Bulger defense says prosecutor gave immunity

October 25, 2012

The Boston Globe on October 25, 2012 released the following:

“Alleged deal was made decades ago

By Travis Andersen and Milton J. Valencia

Lawyers for James “Whitey” Bulger have identified the late federal prosecutor Jeremiah O’Sullivan as the federal agent who allegedly gave the notorious gangster immunity to commit his reign of terror.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr. of Boston made the bombshell allegation in a court filing late Wednesday in which he again called for a US District Court judge to recuse himself from presiding over the case. He said the judge has an apparent conflict of interest as a former prosecutor who worked at the same time as O’Sullivan, a former US attorney who died in 2009 at age 66.

Carney said he may call US District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns and other former prosecutors as witnesses to testify about the leeway that the leadership within the US attorney’s office gave Bulger and about their failure for years to charge him with any crimes, which he said would speak to the immunity agreement that Bulger alleges that he had.

Stearns was a former federal prosecutor and chief of the criminal division during part of Bulger’s alleged reign of terror in the 1970s and 1980s. But the judge was not part of the New England Organized Crime Strike Force that had an apparent relationship with Bulger at the time and he has maintained he did not know Bulger was the target of any investigation.

Carney argued there was no line dividing work between the Strike Force and the US attorney’s office, and so prosecutors from both units shared and were aware of investigations.

The judge refused an initial request to recuse himself in ­July, citing the high standards that must be met for a judge to have to recuse himself for conflict of interest concerns.

“I have no doubt whatsoever about my ability to remain impartial at all times while presiding over the case,” Stearns said in his ruling, maintaining he had no knowledge “of any case or investigation” in which Bulger was “a subject or a target.”

But Carney said Bulger’s reputation was well known, or should have been, particularly among leaders in the US attorney’s office.

He also said that the notorious gangster, now 83, will testify to support his assertion. He said Bulger will provide “a detailed account of his receipt of immunity by O’Sullivan,” who was a member of the strike force and at one point its chief.

In one example, Carney said, Bulger will discuss a time when O’Sullivan allegedly ordered Bulger be removed from a list of targets in a horse race-fixing scheme in the early ’80s.

Brian T. Kelly, one of the prosecutors in the case, wrote a letter to Carney on Friday in which he said the government has given defense counsel ample materials pertaining to O’Sullivan, as requested, calling it typical procedure in the case.

He offered on his own, however, that “the First Circuit has already held that O’Sullivan was unaware of any promise of immunity.”

He added, “O’Sullivan himself testified under oath before Congress that he never extended immunity to either James Bulger or Stephen Flemmi.”

Carney added that, in addition to Stearns, he would call other Department of Justice leaders to testify as to why Bulger was never charged by the federal government. Those leaders would include FBI director Robert Mueller, who served as a federal prosecutor and chief of the criminal division in Massachusetts in the early 1980s, and with whom Stearns has a close relationship.

Carney said he will introduce evidence from a courthouse ceremony where Mueller characterized Stearns as a “friend and mentor,” and in which Stearns called the FBI director’s speech “the greatest tribute that a friend could pay.”

Bulger’s lead lawyer questioned whether Stearns could remain impartial in deciding whether he and Mueller could be called as a credible witness to testify about the immunity agreement, which has emerged as Bulger’s main point of defense in a trial that could trigger the death sentence.

“Federal law mandates in this situation that Judge Stearns recuse himself from this case,” Carney said in a 24-page motion filed late Wednesday. “The law — and common sense — says that a person cannot be both judge and witness. . . . To do so otherwise will put an irreparable taint on the public’s view of the fairness of the defendant’s trial, and allow citizens to believe that the infamous cover-up of misconduct by past members of the Department of Justice, the United State’s attorney’s office, and the FBI is continuing.”

Carney said Bulger wasn’t accused of any crimes in a US indictment until after Stearns, Mueller, and O’Sullivan left office, and he argued their testimony will focus on why that didn’t happen. That should be up to a jury to decide, he said.

Bulger was one of America’s Most Wanted until his arrest in June 2011 after 16 years on the lam. He is accused in a federal racketeering indictment of participating in 19 murders.

He is also the notorious gangster at the center of one of the most scandalous periods in the history of the FBI. A series of hearings in Boston in the ’90s exposed a corrupt relationship between him and his FBI handlers. During that time, he was allegedly allowed to carry out crimes including murders in exchange for working as a cooperating witness against the New England Mafia.

Carney has said that Bulger was granted immunity in exchange for his cooperation, though legal analysts have questioned whether anyone could have had a right to kill, as Bulger asserts.

US prosecutors, who have argued Stearns does not have to recuse himself, also deny Bulger had any claim of immunity.

O’Sullivan suffered a heart attack and several strokes in 1998 when he was slated to testify about Bulger and Flemmi before US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf. O’Sullivan was in a coma for a month.

In 2002, O’Sullivan was called before Congress during the Government Reform Committee’s investigation of the Boston FBI. He denied ever protecting Bulger and Flemmi from prosecution for serious crimes.

O’Sullivan acknowledged dropping the pair from a 1978 race-fixing case against the Winter Hill Gang, of Somerville, because he said he considered them small-time players and was focused on gang leader Howie Winter.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.


