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Ex-defense contractor admits sending jet information to Iran

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A former defense contractor has pleaded guilty to sending sensitive information about U.S. military jet programs to Iran in an effort to land a job in his native country.

Sixty-year-old engineer Mozaffar Khazaee pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in Hartford to violating the Arms Export Control Act and faces up to 20 years in prison. Sentencing is May 20.

Federal prosecutors say Khazaee, formerly of Manchester, stole information about engines used in the F35 Joint Strike Fighter and F-22 Raptor programs from his employers, including Connecticut-based Pratt Whitney.

Authorities say Khazaee sent emails containing sensitive data to a person in Iran in 2009. Authorities also seized a shipment of materials bound for Iran in 2013.



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Secretary of the State wants to revamp registrar system

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Secretary of the State Denise Merrill wants to overhaul Connecticut's localized election system, having one professional registrar oversee elections in each city and town.

Under the Democrat's proposed legislation, the current system of locally elected, partisan registrars of voters would be scrapped. They'd be replaced by a municipal employee who meets certain qualifications.

While most registrars work hard and do a good job, Merrill said Wednesday recent problems at the polls prove the system needs to be modernized and professionalized.

Melissa Russell, president of the Registrars of Voters Association of Connecticut, has said she's worried polling problems in Hartford have tainted people's opinions of all registrar. In a statement, her association called it vital to preserve the current, two-party elected registrar system and maintain checks and balances.



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Rabbi arrested on Virginia `indecent liberties' charges

CHESHIRE, Conn. (AP) A retired Connecticut rabbi has been arrested on a Virginia warrant on charges of indecent liberties with a child more than 40 years ago.

Eric Silver of Cheshire faces felony charges in Norfolk, Virginia, for the alleged incidents between 1968 and 1970.

Details weren't available.

The Record-Journal reports that an indecent liberties charge is part of Virginia's sexual offense law and covers indecent conduct with children under the age of 15. It may not involve contact or sexual acts.

Statute of limitations does not apply.

The Associated Press could not verify Thursday if the 72-year-old Silver is represented by a lawyer. He's held at the New Haven Correctional Center pending an extradition hearing.

Silver was the rabbi at Temple Beth David in Cheshire for 20 years until he retired in 2010.



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Cops: Credit union boss strapped with possible bomb in plot

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Police in Connecticut say they are searching for two suspects who apparently strapped a possible bomb to a credit union executive during a failed home invasion-robbery plot.

New Britain police released details Tuesday about the case, which drew FBI agents to the scene Monday and prompted school lockdowns. No one was injured.

Authorities say two men confronted 46-year-old Matthew Yussman at his Bristol home early Monday, then bound him and his mother.

Police say the suspects forced Yussman to wear what looked like a bomb and sent him to get money from Achieve Financial Credit Union in New Britain while they stayed with his mother. Yussman is the credit union's chief financial officer.

State police rendered the device safe and sent it for testing to see if it was real.



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Malloy official admits to mistake in Connecticut budget plan

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's budget chief is apologizing for a mistake in the Democrat's proposed state budget, which miscalculated whether the plan is below Connecticut's constitutional cap on state spending.

Ben Barnes acknowledged Tuesday Malloy's budget for the new fiscal year beginning July 1 exceeds the cap by about $55 million. He originally said the first year of the two-year, $40 billion budget was $6.3 million below the cap.

In the second year, Malloy's proposal is now $80 million below the cap, instead of $135.8 million.

Barnes blamed the error on data pulled from an outside vendor.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano said Republicans knew immediately Malloy's budget exceeded the cap. The GOP contends it actually exceeds the cap by $101 million because of the fiscal methods used by Malloy.



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Wesleyan students due in court on party drug charges

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) Three of four Wesleyan University students are due in court on drug charges related to about a dozen hospitalizations among people who took a party drug known as Molly.

Eric Lonergan, of Rio de Janeiro; Zachary Kramer, of Bethesda, Maryland; and Rama Agha Al Nakib, of Lutherville, Maryland, are due in Middletown Superior Court on Wednesday morning.

Police say Andrew Olson, of Atascadero, California, posted bond Tuesday and is due in court March 3.

The students were suspended from the university.

Eleven Wesleyan students, some of whom had attended a rave music show on Saturday night, received medical attention over the weekend. Police say two students were still being treated Tuesday.

Authorities from various agencies worked to identify the types of chemicals in the batch of Molly that caused the weekend overdoses.



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Connecticut lawmakers consider electric rate bills

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Connecticut lawmakers are considering numerous bills that would place limits on fixed residential charges imposed by the state's largest electric utilities.

