BY Wire reports
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 3:18 AM
Aide to Mass. governor named to replace Kerry
WASHINGTON - Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick on Wednesday named his former chief of staff to temporarily fill the Senate seat being vacated by John Kerry and called a special election for June 25 for voters to choose a permanent replacement for the incoming secretary of state.
Patrick, a Democrat, chose William "Mo" Cowan over two more familiar names in Bay State politics: former Rep. Barney Frank, who had actively lobbied for the appointment, and Victoria Kennedy, the widow of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.
Shortly before the death of Kennedy in 2009, Massachusetts lawmakers changed state law regarding Senate vacancies, requiring the governor to make a temporary appointment before a special election would be held and the appointee to pledge not to run for the unexpired term.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Ed Markey has already announced his candidacy to complete Kerry's term, which ends in January 2015. His Democratic colleague Stephen Lynch is expected to announce his candidacy later this week. A primary would be held May 14, according to state law.
Speculation on the Republican side centers around Scott Brown, who won an upset victory in the 2010 special election to fill Kennedy's seat but lost his bid for a full term in November to Elizabeth Warren.
Pa. judge: No new trial for Jerry Sandusky
HARRISBURG, Pa. - Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict.
Judge John Cleland's 27-page order said lawyers for the former Penn State assistant football coach conceded that their post-trial review turned up no material that would have changed their trial strategy.
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence for sexual abuse of 10 boys, including violent attacks on the children inside Penn State athletics facilities.
Ex-Ill. governor to finish prison sentence at home
CHICAGO - Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was released from prison before dawn Wednesday, going home to serve the rest of his sentence for corruption.
By midday, the 78-year-old was sitting in the living room of his home in a northern Illinois neighborhood in Kankakee beaming and surrounded by his children and grandchildren, said Ryan's attorney and also a former governor, Jim Thompson.
Ryan, a Republican, served five-plus years behind bars for multiple corruption convictions, walking out of his federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., at around 1 a.m. Wednesday - his son driving him the 200 miles north to Chicago.
Sen. Menendez denies prostitute engagement
WASHINGTON - Sen. Robert Menendez's office said Wednesday that he traveled three times on a plane owned by a prominent Florida political donor but that the trips were paid for and reported appropriately. At the same time, Menendez's office said unsubstantiated allegations the senator engaged in sex with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are false.
The FBI searched the West Palm Beach, Fla., office of the donor - eye doctor Salomon Melgen - on Tuesday night and early Wednesday, but it was unclear if the raid was related to Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat.
Records filed in Palm Beach County show an Internal Revenue Service lien against Melgen of more than $11.1 million for unpaid taxes from 2006 through 2009. Prior liens for taxes from 1998 to 2000 were subsequently withdrawn, records show.
The Daily Caller, a conservative website, reported shortly before the November election that Menendez traveled on Melgen's private plane to the Dominican Republic to engage in sex with prostitutes.
Menendez's office said that any accusations of engaging with prostitutes "are manufactured by a politically motivated right-wing blog and are false."
Police: 1 dead in Ariz. shooting; suspect loose
PHOENIX - A gunman opened fire at a Phoenix office complex on Wednesday, killing one person, wounding two others and setting off a manhunt. Police warned that he was "armed and dangerous."
Authorities identified the suspect as Arthur D. Harmon, who they said opened fire at the end of a mediation session. They identified a man who died hours after the shooting as 48-year-old Steve Singer.
Police say a 43-year-old man was in critical condition and a 32-year-old woman suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
"We believe the two men were the targets. It was not a random shooting," said Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.
Thompson said authorities believe Harmon acted alone and fled the scene in a car after the 10:30 a.m. shooting.
According to court documents, Harmon was due in the same building where the shooting took place for a settlement conference in a lawsuit he filed last April against Scottsdale-based Fusion Contact Centers LLC.
Dog found in N.M. is reunited with Ky. owner
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Mandi Smith's 5-month-old puppy disappeared from the family's Fort Campbell, Ky., yard 18 months ago. So when Smith got a call saying Pooka had turned up in northern New Mexico, she says she was more than a little surprised.
"At first I thought someone was playing a trick on me," the 26-year-old Smith said Wednesday.
But it was no joke. The now 2-year-old Chihuahua-dachshund mix was found wandering the streets in Espanola on Jan. 12. She was traced back to her military family by a microchip that had been installed just days before she went missing.
Smith and the dog were reunited Wednesday at Albuquerque's airport.