06.09.2003 12:00 PM
Fox engineer has sticky fingers in Iraq

Last week a former TV engineer working for Fox News Channel pleaded guilty to smuggling paintings from Saddam Hussein's palaces when he returned to the United States after helping to cover the war in Iraq.

Benjamin J. Johnson, 27, of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Alexandria to one count of smuggling.

Federal authorities had listed the charge against Johnson in late April as one of five cases in which paintings, a collection of gold-plated knives and guns and assorted other weapons and artworks were stolen from Baghdad.

According to a report in the Washington Post, Johnson worked in Iraq as a satellite truck engineer for Fox, helping to establish and monitor live feeds into Fox News Channel headquarters in New York. Customs Service stopped Johnson April 17 at Dulles International Airport with Iraqi monetary bonds and a box with 12 paintings.

Fox News Channel has terminated Johnson’s employment. He faces five years in prison when sentenced Aug. 29, but under terms of a plea agreement is likely to receive probation.

A Fox News Channel engineer faces five years in prison for stealing paintings from Saddam Hussein's home in Iraq.

For more information visit www.foxnewschannel.com.

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