Nation Digest: South Carolina High Court Orders Sanford to Take Stimulus Money
Governor Is Ordered To Accept Funds
South Carolina's Supreme Court ordered Gov. Mark Sanford on Thursday to take $700 million in federal stimulus money aimed primarily at struggling schools.
The decision brings a likely end to months of wrangling between the nation's most vocal anti-bailout governor and legislators who accused him of playing politics with people's lives.
The Republican governor had refused to take the money designated for the state over the next two years, even after legislators passed a budget requiring him to do so. He became the first governor to defend in court his desire to reject money from Washington.
Sanford has refused to request the $700 million -- the portion of the $2.8 billion bound for South Carolina that he says he controls -- unless legislators agreed to offset state debt by an equal amount. The White House twice rejected that idea, noting that the money must be used to help education and avoid job losses.
South Carolina -- which had the nation's third-highest jobless rate in April, hitting a state record high of 11.5 percent -- cut more than $1 billion from its $7 billion spending plan for 2008-2009 as tax revenue slumped in the recession.
-- Associated Press
Not-Guilty Plea In Kerik Lying Case
Former New York City police commissioner Bernard B. Kerik pleaded not guilty in Washington to charges of lying to the White House, a case he described online as "unprecedented, selective, and overreaching."
Kerik is charged with two counts of making a false statement to aides to President George W. Bush in late 2004, after Bush had picked him to run the Department of Homeland Security.
Kerik is accused of denying to Bush aides that he had financial dealings with contractors seeking to do business with the city. But prosecutors say contractors spent more than $255,000 renovating his apartment in 1999 and 2000 while he was state corrections chief.
He is facing charges relating to the case in New York state court and federal courts in Washington and New York. The false-statement charges were brought as part of the larger federal case in New York but were dismissed and transferred to Washington, where prosecutors say the crimes occurred.
Kerik appeared in Washington before U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who agreed to postpone the case until next year after Kerik is scheduled to go on trial in New York.
-- Associated Press
Neighbors Won't Be Charged: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said he will not pursue charges against neighbors who beat Jose Carrasquillo, a man sought for questioning in the rape of an 11-year-old girl. He said he made the decision based on the fact that the man's injuries were not life-threatening and his determination that the neighbors' intent was to bring the man to police.
Money Manager to Plead Guilty: Indiana money manager Marcus Schrenker, 38, plans to plead guilty to crashing an airplane near a Florida Panhandle neighborhood in a botched attempt to fake his death and escape financial problems, court documents show.
-- From News Services