National Roundup

Former teen-actress asks court to revive Cosby lawsuit

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A former teen-actress who accuses Bill Cosby of molesting her asked a federal appeals court Friday in Philadelphia to revive her defamation lawsuit against the comedian.

Renita Hill, of Pittsburgh, said she was defamed when Cosby, his wife and his then-lawyer questioned abuse accusations raised in late 2014 by Hill and other women. Cosby lawyer Martin Singer called the new accounts "fantastical," "ridiculous," "illogical" and beyond "absurd."

A federal court in Massachusetts has allowed seven women to sue Cosby for defamation over the statement, but a Pittsburgh judge dismissed Hill's lawsuit.

In oral arguments Friday, the appeals court judges peppered her lawyer with questions about whether the comments amounted to defamation. They did not indicate when they would rule.

Los Angeles lawyer Angela C. Agrusa, defending Cosby, said that Singer's statement was "pure opinion" that, if anything, attacked the press for printing the accusations.

Hill's lawyer, George M. Kontos, of Pittsburgh, said Singer unfairly implied the women's claims had been investigated and proven untrue.

"Over and over again, we have refuted these new, unsubstantiated stories with documentary evidence," Singer wrote in the statement. "When will it end?"

The statement came days after The Washington Post printed a Nov. 13, 2014, opinion piece by Cosby accuser Barbara Bowman, and a day after Hill first told her account to a Pittsburgh radio station.

Hill accuses Cosby of drugging and sexually molesting her, starting when she was 16, after they met on the TV show, "Picture Pages," in 1983. The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they are victims of sexual abuse, but Hill has said she wants to be identified.

Cosby, now 79, is awaiting trial in June on charges he drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004.

The long-married Cosby has called his sexual encounters with other women consensual.

Man defends Facebook Live video of heroin overdosed couple

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) - A Facebook Live video shows a man and woman later discovered to have overdosed on heroin lying unconscious on a Memphis, Tennessee, sidewalk as a crowd of people mocks and films them.

Courtland Garner is defending the video posted on his Facebook page and viewed nearly 3 million times. At one point in the video, Garner puts his phone inches from the woman's face. He and others in the crowd can be heard laughing at the pair.

Garner says he shared the video to encourage people not to do drugs.

Memphis Police Officer Louis Brownlee says the 59-year-old woman and her 60-year-old husband admitted to snorting heroin before the video was shot. He says the couple was hospitalized and survived. The woman was taken into custody on an outstanding warrant.

New Jersey
NJ group presses Supreme Court for sports betting

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey's horse racing industry is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether the state can allow sports betting at its racetracks and casinos.

Thoroughbred horsemen, who operate Monmouth Park in Oceanport, say they're missing out on millions of dollars because federal law bans such wagering in all but four states.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August invalidated a law passed by New Jersey in 2014 that would have allowed sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The court found New Jersey's law repealing prohibitions against sports gambling violated the 1992 Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which forbids state-authorized sports gambling.

"Because PASPA, by its terms, prohibits states from authorizing by law sports gambling, and because the 2014 law does exactly that, the 2014 law violates federal law," the court wrote.

The Supreme Court declined to take the case after it was petitioned in 2014.

Currently, only Nevada offers legal sports betting on individual games. Delaware offers multigame parlay betting in which players must pick several games correctly to win. Both were given exemptions when PASPA was passed.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and supporters in the state Legislature have sought to legalize sports gambling to help prop up the struggling casino and horse racing industries. It's estimated up to hundreds of billions of dollars are bet illegally on sports every year in the U.S.

New Jersey voters approved legal sports gambling in 2011.

The state has not decided whether to join with the horsemen, said Lee Moore of the attorney general's office.

Cops plan to charge dad in scary clown mask who followed bus

AUBURN, Mass. (AP) - Police in Massachusetts say they plan to charge a father who wore a scary clown mask and followed his child's school bus.

Auburn police say some middle-school-age children were so scared that they hid under a backyard deck.

Police say the man followed the bus Tuesday. They posted a picture on their Facebook page Thursday saying they intended to seek charges of disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace. Because the charges have not been formally filed, the man's name was not made public.

Police wrote on Facebook: "We are hopeful that others will learn from this incident and not repeat these types of behaviors."

Police nationwide have been dealing with reports of clown sightings and hoaxes involving threats of violence by clowns.

Man acquitted of illegally shooting bear on his deck

OAKLAND, Md. (AP) - A western Maryland man has been acquitted of illegally shooting a black bear that appeared on the deck of his home.

The bear was paralyzed with a .22-caliber bullet in its spine and had to be euthanized.

Fifty-three-year-old David Wall of Oakland was charged with hunting out of season, but a judge concluded that he did not intend to harm the bear, according to a report in the Cumberland Times-News.

Wall told the Department of Natural Resources Police that he fired through a partly open sliding door in an attempt to scare the animal off his back deck on the night of May 16.

The police said they responded to a call from Wall the next day and found the wounded bear surrounded by three yearling bears.

Published: Mon, Oct 10, 2016