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Archive for the ‘Ben Petitto’ Category

By Rachel Aiken, Jayna Johns, Michael McGuire and Ben Petitto

Click the thumbnail images of the reporters to venture to their personal blog stories about their experiences in Washington so far.

Rachel Aiken

Rachel Aiken

Jayna Johns

Jayna Johns

Michael McGuire

Michael McGuire

Ben Petitto

Ben Petitto

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By Ben Petitto

A federal judge joined defense attorneys for 10 Colombian nationals today in trying to jumpstart a three-year-old case that accuses the men of running a drug cartel that allegedly sought to import thousands of kilograms of cocaine into the United States.

The defendants are charged with using stash houses, guns and boats in Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico to carry out their operation to bring drugs into the U.S.

The men were indicted in 2007, but the process of extraditing all 10 defendants to the United States was only recently completed and was complicated because it involved the Colombian Supreme Court.

Defense attorneys said they are worried that some of their clients have been held for almost three years, testing the limits of their Sixth Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution to a speedy trial.

U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said prosecutors need to “put their cards on the table” to move the case toward a trial, which he estimated could take at least three months next year. (more…)

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By Ben Petitto

As a U.S. Army helicopter pilot during the war in Vietnam, Allan Tanguay said he first began to believe that it was “my job and duty” to fight for America. But years later his devotion took on new meaning as he fought what he described as “Goliath,” the IRS.

Tanguay, 67, is on trial with four other men in federal court in Washington on charges that they defrauded the U.S. government by orchestrating tax defiance schemes to help taxpayers avoid paying income taxes.

According to testimony, American Rights Litigators, a Florida tax protest group, used a variety of reasons for taxpayers to avoid paying taxes, ranging from membership in an American Indian tribe to entitlement to reparations for slavery.

Acting as his own attorney, Tanguay told a jury in his opening statement today that he was fighting for what he believed—that the IRS is misusing federal law—and that he had not intended to defraud the U.S. government. (more…)

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By Ben Petitto

Pornographer John “Buttman” Stagliano wants to play in open court more than five hours of his movies so a jury won’t be biased by short clips taken out of context, his lawyers argued today in federal court in Washington.

“He’s entitled to know that a jury has viewed the whole film, not just trailers,” said H. Louis Sirkin, a Cincinnati-based defense attorney.

Stagliano, 58, his corporation Stagliano Inc., and his studio, Evil Angel Productions, face seven counts of knowingly transporting obscene matter for the purpose of sale and distribution. The charges deal with three movies, including “Milk Nymphos” and “Storm Squirters 2: Target Practice,” that Stagliano’s businesses produced and sold on the Internet and through the U.S. mail.

The case against Stagliano, a former porn star who writes, directs and produces porn films, also raises questions about the scope of the First Amendment’s protection of free speech, the definition of obscenity and the government’s efforts to police the multibillion-dollar industry. (more…)

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