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The blotter

The Washington Post "obtained dozens of America Online instant messages yesterday that illuminate the apparent predations of the disgraced former congressman."  Some of the messages were already reported by ABC.  Foley attorney David Roth "said last night, 'I'm not going to comment on anything unless it's in a public forum before everyone'...  Taken together, the chats seem to make clear that Foley tried to lure the boys into sexual encounters, and certainly encouraged lurid behavior online." 

NBC's Pete Williams reports that legal experts and former federal prosecutors say it may be difficult to bring federal criminal charges against Foley based on what's publicly known about the messages he sent.  So far, say current law enforcement officials, it's not clear any federal laws were violated.  It turns out that talking trash to a minor is not automatically illegal.  Per Williams, the age of consent for sexual activity in Washington, DC is 16, for the most part.  One exception added to the law in July raises the age of consent in situations involving an adult who is in a position of trust or authority over a young person to 18.  A member of Congress would very likely be found to be in such a position of authority over a page, Williams notes, but because the Foley communications are apparently more than a year old, the more recent change in the law would not apply.

Mark Warner (D) today becomes the first presidential candidate to campaign with the Democrat seeking to replace Foley.  The Florida Democratic party is contesting Republicans' request that a letter be sent to voters informing them that a vote cast for Foley is a vote for replacement candidate Joe Negron, reports the Miami Herald