Bin Laden Ally's Letter to Stay Private

NEW YORK -- A federal judge ruled yesterday that a letter written by an alleged associate of exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden cannot be made public because it might contain coded messages to those planning attacks on Americans.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand said the letter by Wadih Hage could not be released as written but could be paraphrased and released by the defendant's lawyer after federal prosecutors reviewed it.

Last week Hage, angered that Sand would not read his letter aloud in court, leaped out of his chair, jumped over a railing and raced toward the judge before being tackled by U.S. marshals. Hage was brought to court in leg shackles yesterday.

Bin Laden, a fugitive, was indicted in 1998 for the murders of U.S. military personnel in Saudi Arabia and Somalia and for the August 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed more than 200 people.

U.S. officials have been concerned bin Laden and his followers may be close to launching another attack. Hage faces charges that he was a personal secretary to bin Laden and tried to get chemical weapons for bin Laden's violent group, al-Qaeda, or "The Base."

Four Die in Southern Storms

ATLANTA -- Heavy rains pelted the South and Midwest, swelling rivers, slicking highways and causing at least four deaths in the Deep South, safety officials said yesterday.

Three deaths in Alabama and one in Georgia were attributed to torrential rains Monday.

A 3-year-old boy drowned in a swollen creek in Albertville, Ala. Rescuers found his 8-year-old brother clinging to a tree limb. Paramedic Roger Lathan said their kayak had flipped in the water.

A 29-year-old woman drowned in Huntsville when her car plunged into a creek. Another motorist was killed Monday near Birmingham when one car hydroplaned and hit another, police said.

Heavy rains also were blamed for a Dallas, Ga., auto accident that killed a 5-year-old boy and critically injured his mother. Their car hydroplaned, left the road and hit several trees, investigators said.

Father Jailed in Polygamy Abuse Case

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah -- A man accused of whipping his 16-year-old daughter for fleeing an arranged, polygamous marriage to her uncle was sentenced to seven months in jail for child abuse.

In a case that threw a spotlight on polygamy in heavily Mormon Utah, John Daniel Kingston, 43, was also fined $2,700 and ordered into an anger-management program.

The girl said that her father, a leading member of one of Utah's most prominent polygamous clans, arranged for her to become the 15th wife of his brother, David Ortell Kingston. She testified that she counted 28 lashes from her father's belt before she passed out.