McNamee's lawyer predicts Bush will pardon Clemens

WASHINGTON - One of Brian McNamee's lawyers predicted Roger Clemens will be pardoned by President Bush, saying some Republicans treated his client harshly because of the pitcher's friendship with the Bush family.

Richard Emery made the claims Thursday, a day after a congressional hearing broke down along party lines. Many Democrats were skeptical of Clemens' denials he used performance-enhancing drugs and Republicans questioned the character of McNamee, the personal trainer who made the accusations against the seven-time Cy Young Award winner.

'It would be the easiest thing in the world for George W. Bush, given the corrupt proclivities of his administration, to say Roger Clemens is an American hero, Roger Clemens helped children,' Emery said in a telephone interview.

Army recruiters try offering $40K

ALBANY, N.Y. - How's this for a recruiting slogan? Join the Army, Buy a House.

Faced with the challenge of expanding the U.S. Army in wartime, the military is testing an incentive program that pays enlistees up to $40,000 toward a home or a startup business after their commitment. The Army Advantage Fund program is being tested here and four other areas - Montgomery, Ala., Cleveland, Seattle and San Antonio - for the next six to nine months.

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, who was in Albany Wednesday promoting the pilot program, said it will help the Army compete for high school graduates and recognize soldiers in a time of conflict.

Billy Graham doing well after surgery

ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Evangelist Billy Graham was recovering Thursday from a surgery to update a shunt that controls excess fluid in his brain, a family spokesman said.

The 89-year-old Southern Baptist minister was expected to spend some of the day walking the halls of Asheville's Mission Hospital and to return to his usual diet later Thursday, said Graham spokesman Larry Ross.

'He rested well overnight and is in high spirits,' Ross said.

CDC warns parents of 'choking game'

ATLANTA - At least 82 youths have died from the so-called 'choking game,' according to the first government count of fatalities from the tragic fad.

In the game, children use dog leashes or bungee cords wrapped around their necks or other means to temporarily cut blood flow to their head. The goal is a dreamlike, floating-in-space feeling when blood rushes back into the brain.

As many as 20 percent of teens and preteens play the game, sometimes in groups, according to estimates based on a few local studies.

Student who killed famous journalist in crash sentenced

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. - A graduate student charged in the car crash that killed Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Halberstam was sentenced Thursday to five days in jail, but a judge recommended he serve the time on a supervised work program.

Kevin Jones, 27, pleaded no contest last fall to a charge of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter stemming from the April 23 crash.

Police say man questioned about killing isn't suspect

NEW YORK - Detectives looking for a man who butchered a Manhattan psychologist expanded their investigation to Pennsylvania on Thursday, interviewing a man who spoke to the victim in the days before the killing about his personal problems.

The man was not considered a suspect, and was released after several hours.

Officials say dead satellite to be shot down with missle

WASHINGTON - President Bush has ordered the Pentagon to use a Navy missile to attempt to destroy a broken U.S. spy satellite - and thereby minimize the risk to humans from its toxic fuel - by intercepting it just before it re-enters the atmosphere, officials said Thursday.

The effort - the first of its kind - will be undertaken because of the potential that people in the area where the satellite would otherwise crash could be harmed, the officials said.

Bush confidants to be held in contempt

WASHINGTON - The House voted Thursday to hold two of President Bush's confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with an inquiry into whether a purge of federal prosecutors was politically motivated.

Angry Republicans boycotted the vote and staged a walkout.

The vote was 223-32 to hold White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers in contempt.