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News Briefs II

Man Falsely Indicted in Murder Plot Gets Lesser Charge

Los Angeles Times

A man who was mistakenly charged with plotting to assassinate a U.S. Secret Service agent last year was sentenced Monday to 11 months in federal custody on a lesser charge of obstructing justice.

Rafael Kazareyants, 44, was originally indicted along with four acquaintances on charges of offering an undercover FBI operative $50,000 to murder a Secret Service agent.

There was a plot, not to murder the agent, but to bribe him to drop fraud charges lodged against one of the men. That fact was lost in a mistranslation of secretly recorded conversations involving the men and an ex-felon who said he had been hired to carry out the crime.

The government backed away from its murder-for-hire charges months later after the defendants' secretly recorded conversations were retranslated. Prosecutors also acknowledged that the undercover operative's account was exaggerated.

Kazareyants, of Los Angeles' North Hollywood district, was initially denied bail because of the severity of the charges and spent more than seven months behind bars. Now free, he was ordered by U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson to surrender next month to begin serving the rest of his sentence.

Harlem Youth March Pits Giuliani Against Organizers

Los Angeles Times

It is one of the most controversial rallies in recent New York City history, pitting Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani against the protest's militant organizers - with many Harlem residents complaining they are caught in the middle.

Orchestrated by Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a black leader with such strong views that he was dismissed from the Nation of Islam for his racist remarks about Jews and Pope John Paul II, the Million Youth March is scheduled to take place on Malcolm X Boulevard in the heart of Harlem.

From the outset, the Giuliani administration has viewed the demonstration, scheduled for Saturday, with suspicion.

And after negotiations for a city permit proved both fruitless and bitter, positions quickly hardened.

The mayor denounced the event as a "hate march," prompting the group's attorney, Malik Z. Shabazz, to call Giuliani "belligerent, hostile, antagonistic and prejudiced."

Unhappily caught up in the debate are some of Harlem's most prominent leaders who are trying to ensure that the demonstration does not become violent.

"We feel caught in a political firestorm," said state Sen. David A. Paterson. " Everyone is talking about public safety."

Muhammad had pledged to hold the rally - now expected to draw about 170,000 people - with or without a permit.

Meanwhile, a rival and perhaps much bigger rally, also designed to attract black youth, is scheduled for Atlanta at the same time. Its organizing coalition includes the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Nation of Islam and the Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH coalition.