November 16th, 2009
04:17 PM ET

Louisiana ex-congressman gets 13 years on corruption conviction

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/11/13/jefferson.sentencing/story.william.jefferson.gi.jpg caption="William Jefferson, shown with his wife, Andrea, represented the New Orleans area in Congress for 18 years." width=300 height=169]

Paul Courson

Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson was sentenced Friday to 13 years in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his conviction on 11 counts of corruption.

Jefferson was also ordered to forfeit more than $470,000 after his conviction for using his office to solicit bribes.
He will also have to pay $1,100 in special assessments.
The case against the former nine-term Louisiana Democrat included allegations of influence-peddling and the discovery of $90,000 in cash in his freezer.
Judge T.S. Ellis will determine at a hearing next Wednesday whether Jefferson will remain free pending appeal. Until then, he is free.

"The court's sentence today reaffirms the principle that all people - no matter what their title or position - are equal before the law," said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman in a statement.

"In a stunning betrayal of the public's trust, former Congressman Jefferson repeatedly used his public office for private gain. The lengthy prison sentence imposed on Mr. Jefferson today is a stark reminder to all public officials that the consequences of accepting bribes can and will be severe."


November 16th, 2009
03:54 PM ET

CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin not qualified to serve as President

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/16/art.getty.palin.jpg caption="CNN Poll: Most Americans say Palin is not qualified to serve as President."]

Paul Steinhauser
CNN Deputy Political Director

Fewer than three in 10 Americans think Sarah Palin's qualified to be president, according to a new national poll – the least of any of the five potential candidates included in the survey.

But another woman tops that list in the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday: two-thirds of the public thinks that Secretary of State HIllary Clinton's qualified for the Oval Office. That's more than Vice President Joe Biden, who's currently next in line for the presidency.

According to the poll, 28 percent of Americans say Palin is qualified to run the White House, with seven in 10 saying the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee is not qualified.

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Filed under: Sarah Palin
November 16th, 2009
03:48 PM ET

Girl's body found in North Carolina, police say

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/16/north.carolina.missing.girl/story.shaniya.davis.cnn.jpg caption="Shaniya Davis, 5, was reported missing last week. Authorities said they found her body Monday. " width=300 height=169]
Gabriel Falcon

The body of a missing 5-year-old girl has been found in North Carolina, police said Monday.

Theresa Chance, public information officer of the Fayetteville Police Department, confirmed the girl's body was discovered.

A statement from Fayetteville Police Chief Tom Bergamine said positive identification was being sought for the recovered body. In a separate e-mail to CNN, Fayetteville police said the body found was that of the missing girl, Shaniya Davis.

About 200 people had been searching for the child's body after "reliable information" indicated that she might be dead, according to Fayetteville police.

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Filed under: Crime
November 16th, 2009
03:24 PM ET

50on50: Suckered – Part 1


Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

It happened again. My on-the-verge-of-50 savvy and life experience could not prevent my jaw from dropping. I'm aware lobbyists have influence in Congress. But this was another case of "I didn't know what I didn't know."


Imagine a member of Congress saying publicly, for the record: “A lobbyist for a major pharmaceutical company has convinced me that ….” Well, we don’t really need to finish such a statement. “A lobbyist convinced me” is not the quickest route to credibility. And yet ...

And yet, we learned in this Sunday’s New York Times that more than a dozen members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, entered statements in the Congressional Record that were written by a lobbyist.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/22/art.capitol.dome.cnn.jpg]

According to The New York Times, the language was spoon fed to congressional staffers, Democrats and Republicans, by a prominent pharmaceutical lobbyist, and regurgitated, word for word in most cases, by the members of Congress themselves. Regurgitated without any attribution.


Filed under: Michael Schulder • Opinion
November 16th, 2009
02:51 PM ET

Tonight: Text 360°

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Women in their 40s should not get routine mammograms for early detection of breast cancer, according to updated guidelines set forth by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

Before having a mammogram, women ages 40 to 49 should talk to their doctors about the risks and benefits of the test, and then decide if they want to be screened, according to the task force.

For women ages 50 to 74, it recommends routine mammography screenings every two years. Risks and benefits for women age 75 and above are unknown, it said.

Send us your questions! Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be on with answers tonight.

Send us a text message with your question. Text AC360 (or 22360), and you might hear it on air!

