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Ex-Bush adviser denies swindling

Claude A. Allen, who resigned last month as President Bush’s top domestic policy adviser, was arrested this week in Montgomery County, Md., for allegedly swindling Target and Hecht’s stores out of more than $5,000 in a refund scheme, police said.

Allen, 45, of Gaithersburg, Md., has been released on his own recognizance and is awaiting trial on two charges, felony theft scheme and theft over $500, said Lt. Eric Burnett, a police spokesman. Each charge is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Allen could not be reached for comment Friday night. His attorney, Mallon Snyder, said Friday night that his client denies wrongdoing.

New York

Gotti jurors deadlock again

Gambino crime family scion John A. “Junior” Gotti dodged a legal bullet for the second time in eight months Friday when a federal jury deadlocked on racketeering charges against him, leading to a mistrial.

U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin excused jurors after they said they were at an impasse despite less than two full days of deliberations. Prosecutors quickly said they intended to try Gotti, 42, a third time, and the judge indicated she would set a new trial date Monday.

“I’m happy,” said Gotti, who hugged his mother after leaving the courtroom. “I’m financially ruined, but what are you gonna do?”


Candidacy may help Santorum

Abortion rights advocate Kate Michelman says she will decide soon whether to enter the Pennsylvania Senate race as an independent, a bid that could cause more of a problem for the Democratic challenger than for Republican Sen. Rick Santorum.

Michelman’s entrance in the race could erode support for state Treasurer Bob Casey, an anti-abortion candidate who is expected to easily win the Democratic primary in May. For months, Casey has led Santorum, the No. 3 Senate Republican, in opinion polls and national Democrats consider the seat one of their best chances for a pickup.

Michelman, a former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said there is angst in her camp over Casey’s endorsement of Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

“He’s a perfectly fine person, but not someone we can trust to defend our rights, not at all,” Michelman said in an interview. “If that upsets the political establishment, so be it.”


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