LA Noir: The Strange Case of the Sheriffs’ Missing Helicopter Engines

Misconduct at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has earned some of its top officers, including Sheriff Lee Baca, criminal convictions. Now, an investigation by WitnessLA into a fleet of Sea King helicopters loaned under a controversial Defense Department program raises questions of high-level fraud.

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Houston Grand Jury Indicts Videographers In Planned Parenthood Probe

A grand jury investigating whether a Houston Planned Parenthood clinic sold the organs of aborted fetuses cleared the clinic and instead indicted the undercover videographers behind the allegations, surprising the officials who called for the probe and delighting supporters of the women’s health organization, the Houston Chronicle reports. The Harris County grand jury indicted David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt, both of California, on charges of tampering with a governmental record, a felony with a possible sentence of up to 20 […]


How Did Petraeus Avoid Prison In Case Of Leaking Government Secrets?

How did David Petraeus, the ­storied wartime general and former CIA director, avoid prison for lying to the FBI and violating the Espionage Act? The Washington Post tells the inside story. Not everyone at the U.S. Justice Department shared the prosecutors' confidence in the case, and lawyers for Petraeus and his mistress, Paula Broadwell, separately pushed back hard, saying they would fight and beat the charges being considered. With its mix of sex and government secrets, a trial promised to […]


Koch Backing For Justice Reform Rooted In Environmental Case

The conservative Koch brothers’ financial investment in criminal justice reform is reviewed by New Yorker writer Jane Mayer, who has just published a book on the Kochs. Mark Holden of Koch Industries, who has overseen Koch Industries' criminal-justice-reform work, acknowledges that the brothers were motivated to give money to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in 2004 after being prosecuted for environmental crimes. A federal case against the company, says Holden, “was a huge overreach, a grave injustice,” adding, […]


High Court To Hear Ex-Gov. McDonnell’s Case On Gifts To Politicians

The Supreme Court agreed to review former Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell’s conviction of corruption for his efforts on behalf of a businessman who bestowed money and gifts on the governor and his family, the Washington Post reports. The case gives the justices a fresh opportunity to define what kind of political conduct crosses the line into criminal behavior. McDonnell's attorneys told the court that if his “routine political courtesies” to businessman Jonnie Williams Sr. could be construed as felonies, it […]


Goldman Sachs To Pay $5 Billion In Mortgage-Backed Securities Case

Goldman Sachs will pay about $5 billion to resolve state and federal investigations into its handling of mortgage-backed securities in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, NPR reports. The agreement will settle “actual and potential civil claims” by the U.S. Justice Department and the attorneys general of New York and Illinois, as well as the Federal Home Loan Banks of Chicago and Seattle and the National Credit Union Administration. The firm will pay a civil penalty of […]


DOJ, Labor Vow Criminal Prosecutions Of Workplace Safety Violations

Workplace safety is emerging as a key issue in 2016, and corporate executives could find themselves criminally responsible for failing to protect their employees, reports Corporate Counsel. The U.S. Departments of Labor and Justice announced last month a joint initiative to crack down on environmental and workplace safety crimes. Under the “worker endangerment initiative,” officials will seek to prosecute workplace safety violations under federal environmental laws, in addition to long-standing workplace safety statutes such as the Occupational Safety and Health […]


Fraud Against Elderly Rises, Regulators Seek To Improve Reporting

Dealing with a rise in financial exploitation of the elderly, state officials are pressing for laws that require financial advisers to report suspected “elder fraud” to authorities, reports the Wall Street Journal. The mandate faces pushback from the financial industry, which says it could result in a massive number of reports that turn out to be false. People over 60 were involved in 171,230 fraud complaints tracked by the Federal Trade Commission in 2014, more than double the number in […]


Crime Victims, FBI Among Winners In DOJ Budget Battle

Crime victims and the FBI were two of the big winners in the annual battle over spending U. S. Justice Department funds. A Congressional budget deal for the current fiscal year that was finalized by negotiators early yesterday morning provided an estimated $2.26 billion for state and local organizations that help crime victims. Under a law dating from the 1980s, those groups are supposed to receive fines paid in federal cases, but Congress has long put a cap on the […]