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Ex-Sen. Spano gets prison in tax case

WHITE PLAINS (AP) -- A longtime New York lawmaker was sentenced to a year and a day in prison Monday for cheating on his income taxes.

Former State Sen. Nicholas Spano was sentenced in federal court after admitting in February that he underpaid his taxes by $53,000.

Spano had asked for just six months behind bars and six months home confinement, but the judge said he had to consider the public's perception of the system.

Federal sentencing guidelines ranged from 12 to 18 months in prison.

Spano told the judge his mistakes would haunt him for the rest of his life.

Spano spent 28 years in the State Legislature. As assistant majority leader in the Senate, he was among New York's most powerful politicians.


Wiesel repudiates Hungarian award

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nobel Peace Prize laureate Elie Wiesel says he's repudiating a Hungarian award he received in 2004 because top officials from Budapest recently attended a ceremony for a Nazi sympathizer.

The memorial rite weeks ago offended the Holocaust survivor, 83, whose parents and sister were sent to their deaths by wartime Hungarian officials.

"It's too close to home," Wiesel told the Associated Press.

Wiesel said in a letter to Hungarian Parliamentary Speaker Laszlo Kover that he doesn't want to be associated with activities such as the May 27 reburial ceremony for Jozsef Nyiro, a World War II member of Hungary's parliament whom Wiesel calls a "fascist ideologue" and "an anti-Semite."

"I hereby repudiate the Grand Cross Order of Merit" bestowed by Hungary's president, wrote Wiesel, an author awarded the Nobel in 1986 as a "messenger to mankind."

When asked to comment on the letter, a spokesman for the Hungarian parliament said that Kover would reply later this week.


Al-qaida sympathizer admits terrorist plan

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New Yorker accused of trying to start what prosecutors called "a mini al-Qaida cell" pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of conspiracy and providing material support to a terrorist organization.

An indictment had alleged that Wesam El-Hanafi pledged loyalty to al-Qaida and sought to teach the terror group how to evade detection on the Internet after he went to Yemen in 2008.

The Brooklyn-born El-Hanafi admitted in federal court in Manhattan to having conversations in 2009 with a co-defendant about "seeking out additional contacts within al-Qaida." The co-defendant, Sabirhan Hasanoff, pleaded guilty to similar charges earlier this month.

Prosecutors had portrayed the two U.S. citizens as a new, more sophisticated breed of homegrown terrorist: Both had earned college degrees and landed well-paying jobs before trying to share their expertise with al-Qaida. El-Hanafi, 37, faces up to 20 years in prison. No sentencing date has been scheduled.