National Roundup

Maryland
Judge: Melania Trump's suit against blogger can go forward

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - A judge is allowing first lady Melania Trump to move ahead with her libel lawsuit against a blogger who reported rumors that she worked as a high-end escort.

Trump sued the blogger, Webster Tarpley of Gaithersburg, as well as Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.

Tarpley's lawyer asked a Montgomery County Circuit Court judge to dismiss the case at a pretrial hearing Friday in Rockville. She argues that Tarpley was within his rights to publish rumors that could have affected the presidential campaign.

Trump's lawyer says the rumor's false and that reporters can't make defamatory statements under the guise of reporting rumors. He says it's the reporter's job to vet the rumor before publishing.

The judge rejected Tarpley's motion to dismiss, but deferred ruling on a similar motion from the Daily Mail.

Massachusetts
:Man fights speeding ticket with deer defense

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man fighting a speeding ticket in court had a unique explanation - the officer's radar gun may have picked up a deer.

The Newburyport Daily News reports that Dennis Sayers, of Haverhill, was clocked going 40 mph in 30 mph zone in West Newbury in November.

He got a $105 ticket.

He appealed in court on Thursday, asking Officer Royster Johnson if he was 100 percent sure his radar captured Sayers' speed or the speed of a deer that could have been in the vicinity.

When confronted by the skeptical judge, Sayers replied that anything was possible.

The fine was upheld.

Deer, by the way, can run approximately 30 mph.

Ohio
Family slayings investigation leads to drug case

PEEBLES, Ohio (AP) - Ohio authorities say the investigation into the fatal shootings of eight people from one family led to unrelated drug charges against two people, including a distant cousin of the victims.

Ohio's attorney general and Pike County's sheriff said Friday that evidence in the drug case was found during investigation of the Rhoden slayings from last April, but the case isn't related to the homicides.

They say a 38-year-old Rhoden relative was arrested Thursday. He's charged with felony drug trafficking. His 63-year-old neighbor was charged with drug possession.

Authorities say they searched those defendants' homes in Peebles and seized guns, prescription pills, over $8,000 in cash and a small amount of marijuana.

There's been public speculation that the Rhoden homicides were linked to drug activity, but the motive remains a mystery.

Kentucky
Principal pleads not guilty to child porn charges

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A fired Kentucky high school principal has pleaded not guilty to federal child porn charges.

Media report that former LaRue County High School principal Stephen Kyle Goodlett appeared Thursday in U.S. District Court in Louisville to answer to the charges.

He was indicted this month on federal charges of possessing and transporting child pornography. He has also pleaded not guilty to 63 state child porn charges.

Department of Homeland Security Special Agent Brady Oberholtzer said in a federal complaint that Goodlett admitted to Kentucky State Police investigators that he has a pornography addiction, and that as principal of LaRue County High School, he searched for nude pictures on students' confiscated phones.

Schools superintendent Sam Sanders announced his firing not long after Goodlett was arrested at his Elizabethtown home in October.

Louisiana
2 face perjury for changing story they gave as teens

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A perjury trial is scheduled for two men who changed their stories about a 1993 murder - leading to freedom for the man convicted in the case.

Prosecutors say Kevin Johnson and Hakim Shabazz lied when they were teenagers, or when they recanted 20 years later.

The original suspect was Jerome Morgan. He was freed in 2014 and the case was officially dropped by prosecutors last year.

Johnson and Shabazz were indicted on perjury charges in 2015. Defense lawyers have argued that Johnson and Shabazz were coerced by police when they implicated Morgan.

Morgan, who was 17 when he was arrested, was prosecuted for the death of Clarence Landry. Landry, who was 16, died when gunfire broke out at a Sweet 16 party at a hotel ballroom.

Iowa
Woman found not guilty by reason of insanity in attack

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - An eastern Iowa woman accused of trying to kill her husband has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The ruling came Thursday in the trial of 64-year-old Patricia Oster, of Long Grove in Scott County. The Quad-City Times reports that the judge ordered Oster's immediate transfer to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale for a complete psychiatric evaluation. An earlier court ruling had found her competent to stand trial.

Prosecutors say Patricia Oster stabbed her husband, Ardell Oster Jr., twice in the chest on May 3. Judge Mark Lawson ruled Thursday that she was suffering from a "deranged condition" that day that made her incapable of knowing what she was doing and distinguishing between right and wrong.

Alaska
Corporation sues over costs in whistleblower case

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) - An Alaska Native corporation has filed a lawsuit seeking to have an insurance company pay for its defense in a case brought by a whistleblower.

Afognak Native Corp. filed the lawsuit against National Union Fire Insurance Company last week, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported Thursday.

The Kodiak-based corporation is seeking $650,000 from National Union to cover legal costs in the whistleblower case the company has allegedly failed to pay for since October 2015.

The corporation also wants to make sure it won't have to pay back another nearly $2 million in defense costs since the lawsuit began in 2013.

Afognak Executive Vice President Alisha Drabek declined to comment on the complaint because the lawsuit is still pending.

Afognak's lawyers have said the federal government has continued to award 8(a) contracts to Afognak subsidiaries even as the Ferris case continues.

Published: Mon, Jan 30, 2017

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