Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend reading...

1. Jay Weaver keeps us informed on the Ben Kuehne case. Rumpole summarizes the article this way:
The Government was using an informant to feed Kuehne phony information that drug money was legitimate. They ought to hang their heads in shame for prosecuting this man.

2. Curt Anderson has this article, titled: "Huge Drug Euro Laundering Scheme Found." Here's the intro to the article:
Every day, American Airlines Flight 914 takes off from Bogota, Colombia, at 8:20 a.m. and touches down at the Miami airport at noon. In the jet's cargo hold are usually bags and bags of euros that investigators say are part of a huge $1.4 billion cocaine money-laundering scheme.Crime is happening right on schedule in Miami, almost every day, federal prosecutors say. But so far, despite nearly four years of investigation, they have apparently been unable to build a strong enough case to stop it.Instead, they are attacking the problem piecemeal. The U.S. Justice Department this week went to federal court in Miami seeking forfeiture of nearly $11 million seized last June and July by federal agents, who used drug-sniffing dogs to find cocaine residue on some of the cash.

3. And here's Vanessa Blum on a doctor charged in a prescription fraud case in which someone died. Could that death have been prevented?
Before a West Palm Beach resident died from a prescription drug overdose in June, federal agents received at least two warnings the man's doctor was prescribing drugs irresponsibly and perhaps illegally, according to court records.Dr. Ali Shaygan, 35, of Miami Beach was arrested Monday on charges he wrote prescriptions outside the scope of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. The 23-count indictment accuses Shaygan of causing the June 10 death last year of 29-year-old James "Brendan" Downey.Downey's older brother, Timothy Downey of Wellington, said his brother became addicted to painkillers after breaking his ankle in a 2005 car accident.

If a criminal defense lawyer made this call, he'd be in an awful lot of trouble:

"Dr. Shaygan is the doctor that prescribed them for him — prescribed whatever he wanted, it seemed," he said. "I think the best thing to happen for society at this point is to get him and every other doctor prescribing pills to these children off the street." Timothy Downey abruptly ended the interview saying he had received a call from someone in the U.S. Attorney's Office instructing him not to speak with reporters about the case.

More about the timing of the arrest:

A sworn affidavit from Agent Christopher Wells of the DEA detailing the investigation suggests authorities may have missed two chances to stop Shaygan from prescribing before Downey's death. The affidavit was filed Feb. 8 with an application to search Shaygan's Miami Beach condominium for pharmaceuticals, records, customer lists and other items

According to Wells, Shaygan was fingered in February 2007 by a drug suspect who said the doctor sold him prescriptions for large quantities of pain medication "with no medical examination."About a month later, authorities arrested a second drug suspect carrying one-half pound of methamphetamine and a prescription signed by Shaygan. The man said Shaygan would write him prescriptions "for any medication" he requested, Wells stated.Court records do not indicate how those tips were handled. What is clear is that after investigators linked Shaygan to Downey's death, the DEA launched an aggressive criminal inquiry that involved sending two undercover agents into Shaygan's Miami Beach office.


Anonymous said...


Why don't you report on Mr. Jimenez's involvement in this thing? For example: Mr. Jimenez suggests in an earlier post that:

"I find it amusing that these anonymous posters know about meetings I had or things I supposedly did in my capacity as US Attorney. They don't really know, and should check their dates."

A check of the dates reveals:

"Marcos Daniel Jiménez (Southern District of Florida) was appointed U.S. Attorney on August 5, 2002..."

That appointment falls squarely within the indictment's allegations:

Paragraph 6: December 2002, Ben hired by defense team

Paragraph 7: Between April and September of 2002, Ben drafted memos

Who can forget the articles from 2002-2003 that dealt with the Government's refusal to give any opinion propriety of taking the fees?

Of course, now we know, thanks to Jay Weaver's reporting that it appears the government was the source of the misinformation being provided to Ben as well as the "dirty" money. The question for you to get down to Jay is the classic, 'what did Marcos know' and 'when did he know it.'

Perhaps, as appears to be suggested by Mr. Jimenez, he was not aware of the undercover operation targeting subjects in the Southern District of Florida, relating to transactions originating and ending in the Southern District of Florida -- perhaps...but perhaps not.

Do we really want our public officials misleading upstanding members of our community? Do we really want those same officials to be able to later state: "I know that Ben and his attorneys will uphold the highest standards of our profession in the defense of this case" without anybody pointing out that the statement appears to be yelled from atop the apex of hypocrisy?

But, the question goes beyond simply scrutinizing the actions of one of the then most powerful political officials in South Florida - it relates directly to innocence of Ben.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jiminez's brother play a rather prominent role in the 2000 recount? Isn't that why he, as well as many other attorneys from Southern Florida, landed up in plum jobs in the Bush Administration in DC? What about all of the other Republican lawyers from Miami involved? Did any of them have positions in the Bush Administration in which they could have influenced this case? Have any of them been associated with other instances of smearing innocent people?

The answer to several of the above questions is YES.

By the way, someone should really ask the former US Attorney about a politically sensitive case he declined to pursue in which immediate family members of a Republican attorney who worked on the 2000 recount were involved. And how he neglected to notice that some of the same people involved in that case were also involved in the ES Bankest case.

Anonymous said...

There is a simple solution here. DOJ wants to hold Ben accountable for what he knew or should have known. So would the AUSA's or USA's who knew or should of known what was going on please come forward?