Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife indicted on federal corruption charges
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife were indicted Tuesday on corruption charges after a monthslong federal investigation into thousands of dollars in gifts the Republican received from a businessman and political donor.
A bond hearing and arraignment is set for both defendants Friday in U.S. District Court in Richmond.
"Today’s charges represent the Justice Department’s continued commitment to rooting out public corruption at all levels of government," Acting Assistant Attorney General Raman said in a news release. "Ensuring that elected officials uphold the public’s trust is one of our most critical responsibilities."
McDonnell left office earlier this month after four years in the governor’s office. Virginia law limits governors to a single term.
A federal investigation overshadowed the final months in office for the once-rising star of the Republican Party, with authorities looking into gifts he and his family received from Jonnie Williams, the former CEO of dietary supplements maker Star Scientific.
Documents: Chicago archdiocese spent decades hiding priest sex abuse, putting children at risk
CHICAGO (AP) -- Top leaders at the Archdiocese of Chicago helped hide the sexual abuse of children as they struggled to contain a growing crisis, according to thousands of pages of internal documents that also raise new questions about how Cardinal Francis George handled the allegations even after the church adopted reforms.
The documents, released through settlements between attorneys for the archdiocese and victims, describe how priests for decades were moved from parish to parish while the archdiocese hid the clerics’ histories from the public, often with the approval of the late Cardinals John Cody and Joseph Bernardin.
Although the abuse documented in the files occurred before George became archbishop in 1997, many victims did not come forward until after he was appointed and after U.S. bishops pledged in 2002 to keep all accused priests out of ministry.
George delayed removing the Rev. Joseph R. Bennett, despite learning that the priest had been accused of sexually abusing girls and boys decades earlier. Even the board the cardinal appointed to help him evaluate abuse claims advised George that Bennett should be removed.
"I realize this creates a rather awkward situation, but I believe I need to reflect on this matter further," George wrote in a Nov. 7, 2005 letter to an archdiocese child protection official. Also against the advice of his board, George had Bennett monitored by another priest who was a friend and who vacationed with Bennett.
Christie sworn in amid scandal, touts mandate from big election win and bond with N.J. voters
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie sought to turn back the clock as he was sworn into a second term Tuesday, saying voters gave him a mandate in November to "stay the course" and put aside partisan differences, even as Democrats ramped up an investigation into whether his administration abused its power.
Christie, considered a likely Republican presidential candidate in 2016, was inaugurated amid a snowstorm that forced him to cancel an evening celebration on Ellis Island, and then gave an 18-minute address that dwelled on his 22-point election victory in the fall. He did not mention the investigations that have already led to the firing or departure of four top aides or associates.
The people making up a broad coalition that returned him to office, he said, "have demanded that we stay the course they have helped set."
"It was the largest and loudest voice of affirmation that the people of our state have given to any direction in three decades," Christie said, noting priorities including the economy, education and improving access to jobs for recovering drug addicts. "We have no moral option but to heed the voice of the voters, and that is exactly what I intend to do."
His speech came less than an hour after Democratic lawmakers announced they were consolidating twin probes into allegations that aides engineered traffic jams in September in the community of Fort Lee as political retribution, apparently against the town’s mayor for not endorsing his re-election bid.
Obama and Pope Francis
to meet in the Vatican
in March with focus on shared economic view
WASHINGTON (AP) -- When President Barack Obama meets Pope Francis in the Vatican in March, both men will speak a common economic language rooted in similar views about poverty and income inequality, giving prominence to an issue that the U.S. president wants to be a central theme of his second term.
In the complicated relationship between the Obama administration and the Catholic Church, the White House sees the popular new pontiff and his emphasis on the plight of the poor as a form of moral validation of the president’s economic agenda. When Obama delivered a major address on the economy last month, he cited the growth of inequality across the developed world and made sure to note that "the pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length."
The White House and the Vatican announced Tuesday that Obama will meet with the pope on March 27 during a four-day European trip that includes a nuclear security summit in the Netherlands and a U.S.-European Union summit in Brussels. The meeting is the first between the president and Pope Francis.
Obama had an audience with the previous pope, Benedict XVI, in July 2009. At the time, the Vatican underscored the deep disagreement between them on abortion. Benedict gave the president a copy of a Vatican document on bioethics that asserted the church’s opposition to using embryos for stem cell research, cloning and in-vitro fertilization. Obama supports stem cell research.
Francis has made it clear that Catholic positions on homosexuality, same-sex marriage and abortion haven’t changed.
New video of Toronto mayor Ford slurring his words emerges
TORONTO (AP) -- A new video of Mayor Rob Ford emerged Tuesday that shows him swearing and slurring his words while apparently trying to imitate a Jamaican accent.
In the video posted on YouTube, Ford is shown in a fast food restaurant rambling and talking about police surveillance. He appears to call police chief Bill Blair a derogatory name.
Ford, who said in November that he quit drinking, told reporters outside his office Tuesday that he drank on Monday night and acknowledged it was him in the video. When asked by a reporter if he also did drugs, Ford said no.
"I was there, I had met some friends and if I speak that way that’s how I speak with one of my friends," Ford said.
"It has nothing to do with you guys. It’s my own time. It’s my own friend."
2 Md. women charged with killing kids in alleged exorcism to remain held, face psych screening
ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) -- Two women who police say killed two young children while performing what they thought was an exorcism will remain held without bond and will have psychiatric evaluations to determine if they are competent to stand trial, a judge said Tuesday.
The women, 28-year-old Zakieya Latrice Avery and 21-year-old Monifa Denise Sanford, have told investigators that they believed evil spirits skipped successively between the bodies of the children and that an exorcism was needed to drive the demons out, said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
The women also reported to investigators that they saw the eyes of each of the children blackening and, after the intended exorcism, took a shower, cleaned up the bloody scene and "prepared the children to see God," McCarthy said. The children’s two older siblings, a 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy, were also found injured with stab wounds.
Edward Leyden, a lawyer for Sanford, told reporters after the hearing that "everyone who is involved in this case is in deep pain."
The women identified themselves to investigators as members of a group known as the "demon assassins," and police are looking to interview other people who might be part of the same organization but say there are no other suspects.