Entries in New York (10)


British Nurse Arrested in Connection to Cannibalism Case

Gilberto Valle (Image Credit: Myspace)(NEW YORK) -- As the trial of the police officer accused of planning to cannibalize a number of women continues in New York, police in Great Britain said they have arrested two men believed to be associated with the case.

Authorities in the county of Kent, in southeast England, said two men, ages 57 and 30, had been arrested in connection with the Gilberto Valle case in New York.

Valle, 28, has been dubbed the “cannibal cop” after his alleged plans to cook and eat as many as 100 women were thwarted by a joint investigation between the FBI and the New York Police Department.

Dale Bolinger, 57, identified himself to British media as the person who had been arrested. The nurse, who lives in Canterbury, allegedly boasted to Valle that he had eaten two people.

While a jury in New York heard how Bolinger, who allegedly posted under the username “Moody Blues,” was a mentor to Valle,  the 57-year-old dismissed his alleged comments of cannibalism as fantasy.

“I have to leave it to the police,” he told the Kentish Gazette.

Valle, of Forest Hills, Queens, was charged last year with one count of conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to a federal criminal complaint, as well as using the National Crime Information Center database to access unauthorized data. He was arrested after his wife allegedly discovered evidence of his intended cannibalism on his computer.

Kathleen Mangan-Valle, 27, was the government’s first witness in her husband’s trial. She told the jury she fled the family’s home with their 1-year-old daughter after she became aware of  his plans.

A federal complaint alleges that Valle exchanged electronic messages with an unnamed co-conspirator “about kidnapping, cooking and eating body parts of [Victim 1].” Prosecutors say that one of the women Valle allegedly discussed eating matches the description of his wife.

Authorities allege that in addition to conspiring to kidnap “Victim 1,” he had discussed plans to “kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat body parts of a number of women.” He is accused of creating computer files pertaining to “at least 100 women and containing at least one photograph of each woman.”

Valle’s trial is scheduled to resume on Monday. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Wife Asks Ahmadinejad for Help in Finding Missing Ex-FBI Agent Husband

BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepares to speak to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, an electronic billboard in Times Square and subway placards around the city will remind the Iranian president and U.N. delegates of an American who has been missing in Iran for more than five years.

"I'm trying to make the public realize that my husband is the second-longest held hostage in American history," said Christine Levinson, husband of former FBI agent Robert Levinson. "It's been five and a half years since he disappeared on Kish Island and two years since we received a video from his captors . . . and we still have no information about Bob since the day he disappeared."

"This week, with the UN General Assembly in New York," Christine Levinson told ABC News, "we are trying to get the whole world's attention. I am hoping we will finally be able to get him home."

Robert Levinson, a father of seven and grandfather of two, began working as a private detective after leaving the FBI. He disappeared in March 9, 2007 while on a business trip to the Iranian resort island of Kish. U.S. officials believe he is being held by unknown captors in Southwest Asia.

Five months after his disappearance, against the advice of the U.S. government, Christine Levinson and her son traveled to Tehran to conduct their own investigation, but the trip yielded no results.

The Levinson family received a so-called "proof of life" video in late 2010 showing Levinson, who suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure, in deteriorating health. Levinson, who was 62 at the time, addressed Christine as "my beautiful, my loving, my loyal wife" and referred to his 33 years of service to the federal government before pleading for help from U.S. authorities.

Christine Levinson is now appealing directly to Ahmadinejad, who is under the international spotlight as he prepares to give his final speech to the U.N. as Iranian president. He leaves office next year. "In the past he has said that he will investigate and he will have his people investigate," Levinson told CNN. "He has promised to help us. So we need to get him in touch with whoever can help us get the job done and get Bob home."

Pictures of Levinson began appearing on subway placards in midtown Manhattan last week. The signs, and a Times Square billboard, feature a picture of Levinson next to the word "Missing" and ask United Nations delegates to "encourage the Islamic Republic of Iran to work with the U.S. to bring Bob home."

This year the FBI offered a $1 million reward for information. The case has frustrated investigators, whose diplomatic strategies have failed.

"We ask ourselves how is it possible that someone -- especially someone 6'4" and (then) 225 pounds -- disappears without a trace," reads a statement from the Levinsons on the family's website.

Iranian representatives did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cuban Actors Disappear En Route to New York Film Festival Premiere

UnaNocheFilm(NEW YORK) -- In a case of life imitating art, a pair of young Cuban actors who were expected at the New York premiere of their film about defecting to the U.S. have disappeared after landing in Miami.

The film Una Noche is about three young Cubans who decide to flee the country on a raft after one of them is accused of assault. The film follows the day they attempt to make it 90 miles across the ocean to Florida.

