WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was hailed as a hero after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and nearly became chief of Homeland Security, was sentenced Thursday to four years in federal prison.
District Judge Stephen Robinson went well beyond federal sentencing guidelines, which suggested 27 to 33 months. The judge said some of the crimes were committed while Kerik was “the chief law enforcement officer for the biggest and grandest city this nation has.”
Kerik, a protege of former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, pleaded guilty in November to eight felonies, including tax fraud and lying to the White House while being vetted for the Homeland Security post in 2004.
Professor’s lawyer thinks she’s insane
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The lawyer for an Alabama college professor accused of killing three colleagues during a faculty meeting said Thursday he believes the teacher is insane, and that she says she can’t remember the shootings.
Amy Bishop, who has a doctorate from Harvard University and has taught at the University of Alabama in Huntsville since 2003, has severe mental problems that appear to be paranoid schizophrenia, said Roy W. Miller, her court-appointed attorney.
Miller spoke in an interview with the Associated Press on the same day hundreds of mourners attended the first funeral and memorial services for Bishop’s slain co-workers.
Nichols says prison food defiles him
DENVER – Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols says he’s going on a hunger strike because he claims prison officials don’t provide him a fiber-rich diet.
Nichols said in a handwritten note filed in Denver federal court Thursday that he began his strike Monday because his body is being “defiled” by the food he gets at the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colo.
Nichols is representing himself in a pending lawsuit about his diet. He says the lack of whole grains and fresh food in his diet harms his health and violates his religious beliefs, causing him to “sin against God.”
Nichols is serving life for conspiracy and involuntary manslaughter in the 1995 federal building bombing that killed 168 people.
White House ready to bypass GOP
WASHINGTON – The White House signaled Thursday that an aggressive, all-Democratic strategy for overhauling the nation’s health care system remains a serious option, even as President Barack Obama invites Republicans to next week’s televised summit to seek possible compromises.
A senior administration official said Democratic congressional leaders have nearly finished efforts to reconcile two health bills, which the House and Senate passed separately last year with practically no Republican help. Obama will use their legislation to expand coverage to some 30 million and require most Americans to carry insurance as the basis for a proposal that the White House will post online by Monday, three days before the Thursday summit, said the official.
‘American Idol’ boots semifinalist
LOS ANGELES – “American Idol” contestant Chris Golightly was dropped from the top 24 semifinalists because of a “lack of veracity” during the audition process, a person close to the Fox TV show said Thursday.
Golightly didn’t disclose that he’d had a music contract, the person said.
It was Golightly’s failure to mention the contract, not whether it was currently in force, that led to his expulsion, the person said.
Golightly, 25, was replaced by Tim Urban, a 20-year-old college student from Duncanville, Texas, when the last 17 semifinalists weres revealed on Wednesday’s show.
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