Scientist jailed in Calif. cleared for freedom

A federal judge in New York has signed an order calling for the release of a scientist whose conviction for violating the Iran trade embargo was tossed out by an appeals court.

U.S. District Judge John Keenan signed the order Wednesday freeing Mahmoud Reza Banki (BANK'-ee). Prosecutors say they plan to appeal an Oct. 24 federal appeals court decision tossing out the trade embargo conviction and ordering a new trial for Banki on other charges. The appeals court upheld his conviction for making false statements but the charges only carry a potential sentence of up to six months in prison.

The 35-year-old Banki has already served 21 months of a 2½-year sentence he received in June 2010. He is incarcerated at a federal lockup just outside Los Angeles. He plans to remain in the Los Angeles area.