The Chicago Syndicate

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Judge with Distinquished History, Including with Jeff Fort El Rukn Trial and Mob Hitman Harry Aleman Retrial, Denied Endorsement by Democratic Party, in Reputed Retaliation Over Jussie Smollett Fake #MAGA Attack Case

The Cook County Democratic Party on Monday voted not to endorse the judge who ordered a special prosecutor to investigate how State's Attorney Kim Foxx's office prosecuted charges that actor Jussie Smollett staged a hate crime against himself.

The Tribune reported Cook County Democrats led by Foxx's former boss, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, voted to not endorse Toomin, citing an investigation of his record on overseeing the juvenile justice division, and not the Smollett case.

Toomin cited "unprecedented irregularities" in Foxx's handling of the Smollett case. He appointed former U.S. Attorney Dan Webb as a special prosecutor to investigate. Webb found Foxx and her office abused its prosecutorial discretion and lied to the public, but didn't commit crimes.

On Monday, Toomin issues a statement saying the Democratic Party "ignored 40 years of distinguished service and sought retribution" related to the Smollett case, according to published reports.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, said she was "deeply concerned" about the party's decision. "The optics of this are terrible it looks like retaliation. Not something we should have in this time and I'm deeply concerned about it," the mayor said at an unrelated news conference Monday.

Toomin has a long history handling high-profile cases. In 1988, he sentenced El Rukn gang leader Jeff Fort to 75 years in prison for murder. Toomin ordered a new trial for Chicago Outfit hitman Harry Aleman after it was determined he was acquitted on murder charges after a judge handling the case was bribed. Aleman was convicted and died in prison.

The Smollett case wasn't the first time Toomin ordered Webb to investigate whether political connections in the State's Attorney's office had stood in the way of justice.

In 2012, Toomin ordered a special prosecutor to investigate whether law enforcement officials suppressed evidence to impede the investigation of the death of David Koschman.

Ultimately, Webb indicted former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew Richard J. "R.J." Vanecko of delivering the punch that led to Koschman's death. Vanecko ultimately pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter.

The Cook County Democrats also decided not to endorse Judge Mauricio Araujo, who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Among the judges that did win the party's support was Judge Jackie Portman-Brown, who was caught on video locking up a 10-year old girl in a courthouse jail cell earlier this year to teach her a lesson. Portman-Brown was placed on administrative duty following the incident.

Thanks to Mark Konkol.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Latin King Alonzo Horta Sentenced to 27 Years in Prison on Murder and Racketeering Conspiracy Charges #LatinKings

A member of a violent Chicago street gang has been sentenced to 27 years in federal prison for engaging in a pattern of racketeering activity that included murder.

ALONZO G. HORTA, 23, of Hammond, Ind., pleaded guilty to the federal charges earlier this year. U.S. District Judge Virginia M. Kendall imposed the sentence, after a hearing in federal court in Chicago.

Horta admitted in a plea agreement that he conspired with leadership of the Latin Kings street gang to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity that included using violence and intimidation to protect the gang’s purported territory in Chicago. Horta admitted murdering Alfonso Calderon on the Southeast Side of the city on April 9, 2017, because Horta suspected that Calderon was a member of a rival gang. Horta was joined by two fellow members of the Latin Kings when they confronted him, and he fatally shot Calderon in order to advance the activities of the Latin Kings.

Horta was indicted in 2018 along with more than 30 other alleged members of the Latin Kings. The indictment charged numerous acts of violence allegedly committed by the gang’s members, including murder, attempted murder, and arson. Law enforcement uncovered the criminal activity through an investigation led by the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

The sentence was announced by John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; Emmerson Buie, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Office of the FBI; and David Brown, Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department. Valuable assistance was provided by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and the Hammond, Ind., Police Department.

“Acting through the gang’s manifesto and constitution, members of the Latin Kings have infested the Southeast Side of Chicago and elsewhere with violence, drug-dealing, and witness intimidation,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys John D. Cooke, Ashley A. Chung, Brian J. Kerwin, and Grayson S. Walker argued in the government’s sentencing memorandum. “It is vital to communicate to the Southeast Side of Chicago and the rest of the district that carrying and using a gun can land you in federal prison for a long time, and that shooting a person to death will keep you in prison for decades.”

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Mafia Boss Goes Hannibel Lecter on Prison Guard

A Sicilian Mafia boss serving a life sentence for killing an investigator was so infuriated during a cell inspection inside his Rome prison that he bit off and swallowed a guard’s pinky finger, according to reports.

