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Boehner wins over decade-old Leaked cell phone call

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 2, 2007


Washington

A decade-long feud between Reps. John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., appeared to end in Boehner's favor Tuesday when a court ruled McDermott liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees over an illegally taped conference call he leaked to reporters. In a 5-4 opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals said the offense was especially egregious because McDermott was a senior member of the House ethics panel at the time. The case goes back to December 1996, when a couple using a police scanner illegally taped a cell phone conference call between House Republican leaders discussing ethics allegations against then-Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga. The couple gave the tape to McDermott, who turned it over to news outlets.

WASHINGTON

No ethics nod for Wolfowitz deal

The World Bank's ethics committee wasn't consulted and didn't approve of a hefty compensation package for bank president Paul Wolfowitz's girlfriend, says Ad Melkert, the panel's chairman at the time. Melkert made his comments Tuesday before a special bank panel looking into how Wolfowitz handled the 2005 promotion and pay package of bank employee Shaha Riza.

LOUISVILLE, KY.

Birkhead, baby arrive in Kentucky

Anna Nicole Smith's ex-boyfriend arrived in Kentucky from the Bahamas on Tuesday with their infant daughter and said he was looking forward to introducing the baby to his family. "It just feels good to be home, " Larry Birkhead said after stepping off a private jet. He said he plans to show off 7-month-old Dannielynn to his family in Louisville and "relax and horse around." Birkhead, a 34-year-old photographer based in Los Angeles, said he's unsure if he will stay in Louisville.

WASHINGTON

Interior aide quits before hearing

A senior Bush political appointee at the Interior Department who revised scientific reports to minimize protection of endangered species has resigned, officials said Tuesday. Julie MacDonald, deputy assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks, had been criticized by Interior's inspector general, and Congress was preparing to scrutinize her performance in a hearing.

ATLANTA

Rare Asian turtle hatches at zoo

Zoo Atlanta has hatched a rare Arakan forest turtle, a victory for researchers trying to save the endangered Asian species. The week-old turtle is the fourth of the reptiles born there in the last six years, zoo officials said Tuesday. Two of the hatchlings have died. The zoo is the only facility in the world successfully breeding the turtle, one of the most critically endangered species. Scientists blame its rapid disappearance on their use in Asia for cooking and medicinal purposes.

WASHINGTON

State wiretaps up as U.S. bows out

State investigators listened in on more than 3-million phone conversations last year as local prosecutors sought a record number of wiretaps, mostly to investigate drug crimes. As the federal government has focused its resources on national security investigations, the responsibility for drug investigations - the focus of 80 percent of wiretaps - has fallen to state and local authorities. Last year, state prosecutors obtained nearly three times as many wiretap authorizations as federal counterparts: 1, 378 to 461, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

LOS ANGELES

L.A. population tops 4-million

The population of Los Angeles quietly surpassed the 4-million mark last year, the California Department of Finance announced Tuesday. The city gained 37, 758 residents last year, and as of Jan. 1 its population was 4, 018, 080. "It's a spectacular arc of development when you consider that in 1900 L.A. had a population of 102, 459, " former state historian Kevin Starr said.