- The Washington Times - Friday, August 12, 2005

Bush passes critics on way to fundraiser

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush and his motorcade passed the growing camp of war protesters outside his ranch yesterday without incident.

As Mr. Bush passed on his way to and from a political fundraiser, law enforcement blocked two intersecting roads where the demonstrators have camped out all week. Officers required the group to stand behind yellow tape, but no one was asked to leave.

The motorcade didn’t stop.

Cindy Sheehan, whose son died in Iraq last year, started the vigil along the road leading to Mr. Bush’s ranch. She held a sign that read: “Why do you make time for donors and not for me?”

It was not clear whether Mr. Bush, riding in a black Suburban with tinted windows, saw the demonstrators.

9/11 panelists defend probe

The leaders of the September 11 commission late yesterday disputed a congressman’s criticism that the panel did not adequately investigate a claim that four hijackers were identified as al Qaeda members more than a year before the attacks.

In a joint statement, former commission chairman Thomas Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton said a military official who made the claim had no documentation to back it up. And they said only September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta was identified to them and not three additional hijackers as claimed by Rep. Curt Weldon, Pennsylvania Republican.

The former commissioners also said no one else could place the other three hijackers with Atta in a purported terror cell code-named “Brooklyn” during the time period cited by Mr. Weldon.

In response to the statement by Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Weldon said he will continue to push for a “full accounting of the historical record.”

California court revives ballot measure

SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attempt to change the way the state’s legislative districts are drawn should be placed back on November’s special-election ballot.

The ruling overturned an appellate court decision earlier this week that the initiative should remain off the ballot because of a wording dispute.

The governor’s measure seeks to take away lawmakers’ power to redraw congressional and legislative districts in California.

Abramoff makes court appearance

LOS ANGELES — Lobbyist Jack Abramoff appeared in federal court yesterday on charges of committing fraud while trying to buy a casino-boat company.

The court appearance came a day after Mr. Abramoff was indicted in Florida. He surrendered to the FBI later Thursday in Los Angeles.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul Game ordered Mr. Abramoff to give up his passport before allowing his release ahead of his return to Florida next week. Mr. Abramoff later left the courthouse and departed in a car without commenting to reporters.

He was told he could post $250,000 of a $2.25 million bond on Tuesday in Florida only if federal prosecutors there determine that the money came from legitimate sources, said U.S. attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek.

Convicted ex-Klansman freed on bond

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. — Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was released from jail yesterday on $600,000 bond while he appeals his manslaughter convictions and 60-year sentence in the 1964 killings of three civil rights workers.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon said he was convinced by testimony that Killen, who is 80 and uses a wheelchair, was neither a flight risk nor danger to the community.

“It’s not a matter of what I feel, it’s a matter of the law,” Judge Gordon said, citing previous cases that were appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

Teacher sentenced for sex with student

MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. — A former elementary-school teacher pleaded no contest to having sex with one of her students, a 13-year-old boy, and has been sentenced to nine months in jail.

Pamela Rogers Turner, 28, entered the plea Thursday, allowing her to avoid a trial on 28 charges of sexual battery and statutory rape.

Turner, who had taught physical education and coached girls basketball for two years at Centertown Elementary School, had trouble speaking as she tried to enter her plea to four counts of sexual battery stemming from encounters at the school.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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