Thursday, March 22, 2007

Former GOP Official's Conviction Overturned

CONCORD, N.H. -- A federal appeals court on Wednesday reversed the conviction and sentence of a former Republican National Committee official accused in a phone-jamming plot on Election Day 2002.

James Tobin, the former regional chairman of President Bush's reelection campaign, was convicted in 2005 of helping to arrange more than 800 hang-up calls that jammed for about an hour the get-out-the-vote phone lines set up by the New Hampshire Democratic Party and the Manchester firefighters union. Republican John E. Sununu defeated then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D) in the Senate race that day.

Tobin was sentenced to 10 months in prison on telephone harassment charges.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit in Boston ruled that the statute under which Tobin was convicted "is not a close fit" for what Tobin had done and questioned whether the government had shown that Tobin intended to harass. A Justice Department spokesman said prosecutors are reviewing the decision, but he did not say whether they plan to appeal.

"Oh my God, wow, you know, sometimes there is no justice," said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Kathy Sullivan.

Messages seeking a comment were left with Tobin and his attorneys.

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· FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- A Fort Campbell soldier was sentenced to 27 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to being an accessory in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the slaying of her family.

Army Pfc. Bryan Howard also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice by lying to his superior officers about the attack last year in Mahmudiyah, about 15 miles south of Baghdad. It was one of the most shocking atrocities in the war.

· Harvard will raise the cost of attending the university -- including undergraduate tuition, the cost of room and board, and other mandatory fees -- 4.5 percent, to $45,620, for the next academic year. The governing board, the President and Fellows of Harvard College, raised the cost from this year's $43,655, the Cambridge, Mass., the school said.

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