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Goldman paying $3.15B over US mortgage bond claims

WASHINGTON (AP) - Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay $3.15 billion to resolve claims that it misled U.S. mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac about risky mortgage securities it sold them before the housing market collapsed in 2007.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie and Freddie, announced the settlement Friday with the Wall Street powerhouse.

New York-based Goldman Sachs sold the securities to the companies between 2005 and 2007.

"We are pleased to have resolved these matters," said Goldman Sachs Group Inc. general counsel executive Gregory Palm in a statement.

The settlement is the latest federal government settlement over actions related to the financial crisis that struck in 2008. The crisis, triggered by vast sales of risky mortgage securities, plunged the economy into the deepest recession since the 1930s.


Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.

The former governor finished his third day of testifying Friday at federal court in Richmond by proclaiming his innocence and saying he would never corrupt his office in exchange for gifts.

McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are charged with accepting more than $165,000 from former Star Scientific Inc. CEO Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his products.

McDonnell said he had thought Williams was a true friend and accused him of making false statements in court.

The former governor is expected to resume testifying on Monday.


Washington Post strikes 'Redskins' from editorials

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Post says it will stop calling Washington's football team the "Redskins" on its editorial page.

The paper's editorial board announced Friday that it will refrain from using the term that it says "unquestionably offends not only many Native Americans but many other Americans, too."

The board operates independently of the paper's newsgathering operation. The Post will continue to use "Redskins" in the news and sports sections.

The board noted that it has been speaking out against the Redskins name since 1992.

Several major newspapers have stopped using the name altogether. CBS lead analyst Phil Simms said this week he will likely avoid the name when he announces a Washington game this season.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed never to change the name, saying it honors Native Americans.


Man pleads guilty to robbing Chipotle restaurants

BALTIMORE (AP) - A Gaithersburg man has pleaded guilty to robbing four Chipotle restaurants at gunpoint.

Twenty-six-year-old Lamont Bonds entered the pleas Thursday in federal court in Baltimore. He faces a maximum of 20 years in prison at sentencing Nov. 24.

According to his plea agreement, Bonds and his girlfriend plotted to rob the Chipotle in Mount Airy, where the girlfriend had worked as manager.

Prosecutors say on July 22, 2012, Bonds entered the Mount Airy Chipotle brandishing a shotgun and forced the manager to open the safe.

Authorities say Bonds robbed Chipotle restaurants in Hagerstown, Gaithersburg and Damascus between August and November. Prosecutors say Bonds' girlfriend drove him to two of the robberies.

The girlfriend, Marvel Alegria, has pleaded guilty to her role in the robberies and will be sentenced Sept. 23.


Va. man sentenced in visa scheme

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A third person involved in a scheme to create fraudulent transcripts so that foreign students would appear eligible to retain their student visas has been sentenced to almost two years in prison.

A federal judge in Virginia sentenced Mohamad Tellawi of Falls Church, Virginia, to 22 months in prison Friday. Tellawi pleaded guilty earlier this year to conspiracy to commit immigration document fraud. Two co-conspirators have already been sentenced.

Prosecutors say Tellawi was a manager at Virginia-based Integrated Academics, a company that caters to international students. Prosecutors say Tellawi and another manger conspired with a Strayer University admissions official to create at least 58 fraudulent transcripts to help clients retain student visas.

Tellawi's attorney Jonathan Simms says his client will focus on bettering himself when he is released from prison.


Maryland's housing secretary to retire

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Secretary of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development is retiring.

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced the retirement of 65-year-old Raymond A. Skinner on Friday. Skinner, who has led the department since 2007, will step down at the end of the month.

Skinner also served as DHCD secretary from 1999 to 2003, during Gov. Parris Glendening's administration.

O'Malley said in a statement that Skinner guided the agency to record achievements during one of the deepest economic downturns in the nation's history.

Deputy Secretary Clarence Snuggs will become acting secretary of the department on Sept. 1.


Snowy owl that survived bus hit dies in Minnesota

WASHINGTON (AP) - The snowy owl that captured the nation's capital attention when it perched at The Washington Post building and survived being hit by a bus has died.

The University of Minnesota's Raptor Center in St. Paul says on its website that the owl, which had undergone rehab there, was found dead on the shoulder of a Minnesota highway.

The owl was seen in downtown D.C. in January, drawing crowds as it perched for several hours on a ledge outside The Post's headquarters.

A few days later, the owl was apparently hit by a bus, and was taken to the National Zoo for treatment.

The bird was sent to the Raptor Center and was returned to the wild in April.

The bird's body was identified by a band placed on its leg.


Corcoran Gallery exhibits now free to public

WASHINGTON (AP) - Admission to the Corcoran Gallery of Art is now free following culmination of court-approved deal that ends the Corcoran's life as an independent institution.

Free admission at the Flagg building on 17th Street in Northwest Washington begins Friday.

Financial problems at the Corcoran led to an agreement for the National Gallery of Art to take over the Corcoran's collection and the Corcoran College of Art and Design to become part of George Washington University.

The galleries at the Flagg building will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. But they are set to close for renovations beginning Oct. 1.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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