All three of the film's stars -- Anailin de la Rua de la Torre, Javier Nunez Florian and Dariel Arrechaga -- were expected to appear at New York's Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere. But Torre and Florian, both 19, were nowhere to be found the night of the event.

"Only Dariel Arrechada attended the Tribeca Film Festival premiere screening of Una Noche on Thursday, April 19," a spokeswoman for the Tribeca Film Festival said in a statement. "We have not had any contact with Anailin de la Rua de la Torre or with Javier Nunez Florian."

Tammie Rosen, spokeswoman for the festival, confirmed to that all of the actors were invited to the festival.

"We can't say for sure what the status of these guys are," Katie Tichacek Kaplan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), told ABC News. "There are a number of things they could be thinking. We just don't know what their plans are."

Kaplan said that USCIS could not comment specifically on individual cases, but said that people in similar situations that come to the U.S. for asylum have a year to apply.

A State Department official told ABC News, "We are aware of the reports but we don't have any further information. We have not been in contact with the film festival organizers or the Cuban actors."

On the Facebook pages for the film and the actors, supporters have left messages of encouragement.

"Congratulations on making your dream a reality, wishing you much success in the land of the free," one person wrote.

Another wrote: "I'm glad you were able to get out. May God bless you."

Representatives of the film did not respond to requests for comment, but Lucy Mulloy, the film's writer and director, told The Huffington Post, "I really was thinking that they were going to come here and enjoy the festival, and I thought they would love to participate in it. They made a decision, I guess."

The British-born director recently graduated from New York University's graduate film program, and Una Noche is her first feature film.

She did not anticipate that her stars would not be at the premiere.

"It is surprising," she told the website. "I mean, they had all of their family there and it's surprising. But things can be difficult in Cuba. There's an embargo and so there's a lot of challenges for people living in Cuba."

Arrechada, 21, the one actor who did attend, told reporters he was alone in New York and planned on returning to Cuba as planned since his visa was going to expire.

"That's their choice, you know?" Arrechada said of his co-stars, according to The Huffington Post. "That's their way of thinking. No one is forced to stay. And no one is forced to go back. If you want to stay in the United States, I think, well, stay. If you want to go back, go back. Not all of us have to stay and not all of us have to go back. It's about what you want to do with your life."

He told the website he believed his co-stars would stay in the U.S.

A similar situation occurred in March when Yosmel de Armas, a Cuban soccer player, defected from his national team while in Tennessee for a game. Armas turned up in Miami earlier this month and is seeking asylum with the help of an immigration attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Freed American Hikers Say They 'Were Held Hostage'

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The two U.S. hikers imprisoned in Iran for the past two years, Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, said they were "held hostage" because they were American.

Fattal and Bauer spoke publicly Sunday about the details of their imprisonment for the first time since regaining their freedom last week.

At a New York City hotel, each man read prepared statements discussing what they endured in Iranian prison and thanking those who fought for their release.

"Many times, too many times, we heard the screams of other prisoners being beaten and there was nothing we could do to help them," Fattal said.  "How can we forgive the Iranian government when it continues to imprison so many other innocent people and prisoners of conscience?"

Bauer said one irony in the case was that they opposed the U.S. policy toward Iran which they believe was the impetus for their arrest and detention.

Fattal and Bauer arrived in New York before noon and addressed the media just under five hours later.

The two had spoken earlier in Oman, which had played a key part in the negotiations of the hikers' release.

"We hope someday to return to this wonderful country but for now we are eager to go home at last," Fattal said.

Oman is the same place that their companion Sarah Shourd went when she was freed from Iran nearly a year ago to the day.

Shourd was in Oman to greet Fattal and give a long welcoming kiss to her fiancée, Bauer.

"We will never forget the excitement of seeing our loved ones waiting for us at the foot of the plane.  The joy of embracing them all after so long will stay with us forever," Bauer said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In First Public Interview, Strauss-Kahn Calls Maid Incident a 'Moral Failure'

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(PARIS) -- In his first public interview since his May 14 arrest over sexual assault allegations, Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he was "trampled and humiliated" in the U.S. judicial system, and called his encounter with a hotel maid "a moral failure."

Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and a once -- and possibly future -- likely candidate for president of France, said he had not spoken publicly before the interview Sunday on France's TF1 television channel because he "wanted to speak in front of the French first."

During the 20-minute interview, Strauss-Kahn acknowledged his sexual encounter with Nofissatou Diallo, a New York hotel maid, but said the incident didn't include violence, constraint or aggression.  He repeatedly said the incident was a "moral failing" on his part, but not a crime.

