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Kennedy estate to be site of benefit

For the first time ever, the Kennedy family will open the doors to its famous seaside estate for a charity fund-raiser. The walled estate for years was famous as the winter home of the Kennedy clan and as the unofficial winter White House for President John F. Kennedy. Last year, it became tinged with scandal when William Kennedy Smith was accused of raping a woman there. A jury cleared him in December. The $100-a-ticket reception, set for the evening of Feb. 28, will benefit Best Buddies of America. The organization was founded by Anthony Shriver, son of Sargent and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, in 1987 while he was attending Georgetown University. Best Buddies pairs up college students with mentally retarded people.

Fugitive is arrested in Key West

KEY WEST _ A man who didn't show up in court for the closing arguments and verdict in his two-week trial on federal drug charges was arrested Saturday without incident outside a restaurant. Michael Gort, 43, had been found guilty Thursday of importing and possessing more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine. He was free on $100,000 bond when he disappeared Wednesday. A tip to authorities led to the arrest of Gort, who has a home on Matecumbe Key, said Russell D. Wrenn, a U.S. Customs Service agent. A woman with Gort when he was arrested also was taken into custody. Tracy Thomas, 33, of Islamorada could face federal charges of aiding and abetting a fugitive, Wrenn said. Gort faces up to life in prison for each of four drug counts and could get up to five years for jumping bail.

Mom sentenced in teen's prostitution

PENSACOLA _ A Florida Panhandle woman has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison for selling her teen-age daughter into what the judge called "the bowels of prostitution." U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson ordered Kelly Stone, 37, of nearby Bagdad, to nearly two years more than sentencing guidelines had called for because of the psychological damage suffered by her 16-year-old daughter. "The tragedy is the life of your daughter has essentially been destroyed because of what you've done," Vinson told Stone at the Friday sentencing. The length of the sentence will be appealed, said Assistant U.S. Public Defender Tom Keith. Stone said nothing during the hearing. She had pleaded guilty Nov. 1 to interstate transportation of a minor for prostitution. The mother and daughter, who was 14 at the time, began working as prostitutes in April 1990 through a Mobile, Ala., escort service, prosecutors said. The teen and Stone's other two children are now in the custody of their three separate fathers.