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THE NATION

Probe of Sen. Torricelli May End Next Week

July 26, 2002|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The chairman of the ethics panel investigating Sen. Robert Torricelli said Thursday that the panel could reach a decision next week and that the New Jersey Democrat will be its only witness.

The ethics panel, made up of three Republican and three Democratic senators, met with Torricelli and his lawyer for nearly three hours on Thursday.

The committee is investigating allegations that Torricelli accepted gifts and cash from a campaign contributor, David Chang, and, in return, helped Chang with business dealings overseas.

The committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, said he is hopeful the committee will reach a conclusion next week. Its options include disciplining Torricelli or closing the case with no action.

Inouye said Torricelli probably has made his final appearance in the case.

Chang is serving a prison sentence for making illegal donations to Torricelli in 1996. He has said Torricelli demanded donations and expensive gifts in exchange for assisting him in business ventures in North and South Korea, which the senator denies.

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