National Roundup

Missouri
Feds charge man seeking to buy poison

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Court documents say a Columbia man who used Bitcoins in an attempt to buy a highly toxic chemical through the mail may have been trying to kill a woman who rejected him.

The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that 44-year-old Jason William Siesser made an initial appearance Friday on a single charge of attempting to purchase toxic poison to use as a chemical weapon.

Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, said in a news release that there are no allegations that a public attack was planned. He says federal agents executed a search warrant after observing Siesser sign for a package, which contained an inert substance.

An FBI agent wrote in the affidavit that a target was identified in writings found in the home.

Massachusetts
No bail for man charged with killing 3 women found in home

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - A Massachusetts man has pleaded not guilty to killing three women whose bodies were discovered at his home.

Stewart Weldon, of Springfield, said little outside of "not guilty" three times at his arraignment lasting about five minutes Monday. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf to 49 other charges. He was held without bail.

Prosecutors say the 52 charges involve not just the three women found at his home in May, but 11 alleged victims.

The bodies of 47-year-old Ernestine Ryans, 34-year-old America Lyden and 27-year-old Kayla Escalante were found at the 40-year-old Weldon's home after he was pulled over and a woman in his car said she had been held against her will, beaten and sexually assaulted.

Weldon's attorney said his client is "looking forward to defending himself."

Nevada
Court dismisses casino mogul defamation case against AP

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit by casino mogul Steve Wynn against The Associated Press and an AP reporter based on a report about two women's accounts to police alleging sexual misconduct by Wynn.

Clark County District Court Judge Ronald Israel's written order on Thursday followed an Aug. 14 hearing at which he found that an AP article published in February fairly reported information from the police complaints.

Wynn attorney L. Lin Wood said Friday he will appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

The judge noted Wood had argued that additional information should have been included in the news report to allow readers to reach their own conclusion about the truth of at least one woman's allegations.

But Israel sided with the AP position that its reporting on the two police reports was fair and could not have been investigated further at the time because the identity of the women had been blacked out in documents obtained under a public records request, and Las Vegas police refused to provide more details.

A sworn statement filed in July by Halina Kuta, one alleged victim and a named defendant in the defamation case, contained inconsistencies about dates, names and other things that Kuta said happened to her.

Wood said Friday the article should have included more detail about what the Wynn attorney called "delusional details of the alleged childbirth."

The court order did not resolve Wynn's case against Kuta.

She told police in February that she had been raped by Wynn in Chicago in the early 1970s and gave birth to his daughter in a gas station restroom.

Kuta also said she was once married to Wynn and bore other children with him, though she acknowledged that she can't recall all their names or dates of birth.

Among other extraordinary claims, she told lawyers in the affidavit that she was the model for Pablo Picasso's painting "Le Reve" and that Wynn stole masterpieces by Picasso and Rembrandt from her.

"Le Reve" was painted in 1932, before Kuta was born.

The discrepancies raise questions about the information she provided to Las Vegas police in February.

In state court filings and interviews with The Associated Press, Kuta said she stands by the Las Vegas police report.

Rhode Island
Woman at center <t-1>of Trump lawsuit grateful case is proceeding

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A Rhode Island woman who was detained by immigration authorities for a month when she went to a government office to confirm her marriage to a U.S. citizen says she's grateful her lawsuit against the Trump administration is moving forward.

Lilian Calderon is one of several immigrants named in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts. U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf in Boston this week rejected the government's bid to dismiss the case.

Calderon's husband, Luis Gordillo, tells WPRI-TV that the ruling "makes us a little more comfortable again." Calderon says the support he and his family has received from Rhode Islanders is the "silver lining of all this."

The lawsuit claims federal officials are trapping immigrants by arresting them while they follow the process to become legal residents through their marriages.

Louisiana
Producer, lawyer mull next move in 'Hollywood South' appeal

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Lawyers for a movie producer and a lawyer convicted of fraud involving Louisiana's "Hollywood South" film tax credit program are considering whether to ask a federal appeals court to take another look at the case.

Producer Peter Hoffman and attorney Michael Arata were spared a jail sentence last year when a federal judge threw out some of their 2015 jury convictions.

But a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated many of the convictions Aug. 9.

Court documents show defense attorneys are considering whether to ask for a 5th Circuit re-hearing or go to the Supreme Court.

They have until Sept. 24 to apply for a rehearing.

The case involved renovation of a dilapidated New Orleans building into a film production facility.

Published: Tue, Aug 28, 2018

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