Blagojevich done with his testimony

CHICAGO - Twice-elected former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich ended the most important campaign of his life Tuesday, stepping down from the witness stand at his corruption retrial after speaking to jurors for seven days.

In often long-winded answers, he insisted before jurors that he never sought to sell or trade President Obama's vacated Senate seat for a top job or campaign cash, or ever tried to shake down executives for contributions.

He argued that his talk captured on FBI wiretaps was merely brainstorming.

As he stepped off the stand, Blagojevich tried to shake hands with the prosecutor who had been grilling him, but the government attorney turned away.

Judge James Zagel said the defense plans to call two more witnesses Wednesday, when the government could be ready to deliver its closing arguments. The defense would then do the same. Zagel said he expected jurors to begin deliberating as soon as Thursday. - AP

EPA to ban some rodent poisons

WASHINGTON - The government is moving to ban the sale of some popular rat and mouse poisons such as D-Con and Hot Shot in an effort to protect children and pets.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that it was taking the step to reduce the thousands of accidental exposures of children that occur every year from rodent-control products. Children are particularly at risk, the EPA said, because such products typically are placed on floors, and young children sometimes place bait pellets in their mouths.

The agency had given pesticide-makers until last week to research, develop, and register new products for residential consumers that would be safer for children, pets, and wildlife. But a handful of companies said they would not adopt the safety measures, the agency said. Those are the companies its ban would target. - AP

Calif. is moving to shift inmates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Money is the key ingredient that will decide whether California can meet the dictates of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring the state to slash its prison population by 33,000 inmates within two years, sheriffs, police chiefs, counties, and corrections officials said Tuesday.

But questions abound on whether the legislature will sign off on tax extensions to pay for shifting thousands of convicts from state prisons to local jails, whether voters will approve the taxes, whether the state can meet the court deadlines, and how the shift will play out at local jails.

Gov. Jerry Brown's administration said Tuesday that his stalled plan to shift thousands of inmates to local jails needed state lawmakers' support.

The latest count shows California's 33 prisons hold 143,565 inmates in space designed for fewer than 80,000. - AP


Rep. Dan Boren, Oklahoma's only Democrat in Congress and the son of one of its most powerful men, said he won't seek a fifth term next year.