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Nation in brief: ACORN didn’t break law, says attorney general

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California Attorney General Jerry Brown determined Thursday that ACORN broke no criminal laws, after reviewing videotapes that sparked a recent political firestorm.

Brown’s office said it would not pursue charges against the now-defunct community organizing group. But it said ACORN engaged in inappropriate behavior that may prompt other state agencies to take a look, such as dumping 500 pages of confidential records into the trash and failing to file a state tax return.

“A few ACORN members exhibited terrible judgment and highly inappropriate behavior in videotapes obtained in the investigation,” Brown said in a statement. “But they didn’t commit prosecutable crimes in California.”

Ruse lured militia members away from their weapons

DETROIT – Five members of a Midwest Christian militia accused of conspiring to overthrow the government were lured to a warehouse to attend a phony memorial service so they would be unarmed when authorities arrested them, Michigan’s chief federal agent said Thursday.

The ruse in Ann Arbor was part of a series of weekend raids in several states that resulted in the indictment of nine people in the alleged plot, officials said.

“We basically set up a scenario where we were able to draw them all to one location,” Andrew Arena, the FBI’s special agent in charge in Detroit, told the Associated Press. “And the reason we did that was to obviously get them away from their weapons.”

Nine suspected members of a group called the Hutaree based in southern Michigan’s Lenawee County were charged this week with seditious conspiracy, or plotting to levy war against the U.S., attempting to use weapons of mass destruction and other crimes.

They planned to make a false 911 call, kill responding police officers and set off a bomb at the funeral to kill many more, according to prosecutors.

Bodies that were believed cremated show up in tubs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The first discovery was gruesome enough: a head and torso tucked inside a red biohazard tub that arrived at a Kansas company. Then it got worse.

Six more heads and torsos showed up in the next week after someone apparently dismembered the bodies with a chain saw or another cutting device, police said.

Authorities are investigating a New Mexico company that was supposed to have donated the organs in the bodies to science and had the remains cremated. The owner of the Albuquerque company, Paul Montano, was arrested Thursday.

The owner of Bio Care Southwest denied dismembering any bodies. Montano told police his father picks up and delivers bodies to Bio Care.

FBI will focus search for missing family in Mexico

FALLBROOK, Calif. – The FBI will be briefed today on a San Diego County family that has been missing for almost two months.

Sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Brugos said investigators are focusing their search for the McStay family in Mexico, where the FBI has more resources.

Businessman Joseph McStay, his wife, Summer, and their two young sons – Gianni 4, Joseph Jr. 3 – were last heard from Feb. 4.

Investigators said surveillance video may have captured images of the Fallbrook family crossing the border on foot. Their white Isuzu Trooper was found in a nearby parking lot.

Attorneys urge that Jackson’s doctor be allowed to practice

LOS ANGELES – Michael Jackson’s doctor is “hanging on by a thread” and must be allowed to continue practicing medicine in order to pay for his defense on a manslaughter charge in the pop star’s death, the physician’s lawyers said in court papers filed Thursday.

Responding to a bid by the California attorney general to suspend Dr. Conrad Murray’s medical license pending trial, attorneys Ed Chernoff and Joseph Low said that the effect would be devastating to the doctor who already faces a slew of financial problems.

“He is, without fear of overstatement, hanging on by a thread,” the attorneys wrote.

Murray, who was working as Jackson’s personal physician, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the singer’s death from the anesthetic propofol and other drugs. He has pleaded not guilty.

In another development Thursday, Nevada state medical officials filed a formal complaint against Murray, saying he twice failed to mention delinquent child support payments on applications to renew his medical license.


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Trump backtracks on Syria after talks with French leader

One month ago President Donald Trump surprised many, including some in his own administration, by announcing, “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now.” He insisted that the time had come for the U.S. military to shift its focus away from Syria.