- The Washington Times - Friday, July 30, 2004

Commanders admit to cover-up

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Testifying under immunity, three U.S. Army commanders admitted yesterday that soldiers were told to cover up an incident in which two Iraqi civilians were forced off a bridge into the Tigris River, where family members say one of them drowned.

The commanders, however, said they don’t believe anyone died, despite what the family and prosecutors say.

The testimony came on the third and final day of a hearing to determine whether three soldiers will be court-martialed in the incident.

Sgt. 1st Class Tracy E. Perkins, 33, and Sgt. Reggie Martinez, 24, are charged with involuntary manslaughter, as is 1st Lt. Jack M. Saville, 24, whose hearing will be held later. The third defendant at this week’s hearing, Spc. Terry Bowman, 21, is charged with assault for reputedly pushing an Iraqi into the river.

Boy injured at Neverland Ranch

LOS OLIVOS, Calif. — A 15-year-old boy riding an all-terrain vehicle at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch was injured when the vehicle flipped, a Jackson attorney said yesterday.

The boy, a guest at the ranch, was injured Thursday and flown by helicopter to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, where he was listed in good condition, said the attorney, Brian Oxman.

The boy “is just fine, no broken bones, no internal injuries, he’s doing just fine,” Mr. Oxman said.

Mr. Jackson was not at the ranch at the time, the attorney said. He did not identify the boy.

A nursing supervisor confirmed the boy was in good condition.

A security guard at the ranch directed paramedics to the boy, who was at or near the main house, county officials told the Santa Barbara News-Press. Mr. Oxman said he did not know where the accident took place or whether paramedics were called.

Massino convicted of racketeering

NEW YORK — Bonanno crime boss Joseph Massino was found guilty yesterday of racketeering and other charges, including having a role in the slaying of the man who let FBI agent “Donnie Brasco” infiltrate the family.

Betrayed by his ex-best friend and seven other mob turncoats, Massino was also convicted of arson, extortion, money laundering and other charges as the jury convicted him on every count. The once-powerful mob boss and close friend of late Gambino family head John Gotti faces life in prison at his sentencing.

Massino, 61, a former 400-pounder known as “Big Joey,” stood impassively in Brooklyn federal court as the litany of guilty verdicts was read.

Among the killings Massino was convicted of was the slaying of Dominick “Sonny Black” Napolitano, who unwittingly introduced “Brasco” to the Bonannos. The murders formed part of the racketeering count.

N.C. court upholds education for poor

RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Supreme Court upheld yesterday its landmark 1997 ruling ordering a “sound, basic” education for poor students but turned aside a lower court’s order to establish pre-kindergarten programs for needy youngsters.

Attorneys for the state asked the North Carolina Supreme Court in September to throw out the 10-year-old lawsuit filed by Hoke County schools and other poor school systems, saying they hadn’t proved their case.

But the Supreme Court agreed with the trial court finding that an “inordinate number of students in Hoke County are failing to get a sound, basic education” and that the state didn’t provide the needed resources.

• From staff reports and wire service dispatches

Airport art removed after complaints

DENVER — Two pieces of art, including a suitcase with a handle made from a box cutter, were removed from Denver International Airport after employees complained.

The art was part of an exhibit called “The Luggage Project” in which artists from around the world were asked to turn suitcases into art.

The other piece removed from the airport was a suitcase with an attached bumper sticker reading “Blood for oil. Billionaires for Bush,” a reference to a satirical group critical of President Bush.

Aviation co-manager Vicki Braunagel said she removed the pieces July 9, the same day the 43-piece, glass-enclosed exhibit opened on a walkway that comes before the security screening area.

Six employees complained, and Miss Braunagel said the art was “inappropriate.” The terrorists who carried out the September 11 attacks took control of the flights after threatening passengers with box cutters.

From staff reports and wire service dispatches


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