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Corruption

NEWS
May 29, 2015 | By Bob Ford, Inquirer Columnist
When a city in the United States would like to host something as large as the Super Bowl or something as relatively modest as the USA Swimming national championships, that city puts together a bid package it hopes will be a winner in the competition against other cities vying to host the same event. The bid contains incentives, which could range from very reasonable accommodation and transportation arrangements during the event, to donations to development programs, to whatever else might make for a successful bid. It would be standard that officials of the organization that controls the event would visit the various bid cities to study the facilities and infrastructure of the bids, and would be treated very well while visiting.
NEWS
May 16, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Six members of an elite Philadelphia narcotics squad were acquitted Thursday of federal corruption charges - a verdict the men described as "vindication" after nearly a decade of federal scrutiny surrounding their conduct. A jury of six men and six women took 51/2 days to reject prosecutors' arguments that former Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman, and John Speiser routinely beat and robbed drug suspects during their time as members of the Narcotics Field Unit.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
A City Hall legal drama years in the making drew to a quiet close Wednesday as a federal judge accepted prosecutors' decision to dismiss their public corruption case against a top aide and two supporters of former Philadelphia City Councilman Jack Kelly. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno had scheduled a new trial to begin for Kelly's former chief of staff, Christopher Wright; lawyer Andrew Teitelman; and developer Ravinder Chawla in August. But earlier this week, prosecutors moved to withdraw the case, citing "new witness-related developments due to the passage of time which lead the government to believe it can no longer prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | BY MORGAN ZALOT & BOB STEWART, Daily News Staff Writers zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
SIX EX-NARCOTICS officers accused of going rogue and robbing suspected drug dealers during a six-year reign of terror walked out of federal court yesterday as free men after a jury acquitted them of all charges at the end of a six-week trial. Relatives of the former Narcotics Field Unit cops - Thomas Liciardello, 38; Michael Spicer, 47; Brian Reynolds, 43; Perry Betts, 47; Linwood Norman, 47; and John Speiser, 42 - packed into the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno to hear the verdict, which came just after 11 a.m. They erupted into cheers and tears of joy after the jury foreman answered "not guilty" to each of the 26 counts against the men. Some of the officers faced more counts than others, but the charges against them included racketeering conspiracy, robbery, use of excessive force and falsifying police reports.
NEWS
May 14, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Federal jurors deliberating the fate of six members of an elite Philadelphia narcotics squad said Tuesday that they were at "an impasse on one or more counts. " The six-man, six-woman panel alerted U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno of their stalemate in a note just after 2:30 p.m. - about 20 hours into their discussions. The judge sent them back instructions to keep trying to reach a unanimous verdict. "Although it may seem like an eternity, it has only been 31/2 days of deliberations," Robreno told them.
NEWS
May 13, 2015 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) filed Monday to move his federal corruption trial from New Jersey to the District of Columbia, his lawyer arguing that nearly all the events at issue took place there and that the vast majority of key witnesses live or work in the capital. The filing also says holding the case in New Jersey could disrupt the functioning of the federal government, since at least three other senators cited in the indictment will "likely be called as witnesses" and numerous congressional aides, cabinet secretaries, and other high-ranking officials could be called.
NEWS
May 11, 2015 | BY MORGAN ZALOT, Daily News Staff Writer zalotm@phillynews.com, 215-854-5928
AFTER A DAY and a half of deliberations, a jury of six women and six men tasked with deciding the corruption case against six ex-narcotics cops left U.S. District Court yesterday without a verdict. The jurors are to decide whether to convict Officers Thomas Liciardello, 38, Brian Reynolds, 43, Michael Spicer, 47, Perry Betts, 47, Linwood Norman, 47, and Michael Speiser, 42, on various counts related to allegations that they threatened and robbed drug dealers, and falsified paperwork while working in a narcotics squad.
NEWS
May 8, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
The federal corruption case against six members of an elite Philadelphia police narcotics squad will head to a jury Thursday, after a second day of closing arguments in which the defense team lauded its clients as heroes and likened the officers' accusers to "a freak show to end all. " Their speeches Wednesday ranged from indignant jeremiads - condemning the FBI for an "unconscionable" investigation - to sentimental paeans extolling the bravery of...
NEWS
May 7, 2015 | By Jeremy Roebuck, Inquirer Staff Writer
Lawyers on both sides of the federal corruption trial of six members of an elite Philadelphia Police Department narcotics squad finally found on Tuesday - the day they began their closing arguments - a point on which they could agree: The decision in this case, they told jurors, should be easy. It would be "absurd," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Maureen McCartney, to believe that a disgraced former police officer and 19 drug suspects independently came up with the same detailed lies about a series of police abuses.
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