"It was a moral failure.  I have regretted it every day for the last four months, and I am not done regretting it," Strauss-Kahn said.  He called his wife an "exceptional woman" who supported him from the first moment because she believed he was innocent.

He called the sexual encounter with Diallo a "failure vis-à-vis my wife, my children and my friends."

In May, Diallo accused Strauss-Kahn of trying to rape her in his hotel suite.  He was arrested and charged with sexual assault and attempted rape, but charges against him were dismissed last month after prosecutors said the accuser had changed her story too many times.

Strauss-Kahn is still facing a pending civil case, which he said is "weird for the French that when the charges are dropped, a civil case can move forward, but that's American law."

He repeated the claims some others have made that Diallo had financial motivations for accusing him of assault.  With repeated references to the prosecutor's report in the case in New York, Strauss-Kahn maintained that Diallo "lied" about the nature of the encounter.

When asked about how the U.S. justice system treated him, he said he was "very scared."

"When you are in the jaws of the machine, you think it can chew you up," he said.  "I was trampled and humiliated before I could defend myself."

He also said he suffered violence and that he "lost a lot," but he acknowledged that others in the same situation could have lost more.

Of the other accusations against him by Tristane Banon, a writer who has accused him of sexual assault, Strauss-Kahn said there was no aggression or violence in that instance either, but that the case is ongoing, so he wouldn't make any further comment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dominique Strauss-Kahn Returns Home to France

Shannon Stapleton-Pool/Getty Images(PARIS) -- Former International Monetary Chief Dominique Strauss Kahn is back home in France today for the first time since a New York hotel maid accused him of sexual assault in May.

The French presidential hopeful was greeted by camera flashes upon his return to Paris.

Last month, a judge in New York threw out the sexual assault case brought against him.

The ruling came after the judge rejected a plea by Strauss-Kahn's accuser, hotel maid Naifissatou Diallo, to have the Manhattan district attorney's office replaced by a special prosecutor.

New York Criminal Court Judge Michael Obus granted a motion from prosecutors to dismiss all charges against the international power broker known simply as DSK, ending a highly publicized prosecution without answering the question of what really happened between Strauss-Kahn and the maid assigned to clean his hotel suite.

"I see no basis to deny that application" to dismiss the charges, Obus said. An appellate court upheld the decision.

"These past two and a half months have been a nightmare for me and my family," Strauss-Kahn said outside his Manhattan apartment after the ruling. "I am most deeply grateful to my wife and family who have gone through this ordeal with me."

What was once viewed as a "strong" case based on an "unwavering" accuser fell apart amid "substantial" questions about the maid's credibility.

Assistant District Attorneys Joan Illuzzi-Orbon and Artie McConnell said the accuser "provided shifting and inconsistent versions of the events" and therefore they can't be sure "of what actually happened" "We were no longer able to credit her version beyond a reasonable doubt" Illuzzi-Orbon said in court.

"We respectfully request that the court dismiss the indictment," she said.

During the investigation into the incident, prosecutors say, Diallo presented three different versions of the alleged assault and lied under oath.

Her credibility "cannot withstand the most basic evaluation," prosecutors said in the motion.

"Joan Illuzzi basically told Ms. Diallo that they were dismissing the case, claiming because she lied to them," Diallo's attorney, Kenneth Thompson said. "They totally disrespected Ms. Diallo by walking out on her while she was trying to ask them a question."

Strauss-Kahn had long maintained he was innocent of the charges.

"We have maintained from the beginning of this case that our client is innocent," Strauss-Kahn's lawyers, William W. Taylor and Benjamin Brafman, said in a statement. "We also maintained that there were many reasons to believe that Mr. Strauss-Kahn's accuser was not credible. Mr. Strauss-Kahn and his family are grateful that the district attorney's office took our concerns seriously and concluded on its own that this case cannot proceed further."

Thompson accused Vance's office of treating his client "abusively." He said the office failed to refute a New York Post article that called Diallo a hooker.

Thompson also claimed the DA's office was predisposed to dismissing a case it once called "strong."

Strauss-Kahn was a favorite to win next year's presidential elections in France before his arrest. Now polls show four out of five people don't won't him to run. He faces an investigation into allegations of attempted rape in France.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ex-Top NYPD Cop Bill Bratton Takes Job in UK

David Livingston/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Bill Bratton, who headed police departments in Boston, New York and L.A., told ABC News he has accepted an offer to assist the government of British Prime Minister David Cameron in finding solutions to the problem of gang violence in the U.K.

"We will be working with the British government on the very specific issues of gangs and gang violence," said Bratton.

Bratton told ABC News he had received a call from Cameron Friday morning asking him to consider becoming a consultant to Scotland Yard. He said he thanked the prime minister for the offer and now he has come to a formal agreement.

