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New federal death penalty backed by Senate panel

The Senate Judiciary Committee has sent to the floor a sweeping bill to reinstate the federal death penalty and make certain acts of treason or espionage capital crimes even when no lives have been taken.

The bill, approved 13 to 5, would also set the death penalty for attempts on the life of a president and terrorist acts that result in a death; or for acts of espionage or treason, even if no death occurs, if the defendant knowingly risked a life or substantially damaged national security.

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