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Corruption

NEWS
April 30, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
On Facebook, Philadelphia Police Officer Sean O'Malley has described the federal corruption trial of six of his drug squad colleagues as a "kangaroo court. " He can't wait, he wrote, to see his brothers in blue set free. And as he took the stand as a defense witness Tuesday, he aimed to deflate the most damning allegations against them. The $13,800 prosecutors said the indicted officers stole from a West Philadelphia home? O'Malley said he was the one who seized the money. The meth peddler in the Northeast who accused the drug squad of framing him?
NEWS
April 27, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
For four weeks, federal prosecutors have challenged the choices of six members of an elite Philadelphia police drug squad and accused them of pocketing drug money and trampling on suspects' rights. But as defense lawyers opened their case Friday, it was their turn to object to the FBI's methods. Moving through nine witnesses at a whirlwind clip, lawyer Jack McMahon left no decision made by federal investigators unquestioned. Why, McMahon asked, did agents wait until after indicting the officers to interview police supervisors who witnessed operations the FBI has since flagged as suspicious?
NEWS
April 18, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
He is a self-described dirty cop with a suicide attempt in his past and a history of poor job performance, emotional instability, and lying under oath. The question now before for a jury is: Can anything former Philadelphia Police Officer Jeffrey Walker says be believed? Walker - the government's star witness in the federal corruption trial of six of his former narcotics squad colleagues - finished his testimony Thursday after three grueling days on the stand. By the end, the 46-year-old was clearly exhausted, his shoulders slumped and his head in his hands.
NEWS
April 17, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
His cross-examination should have been brutal. Defense lawyers had called Jeffrey Walker everything from "an amoral creep" to a "despicable, rotten liar. " On the witness stand, he called their clients bullies and fellow rogue cops. But as the 46-year-old disgraced narcotics investigator turned star government witness withstood intense questioning from the defense Wednesday, he responded with a surprisingly honest admission. "I was a thief and a liar before," he said of his time on the Philadelphia Police Department's Narcotics Field Unit.
NEWS
April 7, 2015 | By Sarah Smith, Inquirer Staff Writer
Years before he was one of Philadelphia's dirtiest cops, Jeffrey Walker was a hero. In fall 1998, Walker specialized in drug busts for West Philadelphia's 16th Police District. On the streets, his aggressive work as an undercover cop and his appearance - tall, fit, with dreadlocks - earned him a nickname from drug dealers: Batman. Like any Batman, Jeffrey Walker had a Robin: his partner, Officer Brian Reynolds. In the tough Mantua neighborhood Batman and Robin patrolled that fall, three dealers found an easy way to get rid of the duo. One of the three would get $4,000 to kill them.
NEWS
April 4, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
Responding to one of the longest-awaited indictments in the annals of political skulduggery, Sen. Robert Menendez declared this week that federal prosecutors "don't know the difference between friendship and corruption. " But the charges suggest it's Menendez who has trouble with that distinction. The New Jersey Democrat's indictment on bribery and other counts depicts his relationship with a Florida eye surgeon, Salomon Melgen, as so mutually lucrative that it does not fit any commonly accepted definition of mere friendship.
NEWS
April 3, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) was indicted on 14 counts of federal corruption Wednesday, accused of using his office to help a donor who had lavished him with gifts, including numerous flights on a private jet, a stay in a five-star Paris hotel, and vacations at a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic. In exchange, Menendez, 61, allegedly pressed high-ranking federal officials on issues important to the business and personal affairs of the donor, South Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen.
NEWS
March 19, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Federal prosecutors on Tuesday shed another problematic witness against six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused in gang-style beatings and robberies of drug suspects, prompting renewed calls from defense lawyers that the entire case should be tossed. Citing "contradictions" in his story, prosecutors withdrew all charges stemming from the grand jury testimony of Christian Cirigliano, a South Philadelphia man who said the accused officers kicked in his door and stole $3,200 from him on March 7, 2010.
NEWS
March 8, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck and Mark Fazlollah, Inquirer Staff Writers
It was one of the more stunning allegations in an indictment filled with tales of eye-opening bad behavior by a group of six Philadelphia narcotics officers accused of trampling on the rights of drug suspects for years: In 2011, the group, allegedly led by Officer Thomas Liciardello, savagely beat machine shop owner Warren Layre after forcing their way into his West Mount Airy storefront. Liciardello, prosecutors say, kicked in Layre's teeth, and other officers shoved their feet in his groin and hit his head with a steel bar - all before stealing nearly $30,000 from him that they failed to report as seized.
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