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News Briefs

August 22, 1995


Durenberger admits misuse of funds

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former U.S. Senator David Durenberger pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to five misdemeanor counts stemming from long-standing charges that he misused government money while in office. While government sources say Durenberger is unlikely to receive the maximum sentence, he could be sent to jail for up to five years and fined $5,000.

As he left court Durenberger said, "I'm here today because I have learned to enjoy life since leaving the Senate. But I've also learned that to enjoy that life fully, both personally and professionally, that this is a matter I had to get behind me. I have to end the pain that I caused my family and my friends and get on with life."

Durenberger had been facing a trial in October on felony charges. He steadfastly refused to plead guilty to misdemeanors in proposed plea agreements while he was still serving in the Senate, saying "I refuse to plead to a lie.". Durenberger's problems, however, forced him to retire when his senate term expired last year. He had served since 1978.

The Minnesota Republican admitted he used government travel vouchers worth about $4,000 when he was staying at a condominium he owned in Minneapolis. Durenberger is accused of back-dating documents to make it appear he sold the condominium before he received reimbursements.

ABC settles suit by cigarette companies

NEW YORK (CNN) -- ABC News is offering on-air apologies and paying an undisclosed amount of money to settle $10 billion worth of lawsuits brought by cigarette makers Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds. ABC announced the settlement Monday.

The network's program "Day One" reported earlier this year that the two manufacturers added nicotine to their cigarettes. Both companies denied the report, and ABC now admits the claim was a mistake. "ABC agrees that we should not have reported that Philip Morris and Reynolds add significant amounts of nicotine from outside sources," anchor Diane Sawyer said during Monday's evening newscast. "That was a mistake that was not deliberate on the part of ABC but for which we accept responsibility and which requires correction. We apologize to our audience, Philip Morris, and Reynolds."

But the network said it stands by the main focus of the report, which looked at whether cigarette makers use the reconstituted tobacco process to control levels of nicotine, to keep people smoking.

Tobacco companies, led by Philip Morris, also have filed a lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration, which concluded last week that nicotine is an addictive drug and that tobacco companies have manipulated the chemical in cigarettes and smokeless tobacco.

Cockpit of plane

Investigator says blade is missing from propeller

CARROLLTON, Ga. (CNN) -- An investigator said Tuesday that a blade from the left propeller of an ill-fated Atlantic Southeast Airways plane is missing, indicating it may have broken off in flight.

John Hammerschmidt of the National Transportation Safety Board said the propeller from the left engine had been recovered and one blade had broken off eight inches from the hub and was nowhere to be found. Hammerschmidt said the plane came in with its left wing down, clipping a stand of pine trees and leaving a 450-foot trail of parts as it spun to rest in a hay field.

The crash Monday killed five people and injured 24. Among the injured was a federal prosecutor from the Justice Department's Organized Crime Division, Bond E. Rhue, who was being treated for critical burns at Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

The aircraft, a Brazilian-made Embraer 120, was carrying 26 passengers and three crew members on a flight to Gulfport, Miss., when it went down 4 and 1/2 miles southwest of the West Georgia Regional Airport around 1 p.m. Monday. A National Transportation Safety Board official said the flight and data recorders, commonly referred to as "black boxes," had been recovered from the wreckage and sent to Washington for analysis.

Of the remaining 19 that are hospitalized, eight are in critical condition and eleven are in stable condition in various hospitals in Georgia and Tennessee. A fifth victim died early Tuesday morning at Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

Subway victim

New York City subway collision, 18 hurt

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Mass Transit Authority officials reported a subway collision in the Brooklyn Bridge station. Tuesday. At approximately 1:00 p.m., the Independent Rapid Transit #6 train rear-ended another train the was sitting in the Brooklyn Bridge station.

Authorities say the accident occurred when one of the trains was standing still at the station and was rear-ended by another train traveling at 5 mph. Officials say the driver of the second train had line-of-sight. Details into why it hit the first train are being investigated.

All four crewmen, two from each train, are being tested for drugs and alcohol.

There were 18 minor injuries reported as several emergency medical units treated patients at the scene, suffering from bumps, bruises and scraps.

The number of injuries could have been higher but the stationary train was unoccupied at the time of the crash.

Yesterday's News Briefs -- August 21, 1995


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