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Man arrested for Penn Station threat

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

New York A man was arraigned Monday on charges stemming from a bomb scare that emptied busy Pennsylvania Station and disrupted service on Amtrak, commuter trains and city subways for about an hour.

Another bomb scare emptied several buildings in Brooklyn and shut down a subway station, and armed officers halted a sightseeing bus and searched its tourist passengers.

Raul Claudio, described by prosecutors as having a prior conviction for drug dealing, was arraigned Monday on charges of making terrorist threats and falsely reporting an incident for the bomb scare at Pennsylvania Station. Each count carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison. Bail was set at $15,000.

Claudio, 43, was arrested in the station Sunday after he allegedly threw a backpack at an Amtrak agent and said it was a bomb, said Marissa Baldeo, a spokeswoman for NYC Transit.

Bush taps GOP ally for EU ambassador

Washington President Bush on Monday chose C. Boyden Gray, a former White House counsel who has been steering a group formed to push the president’s Supreme Court nominee, to be the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

The Senate must confirm Gray’s nomination to represent the United States in Brussels at the headquarters of the 25-member European Union. Now a partner in a prominent law firm, Gray was White House counsel to former President George H.W. Bush and a Supreme Court clerk to former Chief Justice Earl Warren.

Recently, he has been founder and chairman of Committee for Justice, an influential conservative group formed to counter organizations on the left in the battle over Supreme Court nominees. The group was formed three years ago at the request of Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, then the majority leader, and the urging of Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove.

Mom pleads guilty to teen sex parties

Golden, Colo. A woman who told police she wanted to be a “cool mom” pleaded guilty to sexual assault charges Monday for having sex with high school boys at parties where authorities said she supplied drugs and alcohol.

Silvia Johnson, 40, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault and nine felony counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped two counts of distribution of methamphetamine.

“She described herself as a ‘cool mom,’ ” Detective R.J. Vander Veen wrote in the affidavit. He said Johnson told investigators “she was never popular with classmates in high school and now began ‘feeling like one of the group.’ “

Prosecutors did not recommend a sentence, but each sexual assault count carries up to two years in prison, and each count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor carries up to six years, district attorney’s spokeswoman Pam Russell said.

Courthouse monument to victims to be moved

Lubbock, Texas County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to remove a victims’ monument that was recently placed near a courthouse entryway, a memorial that defense attorneys said could prejudice jurors.

The black granite monument, funded with a federal grant to a regional victims group, depicts a quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

The Lubbock Criminal Defense Lawyers Association criticized placement of the memorial, about 30 yards from the front entrance.

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