Wednesday, March 8
Editor's Note: The CNN Wire is a running log of the latest news from CNN World Headquarters, reported by CNN's correspondents and producers, and The CNN Wire editors.
Investigation launched into abduction of 50 people at security firm
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- The Iraqi Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into an incident in which gunmen wearing police commando uniforms on Wednesday seized about 50 guards and employees at an Iraqi private security firm.
Commandos operate under the Interior Ministry, but the ministry says its forces had nothing to do with the incident. Interior Minister Bayan Jabr ordered the probe.
"The Interior Ministry is still investigating this incident, although it was very strange," ministry spokesman Adnan Abdul Rahman said. "How is it possible all the members of a security company were taken hostage by gunmen?"
The 50 people from the security firm remain missing. In the incident, about 25 armed gunmen in 10 to 15 vehicles raided the Rawafed security firm, according to an account of the incident from police. They grabbed money and documents from the building and forced the people into vehicles in a two-hour operation. Then they drove off. (Posted 3:53 a.m.)
Roadside bomb kills 6 civilians in Baghdad, 7 wounded
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A roadside bomb went off in western Baghdad Thursday, killing six civilians, including a child, and wounding seven others, police said.
The bomb went off around 9:15 a.m. (1:15 a.m. ET) and apparently was trying to target an Iraqi army patrol. The bomb missed the convoy, but struck the civilians, an official with Baghdad emergency police said.
Meanwhile, a woman who worked for an Iraqi humanitarian organization and a man who also worked inside Baghdad's International Zone -- formerly known as the Green Zone -- were gunned down in a separate area of western Baghdad early Thursday as they waited for a government car to pick them up and take them to work, police said. (Posted 3:51 a.m.)
At least 3 dead in Turkish explosion
(CNN) -- Three people were killed and 14 people were wounded Thursday when an explosion went off in the eastern Turkey city of Van, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
The blast occurred around 9 a.m. and was about 1,600 feet (500 meters) away from a government office.
Video from the scene showed a municipal van heavily damaged by the explosion and other debris scattered across a busy street. (Posted 3:49 a.m.)
Militant group claims responsibility for India bombings
NEW DELHI (CNN) -- A previously unknown militant group claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bombings in the holy Indian city of Varanasi that killed 14 people, and threatened additional violence.
The claim was made in a Wednesday phone call to a news agency in Indian-controlled Kashmir. In the call, a man, calling himself Abdulah Jahar, said he was the spokesman for Lashkar-E-Kahar. "
If atrocities in Kashmir don't stop, the Indian people won't be able to sleep in peace," he warned, suggesting there would be more attacks.
Fourteen people were killed in Tuesday's trio of bombings in Uttar Pradesh, with another 16 critically wounded. -- From CNN Correspondent Satinder Bindra (Posted 2:17 a.m.)
U.S. Marine dies in Iraq
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine died "due to enemy action" during operations in Anbar Province Wednesday, a military statement said.
Located west of Baghdad, expansive Anbar Province has been a stronghold for the insurgency. Since the start of the war, 2,305 U.S. troops have died in Iraq.
Further details on the Marine killed were not immediately available. (Posted 2 a.m.)
Move is under way to stop momentum against Dubai ports deal
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Hours after a House panel approved an amendment to block the deal that would allow a United Arab Emirates-based company to assume operations of some terminals at U.S. ports, a move was under way on Capitol Hill to save the deal.
A source involved in the negotiations on Wednesday told CNN that effort was being shepherded by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va.
According to the source, Dubai Ports World would agree to several things, including security guarantees that Warner and possibly the White House afterwards would pitch as being above and beyond earlier compromise plans that included divestiture and keeping ownership of "critical infrastructure" -- such as the cargo terminals at the center of the controversy -- in American hands.
"The U.S. government would have an enhanced role in overseeing the company, which they don't have under current law," said the source.