Chicago fugitive added to FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list

June 6, 2012

Chicago Tribune on June 6, 2012 released the following:

“Suspect charged with 1998 murder, sex assaults

By Ryan Haggerty, Chicago Tribune reporter

Fidel Urbina, a former Chicagoan who faces charges he sexually assaulted two women and killed one of them, purportedly has used false identities to elude a global manhunt for 14 years.

On Tuesday, the FBI added Urbina to its Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list, hoping the national attention it generates will produce new leads in a case that has been cold for years. The FBI is also offering up to $100,000 for information leading to his discovery and arrest.

“We have no idea since he’s been gone… how many other things he may be involved in,” Robert Grant, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office, said during a news conference. “… If he’s in Mexico, if he’s in Texas, if he’s in Arizona, he’s a threat to any individual down there, and the sooner we can apprehend him, the better off everybody will be.”

Urbina takes the place on the most-wanted list of Adam Christopher Mayes, who was wanted in the murder of a woman and her daughter and the kidnapping of the woman’s two small children from their home in Tennessee, Grant said. Mayes killed himself last month when he was confronted by authorities.

Urbina was briefly in custody in 1998 after he was charged with kidnapping, beating and raping a Chicago woman, Grant said. But he was released after one of his girlfriends posted a bond of only $7,000, according to court records. He then allegedly assaulted and murdered another woman — Gabriella Torres, 22 — while awaiting trial.

Torres’ body was found in the trunk of a burned Chevrolet Lumina in the Gage Park neighborhood in October 1998. A week later, Urbina failed to appear for a court date on the first sexual assault charges.

Urbina was charged in Torres’ murder in 2006. Federal authorities relied on family informants to trace him to his hometown in Durango, Mexico, and a Mexican magistrate signed a provisional arrest warrant for him in 2006. But for reasons that are not clear, Urbina was never captured.

His last known address was in the 2100 block of South Fairfield Avenue in the Little Village neighborhood.

Even before he became a fugitive, Urbina, who never became a U.S. citizen, was adept at sliding between aliases. He used names such as Lorenzo Maes, Fidel Urbina Aquirre and Fernando Ramos, along with birth dates in 1975 and 1980, authorities said.

Urbina has been featured on local and national television shows, including “America’s Most Wanted,” Grant said. Viewers reported seeing him in various locations in the U.S. and Mexico, Grant said, but none of the leads panned out.

Now the FBI hopes that by adding his name to its most-wanted list — the 497th fugitive added since it was established in 1950 — people who know where he is will come forward, Grant said.

“We will keep hunting for him until he’s either confirmed dead or he’s in somebody’s hands,” he said.”

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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

————————————————————–

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.


ICE ‘most wanted’ fugitive indicted for human trafficking

September 30, 2011

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on September 29, 2011 released the following:

“TAMPA, Fla. – A former fugitive on U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) list of most wanted criminals was indicted Thursday on four counts of conspiracy to entice a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, four counts of enticing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act, three counts of production of child pornography, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Eric Antwan Bell, 37, was featured in June on the television show “America’s Most Wanted.” He was arrested Aug. 31 in Parsippany, N.J. by ICE HSI and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum penalty of life in federal prison.

According to the indictment, Bell, along with a co-conspirator, enticed four minor victims to engage in prostitution. Bell and his co-conspirator lived off of the prostitution proceeds. Bell produced child pornography of the four minors and possessed multiple firearms after being convicted of a felony offense.

The indictment notifies Bell that the United States intends to forfeit numerous items of electronic media and firearms seized from his residence.

This case was investigated by the Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force, ICE HSI and the FBI. Other task force members include state and local law enforcement agencies and non-governmental partners.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stacie B. Harris will prosecute the case.”

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.

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‘America’s Most Wanted’ Federal Fugitive, Eric Antwan Bell, Arrested by the FBI and ICE

September 1, 2011

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on August 31, 2011 released the following:

“TAMPA, Fla. — Eric Antwan Bell, a federal fugitive in a Clearwater Area Human Trafficking Task Force (CAHTTF) investigation, was arrested on Wednesday by special agents of the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Parsippany, N.J.

He had been living in Jersey City, N.J.

On June 11, Bell was featured on the television program “America’s Most Wanted” with John Walsh during the show’s “Be On the Look Out” (BOLO) segment.

Bell was also featured on a digital billboard throughout the Tampa Bay-area and on ICE’s website as one of the agency’s most wanted criminals.

On Jan. 3, a federal criminal complaint was filed in the Middle District of Florida which alleged that Bell was involved in the production of child pornography, had unlawfully possessed a firearm and had engaged in sex trafficking of a minor.

Agencies included in the task force were the Clearwater Police Department, Tampa Police Department, St. Petersburg Police Department, Largo Police Department, Pinellas Park Police Department, Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, Regional Community Policing Institute, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida, Office of the State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, FBI and ICE HSI.

Non-government partners included the Florida Department of Health, Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General, World Relief, the Haven Spouse Abuse Shelter, Gulf Coast Legal Services, Inc., Salvation Army and Clearwater Hispanic Outreach Center.”

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 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.

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