Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fitzgerald Wants No Mention of Leak Source

Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald told a federal judge yesterday that he should not have to explain during the upcoming trial of a former White House aide why nobody was charged with leaking the identity of a CIA operative.

I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, faces trial on obstruction and perjury counts in January and is the only person charged in the case. His supporters have accused Fitzgerald of singling out Libby while not charging the source of the leak, former deputy secretary of state Richard L. Armitage.

In a court filing, Fitzgerald argued that he should not have to address that issue at Libby's trial. While never mentioning Armitage by name, Fitzgerald said it would be irrelevant to discuss other officials.

Pentagon to Rework Public Relations Operation

The Pentagon is buttressing its public relations staff and starting an operation akin to a political campaign war room amid intensifying criticism over the Iraq war.

The reorganization, spearheaded by Dorrance Smith, assistant secretary of defense for public affairs, will help the department "set the record straight" and provide accurate, timely information, Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff said yesterday.

Smith said in a memo that new teams of people will "develop messages" for the 24-hour news cycle and focus more resources on newer media, such as blogs.

Also included will be new workers to book civilian and military guests on television and radio shows.

Ruff denied that the effort was set up to respond to eroding public support for the war.

High Court Denies Review of Rape Sentence

The Supreme Court yesterday turned down the case of a Michigan man who said his sentence for rape was increased because he repeatedly maintained his innocence.

A judge sentenced Craig Haskell to 12 to 30 years in prison on a rape conviction after Haskell told him, "I know that one day the truth will come out and I stand before you still an innocent man."

The judge responded: "I don't see any remorse in this case. None. And it's bothersome to me. . . . The only question I have is how much above the minimum I should go."

Lawyers for Haskell asked the justices to decide whether the judge violated Haskell's right to due process. The court denied the appeal without comment.

Police Fatalities Dropped Slightly in 2005

The number of police officers nationwide who were killed by criminals while on the job in 2005 dipped slightly from a year earlier, FBI data released yesterday show.

Nearly all of the officers killed -- 55 in 2005, down from 57 in 2004 -- worked for city police departments, according to the FBI's annual report. Traffic duty proved to be the most lethal assignment for the officers, the report shows.

The number of police officers assaulted on the job, 57,546 last year, reached its lowest level since 2001.

-- From News Services

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