What is uncertain is whether the effort is too little too late. Earlier in the day, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment, in a 62-2 vote, to block the deal. (Posted 1:37 a.m.)
New Orleans dog search teams losing their hotel rooms,
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- One of three canine search-and-rescue teams trained to look for bodies left by Hurricane Katrina plans to leave New Orleans after just a few days on the job, because there won't be a hotel room to stay in, the men said Wednesday.
Game wardens Wayde Carter and Roger Guay said Louisiana apparently didn't make the proper arrangements with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to guarantee them housing after Thursday night, and their supervisor, Maj. Greg Sanborn, has called them back to Maine. The wardens were to stay in New Orleans until March 21.
Carter and Guay, on loan from the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, arrived in Louisiana from Maine late last week. On Sunday, their search dogs led firefighters to a man's body in the attic of a house in the flood-swept Lakeview neighborhood. It was the first such discovery in five days of a new hunt for victims. (Posted 1:29 a.m.)
Defense in Enron trial attacks Fastow's credibility
HOUSTON (CNN) -- During a dramatic cross-examination Wednesday, a defense attorney for former Enron chief executive Jeffrey Skilling portrayed the company's former financial chief, Andrew Fastow, as a man consumed with greed who was willing to let his own wife go to jail to protect himself.
Fastow, a key prosecution witness in the case against Skilling and Enron founder Kenneth Lay, admitted that he had been "extremely greedy" and was ashamed of illegal side deals in which he used his wife and children to receive kickbacks that he classified as gifts on his tax returns. "I lost my moral compass, and I did many things I regret," Fastow said.
Prosecutors say Fastow was the mastermind behind a complex web of fraudulent accounting deals at Enron that helped push the company into bankruptcy in 2001. He pleaded guilty to two counts of wire and securities fraud and is facing a 10-year prison sentence. As part of that deal, he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. (Posted 8:43 p.m.)
Girl sends mother text messages after disappearance
(CNN) -- Police said Wednesday several people were being interviewed in connection with the disappearance of a teenage girl, who sent text messages to her mother's cell phone pleading for help after vanishing Monday on her way to school.
Jersey City, N.J., Police Chief Robert Troy said Wednesday police were questioning several people who may have had online contact with 13-year-old Natasha Browne.
Several text messages were sent. "Mom help, I can only make one text message ... he's gonna take my phone away," one read. Browne's mother, Stella, said the last text message she received was about 8 p.m. Monday. In it, Natasha wrote that she "was being taken to New York," Troy said. --From CNN Producer Ronni Berke (Posted 8:12 p.m.)
DNA tests may be key to student's rape, death
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Solving the brutal slaying of New York criminal justice student Imette St. Guillen may rely on one of the very sciences she was trying to master.
The woman scratched her attacker, and investigators are hoping for a break from the laboratory analyzing hair and skin tissue found at the crime scene and under her fingernails, authorities said Wednesday.
Police have been questioning a bouncer, Darryl Littlejohn, who worked at the Manhattan bar where St. Guillen was last seen, and are trying to determine if there is a DNA match. Results aren't expected for at least several days, police said. Littlejohn is being held at Riker's Island on a parole violation related to a previous case, and has not been charged in St. Guillen's death. (Posted 8:02 p.m.)
DoJ Inspector General examining complaints on material witness law
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Justice Department is investigating the conduct of its attorneys in several proceedings involving the highly secretive use of the material witness statute in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The inquiry by the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, which examines employee conduct, was among disclosures contained in a semiannual report by the department's Inspector General to Congress surveying complaints on alleged civil liberties and civil rights abuses.
Inspector General Glenn Fine said the inquiry stemmed from complaints by the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, which charged that the material witness law had been used to detain 70 individuals since 9/11, most of whom were never charged in terrorism cases. -- From CNN Justice Producer Terry Frieden (Posted 7:21 p.m.)
House committee passes amendment blocking Dubai ports deal
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved an amendment that would block a deal under which a United Arab Emirates-based company is to assume operations of some terminals at U.S. ports in six cities.
