September 21st, 2011
05:28 PM ET

'Two years in prison is too long,' released hiker says

American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were released from an Iranian prison Wednesday and made their way to Oman.

The two Americans were released on bail of $500,000 each and their sentences were commuted, Iran's judiciary said, according to government-run Press TV.

Bauer and Fattal, both 29, were convicted last month of entering Iran illegally and spying for the United States, and each was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Follow the latest developments below:

[Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET] Released U.S. hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer made brief statements to assembled media after arriving in Oman.

"We are so happy we are free, and so relieved we are free," Fattal said. "Our deepest gratitude goes towards his majesty, Sultan Qaboos of Oman, for obtaining our release. We are sincerely grateful (to) the government of Oman for hosting us an our families."

Bauer said: "Two years in prison is too long, and we sincerely hope for the freedom of other political prisoners and other unjustly imprisoned people in American and Iran."

They departed after making the statements and took no questions.

[cnn-video url=""%5D

[Updated at 4:28 p.m. ET] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released the following statement regarding the hikers' release:

"I join President Obama in welcoming the decision made by Iranian authorities to release Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal from detention. After more than two years, they will finally be reunited with their friends and families.

"I am grateful for the efforts of all those who have worked for their release, in particular the Swiss Protecting Power in Tehran, the Omani government, the Iraqi government, and the many other world leaders who have raised their voices in support, as well as those inside Iran who pushed for justice."


Charges against Strauss-Kahn to be dropped, accuser's attorney says
Strauss-Kahn had been indicted on charges that he sexually assaulted a woman in his luxury New York City hotel suite in May.
August 22nd, 2011
03:37 PM ET

Charges against Strauss-Kahn to be dropped, accuser's attorney says

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn will no longer face criminal charges related to allegations that he sexually assaulted a hotel housekeeper, the housekeeper's attorney said Monday after meeting with prosecutors.

Prosecutors had raised questions about the accuser's credibility.

Kenneth Thompson made the announcement hours after filing a motion asking a judge to halt proceedings in the case and appoint a special prosecutor.

"Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has denied the right of a woman to get justice in a rape case," Thompson said. "He has not only turned his back on this innocent victim, but he has also turned back on the forensic, medical and other evidence in this case."

There was no immediate reaction from the office of District Attorney Vance on Thompson's claim, and the office earlier declined to comment on the motion. A status hearing for the case is scheduled for Tuesday.

Strauss-Kahn was indicted on charges that he sexually assaulted the woman in his luxury New York City hotel suite in May. His attorneys insist any sexual encounter was consensual. Strauss-Kahn pleaded not guilty to the charges.

On July 1, a judge freed Strauss-Kahn from house arrest after prosecutors told the court that his accuser admitted she had lied about the specifics of her whereabouts after the incident and, in the past, in the details of an asylum application and information on tax forms. Prosecutors said she admitted lying on the asylum application about having been a victim of a gang rape, even providing details of an attack – and later admitting it never happened.

The accuser and her attorneys had said she was attacked by Strauss-Kahn, and that her case should go to trial.

Source: FBI launches investigation into Murdoch's News Corp.
July 14th, 2011
04:01 PM ET

Source: FBI launches investigation into Murdoch's News Corp.

The FBI has launched an investigation into Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. amid allegations that employees or associates may have hacked into phone conversations and voicemail of September 11 survivors, victims and their families, a federal law enforcement source told CNN.

"We are aware of the allegations and are looking into them," said the source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the investigation.

"We'll be looking at anyone acting for or on behalf of News Corp., from the top down to janitors," to gather information and determine whether any laws may have been broken.

Because the investigation just began, it's too early to say when the first interviews will be conducted, the source said. New York Rep. Peter T. King, a Republican, earlier this week asked FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate the possibility that journalists working for Murdoch may have tapped into the phones of 9/11 victims and relatives.

News Corp. said Thursday it had no comment on the FBI investigation or possible congressional hearings.

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Filed under: Crime • Media
Judge releases former IMF chief from custody
Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife, Anne Sinclair, leave court in Manhattan on Friday after Strauss-Kahn was released on his own recognizance.
July 1st, 2011
11:38 AM ET

Judge releases former IMF chief from custody

A New York judge released former International Monetary Fund Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn on his own recognizance Friday, following serious credibility issues with the woman who accused him of sexual assault.

