Attorneys in Trayvon Martin case address media

The attorneys in the Trayvon Martin shooting say social media gives people a way to stay engaged in high profile cases that was not possible years ago. Speaking were Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Trayvon Martin’s parents, and George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Mark O’Mara. They were talking Saturday at the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Banquet in Orlando. O’Mara says he would prefer to “do away with all media” in a criminal case, but “that’s a fantasy that is 40 years ago.” Crump says social media has given people who normally would not have a voice a way to be engaged in the case. Continue Reading

Russia had wiretap on Boston Marathon bombing suspect, US officials say

Russian authorities secretly recorded a telephone conversation in 2011 in which one of the Boston bombing suspects vaguely discussed jihad with his mother, officials said Saturday, days after the U.S. government finally received details about the call. In another conversation, the mother of now-dead bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was recorded talking to someone in southern Russia who is under FBI investigation in an unrelated case, officials said. The conversations are significant because, had they been revealed earlier, they might have been enough evidence for the FBI to initiate a more thorough investigation of the Tsarnaev family. As it was, Russian authorities told the FBI only that they had concerns that Tamerlan and his mother were religious extremists. With no additional information, the FBI conducted a limited inquiry and closed the case in June 2011. Continue Reading

Moody's, S&P settle lawsuits over debt ratings

Ratings agencies Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and investment bank Morgan Stanley have settled two lawsuits dating back to the financial crisis that accused them of hiding risky investments. The lawsuits from King County in Washington state and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank claimed that the ratings agencies and Morgan Stanley hid the risk of investing in a fund that purchased bonds backed by subprime mortgages. Judge Shira Scheindlin dismissed the lawsuits on Friday, in federal court in New York, with prejudice, which means they can’t be filed again. Spokesmen for the McGraw-Hill Cos., which owns S&P, Moody’s Corp. and Morgan Stanley confirmed the settlements but did not disclose terms. McGraw-Hill spokesman Jason Feuchtwanger said the cases were settled without any admission of liability or wrongdoing. Continue Reading

Memphis mayor says police union's 'danger' billboards hurting city's image

The mayor of Memphis said billboards put up by the Memphis Police Association are hurting the city’s image and calls the message, “selfish.” The police union billboards feature the warning, “DANGER: Enter at your own risk; This city does not support public safety,” MyFoxMemphis.com reported. Mike Williams, the president of the MPA, said the billboards are meant to target city leaders and are about protecting union’s jobs and benefits. “I think it’s self-centered, I think it’s selfish,” Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said. “I think it has no place in our city.” Continue Reading

Leader of Cuban opposition group visits exiles

One of the founders of a Cuban opposition group awarded Europe’s top human rights prize is meeting with exiles in Miami. Berta Soler will visit the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies at the University of Miami on Saturday. Soler is a co-founder of the Ladies in White, a group of wives and mothers formed in 2003 after the arrests of 75 government opponents. The Cuban government has detained the women from time to time and sent pro-government crowds to shout at them. But their demonstrations proved successful. Continue Reading

4 kids, adult killed in Georgia fire, officials say

One adult and four young children have been killed in an early morning fire in a Georgia city about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta. A spokesman for the state insurance commissioner says a call about the fire came in at 1:17 a.m. Saturday. Glenn Allen says Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens has ruled the fire accidental. He says the origin was an electrical panel in the home’s den area. Allen says 27-year-old Alonna T. McCrary, 5-year-old daughter Eriel McCrary and 2-year-old daughter Nikia White were killed in the fire. Continue Reading

Iranian scientist returns after release from US

An Iranian scientist held by the U.S. since late 2011 has returned to Iran. The scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi said U.S. authorities had treated him “generally well.” The microchip expert at Tehran’s high profile Sharif University, Atarodi was in U.S. custody since December 2011 over allegations he bought high-tech equipment in violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Atarodi arrived home via Oman, a Gulf state which has served as a mediator between Washington and Tehran before. In 2012, the U.S. released Iranian national Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan after she spent five years in U.S. detention The U.S. has a history of occasional arrest and release of Iranian citizens on similar charges. Continue Reading

California man pretended to be African leader's son, feds say

A San Francisco man was in federal custody Friday on charges that he defrauded a Northern California real estate agent and his girlfriend out of $1.6 million by pretending to be the son of Congo’s president. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco said Blessed Marvelous Herve persuaded the couple to forward him the money over four years with promises of repayment, lucrative commissions, and multi-million bonuses and a collection of impressive-looking documents that included a certificate of recognition from a U.S. senator. Instead, they received excuses and demands for more funds, according to an affidavit prepared by the FBI agent who investigated the case. The affidavit states that Herve told the Marin County real estate agent that his father wanted to buy luxury homes in the San Francisco Bay area, but that first he needed help recovering millions of dollars seized by the U.S. government, advances so he could rent limousines to tour potential properties, and additional financial assistance paying IRS debts and costs associated with other legal troubles. It said that after the agent had given Herve about $635,000 and “was financially broke,” his girlfriend stepped in and provided another $970,000. Continue Reading

Man with Tourette's syndrome reportedly denied flight after saying 'bomb'

A man with Tourette’s syndrome says he wasprevented from boarding a flight from Washington to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Thursday after he said the word “bomb.” MyFoxDC.com reports thatMichael Doyle was reportedly denied access to the JetBlue flight because of the outburst, despite having alerted airline and TSA officials about his condition. “With all the stuff in the news about the Boston bombings and stuff, I started ticking ‘bomb.’ Because that when I get nervous and anything on my mind will come out,” Doyle told the station. Doyle said he wasplanning to attend a Revolutionary War reenactment in San Juan with a friend. Continue Reading