The vote was 62-2 in favor of the amendment, which was inserted into an emergency supplemental funding bill for military action in Iraq and Afghanistan and disaster assistance for the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The additional funding -- $91 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan and $19 billion for the Gulf Coast -- was requested by President Bush.
A White House spokeswoman cautioned that an amendment tying the ports deal to the supplemental funding could result in delays for those efforts.
Democrat Jim Moran of Virginia and Republican Jim Kolbe of Arizona cast the only "no" votes. (Updated 7:20 p.m.)
Ann Richards has esophageal cancer
(CNN) -- Ann Richards, who served as governor of Texas from 1991 to 1995, has cancer of the esophagus, she said Wednesday in a written statement.
Richards, 72, said she will enter M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for consultation on treatment for the cancer. Richards is a former smoker and a recovering alcoholic, two risk factors for the disease.
About 14,200 people in the United States are diagnosed with esophageal cancer each year, according to the American Cancer Society, which puts the five-year survival rate at between 14 percent and 29 percent, depending on the stage. (Posted 5:14 p.m.)
Dems: GOP senators block vote on Dubai ports deal
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats on Wednesday expressed frustration that their GOP counterparts blocked a vote on an amendment that would have killed the Dubai ports deal, saying they refuse to rest until such a vote is held on the issue.
"We as a caucus decided the time was right for a vote. We have bent over backwards to try and accommodate the Republican schedule," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a leading critic of the ports deal. "The bottom line is, they just don't want a vote."
Schumer introduced the amendment on the floor Wednesday, but Republicans refused to vote on it, said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Republicans also refused to allow a vote later Wednesday or Thursday, he said.
"This is typical spin by Republican Washington," Reid said. "We want a vote on the Dubai ports scandal. Is that asking too much?" (Posted 5:05 p.m.)
Comptroller says top official -- maybe VP -- should coordinate disaster response
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A Cabinet-level official -- or perhaps the vice president of the United States -- should coordinate the federal government's response to future Katrina-like catastrophes, because only top officials have the clout to mobilize the vast federal bureaucracy, government auditors told Congress Wednesday.
"You need at least a Level One (Cabinet-level) official" to coordinate the overall federal response, U.S. Comptroller General David Walker told a Senate committee investigating the Katrina disaster.
"If they're not at least Level One, I would respectfully suggest they're not in a position to be successful. Because no matter how capable the person might be, level matters in this town. Hierarchy is real."
During Katrina, Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Brown was named the principal federal officer, giving him the authority to coordinate the federal response. Brown resigned under a maelstrom of criticism a week after Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. --From CNN Producer Mike M. Ahlers (Posted 2:33 p.m.)
U.S. supports 'active discussion,' not U.N. sanctions, on Iran's nuclear program
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Efforts to reach a compromise over Iran's nuclear program will shift to New York early next week when the U.N. Security Council debates whether the Islamic state is trying to develop an atomic weapon behind the veil of a nuclear energy program, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
But any action by the council could be a long way off. While sanctions "certainly (remain) a diplomatic option," U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said, the United States will not push for such action as "a first step" toward diplomacy.
He said the focus of the United States and its Security Council partners will be a "presidential statement laying out exactly what the Security Council is calling on Iran to do."
"Iran is going to find itself the subject of active discussion by members of the Security Council concerning its behavior," McCormack said. "This is not a place where Iran wants to find itself. They have worked very, very hard over the past years to avoid just this moment." (Posted 2:23 p.m.)
Three arrested in Alabama church fires; blazes set as 'joke,' affidavit states
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (CNN) -- Investigators arrested three Birmingham college students Wednesday in connection with the burning of 10 churches in the western part of the state in February, state and federal officials said.
A witness reported to investigators that one of the suspects said the fires began as a joke that "got out of hand," according to court papers filed Wednesday.
