.

Agents also observed Elshiekh meeting with Shkumbin Sherifi, who met with the FBI’s fake hitman on Jan. 8, the court document said. According to the affidavit, the brother traveled from Raleigh to Wilmington to provide the hit man another $4,250 in cash.

The affidavit provides no information about the nature of the relationship between Hysen Sherifi and Elshiekh, but a woman with that same name was quoted in media reports from last year’s terrorism trial in New Bern. The names of the witnesses allegedly targeted were redacted from the affidavit.

Nevine Elshiekh is listed as a special education teacher on the website for Sterling Montessori Academy, a charter school in Mooresville. Bill Zajic, the school’s executive director, did not return a message from the Associated Press on Tuesday.

No one answered the phone at Elshiekh’s Raleigh home Tuesday.

The Sherifi brothers and other family members emigrated from Kosovo following the wars that ravaged the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. A call to the Sherifi family home in Raleigh on Tuesday was not returned.

Hysen Sherifi and others arrested in the terrorism conspiracy were members of the Islamic Association of Raleigh, the largest Muslim congregation in the Triangle. Several members of the mosque also routinely made the 4-hour round trip for the trial in New Bern to support the accused, who they described as innocent men being railroaded by overzealous federal authorities.

Messages to the media contact listed for the mosque were not returned.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys Videos:

Federal Crimes – Be Careful

Federal Crimes – Be Proactive

Federal Crimes – Federal Indictment

Federal Crimes – Detention Hearing

Federal Mail Fraud Crimes

Federal Crimes – Appeal

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Federal Judge Slams FBI, Prosecutors For Misconduct in Bribery Case

December 6, 2011
FBI Seal

Forbes on December 6, 2011 released the following:

“Daniel Fisher, Forbes Staff

A friend in Texas sent me this scorching ruling by a federal judge in California, throwing out the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act convictions of a couple of utility-equipment executives because of prosecutorial misconduct and downright false testimony by an FBI agent.

The 41-page ruling by U.S. District Judge Howard Matz in Los Angeles, issued Dec. 1, doesn’t spare criticism of anyone involved — including the judge himself. Stuck in the crossfire of prosecution and defense motions during the bitterly contested five-week trial, Motz says, he missed “the proverbial forest for the trees.”

“There were so many motions that it was difficult to step back and look into whether what was going on reflected not isolated acts but a pattern of invidious conduct.”

The facts against manufacturing executives Keith E. Lindsey and Steve K. Lee of Lindsey Manufacturing were ugly, but then doing business in Mexico often is. According to the Justice Department, the men were frustrated about losing a contract to state-owned Mexican utility Comisión Federal de Electricida, so they hired the middleman they suspected had helped a rival company win the business. That firm, dubbed Grupo in the indictment, was run by Enrique and Angela Aguilar.

Over time Lindsey paid Grupo $5.9 million in “commissions” at an eyebrow-raising 30% rate. Money from Grupo’s account was used to pay for a $297,000 Ferrari, a luxury yacht, and $29,000 in private-school bills to the benefit of some CFE executives. A Lindsey bookkeeper testified she changed the accounting entry for the commissions to 15% in what prosecutors said was evidence Lee knew Grupo was a front.

A jury convicted Lindsey, Lee and the company on all counts on May 10, with Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer crowing “Lindsey Manufacturing is the first company to be tried and convicted on FCPA violations, but it will not be the last.”

But then things turned ugly for the prosecution. In Matz’s retelling this is a case of the government turning a sketchy, circumstantial case into a convincing one by manipulating the evidence. Those private-school tuition payments above? The same prosecutor had earlier accused a Texas subsidiary of European manufacturing conglomerate ABB of paying them, a conflict the government shrugged off as inconsequential.

Defense lawyers smelled a rat in the way the government linked the ABB case to theirs. In the Texas case ABB paid $28.5 million in fines for routing bribes it dubbed a “Third World Tax” through another Aguilar-linked entity called Sorvill. The same prosecutor, Nicola Mrazek, was in charge of both cases.

The Feds indicted the Aguilars and arrested Angela when she was across the border in Texas. Then they indicted Lindsey and its top executives in October 2010, based partly on evidence obtained in a search of Lindsey offices. The search warrant included an affidavit by FBI agent Farrell Binder stating that Lindsey had paid Sorvill, the front company in the ABB case.

Oops. The defense later proved that statement was false, and after a long delay got its hands on the string of 14 draft affidavits showing the first 12 versions didn’t have that claim. Agent Susan Guernsey compounded the problem by testifying twice to a grand jury about the nonexistent payments to Sorvill, as well as saying Lee executives took suspicious actions in 2006 in response to an IRS audit they didn’t learn about until later. She also testified that “pretty much all” the money in the second Aguilar-linked company, Grupo, came from Lee when in an earlier affidavit she’d accurately pegged the amount at 70% (leaving room for somebody else to provide the cash allegedly used to bribe Mexican officials).

Defense lawyers pressed for the documents to back up their suspicions but only got them in April 15 of this year, 10 days into the trial.

Matz, in his decision throwing out the case, was especially harsh with Guernsey, saying her testimony “does not necessarily establish that she knowingly committed perjury. Perhaps she was sloppy, or lazy, or ill-prepared.”

“In the Court’s considered opinion, once the prosecutors secured the First Superseding Indictment and certainly by the time they were gearing up to present their case at trial, they concluded not only that Guernsey would be an exceedingly poor witness – – as she turned out to be – – but also that its investigation was terribly flawed.”

Matz didn’t go as far as to say the defendants were “entitled to a finding of factual innocence; they are not.” They are entitled to dismissal, he said, to relieve them from “further anguish and anxiety” — and teach the government a lesson.

The Supreme Court has ruled that prosecutors are not typical courtroom advocates but representatives “of a sovereign whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all,” Matz said. “He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor – – indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.”

“In this Court’s experience, almost all of the prosecutors in the Office of the United States Attorney for this district consistently display admirable professionalism, integrity and fairness. So it is with deep regret that this Court is compelled to find that the Government team allowed a key FBI agent to testify untruthfully before the grand jury, inserted material falsehoods into affidavits submitted to magistrate judges in support of applications for search warrants and seizure warrants, improperly reviewed e-mail communications between one Defendant and her lawyer, recklessly failed to comply with its discovery obligations, posed questions to certain witnesses in violation of the Court’s rulings, engaged in questionable behavior during closing argument and even made misrepresentations to the Court.””

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To find additional federal criminal news, please read Federal Crimes Watch Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.