Giuseppe Fanara, 60, who is locked up in the Rebibbia prison, attacked seven guards when they came to inspect his cell, the Guardian reported, citing the daily Il Messagero.

The cannibalistic Cosa Nostra crook is nine years into his sentence under Italy’s tough penal code reserved for mob bosses, who are isolated behind bars to prevent them from running their clans from inside the joint.

“During the altercation (Fanara) bit off the guard’s little finger on his right hand,” the Italian paper reported. “The finger disappeared, leading a Rome prosecutor to conclude it had been eaten.”

Fanara then charged the six other guards, using a broomstick as a weapon as he shouted: “I’ll slit your throats like pigs!”

He has since been transferred to Sardinia’s high-security Sassari prison, where he faces new charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest, according to the outlet.

Fanara was arrested in 1999 when police raided a mob conference, according to the Times of London.

At the time, he was on the lam after taking part in the murder of Giuliano Guazzelli, an investigator.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Social Injustice Protests Results in FBI Pulling Agents from Organized Crime Units #Portland

Portland, Oregon's FBI chief said Wednesday he is shifting the agency's resources to focus more heavily on the nightly racial injustice protests in Oregon's largest city that often end in vandalism, clashes with local police and dozens of arrests.

Special Agent in Charge Renn Cannon said he is pulling agents from fraud and organized crime teams to focus on "acts of violence and federal crimes" committed during nearly three months of unrest. The FBI respects the rights of peaceful protesters to assemble and demonstrate, but near nightly acts of violence and vandalism associated with the protests have created a dangerous and volatile situation, he said.

"We do investigate major threats of violence and federal crimes. And sometimes a major threat of violence is a cumulative threat that happens over a period of time. It starts to have a really negative impact on the community," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

"Here in Portland, we're ... making the assessment that we should be trying to do a little more than we have, because the cumulative effects and the nature of the problem indicate that the community needs help," Cannon said.

He declined to provide specifics about the numbers of agents being shifted to protest cases or which cases, or how many cases, the agency was investigating. The FBI has previously released wanted posters related to two incidents on May 29.

The announcement came as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler prepared to make a statement the day after protesters smashed windows and vandalized City Hall inside and out. Police made 23 arrests as they dispersed the crowd, officials said.

Demonstrators in the crowd of about 150 also threw bottles and eggs at police, put metal bars in the street to try to damage police vehicles and smashed a security camera on the City Hall building, police said in a statement. The statement said officers used "crowd control munitions" in response but did not say what kind.

The day before, local police used tear gas to repel protesters who repeatedly set fire to a police union headquarters building and arrested 25 individuals. And last weekend, protesters clashed violently in downtown streets for several hours with members of a right-wing group that showed up to confront them. Video recorded during the Saturday melee shows one man pointing a gun into the crowd, but no shots were fired.

Cannon declined to say if the FBI was looking into Saturday's events, but he said his agency does help local, state and federal law enforcement with "threat assessments" in situations such as those.

Portland has been gripped by nightly protests for nearly three months since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Demonstrators have repeatedly targeted police buildings, police union buildings, city and county offices and federal buildings with vandalism that includes setting fires, spraying graffiti and smashing windows and security cameras.

Some protesters want to eliminate or drastically reduce the city's police budget — saying the police protects property over Black lives — while the city's mayor and others in the Black community have decried the violence, saying it is counterproductive.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump renewed calls to have Gov. Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler call in the state's National Guard. "They must stop calling these anarchists and agitators 'peaceful protestors'. Come back into the real world! The Federal Government is ready to end this problem immediately upon your request," Trump wrote on Twitter.

Brown responded on Twitter to Trump's demand, calling it "political theater."

In July, Trump sent agents to protect federal property in downtown Portland, including a courthouse that was a target of protesters. Crowds grew into the thousands. Agents repeatedly clashed with people over a two-week period, deployed tear gas and arrested those they said were hurling objects and trying to hurt agents and damage property.

The American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Trump and other federal officials related to the agents' actions, alleging they used excessive force and illegal detentions to try to stamp out Black Lives Matter protests.

The agents pulled back from a visible presence downtown on July 31. But it's unclear how many remain in Portland.

The Oregon State Police, which took over policing the protests from the federal agents, left after the agreed upon two-week monitoring period. Portland police have continued to clash with protesters almost every night in August.

Thanks to Gillian Flaccus.

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