Filed under: T1 • Text 360
November 16th, 2009
01:54 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Payback time for GM

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/31/art.gm.gi.jpg caption="Improved results may allow GM to start repaying government loans sooner. "]
Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

General Motors says that improved results will allow it to start repaying government loans sooner than expected, although the company continued to lose money in its first quarter since emerging from bankruptcy.

GM says it anticipates paying $1 billion to the Treasury Dept. in December, along with $192 million to the Canadian and Ontario governments.

GM received $6.7 billion in loans from the Treasury as part of its bankruptcy proceedings, along with help from Canada and Ontario. But that’s only a fraction of the $50 billion in bailout money GM has received from U.S. taxpayers since the end of 2008. FULL POST

Filed under: Andrew Torgan
November 16th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
November 16th, 2009
11:20 AM ET

Police: Search is on for N.C. girl's body

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/11/16/north.carolina.missing.girl/story.antoinettedavis.fayettevillepolice.jpg caption="Antoinette Davis, whose daughter Shaniya was reported missing last week, has been charged with human trafficking." width=300 height=169]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

About 200 people were searching Monday in North Carolina for the body of a missing 5-year-old girl after "reliable information" indicated that she may be dead, Fayetteville, North Carolina, police said.

The search focused on land near a roadway because "reliable information received that the body of Shaniya Davis may have been dumped there," the Fayetteville Police Department said in a statement.

Investigators have been searching for Shaniya for several days.

Police charged the girl's mother, Antoinette Nicole Davis, with trafficking and other offenses, authorities said. Davis was "prostituting her child," said Fayetteville police spokeswoman Theresa Chance.

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Filed under: Crime • Gabe Falcon
November 16th, 2009
10:46 AM ET

Dear President Obama #301: The terror trials

Reporter's Note: President Obama is entering the final 65 days of his first year in office. It’s kind of hard to imagine that a quarter of his presidency is already gone, unless he is re-elected. Every day since his inauguration I’ve written a letter to the White House. That’s a little hard to imagine too.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/11/13/khalid.sheikh.mohammed/story.khalid.sheikh.mohammed2.gi.jpg caption="Khalid Sheikh Mohammed reportedly confessed to being the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks after being waterboarded." width=300 height=169]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Back in Colorado, during our neighborhood picnic each year, the teenage boys would challenge the men…most of us in our 30’s or 40’s…to a basketball game. They were faster, stronger, had played a lot more games recently; and yet every single time, we beat them. Huffing and puffing so loudly we sounded like a concertina band, we faked them out on shots, edged them out for rebounds, and pushed them out when they tried to muscle in.

The reason they kept losing was that they thought basketball skill was what mattered. The reason we kept winning was that we knew what really counted was patience, courage, confidence, and cunning.

I was thinking of that, amid all this debate over bringing those terrorism trials to a New York court, instead of keeping them in a military tribunal. We, as a nation, still aren’t precisely sure how to grapple with these particular opponents; in terms of our intelligence operations, our military power, or our system of justice. We are vastly more powerful, more educated, more technologically advanced, and our extraordinarily well-trained and dedicated troops can quite simply pound them to dust anywhere on the planet in head-to-head combat.


November 16th, 2009
10:40 AM ET

Republicans heading for a spectacular bloodbath in Florida

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/12/crist.senate/art.charliecrist.gi.jpg caption="Gov. Charlie Crist, pictured alongside Sen. John McCain, endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus"]

David Frum
CNN Contributor

The Republican fratricide in the November 3 special election in upstate New York may prove just an opening round of an even more spectacular bloodbath in Florida in 2010.

In New York, Republican feuding lost the party a seat in the House of Representatives. At stake in Florida is not only a senatorship - but very possibly Republican hopes for 2012 as well.

The battle in Florida pits Gov. Charlie Crist against former Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio. Both men claim to be conservative, pro-life, tax cutters. On the issues, they would seem to agree far more than they disagree.

But on one issue they have disagreed passionately: President Obama's fiscal stimulus. Squeezed by his state's desperate fiscal condition, Crist endorsed and campaigned for the Obama stimulus. Inspired by his conservative ideology, Rubio opposed stimulus.

Now Rubio is the darling of conservatives nationwide. Just this week it was announced that he would keynote next year's annual CPAC conference in Washington. He has been profiled on the cover of National Review, endorsed by the Club for Growth, and feted by radio talk show hosts.

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Filed under: President Barack Obama • Republicans
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