Thursday, October 20, 2016

Alycia Lane Settles Case With CBS, Larry Mendte

By Ralph Cipriano

The long-running legal battle is over between feuding former co-anchors Alycia Lane and Larry Mendte.

Back in 2008, Lane sued CBS, her former employer, and Michael Colleran, a former CBS president and general manager, for negligence for allowing Mendte to hack into her personal computer.

Mendte was named as a defendant in the suit filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. In the suit, Lane accused Mendte of unlawful interception of communications, invasion of privacy, and tortious interference with prospective contractual relations.

The case was scheduled to go to trial Friday until the parties reached a confidential settlement last week. The rest of the story can be read here.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Father James J. Brennan Sex Abuse Case Ends With A Whimper

By Ralph Cipriano

The district attorney's office has struck a deal with Father James J. Brennan, who was accused of the attempted rape 20 years ago of a teenage boy.

On Monday, Father Brennan, whose retrial was scheduled to begin Oct. 24th, pleaded no contest to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of simple assault, and was placed on two years probation.

"This case, which took six or seven years to resolve, ended with a whimper and not a bang because they made us an offer we couldn't refuse," said criminal defense lawyer William J. Brennan, no relation, who represented Father Brennan.

The case sure started with a bang. Back in 2011, the district attorney issued a grand jury report, still online, which stated eleven times that Father Brennan had anally raped 14-year-old Mark Bukowski back in 1996. It happened in the priest's apartment, on a night when the priest admitted he showed the boy pornography and then got into bed with him.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Pill Mill Doc Gets 30 Years

By George Anastasia

A federal judge sentenced pill mill doctor William J. O'Brien 3d to 30 years in prison today for running a multi-million dollar drug trafficking operation with the Pagans outlaw motorcycle gang and for contributing to the death of a patient by prescribing what authorities said was a "lethal' combination of pain medications.

O'Brien, jailed since his arrest in January 2015, showed little remorse during the two-hour hearing before Judge Nitza Quinones. On the contrary, the 51-year-old doctor, who had represented himself during a six-week trial that ended in June, insisted he was innocent and continued to rant against prosecutors and investigators who he said lied and fabricated evidence to build the case against him.

O'Brien was found guilty of 123 of the 127 counts he faced, including multiple counts of drug trafficking. He was also found guilty of money-laundering and lying in a bankruptcy proceeding.

"I don't show remorse because I did nothing wrong," he said in a statement to the court during  today's proceeding.

The Mob Goes Green

By George Anastasia

Not for nothing was Tony Soprano a "solid waste management consultant."

The mob, especially the mob in New Jersey, has always had a hand in the trash disposal/landfill business. But a recent examination by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation has
uncovered a new twist in the old game.

The mob has gone "green" -- as in recycling.

At the forefront of the latest foray, state investigators say, is a Florida-based businessman with ties to Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and to members of the Lucchese and Bonanno crime families in New York.

The rest of the story can be read here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Feds Seek Life Sentence For Pill Mill Doc

By George Anastasia

Calling him a "kingpin" who was motivated by "unbridled and amoral greed," federal prosecutors have asked for a life sentence for pill mill doctor William O'Brien who is to be sentenced tomorrow before U.S. District Court Judge Nitza Quinones.

O'Brien was convicted in June of running a multi-million dollar pill mill operation with members of the Pagans outlaw motorcycle gang. Among other things, he was also charged with sometimes foregoing the fee he would charge for writing a script in exchange for oral sex from female "patients."

"The depth and breadth of his criminality was astounding," Assistant U.S. Attorneys M. Beth Leahy and David Troyer wrote in a 28-page sentencing memo. O'Brien, who had medical offices in Philadelphia, Levittown and Bristol, represented himself during a six-week trial before Quinones that ended with his conviction on 123 of the 127 counts he faced, including causing the death of a patient by prescribing a lethal combination of drugs.

Monday, October 3, 2016

D.A.'s Office Explains Why They Let Mohammed & Fatboy Go Free

The D.A. Who Legalized Drug Dealing
By Ralph Cipriano

The District Attorney's Office, which has stonewalled this blog for four years, is suddenly talking about their decision to free a couple of accused drug dealers -- Mohammed and the Fatboy -- who got caught red-handed with 225 pounds of marijuana worth more than $2 million.

