August 19th, 2010
10:47 AM ET

Thursday's intriguing people

Carla Del Ponte

The former lead prosecutor of the United Nation’s International War Crimes Tribunal is being investigated after allegations of wrongdoing.

According to a report in London’s Guardian newspaper, Del Ponte and two other Hague, Netherlands, prosecutors were accused in June of harassing witnesses, taking bribes and using tainted evidence while pursuing war-crimes cases. While Hague officials immediately came to her defense, an independent inquiry over the next six months will assess the case. If the evidence is shown to be conclusive, it will be the first time in 17 years that a lead prosecutor will face contempt-of-court charges, reports said.

Del Ponte served at Hague from 1999-2007 and is currently the Swiss ambassador to Argentina. In 2009 she released a memoir, “Madame Prosecutor,” which includes accounts of her case against former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and dozens of others for war crimes in the Balkans.

The Guardian: Carla Del Ponte investigated over illegal evidence

BBC News: Carla Del Ponte profile

Xavier Alvarez

A U.S. Circuit court of appeals ruled Tuesday that the federal Stolen Valor act is unconstitutional. As a result the court said Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, California, was within his First Amendment right to lie about his military service and about receiving the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor.

According to the Air Force Times, Alvarez addressed the Three Valleys Water Board in Claremont, California, and said: “I’m a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional [sic] Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.” His remarks were recorded and submitted to authorities.

He was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which became federal law in 2006. The act prohibits anyone from lying about receiving military commendations.

Attorneys for Alvarez arranged a plea bargain on the stipulation that the plea be dropped if a court determined the act violated free speech. He was then sentenced to more than 400 hours of community service at a Veterans hospital and fined $5,000, reported the Whittier Daily News.

Alvarez is in prison for a crime unrelated to his Stolen Valor conviction. He was found guilty of defrauding the water board.

Whittier Daily News: Medal of Honor law unconstitutional

Air Force Times: Man convicted of falsely claiming medal

Sarodj Bertin

Bertin, the daughter of an assassinated human rights attorney, will be the first Miss Haiti to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in 22 years. Bertin is the daughter of the late Mireille Durocher Bertin, who had planned to run for Haiti’s presidency in 1995.

When Bertin was 9 years old, she witnessed her mother’s murder and was sent away to the Dominican Republic where she grew up in exile, AOL News reported. There, Bertin learned four languages. She is now a human rights lawyer, as well.

Bertin was named Miss Haiti in July at a hastily arranged contest held the capital of in Port au Prince, according to the online news source Tonic, The contest was organized by a Puerto Rican beauty pageant executive who felt Haiti needed a morale boost after its earthquake earlier this year.

“It is a privilege and an honor. I need to let the world know about my country,” Bertin told AOL’s Celestrellas column earlier this week. “I want to change what people think about Haiti. Yes, we have poverty, we are in the middle of a crisis, but we also have so many beautiful things to share."

Celestrellas: A country's hope can be found in a smile

Tonic: Beauty queen becomes first Miss Haiti in 22 years

Erik Prince

The founder of the security contractor Blackwater Worldwide has moved to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, according to recent report in the New York Times. While he faces no criminal charges, Erik Prince has faced civil suits and the sale of his company, which has made hundreds of millions of dollars off the U.S. Government since 2001, the Times said.

Approximately 12 Blackwater employees have either been indicted or are under investigation for charges ranging from conspiracy to the murder of both Iraqi and Afghanistan civilians.  Said one colleague of Prince: "He just needs a break from America."

New York Times: Blackwater founder moves to Abu Dhabi, records say

Dov Charney

The founder of American Apparel, a retailer and manufacturer known for its sexy ads featuring very young models, faces bankruptcy and a federal investigation, the Los Angeles Times has reported..

The company received a subpoena from federal investigators after accounting firm Deloitte & Touche cited “poor internal accounting controls.” Charney later said in an interview that the company is nearly out of cash.

As a result, stock values dropped 21 percent Wednesday, reports said.

American Apparel is operating like "a madhouse," retail analyst Howard Davidowitz told the Los Angeles Times. "No one's going to leave [Dov] in control — that's over with. I think it's impossible to get anybody who's going to bet on him again."

Los Angeles Times: American Apparel's shares plummet 21 percent

Bloomberg: American Apparel drops after getting subpoena


Filed under: Most Intriguing People
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. mejazzbo

    How big was the bribe from the Bush/Chaney/Halliburton Gang to avoid prosecution for the invasion of Iraq?

    August 19, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      Bigger than the bribe MSNBC pays you to post here.

      August 19, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chas

      Actually Bush moved to make the US exempt from the war tribunals,.....wonder why?

      August 19, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    Exactly! When will Bush be tried for war crimes?? Why hasn't he been held responsible for the invasion if Iraq?

    August 19, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jimbo

    exactly, and be specific, what war crimes are you talking about. The fact that you don't like him and have drank a lot of koolaid does merit war crimes accusations. Be specific and tell me!

    August 19, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Colin Dean

    Somebody arguably more intriguing than these people, at least to the programmer community is "_why". His real name was never known, but his contributions to the programming community are immense, especially the modern Ruby community. A year ago, he disappeared, taking with him the majority of his online presence. Today, the community celebrates Whyday to commemorate his disappearance. Check him out on Wikipedia for more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Why_the_lucky_stiff

    August 19, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |