05-27-2017  10:48 am      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Portland Art Museum Hosts Upstanders Festival May 27

Event includes spoken word, workshops and poster making in support of social justice ...

North Portland Library Announces June Computer Classes

Upcoming courses include Introduction to Spreadsheets, What is the Cloud? and Learn Programming with Games ...

Merkley to Hold Town Hall in Clackamas County

Sen. Jeff Merkley to hold town hall in Clackamas County, May 30 ...

NAACP Monthly Meeting Notice, May 27, Portland

NAACP Portland invites the community to its monthly general membership meeting ...

Photos: Fundraiser for Sunshine Division's Assistance Programs

Under the Stars fundraiser took place on May 18 at the Melody Grand Ballroom ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

OPINION

Ensuring the Promise of the Every Student Succeeds Act

The preservation of Thurgood Marshall's legacy is dependent upon our dedication to our children ...

CFPB Sues Ocwen Financial over Unfair Mortgage Practices

What many homeowners soon discover is that faithfully paying a monthly mortgage is in some cases, just not enough ...

B-CU Grads Protest Betsy “DeVoid” in Epic Fashion

Julianne Malveaux says that Betsy “DeVoid,” is no Mary McLeod Bethune ...

NAACP on Supreme Court's Decline to Review NC Voter ID Law

NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks made the following remarks ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

ENTERTAINMENT



Three men whose identities surfaced during New York's "Cannibal Cop" kidnap conspiracy case case pleaded not guilty Thursday to their own conspiracy charges, federal prosecutors said.

Michael Vanhise, Richard Meltz and Robert Christopher Asch entered not-guilty pleas to conspiracy to kidnap charges and remain in custody, according to Jerika Richardson, spokeswoman for the office of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Vanhise was arrested in January after authorities uncovered e-mail conversations he had with New York police officer Gilberto Valle. In those online conversations, Vanhise agreed to pay Valle $5,000 to render a woman unconscious, stuff her into a suitcase and bring her to Vanhise's home in New Jersey, where she would be raped, according to authorities.

Valle, whose attorneys argued in court that his online conversations were the product of "fantasy role-play," was convicted in March of conspiracy to kidnap and accessing a law enforcement database illegally. He will be sentenced in June.

According to the complaint against the three men, authorities allege Vanhise engaged in a series of e-mail and instant messages with Asch and Meltz beginning in 2011 during which they discussed and planned in great detail the kidnapping, torture and murder of women.

Police arrested Meltz, 65, and Asch, 60, last week on charges of conspiring to kidnap, torture, rape and kill women and children, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office. Meltz is the chief of police for a Department of Veterans Affairs medical center in Bedford, Massachusetts. Asch is a former high school librarian.

According to prosecutors, an undercover FBI agent met with Asch April 15 to conduct surveillance of a kidnap target, who unbeknownst to Asch was an undercover female agent. During this meeting, Asch brought two bags of tools intended to be used in the kidnapping including a taser gun, rope, meat hammer, duct tape, gloves, cleaning supplies, zip ties, and a dental retractor, a wireless modem, and a leg spreader.

Asch's attorney, Bradley Drew Simon, told CNN he did not have any comment.

Vanhise's attorney, Alice L. Frontier, meanwhile, said "the evidence against Vanhise hasn't changed and he obviously maintains his innocence."

Referring to the government's case against her client, Frontier said "they have little more than his words."

"Obviously we are going to be filing motions seeking to dismiss the indictment; First Amendment grounds will be one of them," Frontier said Thursday.

Meltz's attorney, Peter Bril, told CNN, "No matter what other defendants may have done, Mr. Meltz never took part in anything other than pure fantasy play, this was nothing more than his fantasy life ... He never had any intention in actually engaging in hurting another person."

The next court conference in the case is scheduled for July 11, according to Richardson.

 

 

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