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Friday
Jun102011

John Edwards Seeks to Delay Deposition in Case Over Sex Tape

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Attorneys for John Edwards are asking a North Carolina court to delay a deposition he is scheduled to give later this month in the civil case brought by Rielle Hunter against former Edwards-aide Andrew Young. The case centers on a videotape depicting Hunter and Edwards in a sexual encounter.

Citing the criminal indictment issued against Edwards last week, his attorney argues in a motion that Edwards is entitled to a stay of his deposition until the conclusion of the criminal case -- in order to protect his constitutional rights to a fair trial and against self-incrimination.

The deposition is currently scheduled for June 20 and, if it proceeds, will be subject to the direct supervision of a superior court judge.  Edwards has already been deposed once in the case -- but attorneys for Young successfully argued for a second deposition after Edwards declined to answer a number of questions Young's team considered relevant to the case.

In their motion, Edwards' team argues that Young, who is a material witness in the criminal case, is proposing to have his attorney examine Edwards under oath about the subject matter of the indictment.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Casey Anthony Trial: Witness Says Caylee's Bones Chewed by Animals

Orange County Government, Florida(ORLANDO, Fla.) -- A frail looking Casey Anthony began sobbing inconsolably in court Friday as a witness told the court that her daughter Caylee's bones were chewed on by animals.

The description of the gnawing on Caylee's bones triggered a near breakdown by Casey Anthony. She sobbed and her body shook. One of her lawyers, Dorothy Simms, held Anthony and tried to comfort her. She continued to weep and wipe her face with tissues during a long sidebar among the judge and lawyers.

Friday morning's testimony centered on the photos of Caylee's remains that were first seen by jurors and Anthony on Thursday. Anthony became ill after seeing pictures of her daughter's skull, forcing Judge Belvin Perry to call an early recess on Thursday.

Anthony, 25, is accused of murdering her 2-year-old daughter and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Forensic anthropologist John Schultz testified that Caylee's vertebrae were found all in the same place, a sign that the body was intact when it was brought there.

"We collected all but one tooth. We have most of the spine, many of the ribs, all of the long bones, the tiny bones, hand, feet, left foot and we did recover one bone of the right foot. The only reason we have one bone of the right foot is because we had carnivore activity on that part of the skeleton," Schultz said.

Caylee's remains were found on Dec. 11, 2008 in a wooded area near the Anthony family home. The toddler was reported missing July 15, 2008, 31 days after she was last seen alive.

The remains were found by meter reader, Roy Kronk. Legal experts believe the defense will attempt to villify Kronk. In opening statements, defense attorney Jose Baez claimed that Kronk tampered with the crime scene and wanted to profit off of finding Caylee's remains.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Missing Indiana Student's Friend Claims Memory Loss

Courtesy Blair Wallach(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- The search for missing Indiana University student Lauren Spierer is hitting an odd roadblock because one of the last people to see her alive claims he is suffering from memory loss.

Spierer, 20, has been missing for a week. She disappeared after partying with friends at a sports bar.

Two hours before Spierer vanished, surveillance cameras captured her coming from Kilroy Sports Bar back to her apartment building with a friend, Corey Rossman.  The cameras captured a scuffle between Rossman and another young man at the Smallwood Plaza apartment building complex.

"He was punched in the face.  We don't know who, why or what was said, but that punch or punches caused him a temporary memory loss," said Carl Satzmann, Rossman's attorney.

Spierer and Rossman left the apartment building and she escorted Rossman back to his apartment.  She was there for about an hour with Rossman and another young man.

Rossman doesn't remember Spierer walking him back to his apartment and the first thing he remembers is waking up the next morning, his attorney said.  Police have searched Rossman's car and cell phone.

After returning Rossman to his apartment, Spierer left for another friend's apartment.  That friend saw her walk towards her own apartment at about 4:30 a.m. last Friday.  The pint-sized student who weighs less than 100 pounds and is 4-foot-11 was last seen three blocks from her apartment.

Spierer's long time boyfriend was one of the first people to become concerned about her after she stopped responding to his text messages.  Police have also questioned him.

The parents of Spierer, Robert and Charlene Spierer, have traveled from New York to aid in the search.  They are offering a $100,000 reward for the safe return of their daughter.

On Thursday, police conducted a water search of Lake Monroe and searched the city's reservoir.  They have no suspects but continue conducting polygraph exams.

