- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 11, 2009

ALASKA

Troopergate figure resigns

JUNEAU | Alaska Attorney General Talis Colberg, a major figure in the abuse-of-power investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin, has resigned, the governor’s office said Tuesday.

Mr. Colberg, who was appointed to the post in 2006 after Mrs. Palin was elected, represented seven of nine state employees who initially refused to testify before a legislative panel investigating Mrs. Palin’s firing of her public safety commissioner in what became known as Troopergate. Mr. Colberg said he advised the seven of their options, and he unsuccessfully challenged the subpoenas in court.

Mrs. Palin’s spokesman, Bill McAllister, said the resignation was a personal decision for Mr. Colberg, and Mrs. Palin neither fired nor pressured him to quit.

CALIFORNIA

Drug busts target military housing

SAN DIEGO | The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said 33 people have been arrested and charged with selling drugs at military housing.

Authorities said Tuesday that the three-month investigation resulted in seizures of 2 pounds of methamphetamine, a half-pound of cocaine, 6 pounds of marijuana and seven guns.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Lindberg said two sailors and one person who recently left the Navy were charged. The rest are civilians.

Authorities declined to pinpoint where the purported sales occurred but said they were in San Diego neighborhoods with mostly Navy housing.

Most suspects were arrested in late January and early February. Most face between 16 months and five years in prison if convicted.

IOWA

Housing facility for disabled cuted

IOWA CITY | An Iowa state agency said Tuesday it intends to file criminal charges against the party responsible for lodging 21 mentally disabled factory workers in an unsafe, poorly heated building.

The state Department of Inspections and Appeals would file charges of operating a health care facility without a license, but it’s not clear who can be charged, said agency spokesman Dave Werning.

The state got a tip last week that the 21 men were working at West Liberty Foods, a meatpacking plant that hired laborers through a Texas-based company called Henry’s Turkey Service. The men are thought to be from Texas.

State officials said the men were housed in a 106-year-old, boarded-up building with space heaters. Most of them apparently have worked at West Liberty for 20 years or longer.

KENTUCKY

KFC’s secret recipe in new, safer vault

LOUISVILLE | Colonel Sanders’ handwritten recipe for fried chicken was back in its Kentucky home Tuesday after five months in hiding while KFC upgraded security around its top corporate secret.

Nothing went afoul when the recipe was returned from an undisclosed location to KFC’s headquarters late Monday in a lockbox handcuffed to the wrist of a security consultant.

KFC President Roger Eaton was visibly relieved when the door to a new electronic safe was shut with the single sheet of yellowing paper stashed inside. “Mission accomplished,” he said.

“It was very nerve-racking,” Mr. Eaton said later of the recipe’s hiatus from a vault where it has been kept for decades. “I don’t want to be the only president who’s lost the recipe.”

MASSACHUSETTS

‘Rockefeller’ rejects kidnapping plea

BOSTON| The man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller has rejected a plea deal and will go to trial on charges he kidnapped his 7-year-old daughter.

The man’s lawyer, Jeffrey Denner, said Tuesday the sides could not reach an agreement after extended negotiations.

The man is really Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who moved to the U.S. from Germany decades ago.

He is accused of kidnapping his daughter during a supervised visit in Boston last summer. He was captured about a week later in Baltimore, and the girl was found safe.

Prosecutors said they would have recommended up to a five-year sentenced if Mr. Gerhartsreiter pleaded guilty.

MISSISSIPPI

Attorney pleads guilty to mail fraud

ABERDEEN | A noted anti-tobacco attorney jailed for conspiring to bribe a Mississippi judge has pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a second bribery scheme.

Richard “Dickie” Scruggs, known for taking on tobacco, asbestos and insurance companies, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday as part of a deal with prosecutors investigating a scheme to bribe a state court judge.

Scruggs last year admitted conspiring to bribe another Mississippi judge in a dispute over $26.5 million in legal fees from Hurricane Katrina insurance cases. He is serving a five-year sentence.

Scruggs gained national prominence and earned hundreds of millions of dollars with a case that led to a multibillion-dollar settlement from tobacco companies. His efforts were portrayed in the 1999 film “The Insider” starring Al Pacino and Russell Crowe.

NEW YORK

Swindler’s girlfriend helped him flee

WHITE PLAINS | The girlfriend of a former hedge fund manager convicted of swindling clients out of millions of dollars pleaded guilty Tuesday to helping him flee before he was supposed to start serving a 20-year prison sentence.

Debra Ryan, 45, of Armonk, testified in federal court that the night before Samuel Israel III was to go to prison, he pleaded with her to help him flee.

Ryan pleaded guilty to abetting Israel’s failure to surrender June 9.

PENNSYLVANIA

No charges filed in horseplay death

EASTON | A prosecutor has decided not to file charges in the death of a 12-year-old Pennsylvania boy who was hit by a bus in front of his middle school last month as he goofed around with friends.

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Dakota Galusha’s death at a school near Allentown was a tragic accident.

The prosecutor said at a news conference Tuesday that Dakota was joking around with a 13-year-old friend when the friend gently pushed him. Dakota stumbled backward over a curb and into the path of the bus.

A coroner had ruled Dakota’s death a homicide. But Mr. Morganelli said the evidence does not support a criminal charge of involuntary manslaughter. He said Dakota’s parents agree.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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