The General Assembly's Energy and Technology Committee today is slated to hear testimony on proposals to cap or eliminate the charge. It comes after state regulators said Connecticut Light Power could increase the current $16 a month charge to $19.25. The company originally sought a $25.50 charge, saying the money was needed to cover significant expenses.

One of the bills under consideration would cap future fees at $10.

Lawmakers are also considering a bill proposed by Senate President Martin Looney that would ban variable-rate electricity contracts. Looney planned to hold a news conference Tuesday on the proposal, accompanied by fellow lawmakers, the state's Consumer Counsel and the AARP.



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Home health aide accused of theft from Greenwich woman

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) A home health aide has been arrested on accusations she stole thousands of dollars from a Greenwich woman and threatened to have her killed in a car accident by placing a spell on her.

Greenwich Time reports that Ketty Placide of Norwalk has been charged with larceny, threatening, identity theft, and illegal use of a credit card.

The unidentified Greenwich woman told police a neighbor found a $250 personal check of hers made out to her health aide on the ground outside her home.

She also reported credit and debit card charges for a dress, a coat and a drone with a camera. Police say she used Facebook to threaten the woman.

Placide was taken to York prison and it wasn't known if she's represented by a lawyer who could comment on the charges.



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Man jailed for 2 homicides sentenced in 2 other killings

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) A man serving 140 years for two killings has been sentenced to 55 years in prison in two other homicides.

The New Haven Register reports Zackery Cody Franklin pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to 25 years in the shooting death of Jeremiah Johnson in December 2007.

The 24-year-old Franklin also pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced Monday to 30 years in the killing of Ryan Barnaby of Waterbury in May 2011.

He's serving 65 years for the murder of John-Claude James in 2011 for a gold necklace and 75 years for killing a man for a motorcycle.

Defense lawyer Michael Moscowitz said Franklin's parents were drug addicts who often were incarcerated. He said Franklin was raised in the drug culture.



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Man wearing apparent bomb found at Connecticut credit union

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) Connecticut police encountered a man with what appeared to be a bomb strapped to his body at a credit union after uncovering an alleged robbery plot.

Authorities say the state police bomb squad rendered the device safe and the man was brought to a hospital.

Police said the events began with a reported home invasion in Bristol on Monday morning and ended at Achieve Financial Credit Union in nearby New Britain. No one was injured.

The suspects remain at large.

New Britain Police Chief James Wardwell said officials are investigating whether the man was forced to take part in a robbery and whether the device was a real bomb.

Records show the house where the home invasion was reported is owned by the credit union's chief financial officer.



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Police: 40 arrested, $100K seized in illegal cockfight raid

EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (AP) Police say 40 people have been arrested in a law enforcement investigation of a large illegal cockfighting operation in East Windsor.

State Police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said they were arrested in a raid Saturday night. He said officers found 54 fighting birds at the scene, including four that were dead.

He said more than 100 people were at the site, whose address is that of an auto sales shop.

Officers seized more than $100,000 in gambling proceeds, along with a firearm, records and ``implements of cockfighting.''

Vance said the 40 arrested were charged with animal cruelty and one also was charged with professional gambling. They were released on bond to appear in Enfield Superior Court.

Arrests warrants will be sought for the other 58 people present.

Agriculture agents took custody of the birds.



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Wesleyan says 12 treated after taking drug `Molly' on campus

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) Wesleyan University's president says 10 students and two visitors to the school received medical treatment after taking a version of the party drug known as Molly on Sunday.

President Mark Roth says eight of those affected remained hospitalized Monday morning, but four of them should be released later in the day.

The other four were expected to remain at Hartford Hospital, where two were listed in critical condition.

The drug, a refined and more powerful form of Ecstasy (MDMA) can drive up body temperature and cause liver, kidney or cardiovascular failure.

Roth urged any students aware of anyone distributing the drug to come forward, ``before more people are hurt.''

Middletown Police Chief William McKenna said his department was pursing information about a ``bad batch'' of the drug.



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Mistrial declared in Connecticut car-ramming death

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A hung jury has forced a judge to declare a mistrial in the case of a Connecticut woman accused of ramming her boyfriend to death with her car.

The Connecticut Post reports the Bridgeport Superior Court jury told Judge Maria Kahn on Friday that it was hopelessly deadlocked on whether 23-year-old Cherelle Baldwin was guilty or not guilty of murder. Prosecutors are expected to retry the case.

Baldwin says she was acting in self-defense when she ran down 24-year-old Jeffrey Brown with her car and crushed him to death against a cinder-block garage wall in Bridgeport in May 2013. She says Brown had choked her with a belt before she hit him with her car.