The case has changed dramatically but prosecutors said "we are not dismissing the case."

Strauss-Kahn's release significantly eases the extraordinary bail conditions that had been previously ordered. He had been released from jail on $6 million bail but was under house arrest in a luxury townhouse in Manhattan's Tribeca neighborhood.

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Filed under: Crime • Dominique Strauss-Kahn
'You Light Up My Life' songwriter found dead in suicide, police say
Joseph Brooks accepts an Oscar at the 1978 Academy Awards. He won for best original song for "You Light Up My Life."
May 22nd, 2011
03:31 PM ET

'You Light Up My Life' songwriter found dead in suicide, police say

Joseph Brooks, the songwriter of the '70s smash ballad “You Light Up My Life,” was found dead from an apparent suicide at his home Sunday afternoon, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN.

Brooks, 73, was discovered by a friend who was supposed to have lunch with the songwriter at his residence, according to police.

Brooks was  near a helium tank with a tube attached into a dry cleaning bag and a towel wrapped around his head and neck, police said. Brooks left a suicide note, according to Browne.


Head of IMF questioned in sex assault investigation
May 14th, 2011
08:14 PM ET

Head of IMF questioned in sex assault investigation

Dominique Strauss-Khan, the head of the International Monetary Fund, is being questioned by police in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a 32-year-old housekeeping employee at a Times Square hotel, New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN Saturday.

A former French finance minister, national legislator and economics professor in Paris, Dominique Strauss-Kahn became the IMF's 10th managing director in November 2007.
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Filed under: Justice
Source: 2 men arrested in synagogue attack plot
May 12th, 2011
08:38 AM ET

Source: 2 men arrested in synagogue attack plot

Two men suspected of planning an attack on a Manhattan synagogue were arrested by New York City police Wednesday night, a law enforcement source told CNN Thursday.

The men were arrested in a police sting as they attempted to purchase three or four guns and a grenade that they intended to use in an attack against a synagogue, according to the source.

The threat was "on the radar screen for a few months," long before the killing of al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the source said.

The men, who are of North African descent, have not yet been publicly named, the source said. One is said to have an extensive criminal record, including drug and weapons charges.

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Filed under: Crime • New York
Searchers race against nature for clues to Long Island killings
Police are conducting an extensive search of the area near Gilgo Beach and Ocean Parkway on Long Island after finding human remains this month.
April 16th, 2011
05:55 PM ET

Searchers race against nature for clues to Long Island killings

On this cold, wind-whipped, rainy spring day, I can tell you one thing about this place: The barrier islands, facing the Atlantic on one side and Great South Bay to the north, are inhospitable and uninviting. But it's the best time of year for investigators searching for more victims.

That's because the twisted, prickly, thorny brush - beautiful in its own way - is beginning to bud. And that's bad if you're trying to find clues in a possible killing spree. Once everything blooms, police say it will be next to impossible to get in the scrub and hack away to find anything.

Even search dogs trained to handle difficult situations are balking.

A few feet into the brush from a beachside road, things can be easily lost or hidden. You could see how anyone, even an alleged killer, might choose to use the area as a dumping ground.

Police have identified the remains of Melissa Barthelemy, 24, Maureen Brainard-Barnes, 25, Amber Lynn Costello, 27, and Megan Waterman, 22 near Oak Beach, New York, in recent weeks. Their efforts are part of a probe into suspected serial killings that have turned up at least eight bodies - four of them identified as prostitutes - since December 2010. The grisly finds occurred as police searched for Shannan Gilbert, 24, who was last seen alive in May in the Gilgo Beach area.

Detectives and divers are taking a short break this weekend but will resume their work next week. They’ll be back in the water looking for clues. The FBI expects to put a helicopter back in the air for more high-tech aerial imagery.

Around here, residents are watching and waiting to see what happens next. Rumors are rampant about who might be involved, with some speculating that a member of the community might be invoved. Some people are frightened; others aren't.

Among those taking extra precautions are prostitutes.

Four of the eight victims identified so far were women who advertised their services on Craigslist. I talked with some women who continue to work this area of Long Island. Some are now carrying weapons. Mainly, they're trying to to take a friend along to make sure when they meet with a client, they leave the client.

One shrugged off any risk. "Hey, we know what we're doing when we take this job."