The only trace of Spierer that has been found is her keys.  They were found a block away from where she was last seen.  She left her cell phone and shoes at the sports bar that she'd visited earlier in the night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Arizona Wildfires Set to Cross State Line Into New Mexico

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(SPRINGERVILLE, Ariz.) -- More than 3,000 firefighters managed to contain a small slice of the massive Wallow fire in eastern Arizona but the inferno is threatening to cross the border into New Mexico on Friday.

Workers are using a DC-10 tanker air carrier from the sky and firebreaks on the ground in attempts to stop the blaze before it reaches the tiny town of Luna, New Mexico, seven miles from the Arizona border.

Incident Commander Joe Reinarz said Thursday that for the first time since the fire was sparked on May 29 firefighters were able to keep parts of it contained.  So far, the blaze has scorched over 350,000 acres.

"Saturday we can possibly look at getting the evacuees in Eagar, Springerville, and Southfork back in their homes if the conditions are right over the next day and a half, two days," Reinarz said.

They are attempting to halt a repeat of the blaze that scorched Greer, Arizona on Wednesday.  New numbers released overnight revealed that 22 buildings -- many of them family homes -- in that town were destroyed.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., fears a summer home he owns in the town may have been one of them.  Like their senator, thousands of residents are still in the dark, desperate to learn anything about what has happened to their houses since they were evacuated.

Still in the fire's path are Paso Electric's high-voltage transmission lines, which supply electricity for hundreds of thousands of people.  If these lines go, it may mean blackouts for many part of the region.

Alex Hoon, a National Weather Service meteorologist, told ABC News that this fire is actually creating its own weather, forming a pyrocumulus cloud, or fire cloud, that is dynamically similar to a firestorm.

"The fire is so intense has so much heat that it actually forms its own thunderstorm at the top of the smoke plume," Hoon said.

These storms spur the fire on by creating winds that start new fires by hurling burning debris as far as five miles through the air.  Winds in the region should continue to be mild throughout Friday hours, but will then become strong again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Jury Convicts Chicago Businessman in Plot to Bomb Danish Newspaper

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago jury found a local businessman guilty Thursday of providing material support to the banned Pakistan militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, as well as scheming to bomb a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammad, which is considered sacrilegious in the Muslim world.

However, Tahawwur Rana was acquitted of the most serious charge of helping to plot the 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India that left 166 people dead, including nine of 10 attackers believed to have been recruited by Lashkar-e-Taiba.

During the trial, lawyers for Rana, a 50-year-old born in Pakistan who also has Canadian citizenship, insisted their client was fooled by a friend, David Coleman Headley, into using Rana's company as a cover for his scouting missions in Denmark.

Headley became a witness for the prosecution after admitting guilt to 12 charges related to the Mumbai attacks.  The plot to bomb the newspaper offices of Jyllands-Posten in Copehagen was abandoned because of stepped up security after the Mumbai incident and a lack of funds and manpower.

Rana is expected to receive sentences of up to 15 years on each count but his lawyers have already announced they will appeal the verdicts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Alabama Governor Signs Tough Anti-Immigration Law

Governor [dot] Alabama [dot] gov(MONTGOMERY, Ala.) -- Until Thursday, Arizona had what many believed was the strictest anti-illegal immigration law in the nation.  But not anymore.

Over the objections of civil rights groups, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley signed legislation that prevents illegal immigrants from either enrolling in or attending college, prohibits them from applying for or soliciting work, and makes it illegal for landlords to rent them property.

By contrast, Arizona's law imposes penalties on employers who hire undocumented aliens.  The most controversial part of that statute -- allowing police to question citizenship status during a reasonable arrest -- is currently blocked and will be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alabama's law permits police to make a "reasonable attempt" to ascertain a person's citizenship and immigration status during any lawful "stop, detention or arrest."

The American Civil Liberties Union announced immediately after the Alabama governor signed the law that it would file a lawsuit to stop it.  Al Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said Alabama's law would create "a modern-day trail of tears for immigrants in the state."

On the other hand, many are praising the law, including noted social conservative Phyllis Schlafly, who said Alabama had turned into "the leader in comprehensive immigration reform."

