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January 13, 2005 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2005-01-13

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 13, 2005


Feds say thousands may
have lied for Mich. licenses

DETROIT (AP) - Thousands of
people may have exploited a recently
closed loophole in Michigan regula-
tions to fraudulently obtain state
driver's licenses, a federal investiga-
tor says.
Federal agents are investigating
what they say are criminal rings that
helped people get licenses without
proof of residency in Michigan.
Last month, secretary of state
offices began requiring adults apply-
ing for their first driver's license or
personal identification card to pro-
vide documentation showing they
live in the state.
Secretary of State Terri Lynn
Land said the change offered a new
defense against identity fraud.
State and federal authorities
requested the change to help prevent
people from falsely obtaining state
licenses and ID cards.
"We saw an alarming amount of

... cases where groups were bringing
criminals or illegal aliens to Michi-
gan for the sole purpose of obtaining
a Michigan driver's license," Brian
Moskowitz, head of the Detroit
office of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, told The Detroit News
for a story yesterday.
In July, the Portuguese language
Brazilian Voice newspaper in New-
ark, N.J., ran an ad offering Michi-
gan driver's licenses for $1,000, and
similar ads appeared in other for-
eign-language publications.
Land spokeswoman Kelly Chesney
said her office had no idea of the
seriousness of the problem until a
meeting with Justice Department
officials in October.
She said the state continues to
work with the federal government to
further reduce fraud.
Michigan law had long required
that applicants for driver's licenses

and ID cards be state residents.
Before last month's change, the
law required that applicants pro-
vide at least three documents to help
prove identity.
Now applicants have to provide at
least one document that shows the
applicant's name with a Michigan
That would include items such
as utility bills, bank statements,
insurance policies, government
documents, valid student IDs or
paycheck stubs.
The requirement applies to all
first-time Michigan applicants who
are 18 or older.
The new policy does not apply to
renewals or to residents under 18.
"Michigan is well known among
the illegal immigrant population and
among other groups," Moskowitz
said. "It was one of the easiest places
to get one."


(Top) Technicians work on the Deep Impact spacecraft.
in the clean room where the spacecraft was being.
processed in Titusville, Fla., Dec. 23, 2004. n
(Right) A Delta I rocket carrying the Deep Impact
spacecraft lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Scientists are counting on Deep Impact to carve out a
crater ranging in size anywhere from two to 14 stories
deep, and perhaps 300 feet in diameter in comet
Tempel 1. It will be humanity's first look into the heart
of a comet, a celestial snowball still preserving the
original building blocks of the sun and the planets.
NASA launches rocket on
comet- smashing mission

High schooler accused of
planning attack to stand trial

A NASA spacecraft with a Hollywood
name - Deep Impact - blasted
off yesterday on a mission to smash
a hole in a comet and give scientists
a glimpse of the frozen primordial
ingredients of the solar system.
With a launch window only one
second long, Deep Impact rocketed
away at the designated moment on a
six-month, 268-million-mile journey
to Comet Tempel 1. It will be a one-
way trip that NASA hopes will reach a
cataclysmic end on the Fourth of July.
"We are on our way," said an excit-
ed Michael A'Hearn of the University
of Maryland, the mission's chief sci-
entist. Minutes later, the spacecraft
shot out of Earth's orbit and onto its
collision course.
"We'll be there July Fourth," NASA
launch director Omar Baez said.

It was not until later in the after-
noon - much later than expected
- that scientists learned that Deep
Impact's energy-producing solar panel
had deployed properly. Although the
spacecraft appeared to be healthy, it
placed itself in a protective "sleep"
mode because of an unknown prob-
lem, and flight controllers were
reviewing strange sensor data, NASA
said. The problem was not believed to
be critical.
Scientists are counting on Deep
Impact to carve out a crater in Comet
Tempel 1 that could swallow the
Roman Coliseum. It will be humans'
first look into the heart of a comet, a
celestial snowball still containing the
original building blocks of the sun
and the planets.
Because of the relative speed of the
two objects at the moment of impact

- 23,000 mph - no explosives are
needed for the job. The force of the
smashup will be equivalent to 4 1/2
tons of TNT, creating a flash that just
might be visible in the dark sky by the
naked eye in one spectacular Fourth
of July fireworks display.
Nothing like this has ever been
attempted before.
Little is known about Comet Tem-
pel 1, other than that it is an icy, rocky
body about nine miles long and three
miles wide. Scientists do not even
know whether the crust will be as
hard as concrete or as flimsy as corn
"One of the scary things is that we
won't actually know the shape and
what it looks like until after we do the
encounter," said Jay Melosh, a plan-
etary geologist at the University of

(AP) - A judge ruled yesterday that
Internet messages written by a teen-
ager accused of planning an attack
on his high school are reason enough
for him to stand trial on a charge of
threatening terrorism.
District Court Judge Linda Davis
said the messages, which include
threats against a liaison officer
assigned to Chippewa Valley High
School and led authorities to close
the facility while searches were con-
ducted, illustrate Andrew Osantows-
ki's intent.
"He does talk about bringing a
gun to school," Davis said.
Following testimony from inves-
tigators and others during Osan-
towski's preliminary examination,
he also was ordered to stand trial on
charges stemming from a burglary
at a gun shop, the theft of golf carts
and stolen power tools.
But a charge of intimidating a wit-
ness, related to the liaison officer,
was thrown out because Davis said
the officer didn't know about the
alleged threat until after Osantows-
ki's Sept. 16 arrest.
Osantowski is set to be arraigned Feb.
7 in Macomb County Circuit Court.
Defense lawyer Brian Legghio,
who argued that the messages should
be protected speech under the First
Amendment, said similar statements
are made via the Internet every day.

He plans to challenge Davis's rul-
ings in circuit court.
"He made some unwise state-
ments, he made some foolish state-
ments and some statements that we
wouldn't want people to repeat,"
Legghio said.
"It is unfortunate to think that
they would be criminalized just
because you said you wanted to kill
Steve Kaplan, a Macomb County
assistant prosecutor, told the court
that Osantowski's plot was stopped
by good police work.
Not only had he made threats,
Kaplan said, but he had the weapons
to carry them out.
Lt. Bruce Wade testified that
Osantowski admitted after his arrest
to taking two shotguns and an AK-
47 from the gun shop, taking the golf
carts, stealing the tools and writing
the Internet messages.
When asked about the messages,
Wade said Osantowski told him he
was upset at the liaison officer, who
had worked on the golf cart case.
"Now I'm more than ever deter-
mined to blow her head off," one of
the messages read.
Authorities arrested Osantowski
after they received a tip from an
Idaho girl with whom he had been
exchanging the messages.
During a search of Osantowski's
home, police found the firearms,

"It is unfortunate
to think that
they would be
criminalized just
because you said
you wanted to kill
- Brian Legghio
Defense lawyer
hundreds of rounds of ammunition,
bomb-making materials and instruc-
tions, and the power tools.
Police also found Nazi flags and
books about white supremacy and
Adolf Hitler.
Dozens of Chippewa Valley stu-
dents attended Wednesday's hearing
as part of a government class at the
high school.
One of them, student government
president Tom Novik, said he and his
fellow students could have sat in on
another case.
But the 17-year-old said it was
important to come to Osantowski's
"I took it personally when it hap-
pened," Novik said. "I was worried
for everyone. ... As of now, I think
it's behind us."

whatcha gonna do
with all that cash?


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