Two of those arrested -- Ben Moseley and Russell Debusk, both 19 -- appeared in a federal court in Birmingham late Wednesday morning. The third -- Matthew Lee Cloyd, 20 -- was taken into custody later in the day, federal law enforcement sources said.
Moseley and Debusk are students at Birmingham-Southern College, while Cloyd attends the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said Richard Montgomery, Alabama's state fire marshal. None of the three have prior criminal records, he said. (Posted 1:56 p.m.)
Iraqi leaders to meet Thursday to determine date for first session of parliament
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Iraqi leaders will meet Thursday to determine when the country's newly elected parliament will convene, according to an official in the office of Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi.
It is thought by some that the body will meet by Sunday, the legal deadline for the session. But it is possible that the 275-member body will convene later at the behest of Shiites, who want more time to settle a dispute over the selection of a prime minister.
Mehdi on Wednesday signed a presidential council decree calling for the Council of Representatives to meet, paving the way for the first session. His failure to sign decree had delayed the convening of the body. (Posted 1:29 p.m.)
Human rights report lauds democracy, but notes it's no guarantor
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The State Department on Wednesday said that laudable human-rights practices tend to occur in democracies, but it noted in its 29th annual report on the subject that democracy is no guarantor of what President Bush has called a commitment to "the non-negotiable demands of human dignity."
Human rights are linked closely to democracies that provide long-term stability and security, said Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Barry Lowenkron.
But, he noted, "Some states still have weak institutions of democratic government and continue to struggle." The report cited Venezuela and Russia as examples of democratically elected governments that do not always adhere to democratic principles.
Lowenkron, who oversaw the report's compilation, cited Burma, North Korea, Belarus and Zimbabwe as examples of societies where civil rights are "restricted severely." (Posted 1:16 p.m.)
Bush makes 10th visit to Gulf Coast 84 days ahead of next hurricane season
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- With the 2006 hurricane season less than three months away, President Bush on Wednesday made his 10th visit to the still-devastated Gulf Coast region, bringing with him extensions in assistance programs for residents still struggling to return to some semblance of their normal lives more than six months after Hurricane Katrina hit the area.
Flanked by Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the president said he had discussed with them "the importance of implementing a strategy that will help this part of the world rise again."
The first part of that strategy, he said, involves levee repairs, which he said are on schedule to be completed by June 1. He said they will make the system "equal or better" than it was before Katrina struck.
He met with debris removal workers in the lower 9th Ward, the neighborhood hardest-hit by the storm, where this week demolition began on some 118 homes that were destroyed when floodwater breached several of the city's levees in the aftermath of Katrina.
Later, the president admitted a lot more work needs to be done to clean up the city, even though the "vast majority of debris on public property has been removed." (Posted 12:54 p.m.)
Bush urges Congress to approve $4.2 billion to reimburse Louisiana homeowners who lost residences to Katrina
NEW ORLEANS (CNN) -- As he visited hurricane-damaged areas on the nation's Gulf Coast Wednesday, President Bush urged Congress to approve a $4.2 billion plan to reimburse up to $150,000 to each Louisiana homeowner who lost a residence to Hurricane Katrina.
"We've all been working to figure out how to come up with a housing plan that will restore the confidence of the people of this important part of our country," Bush said after he visited a levee repair site in New Orleans. "To make sure that the housing plan meets its goal, Congress should make sure that the $4.2 billion I requested goes to the state of Louisiana."
If homeowners have already received funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or insurance payouts, those would be subtracted from the $150,000, according to Don Powell, the administration's point man for federal hurricane recovery efforts. --From CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux (Posted 11:56 a.m.)
Moussaoui jury hears deposition from 'enemy combatant'
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CNN) -- A man who once plotted suicide attacks on American troops in Singapore told a court Wednesday that Zacarias Moussaoui dreamed about flying a plane into the White House.
