O.J. to Testify on Own Behalf in Request for New Trial

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A judge in Las Vegas considering whether to grant O.J. Simpson a new trial will be hearing from Simpson himself today.  

He’s serving nine to 33 years for armed robbery and kidnapping, after a 2007 confrontation at gunpoint with memorabilia dealers he accused of stealing items from him. Simpson has said he never saw any guns there. He’s also claiming that he relied on bad advice from a lawyer who had a conflict of interest. Witnesses have testified that they’re not sure if Simpson’s attorney ever told him about a plea deal in the case. Continue Reading

Convicted Pennsylvania abortion doctor set for last court hearing amid deal

A Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of killing three babies born alive at his clinic will be formally sentenced in the death of one of the babies Wednesday, along with the overdose death of a patient and hundreds of abortion law violations. Dr. Kermit Gosnell has decided not to appeal the first-degree murder conviction handed down Monday for killing three babies. Instead, the 72-year-old physician will accept several terms of life without parole and avoid a potential death sentence. Gosnell assured a judge Tuesday that he was making the deal freely, and was then sentenced in the deaths of the first two babies. He offered the same odd, bemused smile that has become his trademark in court. Continue Reading

NYC's Columbia seeks to alter whites-only bequest

Columbia University is seeking to change the terms of a fellowship that can only be awarded to white students from Iowa. The Lydia C. Roberts Graduate Fellowship stipulates that money be given only to “a person of the Caucasian race.” Roberts left Columbia most of her $509,000 estate when she died in 1920 and created the highly restrictive fellowship. In addition to the “whites only” rule, Roberts fellows must be from Iowa, must not study law or several other fields, and must return to Iowa for two years after graduating. University officials filed court papers last week seeking to change the race provisions of the bequest. Continue Reading

Calif. hikers won't have to pay $160K rescue costs

Two hikers lost for days in the Southern California wilderness won’t be charged the $160,000 it took to find them. The Orange County Register (http://bit.ly/13wreAd ) reports county supervisors made that decision in closed session on Tuesday. