Trenton Mayor Tony Mack, 47, who is still in office, and his brother, Ralphiel Mack, have denied charges related to a 2010 bribery scheme in which $119,000 was offered in exchange for Mayor Mack's help in the development of an automated parking garage on city-owned land. About $54,000 was actually paid, the indictment said, with the rest to be paid later. It was not immediately known if the trial will include testimony from a co-conspirator who pleaded guilty in the scheme - restaurant owner Joseph Giorgianni, also known as "The Fat Man" and JoJo, the name of his steak house, according to the indictment filed in U.S. District Court in Trenton. Mayor Mack has maintained his innocence and his lawyer has said he has no plans to step down despite a call to do so by Governor Chris Christie.
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (AP) — Paul Gregoline lies in bed, awaiting the helper who will get him up, bathed and groomed. He is 92 years old, has Alzheimer's disease and needs a hand with nearly every task the day brings. When the aide arrives, though, he doesn't look so different from the client himself — bald and bespectacled.
Liz Cheney, the oldest daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, plans to end her bid to run as a Republican for Wyoming's U.S. Senate seat as early as Monday, according to several media reports. Cheney, a lawyer who once served in the State Department during the administration of President George W. Bush, has been seeking to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Mike Enzi in a primary election in August 2014. CNN reported the decision citing unnamed sources, while ABC News cited two Republican officials and quoted one with Wyoming ties as saying the announcement could come as soon as Monday. Cheney, who spent much of her youth and adult life in Virginia, had her Wyoming credentials challenged in spite of her family's deep roots in the state.
The Senate, kicking off its 2014 session on Monday, intends to waste no time making history as it moves to approve Janet Yellen to be the first woman to head the Federal Reserve. A Senate vote is set for 5:30 p.m. (2230 GMT) on Yellen, 67, who has been vice chair of the U.S. central bank since 2010. If confirmed, Yellen would succeed Ben Bernanke, whose second four-year term ends on January 31. In an early sign that Yellen commands enough support to win confirmation, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted 59-34 on December 20 to move forward with the nomination.
By Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress begins what promises to be another highly combative year on Monday with a showdown over a White House-backed bid to renew unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans. The battle will kick off a 2014 drive by President Barack Obama and fellow Democrats to stem a growing gap between rich and poor. The Democrat-led Senate plans to escalate the fight in coming weeks by bringing up for a vote a bill to increase the federal minimum wage, which has stood at $7.25 an hour since July 2009. Democrats want the minimum wage to rise over three years to $10.10 and then be indexed to inflation in the future.
The United States will support the Iraqi government and tribes fighting al Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim militants in Anbar province but will not send U.S. troops back to Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Sunday. Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and tribal fighters have taken control of Ramadi and Falluja, the main cities in the Sunni Muslim-dominated province of Anbar, which adjoins Syria, in a serious challenge to the Shi'ite-led government's authority. Iraqi troops and allied tribesmen are trying to retake the province.
The public debate over the fate of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden intensified on Sunday with conservative Senator Rand Paul calling for a light prison term as punishment for Snowden's disclosure of information on government surveillance programs. Paul, a Republican, said in an interview on ABC's "This Week" that Snowden does not deserve the death penalty or life in prison for the leaks, which have rattled the U.S. intelligence community, not to mention an American public that had been unaware of the extent of NSA data collection. Instead, Paul spoke favorably of "some penalty of a few years in prison" if Snowden were to return to the United States from Russia, where he currently is living, to face trial. Paul, a freshman senator from Kentucky and a Tea Party favorite who has his eye on running for president in 2016, made his remarks a few days after a New York Times editorial said Snowden had done the United States "a great service" in divulging details of NSA surveillance.