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Mistrial Declared in Iran-Contra Trial of Spy Chief

Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON

The prosecution of former CIA official Clair E. George on perjury charges in the Iran-Contra scandal ended in mistrial Wednesday, in the latest setback for the office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh.

U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth declared the mistrial and set a new trial for Oct. 19 minutes after a jury of eight women and four men reported for the fourth time that they were hopelessly deadlocked on all nine charges against George in their sixth day of deliberations.

Prosecutor Craig Gillen had recommended a new trial "as quickly as possible" before a new jury that Lamberth will impanel.

But jury foreman Steven Kirk, 38, a management consultant, told reporters that he believed another trial would be unnecessary.

"Twelve other jurors would have a hard time finding the defendant guilty of these charges," Kirk said, explaining that a majority of jurors favored acquittal on all counts. He said that, while some thought that George could have been "more forthcoming" in his congressional testimony in 1986, "from a criminal perspective we did not find that Clair George told false statements to Congress."

The outcome of the George case did nothing to improve the spotty record of the independent counsel. Out of 10 convictions obtained by Walsh's staff in the past 5 years, two have been overturned on appeal -- those of former White House aide Oliver L. North and former national security adviser John M. Poindexter. Of the remaining convictions, all but one resulted from negotiated plea agreements. Only one defendant has gone to jail, and that was for income tax charges related to weapons sales.

George, 62, who formerly directed overseas spy operations as the CIA's No. 3 executive, was tried on nine counts of perjury, obstruction and false statements for what he told Congress in 1986 and a federal grand jury in 1991. He was accused of concealing his knowledge of Iranian arms sales and of secret U.S. assistance being given to the Nicaraguan rebels by such officials as North and former Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord, who was North's logistics chief.

Few Optimistic As Conference on Yugoslavia Begins

The Baltimore Sun

LONDON

The international conference on former Yugoslavia opened here Wednesday amid a lot of bluster but diminishing expectations that the Humpty-Dumpty exercise of putting Boznia-Herzegovina back together again will succeed or that aggressive Serbian expansionism will be contained.

Acting Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger said that Serbs face a "spectacularly bleak future," with prolonged international repudiation, unless Serb leaders reverse their expansionist policies.

"The civilized world simply cannot allow this cancer in the heart of Europe to flourish, much less spread," he said.

British Prime Minister John Major promised that pressure would "inexorably increase" on any Yugoslav party that stood in the way of agreement.

"No trade. No aid. No international recognition or role. Economic, cultural, political and diplomatic isolation," he told the joint European Community-U.N. conference.

Major, who is European Community president, and U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, co-chairmen at the conference, both asserted that the stakes were too high to entertain the idea of failure.

SAT Scores Rise Slightly This Year

Los Angeles Times

High school seniors nationwide averaged slightly higher scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test this year, halting at least temporarily a worrisome decline blamed on television, immigration and inadequate education.

However, some experts took little solace in the current scores on the college-entrance examination, which remain far below those of the previous generation of students and also reflect sharp differences among ethnic and income groups.

After dropping to a record low last year, average performance in the verbal section of the much dreaded test rose one point this year to 423, according to a report being released Thursday. Math scores also climbed a bit in 1992, up two points to 476 after declining last year for the first time in a decade. Each section of the multiple-choice exam is graded on a scale from 200 to 800 points.

While conceding that "one or two points may not seem like much," Donald M. Stewart, president of the College Board, the New York-based organization that sponsors the SAT, said he hoped the 1992 results "start an upward trend that puts the score declines of the 1980s behind us." Educational reforms and tougher high school classes may help, Stewart asserted.

Weather

Continued Stickiness

National Weather Service

Today: Hazy sunshine, continued warm and humid. High in the upper 70's (25C) on the coast, mid-80's (30C) inland. Light variable wind with coastal sea breezes.

Tonight: Haze and muggy again with increasing clouds. Low around 70F (21C).

Tomorrow: Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. Highs around 80F (27C).