- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

Judge removes gag in Patriot Act case

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A federal judge lifted a gag order yesterday that shielded the identity of librarians who received an FBI demand for records about library patrons under the Patriot Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Janet Hall ruled in favor of the American Civil Liberties Union, which argued the gag order prevented its client from participating in a debate over whether Congress should reauthorize the Patriot Act. Government officials have said they have not used the Patriot Act against a library.

The ruling would allow the ACLU and its client to identify those who received the request for records, but Judge Hall stayed her decision until Sept. 20 to give the government a chance to appeal.

Couple pleads guilty in Wendy’s finger case

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Nevada couple pleaded guilty yesterday to all charges related to planting a human finger in a bowl of Wendy’s chili in a scheme to extort money from the fast-food restaurant chain.

Anna Ayala, 39, and Jaime Placencia, 43, pleaded guilty to conspiring to file a false claim and attempted grand theft in a scheme that the Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s International Inc. said cost it $2.5 million in lost sales because of bad publicity.

Ex-Klansman sent back to prison

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. — A judge sent Edgar Ray Killen back to prison yesterday after finding that the former Ku Klux Klan leader, convicted for the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, was in better health than the court had been told.

Four law enforcement officers and a convenience-store owner testified they had seen Killen driving during the past two weeks. But at an August court hearing, the 80-year-old sawmill owner and preacher had testified he was in constant pain and confined to a wheelchair.

Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon decided to revoke the $600,000 bond that had allowed Killen to remain free while appealing his manslaughter convictions. Defense attorney James McIntyre said an appeal of the bond revocation is likely.

Killen was convicted of manslaughter for masterminding the June 21, 1964, slayings of James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who were killed while working in Mississippi to register blacks to vote.

Chicago ‘bagman’ gets 25 months

CHICAGO — The former director of administration at Chicago’s water department was sentenced yesterday to more than two years in prison for serving as a “bagman” who collected bribes from trucking companies that wanted city hauling work.

Gerald Wesolowski, 46, also was fined $7,500 and agreed to forfeit $25,000 for his part in an expanding corruption scandal that has prompted an embarrassed Mayor Richard M. Daley to fire a number of city officials.

University panel seeks full probe of professor

DENVER — A University of Colorado panel yesterday recommended a full investigation into accusations of research misconduct involving a professor who triggered a national outcry for comparing some September 11 victims to a Nazi.

The faculty committee called for investigating Ward Churchill on seven accusations involving plagiarism, misuse of others’ work and falsification and fabrication, interim Provost Susan Avery said. The charges could lead to his dismissal.

The committee recommended dropping two other accusations, that Mr. Churchill falsely claimed to be an American Indian and that he infringed on a copyright.

Mr. Churchill said the remaining accusations before the committee might be grounds for a reprimand, but only if the university can show his actions were not common practice.

NASA deputy chief announces resignation

HOUSTON — NASA Deputy Administrator Fred Gregory, who in 1989 became the first black person to command a space shuttle mission, announced his resignation yesterday, ending 31 years with the agency.

Mr. Gregory agreed to remain in the post until a successor is in place. Like the administrator’s position, filled in April by Michael Griffin, the deputy’s post requires a presidential nomination and confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

In his letter of resignation, the 64-year-old former Air Force pilot said he was departing so a younger executive could assume the duties.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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