A fellow federal prosecutor cautions not to read too much into last week's resignation of Terry Harris, United States attorney for the Western District of Tennessee.
Bud Cummins, U.S. attorney in Little Rock, was in the Class of 2001 along with Harris and 93 others. Cummins, 46, estimates that one-third of that group of prosecutors has moved on to other jobs, usually in the private sector.
Harris is going to work for FedEx. He declined comment Monday when asked about leaving office in the middle of the Tennessee Waltz investigation.
Cummins said the replacement process varies somewhat from state to state, but ultimately President Bush makes a recommendation.
"They do vet those choices pretty stringently," Cummins said.
If the first assistant gets the job at least on an interim basis, that would elevate Larry Laurenzi to Harris' spot.
Cummins, who spent several weeks in Memphis earlier this year as special prosecutor in the case of former Shelby County medical examiner O.C. Smith, said the Memphis office will be "in great shape if he is the one."
n The Stamford Advocate quotes Stamford mayor Dannel Malloy on the move of International Paper's headquarters from Connecticut to Memphis:
"For any state to throw away $15 million for 140 jobs is the height of lunacy. This deal has nothing to do with money. If Memphis is giving them $15 million, they are giving it away. There is no way 140 jobs are worth $15 million."
Well, how about 94 jobs?
Last week, the Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board, which approves tax breaks for corporations, granted International Paper a 15-year property tax freeze worth approximately $1 million a year as an incentive. The company will move 94 executives with a median income of $128,103 to Memphis from Stamford. International Paper is also expected to announce overall job cuts in Memphis.
n Rafat Mawlawi has spent four months in jail because federal authorities in Memphis think he is a flight risk and a possible terrorist sympathizer. His trial is scheduled for November. His case shows a stark difference between the United States and British legal systems.
To keep Mawlawi from being released on bond, prosecutors and FBI agents said he has ties to Osama bin Laden, presented pictures of Mawlawi shouldering a rocket launcher in Bosnia in 1997, and charged him with illegal possession of firearms. They told a judge that Mawlawi owns videos of gruesome war scenes, had $34,000 in cash in his house, and was preparing to move. That presentation was made in open court and reported by the Flyer.
As The Wall Street Journal reported last week, under British law, the news media can't report information that might prevent fair trials. Notably, the restriction applies to the suspects in the July 21st and July 7th London subway and bus bombings.