Watch: Inside the mind of a serial killer

Why is the case grabbing so much attention as far away as Germany? Maybe it's because of the taint. Human remains are being recovered from a long stretch of beach brush in a place where people like to live and vacation.

"It’s just a beautiful place," one detective told me. "This area seems damaged right now because of the bodies that have turned up."

Who are the other victims who have yet to be identified? Are they connected to the first four?

This week, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer cautioned against expecting any quick answers.

"Please keep in mind this isn’t an episode of CSI."

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Filed under: Crime • New York • TV-CNN Newsroom
Madoff son found dead of apparent suicide
December 11th, 2010
01:12 PM ET

Madoff son found dead of apparent suicide

Mark Madoff, the son of convicted Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff, apparently killed himself while his wife was out of town and his 2-year-old son was asleep in a nearby bedroom, New York police officials said Saturday.

Deputy New York Police Commissioner Paul Browne said Madoff's father-in-law discovered the body around 7:30 a.m. Saturday and his grandson sleeping in another room. Madoff was fully clothed and hanging from a ceiling pipe with a dog leash around his neck. The boy was unharmed.

Prior to his death, Madoff e-mailed his wife in Florida with "words to the effect that someone should check on his son," Browne said.

It is not known whether Madoff left a suicide note, he said.


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Filed under: New York
Jim Morrison pardoned for indecent exposure
December 9th, 2010
03:30 PM ET

Jim Morrison pardoned for indecent exposure

The Florida Board of Executive Clemency on Thursday voted to pardon the late Jim Morrison, lead singer for The Doors, four decades after he was convicted of indecent exposure and open profanity.

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Filed under: Crime • Florida
October 29th, 2010
10:25 PM ET

Al Qaeda in Yemen behind 'credible terrorist threat' against U.S., Obama says

[cnn-video url=]

[Update at 10:25 p.m.] Two suspicious packages found abroad that were bound for Jewish organizations in the United States contained a massive amount of explosive material that would have triggered a powerful blast had the suspected terror plot not been thwarted, a source close to the investigation said Friday.

[Update at 9:55 p.m.] A Yemeni diplomat in Washington says the Yemeni government has opened a full scale investigation into a suspicious device that was shipped from the country to the East Midlands Airport in the United Kingdom.

President Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, has been in discussions with Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh about how to address the threat, a senior U.S. official said.

Yemen Embassy spokesman Mohammed Albasha in Washington said no UPS or FedEx flights take off or land in Yemen.

"It is way too early to rush to conclusions," Albasha said. "We have had heightened security at our airport(s) and have been working very closely on
security with our regional partners including the U.K. and U.S. since the Christmas incident" involving the accused would-be bomber now known as the "Underwear Bomber." 

Meanwhile, British police sources said the discovery of the suspicious package at East Midlands Airport was the result of an intelligence tip rather than a random check.

[Update 8:54 p.m.] Synagogues across metropolitan Chicago, Illinois, began taking "appropriate precautions" Friday after officials warned them to watch out for suspicious packages from abroad, a Jewish Federation spokeswoman said.

President Obama said two packages that apparently contained explosive materials were bound for two synagogues in Chicago.

While there were "no identifiable or specific threats," an FBI official in Chicago said suspicious packages addressed to U.S. destinations found on cargo planes abroad warranted the precautions.

Read the full story on

[Update 8:20 p.m.] The Emirates flight that was escorted into JFK International Airport this afternoon has been cleared, FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko said. Officials originally flagged flight 201 because there was cargo from Yemen aboard.


[Update 8:00 p.m.] A U.S. official said it is likely that the material used in two suspicious packages bound for the United States was PETN - a highly explosive organic compound belonging to the same chemical family as nitroglycerin - but testing continues to reach a definitive conclusion.

PETN was allegedly one of the components of the bomb concealed by Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, who is accused of trying to set off an explosion aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as it approached Detroit, Michigan, on December 25. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is also believed to be behind that botched attack.

Declining to provide specifics, White House counterterrorism chief John Brennan said intelligence officials were specifically looking for such suspicious packages when the first package was found in the United Kingdom.

He later issued a statement thanking Saudi Arabia, saying the United
States is "grateful" for the country's help in identifying the threat.


August 26th, 2010
10:58 AM ET

Stabbings suspect extradited to Michigan from Georgia

A serial killing suspect was extradited Thursday amid tight security from Atlanta, Georgia, to Flint, Michigan, according to a police task force spokesman.

