Friendly fire cited in trooper's death

ALBANY, N.Y. - Friendly fire apparently killed a New York state trooper as he searched a farmhouse for a suspect in the shooting of a colleague, officials said yesterday.

Trooper David C. Brinkerhoff, a member of the force's elite mobile response team, was shot in a gunfight Wednesday as he and other troopers went into a Catskills-area farmhouse where the armed suspect had holed up.

The suspect fired the round that hit another trooper and shot Brinkerhoff in the chest with a small-caliber round that the trooper's body armor stopped, said acting State Police Superintendent Preston Felton. Brinkerhoff, who was wearing a Kevlar helmet, was then shot in the back of the head, Felton said.

Felton said an autopsy showed that the suspect, Travis Trim, 23, also was killed in the gunfight. - AP

Gay-marriage bill unveiled by Spitzer

ALBANY, N.Y. - Following through on a campaign pledge, Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer unveiled a bill yesterday that would legalize gay marriage in New York - a measure he has conceded has almost no chance to pass.

Opposition from the Republican leader of the state Senate effectively blocks the legislation, which would make New York only the second state, after Massachusetts, to permit same-sex marriage.

"This legislation would create equal legal protection and responsibilities for all individuals who seek to marry or have their marriage protected in the state of New York," Spitzer said in a statement.

State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said Spitzer "has his priorities wrong," noting the gay-marriage bill and other recent proposals from the new governor, including one to overhaul campaign-finance laws.

- AP

Ex-Tenn. legislator guilty in bribe case

MEMPHIS - Former Tennessee State Sen. John Ford, a prominent member of a politically powerful family, was convicted yesterday of accepting $55,000 in bribes during a statewide corruption investigation.

But the federal jury deadlocked on the more serious charge of extortion, creating a mistrial on that count. Ford, a Democrat whose nephew is former House member Harold Ford Jr., was acquitted of three counts of witness intimidation.

The federal probe, code-named Tennessee Waltz, resulted in the arrest of five sitting or former lawmakers and several local government officials. The prosecution's case depended heavily on giving jurors an up-close look at Ford stuffing his pockets with $100 bills counted one by one by an undercover FBI agent. - AP

Elsewhere:

Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D., R.I) has completed the probation and court-ordered drug treatment for his middle-of-the-night car crash last May.

A suspect in the New York City mugging of a 101-year-old woman with a walker was arrested yesterday on drug charges, police said.

Authorities dropped charges yesterday against an aide to Sen. Jim Webb (D., Va.) who carried a loaded gun into the U.S. Capitol complex.