Archive for Tuesday, August 21, 2001

Nation briefs

August 21, 2001

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Washington, D.C.

Sharpton explores bid for presidential nomination

New York civil rights activist Al Sharpton said Monday he will form a committee to explore a possible bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.

"Progressive leadership is in a deep crisis at the moment in the Democratic party and outside," Sharpton said at a news conference. He accused the Democratic Party of moving to the right.

Sharpton said his campaign, if he runs, would focus on reforming the criminal justice and election systems.

Quizzed about his presidential qualifications on CNN's "Crossfire" Monday night, Sharpton said, "When you look at the fact that now you have a lot of people who've only done things like get rich go straight into the U.S. Senate, clearly someone who's spent two decades or more working on public policy issues certainly has more of a background to run for the White House than that."

Missouri

Mob boss leaves hospital

Former New York mob boss John Gotti was back in solitary confinement Monday despite an attempt by his attorneys to keep him hospitalized.

Lawyers for Gotti, who is in the advanced stages of throat cancer, went to court Monday to stop his return to the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield.

But Gotti was sent back to the prison before a hearing could be scheduled, said Lewis Kasman, a longtime family friend.

The reason for the move was not clear, although Gotti had been advised of his "imminent transfer" back to prison, Kasman said.

PHILADELPHIA

Charges filed in pier collapse

Two businessmen were charged with involuntary manslaughter Monday for the collapse last year of a nightclub pier that sent people tumbling into the Delaware River, killing three and injuring dozens.

Pier 34 owner Michael Asbell and Heat nightclub owner Eli Karetny were each charged with three counts of involuntary manslaughter and 43 counts of reckless endangering. They were also charged with risking a catastrophe, failing to prevent a catastrophe and criminal conspiracy.

Prosecutors said both defendants were expected to surrender.

The 92-year-old wooden pier supporting the new open-air nightclub broke apart and plunged into the river on May 18, 2000. Many of the people who fell in were blanketed by a canvas tent.

New York City

ABC wins Condit interview

Embattled California Rep. Gary Condit will give his first television interview on the Chandra Levy case to ABC News correspondent Connie Chung.

Chung won a furious behind-the-scenes competition for the interview, considered the biggest "get" in television news since her ABC colleague Barbara Walters interviewed Monica Lewinsky.

The interview will be taped for air Thursday night, according to Condit aide Michael Dayton. Chung will talk to him from Condit's district in Modesto, Calif.

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