CITY BLIPS 

'Dirty Bomber' Transferred, Charged ·
Military authorities handed over suspected "dirty bomber" Jose Padilla to civilian authorities last week and transferred him to a Miami facility, where he was arraigned on criminal charges concerning joining a terror support network that sent him overseas to train with Al Qaeda. Interestingly, Padilla's charges make no mention of the dirty bomb allegations, for which he was labeled an "enemy combatant" by President Bush, and for which he was held at a converted naval brig in Hanahan for more than three years, most of it incommunicado. It's almost as if the federal government doesn't know how to run a war on terror. Andrew Patel, the New York City-based criminal lawyer who has represented Padilla for much of that time, reversed course last week and began limiting his comments on the charges his client now faces, and refused to comment on any potential plea bargain deals in the works. "Before, when it was a constitutional issue, and how it would play out before the Supreme Court, we could talk about that," Patel said from an Atlanta airport, en route to Miami. "But criminal court is a different matter." Patel refused to comment on litigation strategies, but did allow that one of the charges Padilla faces could, if he is convicted, result in a life sentence. While he still has "no idea" why the federal government locked up his client for three years and then charged him with only lesser, terror-related crimes, Patel declined to comment as to whether Padilla would seek restitution from the federal government. "I don't want to speculate on future litigation; our hands are full with what we've got going on right now." —Bill Davis

Grounded ·
Charleston's hopes of not having one of the most expensive airports in the nation went down in flames last week when low-fare Independence Air stopped flying after the airline's parent company, FLYi, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In a letter to customers found on its website, www.flyi.com, the company says that "financial pressures in the industry have prevailed. We have run out of time." Independence Air's 18 months of flying in and out of Charleston meant that locals looking for cheaper air fares didn't have to drive to Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, or even Atlanta to get them. At least one national carrier, U.S. Airways, has offered reduced-price tickets to travelers holding Independence Air tickets for flights that are scheduled after the shutdown. Myrtle Beach, here we come. —BD

Haiku O'The Week
Iraq, DeLay, Frist,
Abramoff, uranium,
When will we wake up?


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