Recording device captures suspects

BETHLEHEM — Two men who police say recorded themselves as they installed illegal recording devices in the home of one of their former partners are now facing charges.

Hanover residents Vito Villani and Fred Rice III are both accused of intercepting communications. Villani also faces a conspiracy count.

Colonial Regional police say a recording device found in an air vent of Villani’s estranged wife’s home contained a recording of the men installing it in July.

Authorities say the device had 98 separate recordings overall. The first 71 recordings were of Rice’s ex-girlfriend, and sounded like they were taken from inside her vehicle.

Villani’s attorney says his client maintains his innocence. It wasn’t known Monday if Rice has retained an attorney.

Man sentenced for helping foreigner give to Obama

NEWARK, N.J. — A man who engineered an illegal contribution from a foreigner to a joint fundraising committee for President Barack Obama in 2012 was sentenced to four months in prison Monday.

William Argeros had pleaded guilty in 2016 to making foreign contributions and lying to a grand jury, and had faced up to 24 months in prison under his plea agreement. But U.S. District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo noted the 61-year-old’s lack of a prior criminal record and her belief that the $80,000 contribution wasn’t meant to influence the U.S. election.

U.S. law prohibits foreign nationals from making contributions to federal candidates. Attorney John Azzarello, representing Argeros, said his client was acting on behalf of a candidate for prime minister of Albania who wanted a photo taken with Obama.

The candidate was Edi Rama, Azzarello said, who was elected and currently is Albania’s prime minister. When the charges became public in 2016, Rama’s office denied being the source of the contribution.

The U.S. attorney’s office contended Argeros arranged that the contribution was made through a New Jersey resident, Bilal Shehu. Shehu was sentenced to probation in 2017.

Cox Arleo said she gave Argeros a stricter sentence because he acknowledged lying to a grand jury.

Argeros had been living in Tampa, Florida, at the time the charges were brought. He also spent many years in the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, area where his work included serving on a prison advisory board and helping prisoners re-enter society, Azzarello said Monday. Some of his former colleagues wrote letters to Cox Arleo supporting him.

A tearful Argeros told the judge, “I’m ashamed and I take full responsibility for what I’ve done.”

— Compiled from The Associated Press

Cox Arleo also sentenced Argeros to four months’ home confinement and community service.

Cory Booker says he hit his $1.7M campaign fundraising goal

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker says he’s hit the $1.7 million fundraising goal he set for his campaign about a week ago, ensuring he has enough money to continue his White House bid.{br /}Booker said on his website he’s “proud of this grassroots team — thank you.”{br /}The New Jersey senator had said on Sept. 21 that if he failed to raise the money by Monday he’d end his 2020 bid. The plea prompted support from politicians including former rival New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who hopped on an all-staff phone call Sunday to encourage Booker’s team.{br /}Booker’s campaign manager said the money would go toward ballot access and hiring staff, among other things.{br /}Booker raised $4.5 million during the second quarter but spent nearly $1 million more than that.

— Compiled from The Associated Press

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