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"Breathing while being of Middle Eastern extraction"-Another Abusive Prosecution (Scott Horton)

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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-24-08 12:07 PM
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"Breathing while being of Middle Eastern extraction"-Another Abusive Prosecution (Scott Horton)
Edited on Sun Feb-24-08 12:14 PM by kpete
Another Abusive Prosecution by Alice Martin
BY Scott Horton
PUBLISHED February 24, 2008


And today I see some more. I have questioned the Birmingham Newss coverage of matters relating to U.S. Attorney Alice Martin for some time. A number of highly significant matters go unreported, and cases they do reportespecially those relating to highly politicized matters in which the News often actually appear to be clearing a path for Martinare not covered with a level of what I would call appropriate skeptical detachment. But today the News demonstrates that it is capable of reporting on the high problematic nature of Martins tenure as U.S. Attorney, and theyre to be congratulated on it. They give an account of a prosecution that Martin brought against a Huntsville entrepreneur, charged with violations of the Arms Export Control Act. It appears that the principal offense committed by the defendant, Alex Latifi, was breathing while being of Middle Eastern extraction. Here are the guts of the News account.

Like a modern-day Job, Alex Latifi can only sift through the ashes of what was once a prosperous life, and curse those who he says have tormented him without provocation. The workshops of his Huntsville defense contracting firm, Axion Corp., are empty. His machine tools, humming with government contracts since 1984, are mothballed. Once lauded by defense procurement officers for going above and beyond contract specifications, Axion Corp. is now a silent hulk of sheet metal buildings in what was once a cotton field on Huntsvilles northeast side. Legal fees have drained Latifis bank account.

It all began to disappearthe $4 million in annual sales, the 60 employeesin 2003. Thats when the U.S. attorneys office for the Northern District of Alabama showed up and accused Latifi, an Iranian-born U.S. citizen, of crimes that included violating the Arms Export Control Act. His main alleged offense: sending a schematic drawing of the Armys Black Hawk utility helicopter to a prospective subcontractor in China. His main accuser: a disgruntled employee who began informing on him only after she had stolen thousands of dollars and was facing prosecution for forging checks.

After four years of investigation and two raids by federal agents, none of the charges against Axion or Latifi stuck. U.S. District Judge Inge Johnson said the main witness lacked credibility. The Black Hawk drawings Latifi was accused of sending to China werent marked as classified, and his lawyers argued they were readily available for viewing on the Internet. And the technology is hardly a secret to China, which already owns more than 20 of the freight and troop transporters made by Stratford, Conn.-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. In October, after a seven-day trial in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, the judge dismissed the case. Johnson ruled there was no way federal prosecutors from Alice Martins U.S. attorneys office in Birmingham, were going to meet their burden of proof in the criminal trial.

One of the hallmarks of the case was the malicious nastiness that Martins office used towards her prey. The News reports: It was terrible, said Beth Latifi, Alexs wife. They treated us like terrorists. Pistols everywhere, trying to scare us.


What was the cost? Not just the psychological damage done to the victims of this malicious escapade that demonstrated a total failure of prosecutorial judgment. Think about the damage to the community resulting from the destruction of a business and the loss of 60 jobs. The conduct as described borders on criminal abuse of power.

more at:
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Richard Steele Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-24-08 12:09 PM
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1. Grrrecommended. nm
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Ichingcarpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-24-08 12:10 PM
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2. God I hate this regime
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-24-08 12:28 PM
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3. Damn. I though bush liked defense contractors. Maybe at one time
in his life he donated money to a Democratic campaign.
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pop goes the weasel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-24-08 01:28 PM
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4. borders on criminal abuse of power?
I'd say it is criminal abuse of power.
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