Here's what the D.A. had to say about dropping the charges against Mohammed and the Fatboy, along with some 800 other accused drug dealers previously arrested by former members of the Narcotics Field Unit South:

The DA's office is expected to seek justice, not just convictions. On occasion, that means we may be unable to pursue a case because of concerns about the trustworthiness of a particular witness. When that witness is a police witness, multiple cases may be affected. That is an unfortunate but essential element of our professional responsibility as prosecutors. Decisions of this sort are in no way unique to this office; federal officials have made similar determinations.

We waited four years for that? "Self-serving" and "disingenuous" was how one prominent criminal defense lawyer characterized it.

"The foundation in the D.A.'s office seems to be crumbling," said FOP President John McNesby. After he read the D.A.'s statement, McNesby expressed hope that Williams would lose his bid for reelection next year.

"Quite frankly, it's going to be a breath of fresh air" when Seth Williams is gone from the D.A.'s office, McNesby said. "Hopefully, we'll be dealing with someone with a clearer mind."

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

How Mohammed & The Fatboy Got Caught With 225 Pounds Of Marijuana But Beat The Rap [Thanks To D.A. Seth Williams]

By Ralph Cipriano

On Jan. 17, 2012, the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Field Unit South tailed a suspected drug dealer to a garage, where they confiscated 53 pounds of hydroponic marijuana with a street value of $481,240.

When the cops interviewed the suspect, Mohammed Samhan, 26, of Los Angeles, he decided to cooperate and give up another marijuana dealer. The cops subsequently raided the home of Kit "Fatboy" Poon, 41, of Northeast Philadelphia. This time, they confiscated 172 pounds of hydroponic marijuana with a street value of $1,565,420.

Faced with serious jail time, Poon decided that he too wanted to cooperate. He told the cops he knew about an even bigger future marijuana shipment due to arrive by tractor-trailer.

With the two accused drug dealers in custody, Lt. Robert Otto, supervisor of the narcs, called Chief Jan McDermott of the District Attorney's Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit, and requested that McDermott conduct "proffers" with both suspects. [A proffer is an interview where, in exchange for information about criminal activity, a prosecutor agrees not to use that information against the suspect.]

That's when the system broke down. Two confidential police memorandums obtained by Big Trial lay out the details of what's been described in court papers as a "petty and childish feud" between the narcs and the Philly D.A.'s office. It was an old fashioned turf battle over who sat in on proffers, which law enforcement agency would collect drug forfeiture money, and who got credit for major drug busts.

Seth Williams put an end to the feud when he announced, via a letter leaked to the media -- without a shred of evidence to back him up -- that the district attorney's office would no longer prosecute any drug cases involving Lt. Otto or five of his officers.  The narcs and their supervisor were subsequently transferred out of the narcotics unit.

Meanwhile, what happened to the two accused drug dealers who got caught red-handed with 225 pounds of marijuana worth more than $2 million? They were set free by the district attorney, along with 800 other suspects previously arrested by the narcs, in what amounted to a holiday for drug dealers.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Wiseguy's Guide To Saving Atlantic City

By George Anastasia

Paul D'Amato sat in the living room of his Ventnor home dressed in pajamas, slippers and a bathrobe.

It was about 3 o'clock on a spring afternoon in 1978. D'Amato said he had gotten up a few hours earlier. His body, after years of running one of the most popular joints in the city, was still on nightclub time.

The 500 Club, an Atlantic City landmark on Missouri Avenue, had burned down five years earlier, but "Skinny" D'Amato was used to getting up late.

It didn't take much to get him going. Within minutes, D'Amato was waxing nostalgically about what was and optimistically about what would be.

Resorts International was poised to open the first casino-hotel on the Boardwalk, the start of the grand experiment to rebuild the struggling resort. Caesars World and Bally's were waiting in the wings.

"It's gonna be a gold rush," D'Amato predicted, then corrected himself. "No, not gold. Platinum. That's better than gold."

Read the rest if the story here.


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