It's estimated there are 120,000 undocumented aliens among Alabama's population of 4.9 million people, most of them Latinos.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun102011

Giffords Aide Admits Congresswoman Has Difficulty Speaking

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Despite what has been reported in the media, the road to recovery for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been slow and frustrating, according to her chief of staff.

Pia Carusone admitted to The Arizona Republic that the Democratic lawmaker, who was shot in the head during a meet-and-greet event in Tucson, Arizona on Jan. 8, has had difficulty relearning how to speak.

Giffords, who is undergoing intensive rehabilitation in a Houston facility, can communicate mainly through facial expressions and gestures but "when it comes to a bigger and more complex thought that requires words, that’s where she’s had the trouble."

Carusone says that doctors admit that the lawmaker's condition is far from what it was before the shooting five months ago that also took the lives of six people and wounded 12 others, besides Giffords.

Physicians acknowledge that the full extent of Giffords' brain injury is hard to ascertain because they cannot perform an MRI examination since there are bullet shards still lodged inside her head.

As for returning to Congress, Carusone says that's not on the immediate horizon.  The determination will ultimately have to be made by Giffords.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun092011

Obama Calls Arizona Governor Brewer, Discusses Wildfire Assistance

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama spoke with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on Thursday about the wildfires raging in her state. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that the president "expressed his concerns for the citizens of Arizona who are dealing with multiple severe fires."

Beyond deploying liaisons to the area, Carney said that FEMA has approved both of the requested Fire Management Assistance Grants to help respond and the U.S. Forest Service has deployed more than 2,500 interagency firefighters.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun092011

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Releases City Workers' Salary Information

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration Thursday posted the salaries of every city employee to a public website in a bid to follow through on a campaign promise to bring transparency to government.

At $2.5 billion, payroll is one of the largest expenses for the city as it battles a $650 million budget deficit. The data showed that 2,400 city workers are paid $100,000 or more per year.

"During the campaign I promised to have the most open, accountable and transparent government that the City of Chicago has ever seen," Emanuel said in a statement. "Today's effort is another step toward this goal, as we create an administration that is accountable to the citizens of Chicago."

Of the 34,219 municipal workers, the highest-paid employee is Garry McCarthy, the Superintendent of Police ($260,004), followed by Emanuel ($216,210) and then Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff ($202,728).

Meanwhile, the city's inspector general Joseph Ferguson, in charge of fighting corruption in the metropolis, is paid $161,856, but Emanuel's administrative secretary is paid $162,500.

The lowest-paid city employee is administrative secretary Mark Angelson, with a symbolic salary of $1, followed by the foster parents and senior companions, all paid $2,756.

There are also some more surprising figures, such as the 31 employees who put boots on cars being paid $62,000 a year and 23 caulkers paid $91,500 each.

Chicago is not the first city to implement this transparency measure.

Responding to the scandal involving the extremely high pay for Bell City officials in Los Angeles County (one manager was paid twice as much as President Obama), Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel posted the salaries of nearly 37,000 city employees online in February.

In New York, the Empire Center of New York Policy also posts the salaries of government employees online.

Only time will tell if more cities follow suit as states battle severe budget deficits across the country and citizens demand accountability from their elected officials.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun092011

Woman Captures Her Attacker on Cellphone Video Moments Before Assault

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(OAKLAND, Calif.) -- "Can you please leave?" a California woman asks a strange man as he walks out of her home.  He responds, "Yes."

Oakland, Calif., police now regard this simple yet chilling exchange captured on a cellphone moments before a sexual assault as a key piece of evidence as they search for the intruder.

The incident unfolded Tuesday morning when police say a 28-year-old woman was home alone and heard a loud crash.

"She went to investigate those loud noises and the video shows exactly what she saw," said Oakland police officer Holly Joshi.

The victim found the stranger brazenly making an exit from her home with a box full of electronics. He did leave as she requested, but moments later police say he returned and sexually assaulted the woman.

Police say she didn't scream or call 911 during the attack, but her presence of mind to film the initial exchange may be the smoking gun that leads to the perpetrator's arrest.

"She was very much behind the release of the video, she wants justice, she wants the public to be aware of this man so this doesn't happen to another woman," said Joshi.

The suspect is described as a black man in his early 40s, five feet nine, 160 pounds, with a bald head.

Oakland police hope the images, which like so many other pieces of cellphone video has spread virally across the country, will compel someone who knows him to come forward.

The victim was treated and released from a California hospital.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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