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Farmer wins early freedom in gun case

CONCORD | A New Hampshire farmer who became a folk hero to gun rights activists after he was imprisoned for pointing a handgun at a trespasser on his property won early release Wednesday.

he New Hampshire Executive Council voted unanimously to free Ward Bird, just two months into his three-year sentence.

Bird, 49, of Moultonborough, had sought a full pardon to clear his name. The council voted in his favor, but Gov. John Lynch vetoed the pardon. They then immediately voted to commute his sentence, and Mr. Lynch let that vote stand.

Bird’s felony conviction for criminal threatening with a firearm remains on his record. He can no longer possess guns.

Corrections officials said Bird will be released from the Carroll County jail as soon as they have the official paperwork in hand, even if it’s after the close of business hours.

Bird’s case has become a cause celebre since he was sent to prison Nov. 17, much to the discomfort of the farmer and Scout leader whose 18-year-old daughter saw him wearing a suit for the first time at Tuesday’s hearing.

NEW YORK

Hedge boss’ brother cited in trading probe

NEW YORK | The government has identified the brother of onetime billionaire hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam as a co-conspirator in what authorities have called the biggest hedge fund insider trading case in history, a person familiar with the probe said Wednesday.

The person told the Associated Press that Ragakanthan Rajaratnam is the person identified in court papers filed last week only as “CC-1.” That means co-conspirator No. 1.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the younger brother of the hedge fund founder is not identified publicly by the government. The comments came after the Wall Street Journal first reported the development.

The Galleon fund’s founder has pleaded not guilty to securities fraud charges in a case that prosecutors say has generated more than $50 million in profits. He remains free on $100 million bail.

OHIO

Court: Judge must remove Commandments

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