Witness Faiz Bafana, the treasurer for Jemmah Islamiyah, al Qaeda's sister group in Southeast Asia, hosted Moussaoui, whom he knew as John, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 2000.
In a videotaped deposition recorded four years ago, Bafana said Moussaoui told him that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, whom they knew as the Sheikh, was aware of his dream. "The Sheikh said go ahead," Bafana recalled Moussaoui telling him.
Bafana said that he tried to take Moussaoui to get flight training in Malaysia, but it didn't work out. In their discussions about jihad, he said, Moussaoui talked about making explosives out of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder. (Posted 11:46 a.m.)
Senate Committee requests delay in retirement plans of general linked to Guantanamo
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate Armed Services Committee has taken the highly unusual step of asking the Army to put a hold on the retirement of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who supervised detention operations in the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and helped establish procedures at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.
The committee said there may be questions about the general's "candor" in previous testimony.
In January, Miller invoked his right against self-incrimination in the courts-martial proceedings against two soldiers accused of inappropriately using dogs to intimidate detainees in Iraq. In that same period of time, he submitted his retirement papers.
In a February 23 letter, the committee said, "Major General Miller's decision to exercise his right to remain silent raises potential issues regarding his candor and the completeness of his testimony before the committee." --From CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr (Posted 11:39 a.m.)
U.S., Iran trade words over nuclear issue
VIENNA (CNN) -- After weeks of talks and diplomatic maneuvering over Iran's nuclear intentions, the international community Wednesday moved one step closer to taking action against Iran for what the European Union and the United States fear could be an illicit weapons program.
Amid the threat of United Nations sanctions, an Iranian official hinted that if Iran is punished for its nuclear program, it could cause problems for the United States.
"The United States may have the power to cause harm and pain but it is also susceptible to harm and pain," Javad Vaeedi, the deputy head for international affairs of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters in Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan called those words "provocative" and said they further isolate Iran from the rest of the world.
The heated words follow a key presentation earlier in the day by International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei to the agency's board of governors in Vienna. Now that the report has been submitted to the board, the matter of Iran's nuclear dossier will be handed over to the U.N. Security Council. (Posted 10:32 a.m.)
Police: Employees at Iraqi security firm seized by people wearing police commando uniforms
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Around 50 guards and employees at an Iraqi private security firm in Baghdad were seized Wednesday by gunmen wearing police commando uniforms, police say.
Around 1 p.m., about 25 armed gunmen in 10 to 15 vehicles raided the Rawafed security firm, according to an account of the incident from police. They seized the people and took money and documents from the building in a two-hour operation.
Three building guards managed to escape during the ordeal and informed police about what happened. (Posted 10:07 a.m.)
China records 10th death from avian flu
(CNN) -- China has recorded another death from avian flu, the World Health Organization said Wednesday, bringing to 10 the number of fatal cases in that country.
Chinese authorities announced the case of the nine-year-old girl from the eastern Zhejiang province on Feb. 27, saying she had developed symptoms on Feb. 10. She died Monday, WHO said.
Ninety-six fatal cases of the disease have been reported in humans world-wide out of 175 total cases of the highly pathogenic H5N1 strain. China has had 15 total cases.
Also Wednesday, Albania reported its first cases of the high-pathogen strain of bird flu in chickens and took measures to limit contact between the infected birds and humans and other animals. Forty countries have now reported outbreaks of avian flu in poultry. (Posted 9:23 a.m.)
120 male detainees in Iraq freed
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Authorities in Iraq released 120 male detainees on Wednesday, the U.S. military said. The Iraqi-led Combined Review and Release Board reviewed the cases and recommended the releases.
The agency consists of members from several Iraqi ministries and officers from multinational forces.
Militants who have been holding kidnapped U.S. journalist Jill Carroll have demanded that U.S. and Iraqi authorities release all female detainees or the reporter will be killed. But there was no word if any of the released detainees were women. (Posted 8:23 a.m.)
