Worker to testifyin Martha Stewart case
NEW YORK -- An assistant at Merrill Lynch & amp; Co. has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and testify against Martha Stewart in a federal investigation into sales of ImClone stock, The Wall Street Journal reported in today's editions.
Prosecutors had sought to charge the assistant, Douglas Faneuil, with a felony of making false statements to investigators but agreed to a misdemeanor in exchange for his cooperation, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the discussions who it did not identify.
The charge is expected to be filed within days, the newspaper said.
Through his lawyer, Faneuil declined to comment, as did the U.S. attorney's office in New York. A spokeswoman for Stewart declined to comment, but in the past she has denied wrongdoing.
Merrill Lynch handled Stewart's sale of nearly 4,000 ImClone shares in late December, shortly before the company announced that federal regulators would not review the company's cancer drug, Erbitux.
ImClone founder Samuel Waksal has been accused of using his knowledge of the FDA's impending announcement to tip off his friends, including home decor maven Stewart, and his family members, who sold their stock before the price plummeted.
Skull found near homeof missing Va. girl
STONEVILLE, N.C. -- Authorities searching for a 9-year-old Virginia girl who disappeared the night her parents were killed were investigating a human skull found near a pond 30 miles from her home.
Authorities found bone fragments and a full head of hair on the rural property Wednesday and began draining the pond. They returned in the rain today to search for more evidence while scientists compared the hair to strands belonging to the girl, who hasn't been seen in six weeks.
"There were small fragments of jaw, teeth and other bones strewn all over the place," Rockingham County Sheriff Sam Page said, describing what investigators found on the wooded property.
He said this morning that the remains belonging to a small person but that no link had been established to 9-year-old Jennifer Short.
Jennifer disappeared from her home in Bassett, Va., Aug. 15, the morning her parents, Michael Short, 50, and Mary Hall Short, 36, were found shot to death.
Bush nominee to faceSenate committee
WASHINGTON -- Honduran native Miguel Estrada finally gets to present his case for becoming the first Hispanic on the nation's second highest court after more than 16 months of listening to Republicans, Democrats and interest groups argue his fitness for the job.
Estrada must convince at least one of 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee that support from conservative groups and his legal work on behalf of President Bush's election shouldn't disqualify him.
The 40-year-old Estrada has been rehearsing months for his appearance today before the 19-member panel, which since March has rejected two other Bush appeals court nominees on party-line votes.
Estrada, a Washington lawyer who was on Bush's legal team in the Florida recount battle two years ago, wants a seat on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. That court was a stepping stone in the careers of three current Supreme Court justices and sends more judges to the Supreme Court than any other.
Groups like the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund oppose Estrada. The Hispanic lawmakers said Estrada has never advocated for Latinos, was "combative" during an interview with them and repeatedly stressed that "he didn't look for the job, the job came to him."
5 killed in robbery
NORFOLK, Neb. -- Five people were killed in a bank robbery this morning in a farming community in northeast Nebraska, authorities said.
Police Chief Bill Mizner said the U.S. Bank branch, located just of a major highway, was robbed shortly before 9 a.m. CDT. Four of the victims were bank employees and one was a customer, he said.
Authorities were still searching for three men seen driving away in a car that had temporary in-transit tags in the window rather than license plates.
A house near the bank was broken into after the robbery, and that was where the vehicle was believed to have been taken, Mizner said.
Norfolk, with a population of about 25,000, is about 90 miles northwest of Omaha.