The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on September 15, 1999 · Page 3
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 3

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Wednesday, September 15, 1999
Page 3
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A THE PALM BEACH POST WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 1999 3A House OKs campaign finance reform bill Justice official warned Reno staff misled her s. t 1 v- ! v .... The Washington Post .'.WASHINGTON The House early today approved a bi- .,:. u:n . v...i tu . r tion's scandal-scarred campaign finance laws by cutting off the flaw of unregulated contributions to political parties and curbing attack ads by advocacy groups. , , , Lawmakers passed the measure 252-177 as proponents overcame adamant opposition from GOP leaders. . Thp Hnusp artinn nut new 4 t MUSTAFA OZERReuters Searching for survivors in Turkey the city about 75 miles southeast of Istanbul on Monday. The tremor killed at least six people and injured more than 300 in an area that had been ravaged in August by a quake. DEGIRMENDERE, Turkey - Rescuers enter a hole dug in the rubble of a five-story apartment building as they search Tuesday for possible victims after an aftershock rocked Tlie Washington Post People within Attorney General Janet Reno's own department have misled her about the Waco siege and the role of federal agents, a Justice Department official warned her in an emotional five-page letter. The letter from U.S. Assistant Attorney William Johnston reveals a catalog of frustrations with the FBI for altering the original crime scene, with Justice Department officials for their poor handling of the 1995 congressional probes, and with the department's torts branch for trying to keep evidence from the public. "I have formed the belief that facts may have been kept from you and quite possibly are being kept from you even now, by components of the Department," Johnston wrote in a letter dated Aug. 30. Justice Department spokesman Myron Marlin declined to discuss whether Reno felt she had been misled but said, "The attorney general has asked Senator Danforth to look into this matter and, we hope, find the answers." Reno appointed former Missouri Sen. John C. Danforth as special counsel on Waco last week. The Justice Department on Tuesday removed Johnston and other attorneys in its western Texas district from any further role in the Branch Davidian investigation, ending the role of Johnston, who says that key evidence may have been covered up, in the case. Federal officials said they had recused Johnston and his colleagues because they may be called to testify as witnesses in an independent investigation launched by Danforth. Reno has recused herself from the investigation for that same reason, Johnston, a longtime prosecutor who helped try Jack Ruby for the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald after the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, has developed a reputation as a maverick, rarely afraid to speak his mind. Johnston, chief of the Waco Division in the Western District of Texas, is one of the attorneys who prosecuted 11 Branch Da-vidians for their role in the deaths of four Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents during the botched raid of Feb. 28, 1993. Johnston sent his letter following recent news reports that show the FBI used potentially incendiary devices during the siege of the compound 50 days later that left about 75 Branch Davidi-ans dead. Johnston's letter to Reno begins by saying, "The FBI altered the crime scene by using armored vehicles to push Davidian vehicles away from the compound," making the Texas Rangers' original 1993 investigation "more difficult" Johnston wrote to Reno about these problems in 1993, and since then, despite helping to win the conviction of eight Davidians, he wrote, "I have been seen by many as a mutineer." He also complained to Reno of poor treatment when he came to testify before Congress in 1995. "I was not assisted by anyone with DOJ in any real way in preparing for my testimony," he wrote. "In fact, I was handled as if I had some strain of intellectual leprosy." ' In passages that take up the majority of the letter, Johnston said many people inside the Justice Department knew this past summer of the FBI's use of devices that could have caused the fire but failed to tell Reno. Johnston wrote that, because "early suspicions of these problems" found their way into the media through official sources, "I was astounded to see the Department's response was that this was 'more nonsense.' My surprise was based upon the fact that I had been updating my U.S. Attorney for weeks about this evidence. I am in disbelief that someone in the Department did not advise you of these developments." B Uie Los Angeles Times contributed to this story. Irate gunman kills 3 in hospital : pressure on reluctant Senate Republicans to reverse themselves ;and approve a plan aimed at ; curbing special interest influence : on elections. As of now, the bill's ; supporters do not have the votes ', to overcome a Senate filibuster. ! The final vote came shortly ; before midnight, following a ; nearly day-long debate in which ! House members argued, often Iwith considerable passion, over ! whether the bill would strengthen or undermine this country's democratic form of government and its citizens' rights to free I speech and honest elections. : The final margin was roughly ' the same as the vote by which the ' I louse approved the same bill last year and reflected lawmakers' continued concern over public reaction to fund-raising scandals ' in the 1996 presidential campaign and signs that spending on the 2000 race will set new records. Fifty-four Republicans broke ranks and joined most Democrats ; in supporting the measure. Florida Democrat Robert Wexler of Boca Raton and Republican Mark Foley of West Palm Beach voted for the bill. Democrat Alcee Hastings of Miramar and Republican E. Clay Shaw of Fort Lauderdale did not vote. The House also approved 261-167 an amendment to require non-officeholders such as prospective New York Senate hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton to Two men subdued the assailant who repeatedly shouted 'You killed my mother!' during the attack. shortly after the shooting, which they say was triggered by the death of his mother, Mot Trinh. The Trinlis shared a home in Anaheim. In June, Trinh's mother was treated for an unknown illness at West Anaheim and released, Anaheim Police Lt. Steve Walker said. Trinh took his mother to a nearby hospital early Tuesday morning, authorities said. After she died, he drove to West Anaheim Medical Center, armed with a handgun and a pouch of bullets, according to police and witnesses. Police arrested Trinh on suspicion of murder. Administrators at the private, 219-bed hospital recently installed bulletproof glass in their emergency room after another man entered the facility about a year ago waiving a pistol, said Dr. Robert McCauley, the hospital's chief of staff. McCauley said he will now push for armed guards. leading to his capture. "He was shot right in front of me. I'll never forget it," said Faith Perry, who watched from the lobby with her 3- and 7-year-old children. "I was just trying to get my kids out of the way." Perry praised the slain man, saying his effort to disarm Trinh prevented more bloodshed. "God bless the man that did save our lives," Perry said. The dead employees were identified by authorities as Mar-lene Mustaffa, a 60-year-old nurse; Vincent Rosetti, 51, who was director of the hospital's pharmacy; and Ronald Robertson, 51, a maintenance supervisor. (Whether the victim who grabbed the gunman was Rosetti or Robertson was not available or not disclosed.) Detectives arrested Trinh Los Angeles Times ANAHEIM, Calif. A gunman despondent over the death of his mother went on a shooting spree inside a hospital Tuesday morning, killing three employees and sending patients diving for cover during a terrifying chase through hospital corridors. The gunman repeatedly shouted "You killed my mother!" during the deadly rampage at West Anaheim Medical Center, apparently spurred by the death of his 72-year-old mother hours earlier at a nearby hospital. Two men, including a patient awaiting surgery, subdued the assailant identified as Dung Trinh moments after he burst into the lobby shooting at his third victim. Before he died, the last victim, a hospital employee, turned and grabbed the gunman, pay travel costs when they fly on government planes to campaign. Clinton Tuesday denounced the proposal as a "diversionary attempt to try to take attention away from the important issue of campaign finance reform." 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