- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 22, 2009


Girl’s body placed in hamper bag

ORLANDO | New evidence in the case of slain Florida toddler Caylee Anthony shows that her body was placed in a laundry-hamper bag and then secured in a plastic garbage bag before it was left in the woods.

Documents the state attorney’s office in Orlando released Wednesday also show the girl’s mouth was covered with silver duct tape that had been adorned with a heart-shaped sticker. Duct tape also was attached to her head.

A utility worker found the 3-year-old’s body in December in woods near where she lived with her mother and grandparents. Her mother, Casey Anthony, 22, has been charged with killing her.

The toddler was reported missing to authorities in July, almost a month after she was last seen. Her third birthday passed while she was missing.


Homeless agency fires governor’s wife

CHICAGO | A Chicago homeless agency has fired Illinois’ first lady from her $100,000-a-year job as its chief fundraiser.

The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported Wednesday on their Web sites that the Chicago Christian Industrial League exercised a termination clause of Patti Blagojevich’s contract Tuesday.

Interim Executive Director Mary Shaver told the papers she can’t discuss personnel issues.

The organization hired Mrs. Blagojevich last year. Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich was arrested in December in a federal fraud and bribery case.

Mrs. Blagojevich isn’t accused of wrongdoing. But prosecutors said a recorded telephone call captured her expletive-laced suggestion to “just fire” newspaper editors if the Tribune Co. wanted state assistance to sell Wrigley Field.

Meanwhile, Mr. Blagojevich missed a deadline to submit proposed subpoenas for his impeachment trial in the state Senate next week.

The deadline for Mr. Blagojevich to tell the Senate what people and documents he wanted to subpoena for the trial was Wednesday afternoon.

A Senate spokeswoman said the governor didn’t submit the list of subpoenas. The prosecution filed a list, but it won’t be made public until Thursday.


Deal reached in harassment claims

COLUMBUS | Two women whose sexual harassment complaints led to the resignation of Ohio’s former attorney general have reached a settlement with the state, officials said Wednesday.

Cindy Stankoski and Vanessa Stout will each receive $247,500 for reparations and attorney fees as part of the settlement. They filed sexual harassment claims against Anthony Gutierrez, a top aide to former Attorney General Marc Dann early last year.

Attorney General Richard Cordray, a Democrat who took office earlier this month, praised the women’s courage in shedding light on the conduct of the office.

Niki Schwartz, a lawyer chosen by both sides who tried to reach a previous settlement, said the deal announced Wednesday was fair and reasonable. The women’s attorney, Rex Elliott, originally proposed a settlement worth about $900,000.


Voters may make ‘English First’ law

NASHVILLE | Nashville could become the largest U.S. city to make English the mandatory language for all government business under a measure being put before voters Thursday, but critics say it might invite lawsuits and even cost the city millions in federal funding.

Though similar measures have passed elsewhere, the idea has ignited an intense debate. Proponents say using one language would unite the city, but business leaders, academicians and the city’s mayor worry it could give the city a bad reputation, because, as Gov. Phil Bredesen put it, “it’s mean-spirited.”

The referendum’s most vocal supporter, city Councilman Eric Crafton collected enough signatures to get the “English First” charter amendment on the ballot because he fears government won’t run smoothly if his hometown mirrors New York City, where services are offered in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Italian and French Creole.

Mr. Crafton has tried to eliminate the city’s language translation services since 2006, but the mayor vetoed a similar measure in 2007.


State probes insurance agency

OMAHA | A purported Ponzi scheme by a Grand Island insurance agency that recently filed for bankruptcy listing more than $100 million in debt is being investigated.

Attorney General Jon Bruning on Tuesday authorized the State Patrol’s investigation into First Americans Insurance Service and its three principals: James Masat, Stella Levea and Kenneth Mottin. The patrol is working with the departments of insurance and banking to piece together how more than $100 million disappeared, with Mr. Bruning thinking it may have been paid out to other investors.

A loss of that magnitude indicates there may be criminal activity involved, Mr. Bruning said Wednesday.


Suspect in false bomb tip released

TRENTON | Authorities have released a 27-year-old Massachusetts man suspected of driving with a bomb on the New Jersey Turnpike after learning a called-in tip was false.

The suspect was stopped Tuesday night in Woodbury Heights and released a few hours later. The investigation shut down portions of the 30-mile stretch of the turnpike for more than four hours.

State police stopped the man after getting a tip from federal authorities that he might be carrying a bomb.

FBI spokesman Sean Quinn said the tip had come from a female relative of the suspect. State and federal officials would not disclose her name or relationship to the suspect.

State police did not release the man’s name because he was not charged with a crime.


Group lobbies on gay marriage

CHEYENNE | A national conservative Christian group has begun a telephone lobbying campaign in Wyoming in support of a gay marriage ban in the state Senate.

Focus on the Family Action, of Colorado Springs is pushing to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would stop the state from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.

“We want to see marriages protected,” said Sonja Swiat-kiewicz, director of issues response for Focus on the Family Action. She said the calls began Friday, but she would not disclose the cost or number of calls.

State law already says only marriages between a man and a woman may be conducted in Wyoming. However, the state is bound to recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions performed in other states.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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