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Lawyer: Detainee attempted suicide

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The alleged would-be "20th hijacker" on 9/11 tried to kill himself at Guantanamo last month, his lawyer disclosed yesterday, saying the Saudi man was distraught over a possible death sentence for charges later dropped by the Pentagon.

Mohammed al-Qahtani cut himself at least three times and had to be hospitalized, lawyer Gitanjali Gutierrez said.

Qahtani attempted suicide after learning that military prosecutors had filed capital charges against him and five others at Guantanamo for their alleged roles in the 2001 attacks.

"If I have to stay in this jail, I want to put an end to this suffering," the lawyer quoted him as saying. A Guantanamo spokeswoman would not confirm the incident.

- AP

Child-porn trial shown sex tape

CHICAGO - Prosecutors played the sex tape at the center of R. Kelly's child-pornography trial in open court yesterday, hours after opening statements in which they accused the R&B singer of choreographing and starring in the tape with an underage girl.

The 27-minute video shows a man having sex with a young female, who is naked for most of the tape. Prosecutors say that the man is Kelly, now 41, and that the female is a girl who was as young as 13 when the tape was made between 1998 and 2000.

The singer, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 15 years if convicted. Defense attorneys said in opening statements that Kelly was not the man in the video and called into question the origins of the tape, which was mailed to the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002.

- AP

N.Y. governor has eye treatment

NEW YORK - Gov. David Paterson underwent an emergency procedure for glaucoma yesterday, hours after admitting himself to a hospital with a severe headache.

Paterson, who turned 54 yesterday and is legally blind, was diagnosed with acute glaucoma in his left eye and had an iridotomy, a routine, outpatient laser procedure to relieve pressure on that eye, his office said in a statement.

He will have another procedure soon to prevent glaucoma from appearing in his right eye, said John Danias, an ophthalmologist who treated him. He said Paterson's glaucoma was unrelated to his blindness.

- AP


Rep. Vito Fossella

(R., N.Y.), citing "personal mistakes" after a drunken-driving arrest and disclosure that he fathered a child in an extramarital affair, said yesterday that he would finish his term but would not run again. He is the 26th GOP congressman to retire this year.

Virginia's ban on a type

of late-term abortion is still unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled, even though the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld a similar federal ban. The state law, unlike the federal one, does not protect doctors who set out to perform a legal abortion that by accident becomes the banned procedure, which opponents call "partial-birth" abortion.