National Roundup

AG: No evidence St. Louis clinic sells fetal tissue

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri's Democratic attorney general says an investigation by his office found no evidence that Planned Parenthood in St. Louis is selling fetal tissue from abortions.

Chris Koster's report released Monday said a review of more than 300 abortions performed in June found that all tissue had been properly incinerated.

Koster launched an investigation following state and national outrage, primarily by Republicans, about undercover videos released by anti-abortion activists. The videos show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the transfer of fetal tissue to researchers.

Republicans in the Missouri House and Senate also are leading reviews of abortion practices in the state in response to the videos.

Koster is expected to run for Missouri governor in 2016, when Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon will be barred from seeking re-election because of term limits.

New York
Woman declared dead by mistake, benefits stopped

NEW YORK (AP) - A Brooklyn woman says her Medicaid benefits have been discontinued because she was mistakenly declared dead.

Selma Cohen tells WCBS-TV that she received a letter from the city's Bureau of Fraud Investigation that declared her dead.

A call to Medicaid determined that it was a computer error. But the 87-year-old was told she'd have to go to the Social Security office to apply for a state ID to prove she is alive.

She says the process could take weeks.

In the meantime, Cohen says she can't pay for doctors' visits and medication for her cancer treatment.

Until she's reinstated, Cohen says she wants to be reimbursed for the Medicaid premium she paid.

Woman arrested, accused of riding sea turtle

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) - Police in Florida have arrested a woman who they say appeared to be riding a sea turtle in pictures she posted to social media.

Multiple media outlets report that 20-year-old Stephanie Marie Moore was arrested by Melbourne police early Saturday on the felony charge of trying to "possess, sell, molest marine turtle."

Moore was one of two women photographed in July sitting on or riding sea turtles. The photos flooded social media sites and prompted multiple complaints to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which handled the criminal investigation.

Moore's arrest happened when Melbourne officers responded to a disturbance in progress early Saturday at a house. During their investigation, officers discovered Moore's active warrant in reference to failing to comply with a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rule.

Kids' right to sue when parent killed expanded

PAT EATON-ROBB, Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - The state Supreme Court has ruled that children in Connecticut have the right to sue for the loss of love and affection when a parent is killed.

Monday's ruling comes in the case of a West Haven family whose father, Jose Campos, was struck and killed while riding a bicycle in September 2008.

The family won more than $2 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.

But lower courts, siting a 1998 Supreme Court case, threw out a claim filed on behalf of Campos' three minor children seeking more money for the loss of what is known as "parental consortium."

The court overturned that precedent on Monday, finding in part that the "unique emotional attachment" and "critically important services" that parents provide are reasons to recognize such lawsuits.

South Carolina
Same judge to hear cases of church shooting suspect, friend

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The same judge will oversee the federal cases against both the white man charged with killing nine black churchgoers and his friend who is accused of lying to authorities.

Court records show that U.S. District Court Judge Richard Gergel has been assigned to hear the case against 21-year-old Joey Meek.

Meek has pleaded not guilty to lying to law enforcement agents and failing to report what he knew about Dylann Roof's plans.

Roof faces possible death sentences in the state and federal systems over the June 17 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal.

Authorities say Meek knowingly lied to an FBI agent when he said he didn't know what Roof was planning.

Last week, Meek's attorneys and federal prosecutors filed motions seeking each other's evidence in the case.

Hastert lawyers talking possible plea deal

CHICAGO (AP) - Former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert's attorneys are talking with prosecutors about a possible plea deal in the Republican's hush-money case, both sides told a federal judge Monday.

The disclosure came during a federal court hearing in Chicago, though details weren't immediately released. Hastert didn't attend the hearing.

A May indictment alleges that Hastert agreed to pay $3.5 million to someone identified only as "Individual A" to hide past misconduct. The Associated Press and other media, citing anonymous sources, have reported the payments were intended to conceal claims of sexual misconduct decades ago.

"We are seeing if we can resolve this case generally," Hastert's attorney, John Gallo, told U.S. District Judge Thomas M. Durkin after the judge raised concerns about repeated requests for delays in the case.

Gallo characterized the talks as "linear and productive." Prosecutor Steven Block also confirmed the discussions, saying: "This is not a situation where both sides are sitting on their hands."

The judge set an Oct. 15 deadline for updates.

Authorities allege that Hastert structured cash withdrawals in increments of just under $10,000 in an attempt to avoid reporting rules, and when questioned about it by the FBI, said he was taking the money out because he didn't trust banks.

Hastert has pleaded not guilty to violating banking laws and lying to the FBI. He's free on bond.

A deal would mean that "Individual A," whose identity has never been made public, would not have to testify.

Published: Tue, Sep 29, 2015