Thursday, June 21, 2007

ED NORRIS: THE GENESIS OF DEBORAH JEANE PALFREY'S LEGAL PREDICAMENT?



Washington D.C./Baltimore, Maryland--"The criminal charges in this indictment are the result of a joint investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division and the United States Attorney's Office.

This case was prosecuted by Steven H. Levin and Jason M. Weinstein," states the June 21st, 2004 press release from the U.S. Attorney's office for the District of Maryland. This was the summation into the embezzlement from "the Supplemental Account" by former Baltimore police commissioner Edward T. Norris and his former Chief of Staff, John Stendrini. At this same time, the investigation into "DC Madam" Deborah Jeane Palfrey had begun, according to court documents.

The money that Norris and Stendrini embezzled was--ostensibly--used to spend on "girlfriends" (probably prostitutes he was simply ferrying to prominent clients), nights out at fine restaurants, and vacations. The case was brought forward by U.S. Attorney Thomas DiBiagio. What's interesting here is that you have a joint investigation by these three departments of government in a fashion that strongly resembles their (with different players) investigation into Deborah Jeane Palfrey.

Question: does Ms. Palfrey get her own radio show in Vallejo after her trial? Sure, that happens to everyone after serving time in a federal prison. Like Ollie North, Ed Norris has his own talk radio show out of the town he disgraced, through WHFS (owned by the very right-leaning Viacom/CBS). How does this happen? You have to have powerful friends in the right places--like then (2004) Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley, and even former GOP governor Bob Ehrlichman, Jr. You couldn't have a better friend than one who does this:
For some observers, O'Malley hasn't been quick enough to switch commissioners. The mayor didn't waste any time getting rid of Daniel. But O'Malley stuck by Norris when The Sun first questioned his use of a departmental expense account, calling the commissioner a good cop but a poor accountant. The mayor resisted calls for an independent investigation and narrowly limited the scope of the audit eventually conducted for the city. [my emphasis] O'Malley seemed heartbroken when Norris left the Baltimore job of his own accord to lead the Maryland State Police. Only later, when Norris was indicted on federal corruption charges, did O'Malley say he felt "betrayed" by Norris' behavior. (Baltimore Sun, 11.11.2004)
And O'Malley's poor-judgement would continue, until he was rewarded with the office of Governor on January 17th of 2007. O'Malley's still making poor decisions on who should lead the Maryland Police as superintendent, just as he did in choosing Ed Norris as police commissioner. Running parallel with O'Malley's rise--and former GOP Governor Bob Ehrlich's and Norris's descent--is the case of Ms. Palfrey.

Limiting the scope of any investigation should raise some alarms, and it most certainly has in the state of Maryland with Norris, while somehow O'Malley has survived unscathed. When then mayor Martin O'Malley fired police commissioner Kevin P. Clark in November of 2004 (after Norris's departure as a convict), Baltimore had had four commissioners in five years. Martin O'Malley doesn't have a good record overseeing his responsibilities governing local law enforcement (or the federal ones operating in his state).

