Saturday, June 23, 2007

Judge asked to hold Nifong in contempt

DURHAM, N.C. — Attorneys for three Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of rape asked a judge yesterday to hold the prosecutor in the case in criminal contempt of court.

Mike Nifong “personally engaged in a pattern of official prosecutorial misconduct, which violated at least a dozen laws, rules and court orders designed to protect due process and the pursuit of truth,” the attorneys wrote in their request.

They wrote that the scope of Mr. Nifong’s misconduct “shocks the conscience and defies any notion of accident or negligence.”

A disciplinary committee of the North Carolina State Bar disbarred Mr. Nifong on June 16.

If Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III finds Mr. Nifong in contempt, he could be jailed up to 30 days and fined up to $500.

Man charged in plot will stay in jail

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — A man accused of supplying weapons for a plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix will stay in jail as he awaits trial, a federal magistrate ruled yesterday.

A lawyer for Agron Abdullahu argued that he should be released on bail because he faces a lesser charge than the other five men accused in the plot.

Mr. Abdullahu was charged with supplying weapons to illegal aliens, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. The others were charged with conspiring to kill military personnel, which is punishable by life in prison.

But U.S. Magistrate Joel Schneider said Mr. Abdullahu’s public defender did not offer any new information in her argument.

Bush’s pick for Justice quits

President Bush’s pick to be the No. 3 official in the Justice Department withdrew his nomination yesterday.

Bill Mercer, U.S. attorney for Montana, asked the president to withdraw his nomination, saying it was unlikely the Senate would confirm him to a post he has held on an interim basis since September.

“With no clear end in sight with respect to my nomination, it is untenable for me to pursue both responsibilities and provide proper attention to my family,” Mr. Mercer said in a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Baby is not missing woman’s

UNIONTOWN, Ohio — A baby girl found on an Ohio doorstep does not belong to a missing pregnant woman, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department said yesterday.

The baby was discovered about 45 miles from the home of Jessie Davis, who was nine months pregnant with a girl when she disappeared last week.

A woman who said she concealed her pregnancy from her family admitted leaving the newborn on the doorstep, Wayne County Sheriff Thomas Maurer said. That case has been turned over to the county prosecutor’s office.

Miss Davis, 26, was reported missing last week after her mother found the young woman’s bedroom in disarray, the furniture overturned and Miss Davis’ young son home alone.

Mrs. Johnson goes to the hospital

AUSTIN, Texas — Former first lady Lady Bird Johnson has been hospitalized and is undergoing medical tests, but is awake and receiving visits from family members and friends, a family spokesman said yesterday.

Mrs. Johnson, 94, who has been hospitalized with strokes in the past, did not suffer a stroke this time, longtime family friend Neal Spelce said. He did not disclose the symptoms that led to her admission to Seton Medical Center.

Her husband, former President Lyndon B. Johnson, died in 1973.

“Mrs. Johnson is resting comfortably and is awake and lucid,” Mr. Spelce said. “Her family is with her. … I had a nice little visit with her.”

He said there are no planned briefings at the hospital, and that it was not known when Mrs. Johnson might be released.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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