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LEGISLATOR MAY FACE TICKETS AFTER CLASH AT CHECKPOINT

A state senator who ignored a trooper's order to stop, then drove off at a security checkpoint, might face traffic tickets and the loss of her parking spot, state police said Thursday.

State Sen. Ada Smith, 58, a Democrat representing parts of Queens and Brooklyn, drove off at about 9 a.m. Wednesday from the checkpoint at the Capitol's parking garage after she was asked for identification, state police said. As she left, she narrowly missed striking two workers, police said.

The encounter occurred on the first full day of the state's heightened Orange Alert against terrorism at the main security checkpoint for the Legislative Office Building.

"When she pulled in, she held up her wallet, but the ID was not visible," Capt. Patricia Groeber said.

"You could not see the picture or a name, so the attendant properly asked her to show him the ID. He extended his hand, he didn't reach into her vehicle or anything like that . . . when she began shouting profanities at him."

Smith said she showed her identification, which was clearly visible in her wallet, although she noted the copy of her driver's license photo shows the now graying senator with red hair.

"I don't believe by law that you have to surrender your identification unless you are being arrested for something, and there was clearly nothing to be arrested for," she said.

Muslim doctor defends
sending money to aid Iraqis

SYRACUSE (AP) -- The federal government has violated a prominent Muslim doctor's First Amendment rights to practice his religion by prosecuting him for sending money to Iraq, the doctor's attorney argues in court papers seeking dismissal of the charges.

In a 20-page motion filed in U.S. District Court, Dr. Rafil Dhafir claimed the Iraqi sanctions were unconstitutional and, therefore, he cannot be charged with violating them.

Dhafir "had a religious imperative to provide charitable assistance to the needy of Iraq, and the government's attempts to regulate this charitable giving are unconstitutional," wrote Edward Menkin, the doctor's attorney.

A hearing on the motion is tentatively scheduled for June 19.

Dhafir, 55, of Fayetteville, and three other men were charged in February with conspiring to violate U.S. economic sanctions against Iraq through a charity called Help the Needy. The Syracuse-area charity was not legally registered but openly raised money, saying it was for Iraqi orphans and poor children.

Mayor's arrest escalates
feud with police chief

RENSSELAER (AP) -- Mayor Mark Pratt has been arrested on charges billing the city for $457 in gasoline for his pickup truck.

The arrest escalated a two-year feud between the mayor and Police Chief Rick Fusco, who walked into Pratt's office at noon Wednesday and escorted him to the Police Department.

Pratt was charged with 16 counts of petit larceny and 16 counts of official misconduct.

"He's out of control," Pratt said of the chief. "He's acting like a dictator."

Fusco fired back: "I had no choice but to bring charges. After it was brought to my attention, I could not ignore it."

The feud began in 2001, shortly after Pratt, a Republican, was elected and said the Police Department would be better without Fusco, aligned with the city's old-guard Democrats.

Fusco accuses Pratt of filling his personal truck 16 times at a local Getty Mart between October and March, and charging $456.93 in gas to the city Department of Public Works.

The city has no written policy allowing the transactions, but Pratt said he has done nothing wrong.

Convicted killer of woman
charged in second slaying

ROCHESTER (AP) -- A man released from prison last fall after serving 14 years for squeezing a woman to death in a bear hug was charged this week with stabbing a woman to death.

James Salamone, 34, was arrested hours after Nicole Smith, 23, was stabbed eight times early Tuesday. Police, alerted by reports of a woman screaming, found Smith dying in a vacant lot.

Salamone was charged with second-degree murder, which carries a maximum penalty of 25 years to life in prison. He was jailed without bail.

In 1988, he was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death the year before of Deana Sutton, 19. Police said Salamone, who bragged he could bench press 400 pounds, told them he grabbed Sutton in a bear hug "and kept squeezing her until she fell unconscious," the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported Thursday.

In a nonjury trial, a judge found Salamone guilty after finding insufficient evidence to charge him with murder.

Salamone drew a sentence of five to 15 years and was released from a state prison in September.

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