Laos conspiracy case dropped
SACRAMENTO | Federal prosecutors on Monday dropped all remaining charges against 12 defendants accused of plotting to overthrow the communist government of Laos.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Sacramento filed a motion to drop the charges “in the interests of justice,” according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press.
U.S. District Judge Frank Damrell Jr. granted the motion.
The move follows the death of Hmong leader and Vietnam War-era Gen. Vang Pao, 81, last week. Vang Pao was dropped from the case in 2009. The general led Hmong guerrillas in their CIA-backed battle against communists during the Vietnam War and was revered as a father figure by the Hmong.
A federal judge in November dismissed key parts of the case against the 11 members of the Hmong community and a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. That included the government’s charge that the men violated the federal Neutrality Act. The act prohibits people in the United States from taking part in a military action against the government of another nation with which the U.S. is at peace.
3 passengers taken from JetBlue plane; no charges
BOSTON | Three people were removed from a JetBlue plane at Boston’s Logan International Airport after a flight attendant became “uncomfortable,” but the passengers were not arrested and the airline booked them on a later flight.
Massachusetts State Police said the behavior of the three men Monday morning “did not rise to the level of criminal charges.” Sgt. Matthew Murray said it was not clear what made the flight attendant uncomfortable.
JetBlue said three passengers were removed from Fight 1600 for “security reasons.” The plane was about to depart Boston for Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C. The company said the passengers were later cleared to depart on a later JetBlue flight.
Not guilty pleas in corruption case
DETROIT | A federal judge Monday entered not guilty pleas to racketeering, extortion, and a slew of other charges on behalf of imprisoned former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his father and three co-defendants.