- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2000

Chung fires lawsuit at Justice Department

Former Democratic fund-raiser Johnny Chung, a key figure in the Justice Department's campaign finance investigation, yesterday accused the department in a lawsuit of violating his constitutional rights under the First and Fifth amendments.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia, says the Justice Department improperly released to the media confidential records on his plea agreement and cooperation with the campaign finance probe.
Filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, the suit says the release of the information put Chung and his family in grave danger and subjected him to possible retaliation.

State closes case in teen's hanging death

COLUMBIA, Miss. Authorities have closed the investigation into the hanging of a Mississippi teen-ager, a death that caused civil rights activists to say he was lynched for dating white girls.
Raynard Johnson, 17, took his life with a leather belt he wore the night of the hanging, District Attorney Buddy McDonald and state Attorney General Mike Moore said yesterday.
Mr. Johnson was wearing the belt on a video surveillance tape taken from a nearby convenience store within an hour of his death.
Mr. McDonald said a lynching would not have used the teen's own belt. "If you are planning a lynching and if you are going to lynch someone, you are going to bring a rope," he said.

Government offers reward for laptop

The U.S. State Department offered a $25,000 reward yesterday for anyone who helps recover a missing department laptop computer that may contain highly classified information.
The laptop, thought to hold information on nuclear proliferation, was reported missing from the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research in January, and investigators have not yet discovered whether it was stolen for its contents or merely for its value as hardware.
The State Department said it would ensure confidentiality for anyone who provided information on the computer, but a spokesman would not say if it could ensure immunity from prosecution.

Judge disqualified in bombing case

OKLAHOMA CITY A judge presiding over a state murder case against convicted Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols was disqualified yesterday for seeking courtroom help from a private law firm.
Judge Charles Goodwin ordered Judge Robert Murphy removed from the case for ethics violations.
Judge Goodwin asked the state Supreme Court to appoint a new judge for Nichols' preliminary hearing, which will determine whether Nichols will go to trial on state capital murder charges.

Make-a-Wish stops hunting tripshunting trips

ST. PAUL, Minn. Four years after sending a terminally ill teen-ager on an Alaskan bear hunt that was loudly protested by animal rights groups, the Make-a-Wish Foundation has stopped allowing such trips.
Petri Darby, a manager for the charity, said the board changed its policy in January because of safety concerns not pressure from animal-rights groups.
Make-A-Wish had defended its hunting policy in 1996 when it sent Erik Ness to Alaska to hunt brown bears, saying it wouldn't give in to animal-rights "terrorists." Foundation staff and the Ness family received death and bomb threats. Mr. Ness died last year at age 21 of brain cancer.

Nudists get burned in fire walk

LOS ANGELES Normally all nudists have to worry about is a little sunburn.
But seven of them are recovering from severely burned feet after a fire-walking ceremony held during a convention of nudists gone awry, Los Angeles media reported yesterday.
The five men and two women suffered second-degree burns on the bottoms of their feet Saturday when they stumbled, attempting to walk across hot coals during a fund-raiser for the American Association of Nude Recreation.

From combined dispatches and staff reports

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