March 7, 2009 in Nation/World

Court ends detention challenge

 

The Supreme Court bowed out Friday of deciding whether the president has the power to imprison people in the U.S. indefinitely without a trial – avoiding a showdown the Obama administration did not want.

The court granted the administration’s request to dismiss the challenge to the president’s authority from suspected al-Qaida sleeper agent Ali al-Marri, who was detained by the military for 5 1/2 years without charges.

Al-Marri will be transferred to civilian custody as soon as next week to face criminal charges of providing material support for terrorism.

Riverside, Calif.

Man convicted in firefighter deaths

A jury convicted an auto mechanic Friday of murdering five federal firefighters by setting a wildfire that overran them as they defended a home in a rural Southern California mountain community.

Raymond Lee Oyler, 38, was found guilty of five counts of first-degree murder. Because he committed multiple murders and did so while committing another felony – arson – he could face the death penalty in a trial phase beginning Tuesday.

Oyler was also found guilty of 20 counts of arson and 17 counts of using an incendiary device.

Chicago

FBI tapes requested in Burris case

A county prosecutor exploring the possibility of perjury charges against U.S. Sen. Roland Burris has asked federal officials for FBI tapes of phone conversations between Burris and ousted Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s brother, an individual with knowledge of the case said Friday.

Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Schmidt wants to compare the taped conversations with what Burris said under oath before the House committee that voted to impeach Blagojevich, said the individual, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter could come before a grand jury.

Schmidt’s request comes after Burris repeatedly changed his story about his contact with Blagojevich’s friends and aides in advance of being appointed.

From wire reports

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