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Rove subpoenaed to testify in firings

The House Judiciary Committee chairman subpoenaed former White House adviser Karl Rove on Monday to testify about the Bush administration’s firing of nine U.S. attorneys and its prosecution of a former Democratic governor.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., said the ongoing legal battle to get Rove and other former Bush administration aides to testify may have success with a new president in the White House.

Former President George W. Bush upheld Rove and two other senior aides who asserted they did not have to testify before Congress about their actions in the White House.

The legal dispute between the executive and legislative branches of government is before a federal appeals court.

Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin, said his client was only following Bush’s orders and never asserted a personal claim that he could disobey a congressional subpoena. Luskin added that if the Obama administration no longer asserts a legal claim against Rove testifying, “we will do our best to work it out with the new president.”

“This is not Mr. Rove’s dispute,” Luskin said.

The subpoena commanded Rove to appear on Feb. 2 for a deposition on the U.S. attorney firings and the prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat.

Bellflower, Calif.

Woman gives birth to octuplets

A woman gave birth to eight babies in Southern California on Monday, the world’s second live-born set of octuplets.

The mother, who was not identified, gave birth to six boys and two girls weighing between 1 pound, 8 ounces and 3 pounds, 4 ounces, doctors at Kaiser Permanante Bellflower Medical Center said. The hospital had scheduled a Caesarean section for seven babies, but doctors were surprised by the eighth.

Doctors said the babies were born nine weeks premature but are in stable condition. Two newborns were placed on ventilators and a third needs oxygen.

The first baby was born at 10:43 a.m.; the eighth one at 10:48 a.m.

The first live-born octuplets were born in Houston in 1998, and one baby died about a week later. The surviving siblings – girls Ebuka, Gorom, Chidi, Chima and Echerem, and their brothers Ikem and Jioke – celebrated their 10th birthday in December.

Scranton, Pa.

Judges to plead guilty to fraud

Two Pennsylvania judges agreed Monday to plead guilty to fraud charges accusing them of taking $2.6 million in kickbacks in return for placing juvenile offenders into certain detention facilities.

The plea agreements for Luzerne County President Judge Mark Ciavarella and Senior Judge Michael Conahan call for sentences of more than seven years in prison. Ciavarella resigned from the bench in a Jan. 23 letter to Gov. Ed Rendell. Conahan has agreed to resign within 10 days of a judge’s acceptance of the plea.

Authorities say the judges took kickbacks between 2003 and 2007 in exchange for guaranteeing the placement of juvenile offenders into facilities operated by PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care LLC. In some cases, Ciavarella ordered children into detention even when juvenile probation officers did not recommend it.

“They sold their oaths of offices to the highest bidders,” Deron Roberts, chief of the FBI’s Scranton office, said at a news conference Monday.

U.S. Attorney Martin Carlson stressed the charges were “the first developments in an ongoing investigation” into public corruption at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.

PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care have not been charged with wrongdoing.

From wire reports
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