There's always something missing in the picture: "Thomas DiBiagio, who was the U.S. Attorney back in 2004, up in Baltimore, was trying to bring down [Robert] Ehrlich who was the Republican governor of Maryland, and tie him in with all of Jack Abramoff's shenanigans, the mob, and the whole push for [legal] gambling," states Jeane Palfrey. She tells me it has taken "many months" for her to come upon these tendrils. "Is this partisan?" I ask her.
The story that unfolds isn't unfamiliar, and she continues in more detail: "Now, I think what happened here is that Thomas DiBagio--who I have been told is no angel--was out to get Bob Ehrlich[, Jr.], Ed Norris, Jack Abramoff--[to stop] all these corrupt players out to push gambling in Maryland. We all know what Jack Abramoff was about. ...He was playing with the mob, he was playing with the governor [Ehrlich], and I think Thomas DiBiagio was out to get him. ...It's well-documented." Indeed, it is, and DiBiagio has been very vocal about his firing in recent months, tying his "departure" directly to the current U.S. Attorney scandal.
As in those cases, there are conflicting accounts of the circumstances that led to Mr. DiBiagio’s ouster. The Justice Department disputes his version. His office had been looking into whether associates of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. had improperly funneled money from gambling interests to promote legalized slot machines in Maryland. Mr. DiBiagio said that several prominent Maryland Republicans had pressed him to back away from the inquiries and that one conversation had so troubled him that he reported it to an F.B.I. official as a threat. But he said that the Justice Department had offered little support and that that made it “impossible for me to stay.” (New York Times, 03.06.2007)
Palfrey continues onto Edward T. Norris, the aforementioned former police commissioner of Baltimore, citing some important similarities in investigatory procedure between their cases--it seems federal investigators were paying visits to Norris's father (he signed a mortgage on Norris's home, making him technically culpable), and hanging a 30 year sentence over his head. IRS investigator Troy Burrus and Postal Inspector Maria Cuvillon (phonetic) visited Ms. Palfrey's mother at her Florida home, perhaps wanting to entrap her into making similar admissions that Jeane had bought her...anything.
The New York Times makes an interesting assertion in the DiBiagio article, that "[the] investigation appears to have ended after Mr. DiBiagio left office in January 2005." (ibid) Has it? How would anyone in the public know this without an FOIA request?
"In May of 2004, Ed Norris pleas out to six months. That's a mighty big drop from 30 years to six months.This is what I think happened: I think that Thomas DiBiagio took Ed Norris's plea deal..., and part of the plea agreement was to offer up people on the platter. I believe I was one of those people, and possibly Brandy Britton was one of those people." Palfrey contends that she could be "queen for the day" in a case where DiBiagio was attempting all these things, as well as catching "bad actor" agents within Baltimore's U.S. Attorney's office, specifically FBI agents gone criminal.
This might be where the Jonathan Luna connection comes in. She believes she could be the "lead witness" in what's a submerged conflict between political elements, the mob, the FBI (both "good" and "bad" actors), and sundry other elements that could be on her remaining phone records (like the other nine years). [Ed.-'AS WELL AS 2002 TO 2006 – THE YEARS ABC INVESTIGATED, BUT CHOSE NOT TO REPORT,' states Palfrey in a June 21st e-mail to myself].
Did DiBiagio tip off IRS agent Troy Burrus about Palfrey via Norris? Mr. Burrus should answer this question in a court room, and soon. www.crippledchimp.com has some interesting observations dating-back to May 12th:
The murder of [assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan] Luna and the firing of DiBiagio eliminated the threat that the well-heeled customers of the DC/Baltimore prostitution ring, many of them GOP stalwarts, would be exposed prior to the December 2004 presidential election [Ed.-'AND THE 2006 ELECTION – HENCE THE RATIONALE FOR THE VISIT TO CALIFORNIA, LAST OCTOBER,' writes Ms. Palfrey in the same e-mail]. The attempt by Justice prosecutors and Judge Kessler to limit the criminal case to Palfrey continues the effort to punish the DC Madam and her employees and divert attention away from the customers. In May 2004, at the same time Norris and his chief of staff agreed to a plea deal in the prostitution case and received light semtences, Palfrey came under intense federal investigation.
Throwing in Jack Abramoff to this mix broadens its scope, with potential leads to the Justice Department under one Alberto Gonzales, a man appointed by one George W. Bush. But then, the very investigators into the case provide a route to the embattled Gonzales and Bush administration anyway. Their backgrounds seem to portend an outing as "Bushies," totally obedient to the GOP and the Bush administration's agendas.
Without any doubt, this case is patently political--it's not about prostitution, a tangential-link in an almost overwhelming web of corruption, deceit, bribery/graft, and even the murder of an assistant U.S. Attorney. Another feature of the Ehrlich investigation that resembles the so-called investigation into Ms. Palfrey: the use of grand jury subpoenas. Regardless of the killing of ABC's 20/20 segment, Deborah Jeane Palfrey is caught in the middle of a political war. More later.

The US DOJ's June 21st, 2004 press release on their plea deal with the convicted ex-Baltimore City police commissioner, Edward T. Norris: http://www.usdoj.gov/tax/usaopress/2004/txdv04Norris-StendriniSentencePR.pdf
The Baltimore Sun on Ed Norris & Martin O'Malley, 11.11.2004: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/news/hits/041111bs.htm

An article on the love between former Gov. Bob Ehrlich and current Gov. Martin O'Malley (Washington Post, 10.25.2006): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/24/AR2006102401699.html



Ed.--Revised on Ed. notes June 25th, 2007.