- - Sunday, October 10, 2010

TERRORISM

U.S. won’t appeal Gitmo witness exclusion

NEW YORK | The U.S. government has decided not to appeal a judge’s decision to ban a key prosecution witness from testifying at the first civilian trial for a Guantanamo Bay detainee, saying it would cause a delay.

In a letter Sunday to U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz noted that the government disagreed with the decision and that it merited an appeal.

But he said the government could prove its case against Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani without testimony from Hussein Abebe, and that other witnesses and victims had already traveled to New York for the trial, which will begin as scheduled Tuesday.

The judge said last week that Abebe could not take the stand in Ghailani’s trial, because investigators learned of his existence through coercive questioning of Ghailani at a secret CIA-run camp.

Ghailani is charged with conspiring in al Qaeda’s 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The attacks killed 224 people, including a dozen Americans. He has pleaded not guilty and has denied knowing that TNT and oxygen tanks he delivered would be used to make a bomb.

HOUSING

Axelrod downplays foreclosure moratorium

A top White House adviser questioned the need Sunday for a blanket stoppage of all home foreclosures, even as pressure grows on the Obama administration to do something about evidence that banks have used inaccurate documents to evict homeowners.

“It is a serious problem,” said David Axelrod, who contended that the flawed paperwork is hurting the nation’s housing market as well as lending institutions. But he added, “I’m not sure about a national moratorium because there are in fact valid foreclosures that probably should go forward” because their documents are accurate.

Mr. Axelrod said the administration is pressing lenders to accelerate their reviews of foreclosures to determine which ones have flawed documentation.

“Our hope is this moves rapidly and that this gets unwound very, very quickly,” he said.

HOUSE

Candidate criticized for Nazi re-enactment

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