- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006

Army charges 7 for Web sex video

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Army has charged seven paratroopers from the celebrated 82nd Airborne Division with engaging in sex acts in videos shown on a Web site, authorities said yesterday.

Three of the soldiers face courts-martial on charges of sodomy, pandering and engaging in sex acts for money, according to a statement released by the military.

Four other soldiers received what the military calls nonjudicial punishments.

The Army has recommended that all be discharged.

The charges do not mention the name of the site, but the division previously had been investigating reports that soldiers appeared on a homosexual pornography Web site. A spokesman for the division said yesterday’s charges were a result of that investigation.

The three soldiers who face courts-martial are Spc. Richard T. Ashley, Pfc. Wesley K. Mitten and Pvt. Kagen B. Mullen. The Army did not release their ages or hometowns, but said all seven paratroopers were members of the 2nd Battalion of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Jury pool complete for Moussaoui’s fate

A pool of 86 potential jurors was filled yesterday for the sentencing trial of al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. The panel of 48 men and 38 women includes 16 chosen over defense objections and six over prosecutors’ protests.

In a seventh day of questioning would-be jurors, U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema chose the final three yesterday, one more than she originally planned. These 86 will return March 6 to be reduced by peremptory — or unexplained — strikes by prosecutors and defense lawyers to the 12 jurors and six alternates.

Opening statements and the first trial witnesses also are set for March 6.

The jury will recommend either death or life in prison without possibility of release for Moussaoui.

Libby wins one, loses one in court

Former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, charged with perjury in the CIA leak case, cannot be told the identity of another government official who is said to have divulged a CIA operative’s identity to reporters, a federal judge ruled yesterday.

At the same time, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said Mr. Libby could have copies of notes he took during an 11-month period in 2003 and 2004 while serving as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The judge also set the stage for a showdown in late April over the defense’s plans to subpoena reporters and news organizations for notes and other documents in the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity.

During a hearing yesterday afternoon, Judge Walton said Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald can keep secret the other government official’s identity because that person has not been charged and has a right to privacy.

Google to offer U.S. Archives films

Google Inc. started offering films from the U.S. National Archives as part of an effort to expand the content offered on its online video service.

The free clips include World War II newsreels and the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Google said yesterday. The agreement, which includes a pilot program of 103 films, isn’t exclusive.

“We’re talking to Google and others about putting more of our resources online,” said Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives. “We have tens of thousands of films and more than 9 billion paper documents and we’d ideally like to have them all online.”

Google has digitized the films at no cost to the government, she said.

Judge refuses to postpone election

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge yesterday refused to postpone the April 22 mayoral election in New Orleans, turning back arguments that too many black residents scattered by Hurricane Katrina will be unable to take part.

The decision was issued by U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle, who had earlier pressured state officials to make sure the election was held by the end of April.

“We’re extremely disappointed,” said Tracie Washington, one of the lawyers working with hurricane victim advocates who wanted to either delay the election or force the state to set up “satellite” voting operations out of state.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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