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9/11 Grand Jury Begins Meeting, LES Reps at Center of Ethics Push, Velazquez “Best Latina”

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Wednesday news links

A source tells the Daily News a federal grand jury has begun hearing "evidence against alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four of his Al Qaeda henchmen."The story says it could take several weeks for the panel to hand down an indictment. Their trials will, of course, be held at the Federal Courthouse on Pearl Street. Incidentally, the NYPD declined to show up for a community meeting in Chinatown earlier this week about security concerns surrounding the trial. According to Councilmember Alan Gerson, the NYPD has said "official planning" has not begun since the suspects have not been indicted yet. We'll post a video report from that meeting later this morning.

In a pre-dawn raid yesterday, the NYPD confiscated $1 million in counterfeit handbags and other merchandise on Canal Street (near Broadway). 31 stalles were sht down, bt no one was arrested. But the News reports: "Neighbors were skeptical that the crackdown will end the notorious knockoff trade. 'In another two days, these guys, once the cops leave, they'll be bringing their stands back to sell illegal goods,' said Joe Saf, 38, owner of Taj Mahal Audio and Car Stereo, a store next to one of the raided storefronts.

The Times calls the conviction of Joe Bruno an indictment of the entire New York State Legislature. Saying it's high time Albany fixed Albany's woefully inadequate ethics law. In an editorial, the Times zeroes in on our own representative in the Assembly:

The 50 or so lawyers in the Legislature, including the Assembly
speaker, Sheldon Silver, and the Republican Senate leader, Dean Skelos,
are not required to reveal their clients. What if those clients have
business with the state, which certainly means that their business
crosses the desks of these lawmakers? The public is kept in the dark.
That needs to be changed. Mr. Silver, one of the state’s most
powerful Democrats, is listed as being “of counsel” to Weitz &
Luxenberg, one of the state’s most prominent personal-injury law firms.
His annual income from that firm is widely estimated to be about double
his state salary. The public has to guess because, of course, that
income from the law firm is not made public.

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