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AROUND THE STATE

WITCHCRAFT RULED OUT IN TRIAL'S QUESTIONING

RIVERHEAD (AP) -- A prosecution witness cannot be questioned about witchcraft, a judge ruled Monday at the trial of an electrician accused of murdering Manhattan investment banker Theodore Ammon.

Last week, jurors at the sensational trial of Daniel Pelosi -- who already had listened to tales of gay sex, infidelity, greed and paranoia -- heard a defense attorney suggest that some of the defendant's relatives believed they were targets of witchcraft from Generosa Ammon, the deceased's wife and later Pelosi's wife.

Monday, State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle ruled that questions about the supernatural fell "beyond the scope of direct testimony."

Pelosi, 41, is charged with murder in the death of Ammon in 2001. Ammon, 52, was within days of finalizing a divorce with his wife. Prosecutors argue that Pelosi, who was having an affair with Ammon's wife, killed him because he was upset over her share of a $46 million divorce settlement. Pelosi married Generosa Ammon three months later, but they eventually split. She died of cancer last year.

PANEL FINDINGS MAY SEND EX-LAWMAKER BACK TO JAIL

NEW YORK (AP) -- The city's new Local Conditional Release Commission took a significant step toward sending former State Sen. Guy Velella back to jail when it determined Monday that the commission that released him had acted improperly.

A Department of Investigation report and a city Law Department opinion issued last week had studied lax procedures followed by the former panel, which included failing to require majority votes on its decisions.

Although the former commission was found to have violated the law, it remains unclear whether Velella will be sent back to Rikers Island. His case will likely end up in court.

In September, members of the former commission released Velella and two others from jail after each had served about three months. Velella had been sentenced to one year in jail for a bribery scheme.

Velella, a Bronx political leader and state senator for 28 years, had pleaded guilty to fourth-degree conspiracy.

BUSINESS SCHOOLS ADOPT TIPS FROM 'APPRENTICE'

NEW YORK (AP) -- Business schools around the nation are including tips from "The Apprentice" in their master's programs in business administration.

The show and its star, billionaire Donald Trump, have been used in the past to spark debate among students. But now professors are using fundamentals from the NBC network hit in the lecture halls.

"Business as a discipline and an academic study area is on the rise," Denise Schoenbachler, chairwoman of Northern Illinois University's marketing department said. "And things like this that are innovative and unique get students excited."

For example, students in Schoenbachler's "Marketing Apprentice" class competed for scholarship money by competing in football ticket sales and raising money for troops in Iraq.

Trump has said he's impressed with his show's classroom appeal at schools like Babson College in Massachusetts, Southern Methodist University in Dallas and Ohio State University in Columbus.

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