Prime Minister Cameron had repeatedly signaled his intention to enlist the aid of Bratton, who as a police commissioner in three major U.S. cities developed a reputation for driving down crime rates and curbing gang activity. On Thursday, when addressing Parliament about the rioting and looting that began in London over the weekend, he cited Bratton by name as the kind of outside expert that Britain needed.

"I believe we should be looking beyond our shores to learn the lesson from others who have faced similar problems," said Cameron. "That is why I will be discussing how we can go further in coming to grips with gangs with people like Bill Bratton."

Bratton said that he would be working with all aspects of the government, including Cameron's office, the Home Office -- which oversees the Metropolitan Police -- and very likely with British police officials as well.

Bratton, a Boston native, was commissioner in Boston from 1991 to 1994, where he implemented the Neighborhood Policing project to curb youth violence.

Under New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Bratton launched a "zero tolerance" crackdown on crime widely credited with restoring quality of life to New York and beginning crime's downward reduction. There he took guns off the streets and cleared a backlog of felons who were hiding in plain sight despite arrest warrants.

In Los Angeles Bratton faced down tough gang problems in troubled ghetto areas. His innovative "compstat" management strategy forced complacent cop bosses to be accountable for crime in their districts. It has been widely copied across the United States.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Authorities Arrest Suspects Involved in International Drug Ring

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- An international drug ring smuggling heroin through Dulles Airport was broken up Thursday with seven suspects arrested.
According to U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride traffickers used couriers to transport drugs from Ghana to the United States, where they would then move about the east coast. Among those arrested were two in Maryland, one in Virginia and one in New York.
The smugglers were paid as much as $15,000 to smuggle $250,000 worth of heroin into the country each trip. Authorities say they used carry on bags which hid heroin in the lining or in special compartments.
The alleged 61 year old ringleader was arrested in Ghana.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


IMF Head Accused of Sexually Assaulting Maid at NYC Hotel

Harold Cunningham/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a man considered a likely French presidential candidate, was taken into custody by police on Saturday at a New York airport after a hotel maid said he sexually assaulted her.

Authorities said a maid at a midtown Manhattan hotel told police that Strauss-Kahn stepped out of the bathroom naked as she was cleaning the room and assaulted her.

Strauss-Kahn was taken into custody aboard an Air France jet at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just as the doors were closing to take off on a flight to Paris.

Detectives from the New York Police Department picked up the IMF president from Port Authority police and took him to east Harlem for questioning at the department’s Special Victims Unit.

Strauss-Kahn faces a charge of attempted rape.

NYPD officials notified Port Authority police of the allegations against Strauss-Kahn and asked that they "take him off the plane," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.

Port Authority detectives did so moments before the flight's departure, Browne said.

Browne said the maid notified hotel managers of the alleged assault and the hotel contacted police, who arrived at about 1:30 pm.

"She reported the attack to hotel officials who called police," Browne said.

When police arrived they found Strauss-Kahn's cell phone, Browne said.

"It appeared he left in a hurry," he said.

Authorities said the hotel maid's account "is credible."

According to senior police officials Strauss-Kahn has no diplomatic immunity, despite his position with the IMF, which makes him technically an administrative official with the United Nations.

On Sunday the IMF issued a statement saying that it had no comment on the case and that “the IMF remains fully functioning and operational.”

Copyright 2011 ABC New Radio


'Lady Qaeda' Gets 86 Years For Shooting at U.S. Soldiers

Image Courtesy - ABC News Radio(NEW YORK) -- Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in federal prison Thursday, following her February conviction for attempted murder of U.S. government officials. Siddiqui was allegedly caught in Afghanistan with cyanide, documents indicating attacks on the U.S., including landmarks in New York City, but the MIT-trained neuroscientist was tried and convicted in a simple criminal case for firing a rifle at FBI agents and U.S. soldiers.

Before Judge Richard Berman announced the sentence, Siddiqui gave a meandering 30-minute speech. "I didn't take any notes," she said. "I wasn't planning on speaking. I was planning on sleeping." She also asked the Muslims in the courtroom to forgive the court. "I don't want any bloodshed.  I don't want any violence in my name."

Though Siddiqui was not charged with terrorism, terrorism enhancements were applied to her sentence. As Judge Berman was about to announce the sentence of 86 years, Siddiqui supporter Sara Flounders, an activist with the International Action Center, yelled, "Shame! Shame! Shame on this court!"

Siddiqui, 38, was convicted earlier this year after an often raucous trial that ended the way it began, with Siddiqui yelling at jurors and shouting to spectators.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.

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