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Sources: Garcia Is White House Pick for U.S. Attorney The White House is close to nominating the chief of the nation’s immigration and customs enforcement as head of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan, sources told The Associated Press yesterday. Michael J. Garcia, a Department of Homeland Security assistant secretary who oversees immigration and customs, was in the running for the job last year, but no move was made, leaving in place David Kelley, a veteran prosecutor and Democrat. Mr. Garcia’s name resurfaced in recent weeks as the lone candidate being mentioned by White House officials for the position, according to two sources familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because no final decision had been made. The possible nomination of Mr. Garcia is being considered by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, Governor George E. Pataki and White House officials. During similar talks last year on the nomination, nine candidates’ names were circulated as possibilities. But this time, the sources said, Mr. Garcia is the only name being discussed. Schumer spokesman Israel Klein said, “The senator is looking forward to meeting with Mr. Garcia next week.” Mr. Pataki has supported the choice of Garcia. � Associated Press Federal Judge in Brooklyn Balks at Handcuffed Defendants Eastern District Judge Nicholas Garaufis instructed U.S. marshals yesterday to stop bringing defendants into his courtroom in handcuffs and chains without his prior approval. The judge told one marshal at a pretrial hearing for alleged mobsters Vincent Basciano and Dominick Cicale that it “insults the dignity of the court” to have defendants appear in restraints unless absolutely necessary for security. More defendants are being restrained, he said, because the transfer of 15 marshals to provide security details for Manhattan judges has left Brooklyn understaffed. “I’m angry because it’s another example of the limits that have been placed on the marshals based on an unfair staffing distribution that has not been addressed,” he said. On March 15, Chief Judge Edward Korman wrote Attorney General Alberto Gonzales saying the transfers have “compromised” security. � Mark Hamblett Judge Dismisses Suit Against Bible Ministry A ministry that publishes the Bible cannot be required to place warnings within the book that state it “contains a mixture of facts and fiction” because of allegedly slanderous statements, a federal judge has ruled. Five pro se plaintiffs initiated the action against the American Bible Society, alleging that eight passages from Genesis are “false and libelous against plaintiffs.” The offending portions included, for example, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust on the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Southern District Judge Loretta A. Preska granted the society’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the plaintiffs failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction. She added that the complaint did not state a claim. “Here, the alleged defamatory statements are contained in the Holy Bible, and this Court can take judicial notice of the fact that the most recent portions of [the] Bible are not less than 1900 years old,” she wrote. “Having predated the birth of plaintiffs by almost two thousand years, it is apparent that plaintiffs cannot establish . . . statements of facts of and concerning plaintiffs.” Truong v. American Bible Society appears on page 22 of today’s Print edition of the Law Journal. � Mark Fass Panel Upholds Lower Value of Condemned Bank A bank that lost its underground access to a concourse in Pennsylvania Station could not value its adjacent underground parcel as retail space in a condemnation proceeding, the Appellate Division, First Department, unanimously affirmed. Because the Metropolitan Transit Authority lawfully ended the bank’s lease to 876 square feet that fronted the concourse, the bank’s adjacent 6,168 square feet could only be used as “back office space,” the panel ruled in upholding Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Martin Schoenfeld. As a result, the bank’s property was valued at $25 per square foot, instead of $80 to $100 per square foot. A decision for the bank could have cost the MTA more than $5 million plus interest since the 1991 condemnation, said James G. Greilsheimer, a partner at Blank Rome who represented the MTA. The terms of the lease allowed the MTA to end it with one year’s advance written notice provided the premises would be used by the railroad or passenger terminal. The condemnation was part of a major renovation for Penn Station. Bowery Savings Bank and its successors in interest had used the concourse access since 1968. http://nycourts.law.com/CourtDocumentViewer.asp?view=Document&docID=57937 in In re Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 4679. � Elizabeth Stull

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