- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009


FBI searches home in terror probe

AURORA | Federal agents on Wednesday searched the home of a suburban Denver man identified by law enforcement as having a suspected link to al Qaeda. Agents carted away several boxes of evidence.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force went through the home of Najibullah Zazi, as well as the nearby residence of his aunt, Rabia Zazi, FBI Special Agent Kathleen Wright said Wednesday.

Mr. Zazi denies that he’s a central figure in a terrorism investigation that fed fears of a bomb plot and led to several police raids in New York City on Monday.

Mr. Zazi, 24, was interviewed Wednesday at FBI headquarters in Denver but was not under arrest, said his attorney, Arthur Folsom. Mr. Zazi provided authorities with a DNA sample, a fingerprint, handwriting samples and information about his travel history, Mr. Folsom said.

“My client is not involved in any terror plot,” Mr. Folsom said. “He answered every question they had.”

Mr. Zazi told the Denver Post after he returned to his home late Wednesday that he was too tired to speak to the media but that he would go back to the FBI on Thursday for more questioning.

James Davis, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Denver office, declined to comment, as did the U.S. attorney’s office in Denver.


Not guilty plea to bear-hug assault

WOBURN | A male defense lawyer has pleaded not guilty to assault and battery charges after bear-hugging a female lawyer inside the Massachusetts courthouse where both worked.

Robert LeBlanc was ordered Wednesday to refrain from “avoidable and intentional” contact with lawyer Pamela Saia-Rogers. Both practice in Lawrence District Court, about 30 miles north of Boston.

According to a police report, Mr. LeBlanc, 64, grabbed Saia-Rogers, 39, from behind, “wrapped his arms around her midsection just below her breast and pulled her tightly to him pressing his pelvis against her backside” in a bear hug.

Mr. LeBlanc’s attorney, Max Stern, said Mr. LeBlanc merely gave Miss Saia-Rogers a three-second bear hug and said, “My favorite Republican.”

A pretrial hearing is set for Nov. 2.


Accuser may face charges in rape hoax

MINEOLA | A New York prosecutor is considering whether to pursue charges against a Hofstra University student who recanted claims that five men raped her in a dormitory.

Four of the five falsely accused were released Wednesday night. The fifth was still being sought when the hoax was revealed.

The woman first told police she was lured to the dorm and raped after her phone was stolen by a man she had met at a dance party. She later said the sex was consensual.

Standing outside the Nassau County Jail waiting to be picked up by their parents, two of the vindicated men said they held no hard feelings.


Plastic fragment pulled from lung

RALEIGH | Doctors say a North Carolina man who was plagued with coughing fits should be OK now that they have removed a 1-inch piece of plastic that he sucked into his lung.

The fragment of an eating utensil had rested there since John Manley, 50, apparently inhaled it nearly two years ago while swallowing a soft drink at a Wendy’s restaurant.

Doctors at Duke University Medical Center say the foreign object was likely to blame for the coughing, fatigue and pneumonia that plagued Mr. Manley for almost two years.

When they pulled it from Mr. Manley’s left lung Sept. 10, they could still read the Wendy’s logo and part of the word “hamburgers.”

Dr. Momen Wahidi at Duke called it “one of the weirdest things I’ve removed in my career.”


Interview sought after failed execution

COLUMBUS | Lawyers challenging Ohio’s lethal injection process want to interview a death-row inmate whose problem-plagued execution was halted after two hours.

Federal public defenders asked U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Frost on Thursday to order that condemned killer Romell Broom be made available to them for a legal deposition.

Lawyers David Stebbins and Allen Bohnert also want to talk to all the people involved in Tuesday’s failed attempt to put Broom to death.

The lawyers say information about the unsuccessful execution is crucial to a pending lawsuit before Judge Frost challenging the constitutionality of the injection process.

Gov. Ted Strickland halted Broom’s execution Tuesday after state prison workers performing the execution tried unsuccessfully to find a usable vein.


Governor’s name tied to ID scam

HINTON | Bad grammar and spelling tripped up a man who was trying to steal Social Security numbers and other information from job seekers by impersonating West Virginia’s governor, police said.

Matthew Don Reed of Hinton is being held on $10,000 bond on charges of impersonating a public official, impersonating a state Division of Natural Resources officer and forgery of a public document. A call to the 32-year-old’s attorney was not immediately returned.

Mr. Reed told people he met online that he was a Division of Natural Resources officer and persuaded them to submit job applications with copies of their birth certificates and other information, State Police Sgt. T.L. Bragg told the Register-Herald.

Then he hired a Chicago man to send letters to people interested in jobs. That man got suspicious and called state officials after Mr. Reed gave him a letter purportedly from Gov. Joe Manchin III to send to an applicant.

It lacked the governor’s seal and was riddled with spelling and grammar errors.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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