National Roundup

Lawyer accused of using clients names to apply for advances

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Atlanta say a former lawyer used the identities of three dozen former clients without their knowledge to apply for fraudulent litigation advances.

Prosecutors said in a news release Monday that Chalmer "Chuck" Detling II, was indicted last week on seven counts of wire fraud and eight counts of aggravated identity theft. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment.

Prosecutors say Detling practiced personal injury law in Marietta before voluntarily surrendering his law license in October 2016.

Litigation advances are typically meant to cover non-litigation expenses for people with a pending personal injury or worker's compensation lawsuit. Prosecutors say that from October 2014 through April 2016, Detling fraudulently obtained 50 litigation advances totaling more than $383,000 in the names of 36 clients.

Order: Feds can't view material seized from lawyer's office

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A U.S. District Court judge has at least temporarily barred federal prosecutors and the FBI from reviewing documents and computers seized from a Tucson lawyer's office during a raid conducted just after he was arrested in a drug-related case.

Judge Rosemary Marquez's order Friday says she'll consider a request by Rafael Gallego's lawyers to appoint a so-called special master to review the seized material to determine whether it is protected by the attorney-client privilege.

Marquez also ordered the FBI to copy but not review the computers' memories so the devices themselves can be returned

Gallego and his legal assistant were arrested Wednesday on conspiracy and obstruction charges accusing them of providing false information to federal officials and of helping a client facing drug trafficking charges avoid arrest and punishment.

Ammunition company execs dumped waste

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Two Montana men who ran a now-defunct ammunition company have pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges over the dumping of lead-contaminated wastewater into the Bozeman sewer system.

Zachary Daniel Flanagan, 26, former chief executive of USA Brass Company in Bozeman, pleaded guilty Aug. 2 to making false statements in a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah Lynch. Flanagan admitted to deceiving sewer system operators in 2013 about the dangers posed by the contaminated water.

A second company official, 26-year-old Nolan Michael Schimpf, pleaded guilty Friday to negligent discharge of pollutants in violation of the Clean Water Act.  Schimpf, the company's chief production officer, knew about the lead-contaminated wastewater dumping but did not stop it, prosecutors said.

The defendants are scheduled for separate sentencings in November before U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen. Prosecutors will recommend that each man receives five years of probation and a $50,000 fine under a plea deal.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigators began a probe of the company's waste disposal practices after a 2013 Department of Labor investigation into lead exposure of workers at the company.

USA Brass brought in "fired brass" from military bases, shooting ranges and recycling centers. The spent casings were sorted by individual caliber and cleaned, with the wastewater collected in 300-gallon containers.

The city's pretreatment coordinator granted USA Brass limited authorization to discharge 10 to 25 gallons of lead wastewater into the sewer daily, The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

Prosecutors said some employees reported the company discharged up to 300 gallons per day. The company also didn't filter the water.

Flanagan and Schimpf were in charge of day-to-day operations of the company, which had about 20 employees.

In 2014, USA Brass was sued by eight employees who said they were intentionally exposed to hazardous levels of lead at the business. The lawsuit was dismissed in the spring of 2016 at the request of the company and plaintiffs.

University defends right to ban guns in court

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) — Attorneys for the University of Wyoming say the school is allowed to regulate guns on its campus under a previous U.S. Supreme Court ruling and state law.

They made their case in filings this week in a lawsuit brought by Lyle Williams. The Uinta County delegate was cited for openly carrying a gun during the state Republican convention at the university in April.

The Laramie Boomerang reported that attorneys say that the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that overturned a handgun ban in Washington, D.C. said that guns could still be banned in sensitive places like schools. While Wyoming cities and counties can't pass gun regulations, they say the university is a state entity that is allowed to.

Williams' criminal trial has been put on hold while his lawsuit is considered.

Judge to decide man’s guilt in 1982 killing

MINOCQUA, Wis. (AP) — A judge will decide whether a Minocqua man killed his wife 36 years ago.

Robin Mendez waived his right to a jury trial in Oneida County Circuit Court Monday. WJFW-TV reports Barbara Mendez was killed in April 1982 at the Park City Credit Union building in Minocqua, where she worked.

The case went unsolved until his two daughters came forward and told police their father had manipulated them into providing an alibi for him.

The trial before a judge is scheduled for April.

Missing security video found in shooting death

SIKESTON, Mo. (AP) — Authorities have uncovered missing surveillance video evidence in a southeast Missouri homicide case.

The Southeast Missourian reports that the discovery comes as Antoine Harris-Applewhite, of Sikeston, prepares to go on trial later this month in the December 2015 shooting death of Samuel Sanders outside a Sikeston liquor store. The defense had been requesting the store-security video for more than two years and unsuccessfully sought to have the first-degree murder case dismissed after police admitted losing it.

A Missouri State Highway Patrol investigator found the video on a computer hard drive last week.