National Roundup

Man ordered to stand trial in 2013 Omaha shooting death

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A judge has found sufficient evidence for a man to stand trial in a 2013 shooting death in Omaha.

Bernard "B.J." Turner Jr. was bound over for trial Monday on a charge of first-degree murder in the October 2013 death of 19-year-old Julius Vaughn, a fellow gang member.

The Omaha World-Herald reports  that the case stalled until a witness came forward last year and told police that he had driven Turner from the shooting scene. The witness said Turner ditched the gun in a storm sewer. When detectives opened a manhole in that spot, 6½ years after the killing, they found a rusty handgun that is consistent with the type of firearm that was used to kill Vaughn.

Turner was arrested on a warrant in November  and extradited from the custody of officials in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Turner had been accused of killing 22-year-old Jarrell Haynes in March 2016, but that case was dismissed when a main witness declined to testify against Turner. Another homicide case in Aurora, Colorado, against Turner also fell apart because of witness trouble.

Judge OKs Weinstein Co. bankruptcy plan

DOVER, Del. (AP) — A Delaware judge has approved a revised Weinstein Co. bankruptcy plan that provides about $35 million for creditors, with roughly half that amount going to women who have accused disgraced film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.

The judge approved the plan after a hearing Monday, overruling objections by attorneys representing producer Alexandra Canosa and actresses Wedil David and Dominique Huett, who have accused Weinstein of sexual assault, and a former Weinstein Co. employee who claims she was subjected to a hostile work environment.

The settlement amount is $11.5 million less than under a previous plan, which was scrapped after a federal judge in New York refused to approve a proposed $19 million settlement between Weinstein and some of his accusers. The settlement in that purported class-action lawsuit was a key component of the initial bankruptcy plan.

Roughly half of the approved settlement, about $17 million, is allocated for a single sexual misconduct claims fund, down from about $25.7 million allocated for three separate categories of sexual misconduct claims under the previous plan. Another $8.4 million will go to a liquidation trust for resolving non-sexual misconduct claims, and $9.7 million will be used to reimburse defense costs for former company officials other than Weinstein. The plan also releases those officials from liability for tort claims related to Weinstein's conduct.

Holders of sexual misconduct claims will receive 100% of the liquidated value of their claims if they agree to release Weinstein from all legal claims. A claimant who elects not to release Weinstein but to retain the option to sue him in another court would receive 25% of the value of her bankruptcy claim.

According to court records, 55 sexual misconduct claims were filed in the bankruptcy case, with 39 holders of such claims voting in favor of the plan and eight voting against it. Among holders of general unsecured claims, 81, or 96%, voted for the plan.

The sexual misconduct claims will be evaluated on a point system allowing a maximum 100 points. That includes up to 60 points for physical sexual misconduct claims, a maximum 30 points for claims of nonphysical sexual misconduct, and up to 10 points for claims of emotional distress and economic harm. A claims examiner will have the authority to adjust point totals up or down based on factors such as age, corroborating evidence, prior or pending litigation, and applicable statutes of limitation.

Attorneys for the women objecting to the plan described it in a court filing last month as unfair and coercive.

"The point award system pits women against women competing for a limited recovery from the pathetically meager sexual misconduct claims fund," they wrote.

"There is nothing fair about a plan that requires a rape victim to release her rapist in order to receive a full reward from the sexual misconduct fund," they added. "There is nothing fair in re-victimizing her financially by reducing her award by 75% if she does not agree to release her rapist."

Weinstein is serving a 23-year prison sentence after being convicted by a New York jury for the rape and sexual assault of two women.

Weinstein has also been charged in California with rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual battery by restraint and sexual penetration by use of force. Those allegations involve five women and stem from events in Los Angeles and Beverly Hills from 2004 to 2013.

Rate of guns seized at airport checkpoints jumped in 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — Security screeners confiscated guns at airport checkpoints at a record pace last year although the total number of guns dropped along with the steep plunge in travelers because of the pandemic.

The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that screeners found 3,257 firearms on passengers or in their carry-on bags in 2020, or about 10 for every million travelers. About 83% of the guns were loaded.

The rate was double that in 2019, when screeners found 5 guns for every million passengers. However, with 500 million more travelers screened in 2019, TSA officers found a record 4,432 guns that year.

Screeners found 220 guns at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, followed by 176 at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, 126 at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, 126 at Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport, and 104 at Denver International Airport.

Federal law prohibits passengers other than certain law enforcement officers from bringing guns or ammunition into the cabin. Federal law allows passengers to put guns in checked bags that go into the cargo hold if they are unloaded and in a locked case.

Airlines don't have to permit guns even in checked bags. All leading U.S. carriers temporarily banned guns in checked bags on flights to Washington, D.C.-area airports for a week after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Those bans lapsed last weekend, three days after the inauguration of President Joe Biden.