New York City will drop most charges against protesting firefighters, and a dozen people who claimed they needed help because of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks have been charged with stealing money from the American Red Cross.
Charges to Be Dropped Against Most Protesting Firefighters
N E W Y O R K, Nov. 10 — Authorities are dropping charges against all but one of the 18 firefighters arrested after a raucous protest at the World Trade Center site, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said today. The firefighters were arrested after five police officers were injured during a Nov. 2 rally, in which firefighters protested their numbers being reduced at the site. The one case that will not be dropped involved a firefighter accused of hitting a police officer, Giuliani said at a late-afternoon City Hall press conference. That firefighter's identity was not immediately known. The other cases mostly involved criminal trespassing and harassment, the mayor said. Giuliani said he came to the decision in part after meeting with some families of firefighters killed in the disaster. "What happened at ground zero . . . is unacceptable. I am very, very hopeful it will not happen again," said Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor who said he is generally opposed to dropping charges in criminal cases. "But we want to be able to put this behind us, so we can move ahead." Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said the charges would be dismissed and would not appear on the firefighters' records. Morganthau said he made the decision "in light of the extraordinary heroism of the firefighters and police department members at ground zero, and the stress on the families, particularly on the widows and children." The charges are expected to be dropped on Tuesday; courts are closed Monday because of the Veterans Day holiday. —The Associated Press
12 N.Y. Port Workers Charged With Cheating Red Cross
N E W Y O R K, Nov. 9 — A dozen people who claimed they needed help because of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks were charged with stealing money from the American Red Cross.
The employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey received a total of about $14,000 in emergency cash or checks for things like groceries, transportation or rent, Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau said.
The employees, who worked at the Port Authority's cafeteria at the trade center, all escaped safely Sept. 11.
Morgenthau said the defendants went to a Red Cross disaster center and said they were left unemployed by the attacks and needed financial help.
The workers never lost any pay and were still employed by the Port Authority, Morgenthau said.
The 12 have been suspended from their jobs.
—The Associated Press
Cops Can Tap Inmate-Lawyer Conversations
W A S H I N G T O N, Nov. 9 — The government has implemented a rule that would allow prisons to monitor phone calls and mail between inmates and their lawyers.
The rule published last month in the Federal Register says the monitoring can take place when the attorney general concludes there is "reasonable suspicion" that the communications are designed to further terrorist acts.
The rule says it had to be implemented without public comment to make sure the Justice Department could respond to threats to national security.
The American Civil Liberties Union is criticizing the change.