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Aug 12, 2013

Justice Dept to drop some mandatory drug sentences

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Justice Department plans to change how it prosecutes some non-violent drug offenders, ending a policy of mandatory minimum prison sentences, in an overhaul of federal prison policy that Attorney General Eric Holder will unveil on Monday.

Holder will outline the status of a broad, ongoing project intended to improve Justice Department sentencing policies across the country in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco.

Aug 7, 2013

Exclusive: IRS manual detailed DEA’s use of hidden intel evidence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Details of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration program that feeds tips to federal agents and then instructs them to alter the investigative trail were published in a manual used by agents of the Internal Revenue Service for two years.

The practice of recreating the investigative trail, highly criticized by former prosecutors and defense lawyers after Reuters reported it this week, is now under review by the Justice Department. Two high-profile Republicans have also raised questions about the procedure.

Aug 6, 2013

U.S. accuses Bank of America of mortgage-backed securities fraud

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. government on Tuesday filed two civil lawsuits against Bank of America that accuse the bank of investor fraud in its sale of $850 million of residential mortgage-backed securities.

The lawsuits are the latest legal headache for the second-largest U.S. bank, which has already agreed to pay in excess of $45 billion to settle disputes stemming from the 2008 financial crisis.

Aug 5, 2013

U.S. to review DEA unit that hides use of intel in crime cases

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Justice Department is reviewing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit that passes tips culled from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a large telephone database to field agents, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday.

Reuters reported Monday that agents who use such tips are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively conceal the DEA unit’s involvement from defense lawyers, prosecutors and even judges, a policy many lawyers said could violate a defendant’s right to a fair trial. Federal drug agents call the process of changing the true genesis of an arrest “parallel construction,” according to a training document.

Aug 5, 2013

Goldman, LME face new U.S. legal front on aluminum storage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. class action alleging an illegal agreement to inflate aluminum prices may be just the start of aluminum buyers’ legal assault against warehouse owners such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc, lawyers with antitrust expertise said on Sunday.

Goldman (GS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), other warehouse owners and the London Metal Exchange were named as defendants in the lawsuit filed last week alleging anticompetitive behavior.

Aug 1, 2013

Washington prepares to send off FBI chief ‘Bobby Three Sticks’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI Director Robert Mueller was given the U.S. Justice Department’s highest award on Thursday at a ceremony a month before he completes what colleagues called a transformative tenure atop the nation’s largest investigative agency.

Mueller, 68, became FBI director one week before the September 11, 2001, attacks, and is due to retire when his term expires on September 4. He was dubbed “Bobby Three Sticks” because his full name is Robert Mueller III.

Aug 1, 2013

U.S. firearms bureau director confirmed, fulfilling Obama demand

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate on Wednesday
confirmed a director for the federal agency that regulates
firearms, fulfilling one of the demands President Barack Obama
made after the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting.

After a delay while lawmakers awaited the return of a
colleague who was flying in from North Dakota, senators voted
53-42 to install prosecutor Todd Jones as director of the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Jul 26, 2013

U.S. assures Russia Snowden won’t be tortured or executed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. security contractor Edward Snowden would not face the death penalty or be tortured and would have all the protections of the U.S. civilian court system if he were sent home, the chief U.S. prosecutor wrote in a letter to his Russian counterpart this week.

In the letter dated Tuesday July 23 and released on Friday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wrote that he sought to dispel claims about what would happen to Snowden if Russia handed him over to face charges of illegally disclosing government secrets about surveillance programs.

Jul 25, 2013

Obama administration declares new voter rights strategy

WASHINGTON/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Obama administration embarked on a new strategy on Thursday to challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race, an effort to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that freed states from the strictest federal oversight.

Attorney General Eric Holder vowed to start in Texas, a conservative stronghold where his Justice Department will ask a federal court for renewed power to block new election laws it says illegally discriminate against blacks and other minorities.

Jul 25, 2013

Justice Department wants renewed authority over Texas voting laws

WASHINGTON/PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Justice will ask a federal court to reinstate its authority over Texas voting laws, part of a new Obama administration strategy to challenge state and local election laws it says discriminate by race, Attorney General Eric Holder said on Thursday.

“This is the Department’s first action to protect voting rights following the Shelby County decision, but it will not be our last,” Holder said to a standing ovation at the annual conference of the National Urban League, a civil rights organization, which is meeting in Philadelphia.