12-year sentence sought in driver’s license scam

New Hampshire prosecutors will ask for a 12-year prison sentence for a former employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles who was paid $500 to provide valid drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.

Donna Rockholt pleaded guilty Friday to several charges, including bribery and theft.

Prosecutors said Rockholt provided the licenses to people who didn’t submit proper documentation. Over a two-year period she made about 70 transactions.

Rockholt is expected to ask for a shorter sentence than the 12 years prosecutors are seeking.


Former state senator seeks leniency for bank fraud

A former Rhode Island state senator who admitted to fraudulently obtaining $1.7 million in loans and mortgages has asked a judge to sentence him to just one day in prison.

Christopher Maselli will be sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Providence on federal bank fraud charges.

His lawyers say in a sentencing memorandum that Maselli has accepted responsibility for his crimes and wants to protect his wife and children from more pain. He pleaded guilty in November to eight counts of bank fraud, each punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

The lawyers asked for one day behind bars and five years of supervised release, including eight months of home confinement.


Cocaine, cash seized in raid linked to Mexican cartel

Rhode Island authorities say the cocaine and bundles of cash seized in a raid in North Kingstown are linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

Authorities called the 66 kilograms of cocaine and $1.25 million cash seized the largest drug bust in state history.

Brian Crowell, an assistant special agent at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, says the money found in a hidden compartment in a vehicle was going to be smuggled into Mexico to support the cartel. He did not specify which cartel.

The cocaine has a street value of about $6.6 million.

Two California men and one from Utah have been charged in connection with the drug bust. They are all being held without bail.


Education chief backs off three-tiered diploma system

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist (GHIST) is backing off her plan to establish a three-tiered diploma system for public high schools.

Gist’s plan would have provided an honors diploma to students who score highly on standardized tests.

The plan came under attack from advocates of low-income, minority and special-education students who often score poorly on standardized tests.

The Providence Journal reports that she now supports a single diploma system, but wants to give local school districts the option of handing out diplomas that reward high levels of academic achievement.

Gist is sticking with other more rigorous high school graduation requirements she has proposed, but now wants to enact them in 2014 instead of next year.


College student evaluated after carrying loaded Tec-9

A Massachusetts college student is being held without bail pending a hearing to determine whether he is a danger to the community after police arrested him with a loaded semiautomatic weapon in his backpack.

Darryl Max Dookhran of Boston pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Friday on charges including carrying a firearm without a license and firearms violations with three prior violent crimes on his record.

Wellesley police say the 18-year-old scuffled with detectives during his arrest Thursday in the registrar’s office at MassBay Community College.

Detectives allege the Tec-9 weapon was loaded with an 18-round magazine and a round in the chamber.


Kennedy’s turkey claim disputed by witnesses

Ethel Kennedy’s claim that a turkey seen attacking a mail truck on Cape Cod last week is the same one that escaped from the family compound on Thanksgiving is for the birds.

At least that’s according to Brewster farmer Heidi Howell, who sold Robert F. Kennedy Jr. two turkeys because his mother wanted to show the children what a real turkey looks like.

Howell tells the Cape Cod Times that the black turkey she sold to the famous political clan was much younger than the tom caught on video pestering the truck in Barnstable, about two miles from the Kennedy family’s Hyannisport compound.

Jeff Glines agrees. He lives in the neighborhood and says the truck-hating turkey started showing up early last summer, long before the Kennedy turkey escaped.


Suspect in church arson says confession was coerced

One of three white men accused of burning down a predominantly black church in western Massachusetts just hours after the election of Barack Obama has told a judge he played no role in setting the blaze.

Michael Jacques Jr. told a federal judge Thursday that investigators bullied him into confessing while he was going through drug withdrawal.

The Republican reports that Jacques and his lawyer are trying to get the confession thrown out as evidence. Prosecutors say the confession was not coerced and Jacques never asked it to stop.

Authorities say the fire that destroyed Springfield’s Macedonia Church of God in Christ on Nov. 5, 2008, was racially motivated. The church had about 300 members, most of whom were black.

Two other men have already pleaded guilty.