March 19, 2009 in Nation/World

Father in incest case pleads guilty


Josef Fritzl abruptly pleaded guilty to all of the charges against him Wednesday – a surprising twist amid disclosures that the daughter he imprisoned for 24 years in a dungeon where she bore him seven children secretly sat in on the trial.

Adding intrigue to a case that has drawn worldwide attention, Fritzl calmly acknowledged his guilt, including to homicide, and said his change of heart came after hearing his daughter’s heart-wrenching videotaped testimony.

“I declare myself guilty to the charges in the indictment,” Fritzl, 73, told a panel of judges, referring to what he called “my sick behavior.”

Fritzl was charged with negligent homicide in the death of an infant boy as well as enslavement, rape, incest, forced imprisonment and coercion. Initially he pleaded guilty to incest and forced imprisonment, and partially guilty to rape and coercion. The change means he could face up to life in prison for the homicide charge.


Fannie, Freddie to pay bonuses

Fannie Mae plans to pay retention bonuses of at least $1 million to four key executives as part of a plan to keep hundreds of employees from leaving the government-controlled company.

Rival mortgage finance company Freddie Mac is planning similar awards, but has not yet reported on which executives will benefit.

The two companies, which together own or back more than half of the home mortgages in the country, have been hobbled by skyrocketing loan defaults.

Fannie Mae disclosed its “broad-based” retention program in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Mexico City

Tariffs to rise on U.S. imports

Mexico on Wednesday announced higher tariffs on some imports from the United States in retaliation for the U.S. government’s decision to end a program allowing Mexican trucks on U.S. highways.

The list of 89 products includes toilet paper, Christmas trees, fruit juices, pet food, shampoo, sunflower seeds, soy sauce, beer and deodorant and represents about $2.4 billion in annual trade. The tariffs range from 10 percent to 45 percent. Products from 40 states are affected, but they amount to less than 2 percent of U.S. exports to Mexico.

As Mexico made clear its unhappiness about the trucking decision, officials announced that President Barack Obama will visit the country next month.

From wire reports

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email