Friday was the fifth day of deliberations.



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Ex-finance chief pleads guilty in Plymouth embezzlement case

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A former finance director for the town of Plymouth has pleaded guilty to theft and tax charges in the embezzlement of more than $800,000.

David Bertnagel entered the pleas Friday in federal court in Bridgeport. He is set to be sentenced May 15 on two charges that carry up to 13 years in prison.

Prosecutors say Bertnagel issued 207 checks totaling $808,000 to himself from the town's payroll over three years. He used the money to pay his mortgage and other personal expenses, including more than $100,000 in coins, stamps and other collectibles.

The 41-year-old Bertnagel lost his job in November and was arrested last month.

The plea agreement requires him to pay restitution of the full $808,000 to the town, which has an annual budget of about $27 million.



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Police: Man unhappy with $50 haircut flew into rage at salon

STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) A man who was unhappy with his haircut faces criminal charges after police say he became enraged and threw items around a Connecticut salon.

Stamford Police Sgt. Kelly Connelly says 47-year-old Alan Becker was angered further when he learned the trim he got Wednesday morning was going to cost him $50.

Connelly says Becker kicked a hole in a salon wall, became hostile toward staff and customers, and threw a candle display and other items, then left.

Police say Becker returned later and demanded his hair be ``fixed,'' but the salon refused.

Authorities later arrested Becker on breach of peace and criminal mischief charges at his Stamford home.

A recording on a phone listing for Becker said it couldn't receive new messages. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.



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Metro-North conductor in Connecticut shoved in fare dispute

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) A spokeswoman for Metro-North Railroad says a conductor was shoved by a commuter in a fare dispute, prompting police to clear the train of riders.

Spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the incident occurred at about 10 a.m. Friday on a train near the Westport station. The train was headed to New Haven and commuters were delayed 40 minutes.

She said police from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority responded and local police apprehended a suspect who was handed over to MTA police.

The suspect was booked Friday afternoon, but no other details were immediately available.



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Mother arrested after girl, 4, went missing in extreme cold

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) New London police say a 4-year-old girl is being treated for hypothermia after she was left unsupervised as her mother smoked marijuana.

Twenty-three-year-old Rebecca Reyes was arrested Friday and charged with risk of injury to a minor and reckless endangerment.

Reyes called police at 3:38 a.m. to say that one of her three children was missing. Police say she told them under questioning that she had left her children alone in the house when she left to smoke marijuana.

The girl was found by police in the doorway of a neighbor's home wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt. At the time the temperature was 3 degrees. The girl was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

It was not immediately known whether Reyes has an attorney.



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Prison officer charged with sex assault on inmate

NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) A prison officer at Connecticut's women's prison in Niantic has been charged with sexual assault, accused of having a sexual relationship with an inmate.

Jeff Bromley was arraigned Thursday in New London Superior Court and is free on $15,000 bond. He's on administrative leave.

His lawyer did not immediately return a call early Friday seeking comment.

Authorities say the 46-year-old Bromley bought food and small gifts for the inmate, took photographs of her and had sex with her in a prison basement and laundry room.

Authorities say state police were called to the Janet S. York Correctional Institution on Oct. 31, 2014, after the inmate said she had sex with three correction officers and worried she was pregnant. Pregnancy tests were negative.

Bromley is the only person charged. State police said an investigation continues.



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Letter in police mailboxes: Black officers belong in toilet

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) A threatening letter that disparages black police officers has been found in mailboxes at a Connecticut police department.

Bridgeport officials said Wednesday state police are investigating the letter, which begins and ends with the term ``white power.''

The letter singles out black officer Clive Higgins, who was acquitted last month of civil rights violation charges in the beating of a suspect in the racially diverse city. A white officer and a Hispanic officer were sentenced to three months in jail.

The unsigned letter says Higgins doesn't belong on the police force. It also says ``these black officers belong in the toilet'' and warns Higgins to watch his back.

A black police officers' group says other hateful letters have circulated within the department in the past year.



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Metro-North delays in NYC traced to burst frozen sprinkler

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) Metro-North Railroad says a water leak from a burst frozen sprinkler line entered a power substation at Grand Central Terminal, causing delays on Tuesday into and out of New York City.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority on its website says an overhead water leak Tuesday afternoon triggered the substation's automatic safety mechanism to shut.

The shutdown cut the power supply to numerous tracks, causing delays of up to 40 minutes.

Crews manually reconfigured the power supply yesterday.

The source of the water leak was traced to a frozen sprinkler line that burst in the Waldorf-Astoria's garage.



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