Elias Abuelazam is suspected of slashing 18 victims in Michigan, Virginia and Ohio, killing five of them, from May through August.

Abuelazam left jail at about 9:30 a.m., said Tracy Flanagan, a spokesman for the Fulton County, Georgia, Sheriff's Office.


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Filed under: Crime • Georgia • Michigan
July 28th, 2010
10:11 PM ET

Putin gets patriotic with expelled Russian agents

What's a Russian prime minister to do when welcoming back 10 agents who were expelled by the United States? Sing a few patriotic songs with them, of course.

Ten agents whom the United States expelled this month after accusing them of spying recently met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. At the meeting, Putin joined the 10 in singing to live music, CNN confirmed Wednesday.

Among the songs they sang was "From Where the Motherland Begins," Putin told reporters, according to a transcript published on his website late last week.

"I am not kidding you. I am quite serious. And other songs of about the same content," Putin said.


July 4th, 2010
07:23 PM ET

JFK airport terminal reopened after bomb scare

A terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York was evacuated Sunday evening for about two hours after a caller phoned in a threat, according to a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

John Kelly of the Port Authority said a female caller claimed there was a bomb in Terminal One in a call about 5:40 p.m.

"Using the utmost due diligence, we evacuated the terminal," Kelly said. About 300 people were inside at the time, he said.

Once the terminal had been searched, the evacuation was ended shortly after 8 p.m., Kelly said.

Kelly said an earlier, unrelated incident at the same terminal occurred when a Port Authority officer noticed an unattended bag. That bag was examined and cleared, he said.

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Filed under: Air travel • New York
June 30th, 2010
07:27 PM ET

al Qaeda figure tied to NY bomb plot

A man who admitted plotting to detonate bombs in New York has implicated a senior al Qaeda figure in the plan, a federal law enforcement official told CNN Wednesday.

Najibullah Zazi, who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in February, says Adnan Shukrijumah was at an al Qaeda camp when Zazi was overseas being trained for his mission, according to the official.

It remains unclear to investigators whether Shukrijumah directed Zazi in the plot, the official said, but Zazi told investigators he knew who Shukrijumah was.

Shukrijumah has eluded U.S. authorities for years. He lived in the United States as a teenager and young adult.

Zazi has been co-operating with authorities since pleading guilty to last fall's terror plot to blow up New York subways. Another defendant, Zarein Ahmedzay, also has pleaded guilty, while a third, Adis Medunjanin, has entered a not guilty plea.

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Filed under: Security Brief
May 13th, 2010
11:33 PM ET

Suspicious vehicle causes brief scare in NYC

A suspicious vehicle with two gas canisters caused a brief scare in New York City late Thursday, police said.


May 1st, 2010
11:31 PM ET

NYC's Times Square shut down over suspicious car

Several blocks around New York's Times Square were closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic Saturday night after a police officer saw smoke emanating from a box inside a parked car, according to authorities.


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Filed under: Times Square Car Bomb • U.S.
April 28th, 2010
09:53 PM ET

Unsecured oil, gas tank explosions claim 2 more lives

Two people were killed by oil and gas tank explosions in recent weeks, even as the Chemical Safety Board launched a major drive to improve safety conditions around the tanks following the deaths last fall of two Mississippi teenagers.

The Chemical Safety Board, created by Congress, investigated the Mississippi incident and found at least 40 other deaths involving oil and gas wells in the past 25 years, most involving young people.


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Filed under: U.S.
April 12th, 2010
11:30 AM ET

Details emerge in New York subway terror plot

New details emerged Monday about how three men allegedly planned to bomb subway trains in New York around the anniversary of 9-11 last year.

Najibullah Zazi and his two co-defendants had selected specific subway stations - two of the busiest in Manhattan - and planned to inflict maximum casualties on subway trains, a federal law enforcement source said.

Zazi and the two other suspects planned to attack trains at Times Square and Grand Central stations, the source said. Wearing homemade bombs, they plotted to position themselves in the middle of busy subway cars in order to kill the most people, likely targeting the 1, 2, 3, or 6 line trains, the source said.


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Filed under: Terrorism • U.S.
April 7th, 2010
02:42 PM ET

Colorado mom pleads not guilty in terror case

A Colorado woman indicted on terror charges pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Wednesday in federal court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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Filed under: Terrorism • U.S.
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