Roadside bombings claim 6 lives in Iraq; 24 dead bodies found across Baghdad
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- Authorities in Iraq on Wednesday reported the discovery of 24 bodies and a flurry of roadside bombings that killed six people, including Iraqi security forces and a U.S. soldier.
These incidents come amid sectarian tensions that were stoked by the bombing two weeks ago of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.
The deadliest incident was the discovery of the bodies of 18 men found strangled with their hands tied behind their backs late Tuesday in western Baghdad, an emergency police official told CNN. Police discovered the bodies in a Kia minibus around 11 p.m. in the Amiriya neighborhood, the official said. The men were of various ages and could not be immediately identified.
Six other bodies were found across Baghdad on Wednesday -- one beheaded in Amiriya, two shot dead in Kadhimiya in the north, and three in the southeast. (Posted 7:42 a.m.)
U.S. soldier dies in roadside bombing near Tal Afar
BAGHDAD (CNN) -- A U.S. soldier was killed and four others wounded early Tuesday when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb near Tal Afar in northern Iraq, a military statement said.
All were members of Task Force Band of Brothers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the Army's 1st Armored Division. Since the start of the war, 2,305 U.S. troops have died in Iraq. (Posted 7 a.m.)
Bush's budget slashes funding for Christopher and Dana Reeve paralysis center
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Among the health care programs that President Bush's 2007 budget slashes is the funding for the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, the president of the Christopher Reeve Foundation said Tuesday.
"The president's budget did come out without funding for the resource center, which really was Dana's dream," Kathy Lewis told CNN's "Larry King Live."
Dana Reeve, the widow of the late actor Christopher Reeve, died of lung cancer at the age of 44 Monday night. Lewis said her death made Bush's budget cuts doubly painful.
"It was so important to her to make sure that, when people had a spinal cord injury or any kind of paralysis, they had a place to go for information. This really was her dream to have happen," Lewis said. "So, in light of the president cutting it out of the budget, and in light of Dana's death yesterday, it is even more tragic."
The Paralysis Resource Center -- a program Dana founded through the Christopher Reeve Foundation after her husband's debilitating horseback riding accident -- is a "comprehensive, national source of information for people living with paralysis and their caregivers to promote health, foster involvement in the community and improve quality of life," according to its Web site. (Posted 1 a.m.)
Sheryl Crow's ex-beau: 'She's the strongest woman I've met'
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Grammy Award-winning singer Sheryl Crow is "doing great" in her battle with breast cancer about two weeks after she underwent surgery to treat it, her former boyfriend Lance Armstrong told CNN Tuesday.
"She's the strongest woman I've ever met. She's got great doctors and her prognosis is close to 100 percent," said Armstrong, who remains close to the singer even after their high-profile split last month.
"I'm 100 percent confident she'll recover. I know that woman, I think, better than anybody, except perhaps her parents and her family."
Armstrong made the comments on CNN's "Larry King Live" in an appearance to discuss the death of Dana Reeve, the widow of the late actor Christopher Reeve who died of lung cancer.
"It's not been a good week for me in getting news like this," Armstrong said referring to Reeve's death so soon after learning of Crow's cancer.
"Once again, we're reminded that this illness is just way too common and way too prevalent, and it strikes people that we never think that it will strike." (posted 11:58 p.m.)
DeLay beats back 3 challengers in Texas GOP primary
HOUSTON (CNN) -- Despite being indicted and relegated to the back benches, Rep. Tom DeLay's political stock remained strong enough with the folks back home for him to win Tuesday night's primary election in his Houston-area district.
The Associated Press projected DeLay the winner of the GOP primary in the 22nd District, centered in the southeastern Houston suburbs. The former House majority leader was carrying about 64 percent of the vote against three GOP challengers, according to the Texas Secretary of State's Office.
Tuesday's primary was closely watched because it was DeLay's first electoral test since he was indicted on state criminal charges in September and stepped down as House majority leader. (Posted 11:15 p.m.)
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