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“Where’s my goddam money?”


Congressman William Jefferson took the stand yesterday and testified about the manner with which FBI agents interviewed him and searched his home early one morning in 2005 while his wife and daughter slept. He described a trip to the bathroom accompanied by an agent, “I said are you going to watch me pee and he said ‘yes.'” Referring to the $100,000. cash that Jefferson received from a government informant, $90,000. of which was later recovered from the freezer in his Capitol Hill home, he said an FBI agent yelled  at him “where’s my goddam money?”

Times-Picayune story here.

Sad story in DC


Banita Jacks was discovered on Wednesday by marshals serving eviction papers in a dark house, where the electricity had been turned off months ago, with the long decomposing bodies of her four children, ages 5, 6, 11 and 17.  What led to this horrible outcome is not yet clear, but it’s the worst local story I’ve covered in a long time.

Ms Jacks appeared before Magistrate Judge Karen Howze yesterday evening and was ordered held without bond until her next appearance on February 11.

Washington Post story here.

Indiana’s Voter ID, not what it seems to be


The Supreme Court heard arguments yesterday in a challenge to an Indiana law requiring voters to present a photo ID.  Purported to curb voter fraud, the law is a clearly partisan measure to discourage certain voters, the mostly Democrat, elderly poor, from casting their ballot. But the Justices, perhaps haunted by Bush v. Gore, avoided the political issue by questioning petitioner’s standing, and whether voter fraud was just “possible” rather than “likely”.

The sketch shows Paul Smith, attorney for the Democratic challengers, arguing his case before the Justices.

Dahlia Lithwick has the story here.

Court examines mechanics of lethal injection


The Supreme Court Justices focused on the mechanical details of lethal injection in their questions to the attorneys arguing before them in Baze v. Rees today. Some Justices suggested that the case should go back to the lower courts where more evidence could be gathered about alternative administration of drugs for execution, a possibility that Justice Scalia objected to because it could extend the nationwide moratorium on executions; “it could take years” he said.

The sketch shows the attorney for the Kentucky death-row inmates, Donald Verrilli, Jr., arguing before the Court.

Washington Post story is here.