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State Senator indicted on 
conspiracy and theft charges
    A federal grand jury recently returned an indictment charging a state senator with conspiracy and theft crimes, announced Acting United States Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch.
    Joining Lemisch in the announcement were David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Manny Muriel, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation.
     Charged was Bertram Johnson, Jr., 43, of Highland Park, Michigan
    The two-count indictment charges that from approximately March 2014 through January 2015, Johnson, Jr., a Senator for the State of Michigan, conspired to commit theft, and did commit theft, of monies under the care, custody, and control of the State of Michigan.
     "(The) indictment is an unfortunate reminder that public officials sometimes squander the public’s trust in exchange for personal gain", said David P. Gelios, Special Agent in Charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. “Rooting out public corruption at all levels of government is an investigative priority of the FBI.”
  According to the indictment, Johnson borrowed thousands of dollars in cash from an unnamed co-conspirator, and later placed that co-conspirator on the public payroll as a member of his staff, knowing that the co-conspirator was a “ghost employee” who contributed no work on behalf of Johnson’s staff. The indictment alleges that Johnson placed this “ghost employee” on the public payroll solely to pay off Johnson’s personal loan debt, and that the ghost employee was paid over $23,000 in taxpayer money.
    “Senator Johnson’(s alleged actions abused the trust of his constituents and amounted to simple theft,” said IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge Manny Muriel of the Detroit Field Office. “It is in these cases that the IRS takes particular interest in individuals, allegedly abusing the power they have been entrusted with – for their own personal benefit. This investigation exemplifies interagency collaboration and the United States’ commitment to combat the abuse of power and to elevate transparency and accountability
  This case was investigated by agents of the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys J. Michael Buckley and Frances Carlson.
    If convicted on all charges, Johnson faces a statutory maximum penalty of ten years in prison.
An indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters to receive award at NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner
PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA, 43rd District) will receive the Detroit Branch NAACP's James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 62nd Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner. The Dinner will take place on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 5 pm at Cobo Conference and Convention Center in Detroit. In addition to honoring Congresswoman Waters, Jane C. Garcia, Board Chair, LASED will receive the Ida B. Wells Freedom and Justice Award.
     U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) will serve as this year's Keynote speaker. Additional honorees include Sally Yates, former U.S. Attorney General, who will receive the Mary Church Terrell Freedom and Justice Award; and Great Expectations Awardees -- Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Vice President, Detroit Public Schools Community District School Board and the Eastern Michigan University Black Student Union and NAACP Chapter. 
     There will also be a special tribute to women performed by the Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner Youth Entertainment Corp. All women attendees to the 62nd Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner are encouraged to wear white.
     "We are excited to honor Congresswoman Waters with the James Weldon Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award," says Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, President, Detroit Branch NAACP. "Her career of public service has been dedicated to speaking truth to power and we applaud her for not backing down and continuing to be a much needed voice and advocate for all. We are also please to uplift LASED Board Chair Jane Garcia. She remains steadfast and vigilant in working for justice for our Latino brothers and sisters. The place to be on Sunday April 23 is the 62nd Annual Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner to hear from this powerful line up speakers and awardees committed to freedom and justice."
Kim Jong-un says North Korea is on ‘the
brink of war’ with the U.S.
By Charles White 
  Kim Jong-un has said North Korea is on the ‘brink of war’ with America in response to growing tensions between the two countries.
     The hermit nation’s ambassador to Moscow has said it was prepared to ‘the most ruthless blow’ in a war with the USA for even the ‘smallest provocation’.
     It is understood that after President Trump ordered a strike against al-Assad’s Syria this week, North Korea has become concerned.
     Communist leaders in the North are believed to view Assad as a key ally in their decades long struggle with the west.
     The ambassador to Moscow, Kym Jyong-Jun, said: ‘Our army has already said that if there will be even the smallest provocation from the United States during exercises, we are ready to deliver the most ruthless blow.’
  Previously the nation labeled the bombing of an airfield linked with the gassing of children an ‘unforgivable act of aggression’ that showed its decision to develop nuclear weapons was ‘the right choice a million times over’.
  Kim and Assad have previously exchanged messages of warm wishes and pledges of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
     Tensions in the Korean peninsula are already heightened because an American Navy strike group is moving to Western allies in the region.
     The strike group, called Carl Vinson, includes an aircraft carrier and will make its way from Singapore toward the Korean peninsula, according to the official.
     ‘We feel the increased presence is necessary,’ the anonymous official said, citing North Korea’s worrisome behavior.
     Earlier this month North Korea tested a liquid-fueled Scud missile which only traveled a fraction of its range.
     Kim, the dictator, has been hinting that an intercontinental ballistic missile test or something similar could be coming, possibly as soon as April 15, the 105th birthday of North Korea’s founding president and celebrated annually as ‘the Day of the Sun.’
    Earlier this week U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met in Florida, where Trump pressed his counterpart to do more to curb North Korea’s nuclear program.

Mayors issue bipartisan call for immigration reform
EINPresswire.com/ -- WASHINGTON, DC 
Through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, 
101 mayors from 33 states are jointly call-
ing on Congress to fix the nation's broken 
immigration system by passing bipartisan 
comprehensive immigration reform legisla-
     From cities large and small, the mayors  
have signed a bipartisan letter urging 
members of both the U.S. House of Repre-
sentatives and the Senate to enact com-
prehensive immigration reform that 
• Strengthen our borders while assuring 
that state and local law enforcement re-
mains focused on community policing;
• Establish a streamlined visa process to 
efficiently process seasonal, agricultural, 
lesser-skilled and high skilled workers;
• Provide a uniform system of employment 
verification; and Implement a framework 
that enables people of goodwill currently 
living in the shadows to come out and fully 
pursue the American dream.
    The letter also indicates the mayors' 
support for bipartisan efforts that would 
grant temporary protected status to shield 
from deportation, undocumented immi-
grants who came here as children, many of 
whom have known no home other than the 
United States of America. Building on the 
Mayors' Day of Immigration Action held on 
March 21st, the letter tells Congress that 
"in the absence of federal immigration 
reform, mayors and their cities continue 
to seek strategies to protect the safety of 
all their residents while ensuring that local 
law enforcement is focused on community 
   It also notes that "all mayors have taken oaths to uphold the law and defend the 
Constitution," and that "mayors of cities 
big and small across the nation, in con-
junction with local law enforcement, are 
committed to ensuring that all criminals, 
regardless of their immigration status, are 
properly adjudicated by the criminal jus-
tice system."
   "While we work diligently on building 
and preserving the trust of all the commu-
nities we serve, our local law enforcement 
has a long history of working in coopera-
tion with federal authorities to make our 
communities safe," it continues.
     "The United States Conference of May-
ors has called for bipartisan immigration 
reform for many years," noted Tom Co-
chran, USCM CEO and Executive Director. 
"Mayors have a ground level understanding 
of the pressing economic and moral imper-
atives that necessitate working in a bipar-
tisan manner to begin fixing our 
immigration laws. The nation's Mayors 
stand together and committed to working 
with Congress and the new Administration 
in a bipartisan manner to fix our immigra-
tion system to ensure that our communi-
ties are safe while allowing all of our 
residents to thrive."
     To read the full text of the letter, visit 
    The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.