Hastert was Speaker of the House until 2007
Later this month one of the most powerful men ever to have served in the U.S. House of Representatives will face a federal judge to learn his fate. Dennis Hastert has pleaded guilty to evading U.S. banking laws, illegally structuring payouts to conceal other crimes and lying to the FBI. But that’s only a small part of his sordid story.
It’s a textbook case of why critics are able to say there is one system of justice for the rich and connected and quite another for the rest of us. It’s also another condemnation of our statute of limitations laws that say suspects can’t be tried for certain crimes if too much time has passed. [click to continue…]
Mounds of Rape Kits Waiting for Testing
So get this. Top justice officials have figured out a way to make the bad guys finance programs that help solve crimes. It’s such a unique solution to a long standing problem that I just have to share.
The District Attorney’s office in Manhattan – a jurisdiction that includes one of the preeminent financial centers of the world — is in a matchless position to collect billions of dollars from international banks that concoct schemes to get around U.S. sanctions.
For example, the French bank officials at BNP Paribas were forced to admit they illegally moved hundreds of millions of dollars through New York banks for clients in terror-sponsoring countries like Iran and Sudan. For threatening the security of our nation’s banking system and breaking our sanctions the French bank was fined more than $8.8 billion in penalties and criminal forfeiture. [click to continue…]
The Aftermath of the Brussels Attack
Another week, another deadly terrorist attack, this time in Brussels. The aftershocks heightened security across Europe and here in the US.
Understanding why Muslim extremists continue to kill innocents and what they are likely planning for the future can best predicted by someone who used to live, eat and pray among them.
Meet Emad Salem, a devout Muslim who, after serving as a Major in the Egyptian military, became a US citizen 31 years ago. But he became more than that. He became one of the FBI’s most valuable undercover assets in the War on Terror, beginning in the early 90’s. [click to continue…]
Blind Justice: Laws Apply To All Citizens
The law says dangerous or illegal actions have consequences. Countless U.S. citizens enter the justice system every year after authorities determine they did something that physically or emotionally harmed someone, financially cheated another person or exposed people to peril.
So why do government employees so often escape the punishment you or I would face in similar circumstances?
Case in point: In what very nearly looks like a case of federally sponsored child trafficking the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement put countless children at risk yet no one has been held accountable. Beginning in fall of 2011, tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America began to flood across the Mexican border in search of a better life in America. We were not prepared. [click to continue…]
Kids in the Criminal System. Then What?
Everyone knows youngsters aren’t mentally or emotionally equipped to make good decisions. That’s why most parents watch their teenagers like a hawk.
But every year thousands of American kids get themselves in to serious trouble with the law. Some of these youngsters had no prior police record. Some who entered the criminal justice system were under the age of 10. In the most dire cases, teens have been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of ever being released.
Imagine your son (or in less frequent cases, your daughter), suddenly caught up in a crime that resulted in murder, manslaughter or rape — doomed to spend the rest of their lives behind bars, perhaps in solitary confinement to keep them away from prison violence. [click to continue…]
Supreme Court Justices Could Give the White House Massive New Power
It will be a monumental decision either way. One that has the potential to shape national politics and public policy for decades to come. And don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just about U.S. immigration policy. It is much bigger than that.
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether it is legal for a sitting president to issue an executive order that changes existing law, thus by-passing Congress, the branch of government empowered to make the laws. [click to continue…]
2015: Horrible Year in Many Respects
There’s no getting around it. Americans have just gone through an Annus Horribilis, to borrow a phrase from Queen Elizabeth. 2015 has been filled with disturbing news about acts of terrorism and the threat of more, mass shootings, racial unrest and major questions about how our criminal justice system works – or doesn’t.
Add in what many see as unsettling and contradictory political pronouncements about our future and is it any wonder that we feel frightened, frustrated and without hope? Fear – of homegrown or lone-wolf terrorists, gun violence, policy brutality, racial strife, our children’s future – has become the new American normal. [click to continue…]
Bluster Works in Business – But in the White House?
Would you do business with someone who routinely exaggerated his or her ability? Someone who, in the course of trying to sell you something, said things that were cocky, vague or just not true?
Clearly, it would be foolish to buy anything from a person like that. Lying about the goods and services to be delivered in the course of doing business is a crime. Its fraud at worst, false advertising at best.
Keep this in mind as you listen to Donald Trump on his I’m-bigger-smarter-stronger-more energetic-richer-than everyone-else campaign for the White House. Too bad he’s selling himself instead of, say, one of his skyscraper apartments because if his promises were all about a real estate deal one might have legal recourse. [click to continue…]
Banded Together The World CAN Stop It
My friend Nancy and I were talking the other day about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Nancy, you should know, is retired law enforcement and one of the most interesting thinkers I know. She has a way of cutting through all the bull to get right to the heart of an issue.
About the Muslim terrorists who commit atrocities in the name of Islam Nancy said, “They only speak and understand one language – violence.” We agreed that we should leave the actual war planning to the experts. Air strikes versus boots-on-the-ground? We defer to the Pentagon on that.
But then Nancy added, “If we don’t step up our response we’ll never stop this infestation.” [click to continue…]
At Ashford Castle in County Mayo, Ireland
After a glorious vacation abroad I return this week to admit I came home embarrassed for my country.
My husband and I were in Ireland when word of America’s latest mass shooting hit the European media and the story was the lead item on every news program.
Sky News, the BBC, Good Morning Ireland each featured American reporters in Roseburg, Oregon for the latest on the shooting. Then they brought in panels of pundits to talk about it.
“When there are 24 campus shootings in one year in America we need to realize there is something profound happening in America,” said Zoe Williams, a columnist for the Guardian newspaper. “It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world.” [click to continue…]