February 27, 2007 in Nation/World

Juror dismissed from Libby trial

The Spokesman-Review
 

After the judge dismissed one of its members, the jury finished a fourth day of deliberations Monday without a verdict in the perjury trial of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby.

Most of the morning was consumed by deciding what to do about an art historian on the jury who saw or read something over the weekend about the trial. After interviewing her in private along with lawyers in the case, U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that “what she had exposure to obviously disqualifies her.”

The judge let the jurors continue deliberating with just 11 members after the defense endorsed that option. He overruled prosecutors who asked him to seat one of two alternate jurors who heard the trial and remain on standby.

The jury returns today.

LOS ANGELES

Men reach deal in MySpace case

Two young New York men accused of trying to extort $150,000 from MySpace.com by developing code that tracked visitors pleaded no contest Monday to illegal computer access in a bargain with the prosecution.

Two counts of attempted extortion and another illegal computer access count were dropped in the deal, which gave the defendants three years probation. Each had faced up to nearly four years in prison.

Shaun Harrison, 19, and Saverio Mondelli, 20, of Suffolk County, N.Y., were accused of demanding the money as a “consulting fee” from the News Corp. subsidiary.

The pair were offering the code on their own Web site for $29.95 and claimed to be developing an unbreakable version. MySpace had blocked the existing version after it was discovered.

The popular MySpace social-networking site is supposed to offer anonymity to visitors who browse the pages. But Harrison and Mondelli’s program collected e-mail addresses and Internet Protocol addresses, prosecutors said.

Such information could have been used by stalkers trying to locate MySpace users, said Deputy District Attorney Jeffrey A. McGrath.

NEW YORK

Sharpton will seek DNA testing

The Rev. Al Sharpton said he wants a DNA test to determine whether he is related to former segregationist Sen. Strom Thurmond through his great-grandfather, a slave owned by an ancestor of the late senator.

Sharpton’s spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger, confirmed Monday that Sharpton, who learned about the connection last week, plans to pursue DNA testing. Noerdlinger had no further details.

Professional genealogists who work for Ancestry.com found that Sharpton’s great-grandfather Coleman Sharpton was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond’s great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed.

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