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Archive for Saturday, June 30, 2001

Nation Briefs

June 30, 2001

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Idaho: Custody hearing delayed in child-standoff case

A custody hearing for the children who engaged in a five-day standoff with sheriff's deputies was delayed Friday at their mother's request.

JoAnn McGuckin said she needed time to deal with unspecified medical issues and told reporters she would be undergoing a psychological examination. The hearing was rescheduled for July 9.

McGuckin, 46, was freed from jail Thursday night for the first time since her May 29 arrest on a child neglect charge. That charge was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor in conjunction with her release.

McGuckin pleaded innocent to the charge, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $300 fine. Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said he intended to prosecute. No trial date was set.

When deputies went to the family's Garfield Bay home to collect the children after arresting their mother, the youngsters holed up in the house with five weapons. They surrendered peacefully June 2.

Phoenix: Mob turncoat pleads in Ecstasy ring case

Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano, the mob turncoat who put John Gotti away, pleaded guilty Friday to state charges that he masterminded an Ecstasy ring.

Gravano, 56, already faces up to 15 1/2 years in prison for pleading guilty to federal charges in the drug case.

His plea in the state case could bring 15 to 20 years, though prosecutors have agreed to let the sentences run concurrently, said his lawyer, Greg Parzych.

Prosecutors said he was boss of the drug ring that operated in New York and Arizona and distributed up to 30,000 Ecstasy pills a week.

As a hit man and once-feared underboss of the Gambino crime family, Gravano admitted killing 19 people but received leniency for testifying against Gotti, the former Gambino boss, and other mobsters.

Gravano served five years in prison before moving to Phoenix in 1995 under the witness protection program. Prosecutors said he dropped out of that program in 1997 to get into the drug business.

Denver: Government calculates cost of McVeigh defense

The federal government spent $13.8 million in public funds to defend Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City, a federal judge said Friday.

U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch, who presided over McVeigh's trial, released figures compiled by the U.S. Justice Department.

The federal government spent a total of $13,780,835.83 to hire private attorneys and cover other costs of McVeigh's defense until his execution.

McVeigh, 33, was executed by injection June 11 at a federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., the first inmate to be executed by the government in 38 years.

The bombing killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Chicago: Plan unveiled for O'Hare expansion

Mayor Richard Daley announced an ambitious expansion plan for O'Hare International Airport on Friday that would add one runway and rebuild three others in an effort to ease the air traffic jam plaguing the key facility

An April report by the Federal Aviation Administration ranked O'Hare third-worst in the nation for delays, after LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark International Airport in New Jersey. The FAA predicted the problem would worsen over the next decade, with takeoffs and landings at O'Hare expected to grow by 18 percent while capacity grows by just 6 percent.

Daley said the $6 billion plan would reduce overall delays by 79 percent while nearly doubling the number of flights O'Hare could handle each year to 1.6 million. The airport now handles slightly more than 900,000 flights a year.

Delays at O'Hare have a domino effect across the country because the airport is a hub for the country's two largest airlines, American and United.

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