WASHINGTON — A judge has found former Rep. Corrine Brown guilty of fraudulently taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from a bogus charity following an indictment on federal corruption charges.

She was found guilty of 18 out of 22 counts that include conspiracy involving the fraudulent charity, concealing income on financial filings submitted to the House and filing false tax returns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Jacksonville.

A sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.

Brown, a Florida Democrat, had come under scrutiny for her connection to a group called One Door for Education, which billed itself as a charity to help underprivileged children but had never registered as a nonprofit.

Brown, who served 12 terms in Congress representing an area that included Jacksonville, had vehemently denied any wrongdoing, calling the Justice Department’s probe “an organized effort to take me out.”

She lost the Democratic primary in August.

—CQ-Roll Call


Judge orders Philly prosecutors to charge Amtrak engineer in 2015 fatal derailment

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield on Thursday ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to reverse course and criminally charge Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Neifield issued the order following a hearing in which lawyers for victims of the May 12, 2015, derailment of Amtrak train 188 demanded that the case be reopened. On Tuesday, the DA’s office had said that, following a lengthy investigation, investigators had concluded there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

The following day, lawyers with the offices of Richard A. Sprague, a prominent city attorney and former first assistant district attorney, formally asked the DA’s office to accept a criminal complaint filed by the husband and father of Rachel Jacobs, a young mother who was killed in the crash.

But the DA’s office declined, setting the stage for Thursday’s hearing before Neifield.

—The Philadelphia Inquirer


South Carolina man charged with defacing Fort Sumter

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Sullivan’s Island man has been indicted on federal charges of damaging and defacing an archeological resource for “forcibly pulling” on a support bar of the Fort Sumter National Monument.

Noah Michael Sigalas, 21, is also facing charges of committing a depredation against property of the United States. The charges by a federal grand jury fall under the Archeological Resources Protection Act. His arraignment is scheduled for May 24 at the Charleston County federal courthouse.

The support bar Sigalas is accused of pulling, causing damage in excess of $1,000, was “stabilizing part of a casemate wall along the north flank” of Fort Sumter, according to a release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The indictment says the incident took place in March 2016.

The penalties of both charges add up to 12 years in prison, several years of supervised release and fines exceeding $250,000. The Investigative Services Branch of the National Park Service is leading the investigation, the release said.

—The State (Columbia, S.C.)


Hamas chief: Suspect arrested in assassination of top leader in Gaza

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A suspect has been arrested in the assassination of senior Hamas official Mazen Fuqaha’a, group leader Ismail Haniya said Thursday.

The suspect, who was not identified, had received direct orders from Israel to carry out the assassination of Mazen Fuqaha’a, said Haniya at a news conference held outside Fuqaha’a’s residence Thursday.

Mazen Fuqaha’a was shot in the head four times by an unknown gunman on March 24 outside the entrance to the building where he was living.

“The assassination was a painful strike to the movement’s security and strategy,” said Haniya, who promised that more details on the suspect’s identity would be revealed at an upcoming press conference.

Haniya, who was elected chief of Hamas last weekend, did not specify when that conference would be.

Hamas had sealed the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip in the days following Fuqaha’a’s death as the Islamic group conducted investigations, with dozens of people arrested for questioning.

Hamas vowed to crack down on any Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel.

The Israeli military has not issued an official response to Hamas’ accusations.


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