N.Y. Officer Pleads

Not Guilty in Slaying

NEW YORK -- A police officer pleaded not guilty Thursday to manslaughter in the fatal shooting of an unarmed African immigrant inside a storage building last year.

Defense attorney Stuart London said Officer Bryan Conroy had testified before the grand jury that indicted him and was "very disappointed" with the second-degree charge, unsealed Thursday.

"He talked about the life-and-death struggle that was going on when Mr. Zongo was going for his gun," London said. "My client's life was seriously in jeopardy. He did what he had to do to save himself."

Conroy shot Ousmane Zongo after they met in a third-floor hallway of the building in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood on May 22, 2003. The officer was at the storage building to guard bootleg CDs that had been seized in a raid. Zongo, 35, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, used another unit in the same building where he repaired African art and musical instruments.

Conroy's bail was set at $20,000.

Conn. Court to Decide

If Governor Must Testify

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut's highest court agreed to decide whether Gov. John G. Rowland (R) can be forced to testify before a state House impeachment committee.

State lawmakers have subpoenaed Rowland to testify about gifts he received from state contractors, employees and friends and about whether he provided anything in return.

Rowland's attorneys say the legislative branch does not have the authority to order a member of the executive branch to testify.

If the high court rules against him, Rowland would be the first sitting governor in U.S. history ordered to testify before a legislative body, attorneys for both sides say.

* BIRMINGHAM -- Former governor Don Siegelman (D) stood before a federal magistrate to proclaim himself not guilty of charges he conspired to rig bids for a state program to help poor, pregnant women. "Your honor, I'm not guilty of these charges," Siegelman told U.S. Magistrate Robert Armstrong. A trial date was not immediately set. Siegelman was freed on $500 bond.

-- From News Services