- The Washington Times - Friday, March 25, 2005

Payments to columnist to be investigated

Congressional investigators will look into whether the Bush administration violated any laws when it paid syndicated columnist Maggie Gallagher to help promote a marriage initiative, said Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat.

The Government Accountability Office told the two senators, who requested the inquiry, that it would investigate in a letter sent to their offices Thursday.

The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, already is looking into the Education Department’s relationship with several public relations firms, which includes the agency’s $240,000 contract with syndicated columnist and TV personality Armstrong Williams. The Education Department had hired Mr. Williams to promote the No Child Left Behind Act.

Fingerprint evidence shown in Jackson case

SANTA MARIA, Calif. — Prosecutors in Michael Jackson’s child molestation trial yesterday showed the jury fingerprints they said were left by Mr. Jackson and his accuser on sexually explicit magazines seized from the pop star’s Neverland ranch.

A magazine called Hustler Barely Legal Hardcore from October 2000 had Mr. Jackson’s left thumb print on page 54 and three fingerprints from the accuser on page 92, according to witness Robert Spinner, who is retired from Santa Barbara County’s forensics unit but continues to do work for the county.

Fingerprints from the accuser’s brother were found on a December 2000 copy of Finally Legal, and 12 Jackson fingerprints were found on other magazines that did not have prints from either boy, Mr. Spinner said.

All of the boys’ fingerprints were from magazines taken from a briefcase that investigators found in a bathroom in Mr. Jackson’s master bedroom.

The defense has argued that fingerprint analysis wasn’t done until months after the items were found.

Bush gives more time to declassify secrets

CRAWFORD, Texas — President Bush yesterday signed a bill giving a government group more time to declassify secrets about former Nazi war criminals hired by the CIA after World War II.

The measure gives the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group until March 2007 to make the documents public. Otherwise, the group’s mandate would have expired this month.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, New York Democrat, the bill’s sponsor, said it had been 10 years since she first proposed legislation seeking information about the U.S. government’s involvement with former Nazis, and it was time to finish the job.

“History and the memory of the millions who perished in the Holocaust deserve nothing less than full disclosure,” she said when the bill passed the House earlier this month.

Court upholds law on infant blood tests

LINCOLN, Neb. — The Nebraska Supreme Court upheld a state law yesterday that requires mandatory blood testing of newborn babies, rejecting an appeal by a couple who said it violates their religious beliefs.

Josue and Mary Anaya brought the case after being ordered by a judge in December 2003 to submit their newborn, Rosa, to the metabolic test. The Anayas, who are fundamentalist Christians, said the test infringed on their rights and could shorten the life of their baby.

However, Supreme Court Judge John Wright wrote that the testing law “does not unlawfully burden the Anayas’ right to freely exercise their religion, nor does it unlawfully burden their parental rights.”

The Anayas’ lawyer, Amy Mattern, did not return a telephone call for comment.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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