- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 22, 2006

Judge denies bail for suspected spy

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A federal judge on Friday denied a request to free a Chinese-American engineer accused of trying to send military secrets to China.

Judge Cormac J. Carney listened to more than six hours of testimony before deciding to keep Chi Mak, 65, of Downey, Calif., in custody.

The FBI arrested Mr. Mak and his wife in October for investigation of conspiracy to steal government documents. That charge later was dropped and Mr. Mak, his wife and brother were accused of failing to register as foreign agents.

Investigators claim that Mr. Mak took computer disks from Anaheim, Calif.-based defense contractor Power Paragon, where he worked on a sensitive research project involving propulsion systems for Navy warships, and took steps to send the information to China.

Mr. Mak, who is a U.S. citizen, purportedly passed the information to his brother, who then loaded them onto a computer disk.

Defense attorney Ronald Kaye said Mr. Mak “doesn’t represent a flight risk” and that the accusations “have been rebutted again and again.”

Washington portrait sells for $21.3 million

NEW YORK — Charles Willson Peale’s full-length portrait of George Washington on the American Revolutionary War battlefield fetched $21.3 million at auction yesterday, setting a world record for the sale of an American portrait, Christie’s auction house said.

“George Washington at Princeton,” signed and dated 1779 by the Revolutionary period’s premier portrait artist, was one of eight full-length portraits of Washington painted by Peale between 1779 and 1781. It was the only one known to be in private hands.

Christie’s did not disclose the identity of the buyer.

The sale price of the portrait more than doubled the previous record for an American portrait sold at auction. Sotheby’s sold a half-length portrait of Washington in November for $8.1 million.

McCloskey to run for Congress again

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Former seven-term congressman Paul “Pete” McCloskey said yesterday that he will challenge Rep. Richard W. Pombo for the Republican nomination in his Northern California district.

The 78-year-old McCloskey, a maverick known for environmental causes, told the Associated Press he felt compelled to get back into politics because of his concern for the environment and what he sees as a shift in Washington away from traditional Republican values.

He also was prompted by what he described as Mr. Pombo’s close ties to Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to conspiracy in a growing corruption scandal.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Pombo did not return messages seeking comment yesterday.

Mr. McCloskey said he planned to formally announce his candidacy tomorrow.

Man convicted of vaccine smuggling

CAMDEN, N.J. — A convenience-store owner was convicted Friday of smuggling flu vaccine into the United States and offering it for sale to a hospital, apparently to cash in on the national shortage in 2004.

A federal jury deliberated for just three hours before it found Mahmoud A. Abuarqoub, 38, guilty. He faces a maximum of 41 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines when he is sentenced in April. He remains free on bail.

Defense attorney Rocco Cipparone told jurors that Abuarqoub thought it was legal to import the vaccine from the Middle East and sell it to a hospital near his New Jersey home.

Children left aloneduring ‘Springer’ show

WHEATON, Ill. — A woman got a 30-day jail sentence for leaving her three young children home alone for several hours while she and her boyfriend attended a videotaping of “The Jerry Springer Show.”

Shannon Cook, 25, pleaded guilty last week to misdemeanor child endangerment. She also was placed on probation for a year.

The two girls and one boy, all younger than 4, have been placed in foster homes by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Police said Cook left the children alone at a suburban home Oct. 19 while she and her boyfriend went to Chicago for the taping. About five hours later, the two oldest knocked on the door of a neighbor, who called police.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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