National Roundup

Judge rejects appeal from ex-Subway pitchman

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge in Indianapolis has rejected an appeal that former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle filed himself in an attempt to overturn his child pornography and sex abuse convictions.

An order from District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt calls Fogle’s claim that the court didn’t have jurisdiction to convict him “frivolous” with “no conceivable validity in American law.”

The Indianapolis Star reports Fogle’s motion filed Nov. 6 was done without the high-profile attorneys who represented him when he pleaded guilty in November 2015 to trading in child pornography and paying for sex with underage girls. He’s serving a 15-year sentence at a federal prison in Littleton, Colorado.

The 40-year-old Indiana man became a star of Subway’s advertising campaigns after losing 200 pounds (90 kilograms), partly by eating Subway sandwiches.

Company settles suit over patients, disputes claims

CINCINNATI (AP) — An Ohio corporation has paid the U.S. government a record $75 million to settle lawsuits stemming from alleged false claims about hospice patients.

The U.S. Department of Justice says that between 2002 and 2013 Chemed subsidiary Vitas knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare for services to hospice patients who were not terminally ill. The DOJ sued Chemed in 2013.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad Readler says the resolution represents the largest amount ever recovered under the False Claims Act.

Chemed says it still disputes the allegations, but settled “to avoid the cost and uncertainty of continued litigation.”

As part of the settlement, Vitas has entered into a five-year corporate integrity agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services.

Defrocked priest now faces 31 counts of sex abuse in Maine

YORK, Maine (AP) — A former Roman Catholic priest who spent more than a decade in a Massachusetts prison for raping an altar boy has been re-indicted on sexual abuse charges in Maine.

Officials say Ronald Paquin now faces 31 counts of sexual abuse in York County after being initially indicted on 29 counts in February. The Portland Press Herald reports the 74-year-old Paquin has been held at the York County Jail since he was arrested in February.

His court-appointed lawyer, Heather Gonzales, says the two additional charges apparently came about after prosecutors met an accuser to try to provide more specific dates on alleged offenses in Maine, resulting in two more counts being added.

Paquin was defrocked in 2004.

Land policies to be tested in Bundy standoff trial in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A stubborn rancher’s refusal to recognize federal authority in the West will be presented to a jury in Las Vegas, where a trial is set to start Tuesday for cattleman Cliven Bundy, two of his sons and a co-defendant accused of leading a 2014 armed standoff against government agents.

Acting U.S. Attorney Steven Myhre, the lead prosecutor, has accused the Bundys of trying to instigate a “range war” against federal agents who were enforcing lawful court orders after Bundy racked up more than $1.1 million in unpaid fees and penalties letting cattle graze for decades in what is now Gold Butte National Monument.

Defense attorneys say the four men didn’t conspire with anyone and didn’t wield weapons. They say no shots were fired in the standoff near Bunkerville, about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

Each defendant faces 15 felony charges, including conspiracy, assault and threats against federal officers, firearms counts, obstruction and extortion. Stacked together, convictions on all charges carry the possibility of more than 170 years in prison.

The trial sets up as a test of public land policies in Western U.S. states such as Nevada, where the federal government controls about 85 percent of the land and juries have twice balked at full convictions of men who had guns during the tense April 2014 confrontation.

Bundy argues that his family has used the same public range for more than a century, and the land belongs to the state not the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

The trial is expected to be contentious. The 71-year-old Bundy, sons Ryan and Ammon Bundy and co-defendant Ryan Payne have been jailed since early 2016, and each refused to enter a plea saying he didn’t recognize the authority of the government. A magistrate judge entered not-guilty pleas for them.

Openings in the long-awaited trial were postponed at the last minute last week, amid a fight about whether prosecutors properly disclosed evidence about surveillance cameras watching the Bundy homestead.

The defendants also asked to be released to a halfway house during proceedings that are expected to take about four months.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro last week ordered Cliven and Ammon Bundy and Payne to remain in custody. She agreed Monday to release Ryan Bundy to halfway house supervision, said Trisha Young, spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Las Vegas.

Ryan Bundy, who is serving as his own attorney, argued he was hampered preparing his case from jail.

The Bunkerville standoff was a precursor to an early 2016 protest in rural eastern Oregon, where Ryan and Ammon Bundy and Payne led a 41-day takeover of a federal wildlife refuge and called for the U.S. government to turn over public land to local control.

A federal jury in Portland refused last year to convict Ryan and Ammon Bundy of any crime. Payne pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, but wants to withdraw his plea and his expected sentence of more than three years in prison.

Cleveland police on track to finish new use-of-force training by Jan.

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland says nearly 90 percent of its police officers have gone through new use-of-force training required under its court-monitored reform agreement with the Justice Department. reports a court filing indicates the city is on track to have nearly all active officers done with the training by January, when it starts implementing new policies on using force. That’s part of an agreement reached after the Justice Department found Cleveland officers too often used excessive force.

The training initially was supposed to be finished by June 2016, but was delayed as policies were drafted and then reviewed by a judge.

The city says about 150 eligible officers haven’t been trained.