- The Washington Times - Friday, May 5, 2006

Plame agrees to book deal

NEW YORK — Valerie Plame, the former CIA operative whose unmasking led to a federal investigation and the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, has agreed to a book deal with the Crown Publishing Group.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but two sources close to the negotiations said the deal was in the low seven figures. Several publishers had competed for the memoir, scheduled to come out in the fall of 2007 and tentatively titled “Fair Game.”

In 2003, White House adviser Karl Rove reportedly said Mrs. Plame was “fair game” after her husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, accused the Bush administration of distorting intelligence about Iraq to justify going to war.

“She will tell her whole story, absolutely,” Crown’s publisher and senior vice president, Steve Ross, said yesterday. “This book will be the first time the public will get to hear about her work and the surprising role she had in intelligence gathering in the lead-up to the war in Iraq.”

Pelosi wants probe of Jefferson

Democratic Rep. William J. Jefferson should be investigated by the House ethics committee, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said after the second guilty plea from a federal probe of purported bribery involving the Louisiana congressman.

On Wednesday, the chief executive of a Louisville-based telecommunications firm pleaded guilty to paying more than $400,000 in bribes to a congressman in a case stemming from the Jefferson investigation.

Prosecutors said Vernon Jackson, 53, funneled money over a four-year period into a company controlled by the congressman’s wife in exchange for help promoting his company’s technology in Africa.

In January, a former legislative director for Mr. Jefferson pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting bribery of a public official and conspiracy.

Mr. Jefferson has maintained his innocence.

Boy at boot camp was suffocated

TAMPA, Fla. — A 14-year-old boy whose beating by guards at a boot camp for juvenile delinquents was caught on videotape died because the guards suffocated him, a medical examiner said yesterday.

The findings of the second autopsy on Martin Lee Anderson conflict with the initial ruling from a different medical examiner that the boy died from complications of sickle-cell trait, a usually benign blood disorder.

Dr. Vernard Adams, who conducted the second autopsy, said the suffocation was caused by hands blocking the boy’s mouth, as well as the “forced inhalation of ammonia fumes.”

Gov. Jeb Bush, who ordered the second investigation, said the state will provide any resources prosecutors deem necessary. No one has been arrested in connection with the death, which sparked protests.

Bible student accused in arson

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A Bible college student has been charged with arson for purportedly setting fire to an adult bookstore.

Benjamin Daniel Warren, 20, is a student at Crown College, a fundamental Baptist college and seminary of about 900 students in Knoxville. Police said he confessed to the crime and told investigators he realized it was a sin.

Mr. Warren waived a preliminary hearing this week, and a grand jury is considering his case.

Authorities said a man wearing black clothing and a ski mask and carrying what proved to be a fake gun entered the Town and Country Bookstore on Jan. 31 and asked the clerk if anyone was inside. Assured the store was empty, he ordered the clerk to leave.

He poured about six gallons of “an ignitable liquid” inside the bookstore and set it on fire, according to an arrest warrant.

No one was injured, but the fire destroyed $600,000 in merchandise and caused up to $300,000 in damage to the building, owner David Stubbs said.

Court dismisses ‘marriage’ lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court yesterday dismissed a lawsuit challenging federal and state laws that block same-sex “marriage,” saying the plaintiffs didn’t have the right to bring the suit.

Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer of Mission Viejo, Calif., have not attempted to acquire federal benefits of marriage, such as filing a joint income-tax return, said a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court also said that when the men ended their domestic partnership, apparently in anticipation of becoming married, they lost their legal standing to bring their lawsuit.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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