- The Washington Times - Friday, March 10, 2006

Gotti case ends in mistrial

NEW YORK — Gambino crime family scion John A. “Junior” Gotti dodged a legal bullet for the second time in eight months yesterday when a federal jury deadlocked on racketeering charges against him, leading to a mistrial.

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin excused the jury after they said they were at an impasse despite less than two full days of deliberations. Prosecutors quickly said they intended to try Mr. Gotti, 42, for a third time.

The jury apparently could not agree on Mr. Gotti’s claims that he quit the Gambino organized crime family before July 22, 1999, meaning the five-year statute of limitations would have expired on racketeering charges.

Jail chaplain suspended

NEW YORK — The head chaplain for city jails has been suspended while the city investigates incendiary statements he purportedly made last year, including a comment that the “greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House.”

The New York Post reported Thursday that Umar Abdul-Jalil made the remarks at a conference sponsored by the Muslim Students Association in Tucson, Ariz.

Mr. Abdul-Jalil, a prominent imam from Harlem, was put on paid administrative leave Thursday while Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, city lawyers and correction officials reviewed the remarks.

The mayor said yesterday he has a copy of the speech and will examine it before he makes a decision.

‘Deadbeat dad’ put on fugitive list

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The U.S. Marshals Service has added “deadbeat dad” Byron K. Perkins and his girlfriend, Lea Ann Howard, to its 15 Most Wanted fugitive list as the agency increases its efforts to track down the man who promised to donate a kidney to his ailing son, but skipped town instead.

Perkins, 37, was allowed to leave jail in January after persuading authorities he would donate a kidney to save the life of his ill son. He was in jail awaiting sentencing on a gun and drug conviction for which the minimum jail term is 25 years.

U.S. marshals think Perkins is traveling with Howard. Perkins and Howard have criminal records involving drugs and weapons, and Howard has a prior conviction for solicitation to murder.

Libby gets access to briefings

A federal judge yesterday ordered the CIA to turn over highly classified intelligence briefings to Vice President Dick Cheney’s former top aide to use in preparing the aide’s defense against perjury charges.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected CIA warnings that the nation’s security would be imperiled if the presidential-level documents were disclosed to lawyers for I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Mr. Cheney’s former chief of staff.

Mr. Libby is charged with lying in the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s identity.

Jury gets case against ex-governor

CHICAGO— A jury yesterday was handed the case against former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who faces a possible prison term for suspected corruption.

Mr. Ryan, a Republican, was charged along with friend and lobbyist Larry Warner, 67, with fraud, racketeering conspiracy, tax evasion and lying to investigators.

The 18 felony counts against Mr. Ryan each carry maximum prison sentences of between three and 20 years, plus fines.

Most of the charges relate to Mr. Ryan’s eight years as Illinois secretary of state in the 1990s, when he oversaw licensing in a department that was rife with bribery.

The jury is to begin deliberating Monday.

Sago Mine set to reopen

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Federal inspectors have finished their underground investigation at the Sago Mine where 12 men died after a January explosion and declared all but one area safe for production crews to re-enter next week.

Only the abandoned, sealed-off area where the blast is thought to have occurred will remain off limits when Ashland, Ky.-based International Coal Group Inc. resumes production, said Ray McKinney, an official with the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

Mr. McKinney said ICG plans to resume work with two shifts next week but had few other details. ICG, meanwhile, said no start date has been set.

Thirteen miners became trapped deep in the mine Jan. 2 after an explosion and were exposed to deadly carbon monoxide for more than 41 hours before searchers found them. By then, all but one had died.

Mr. McKinney declined to speculate on what caused the explosion.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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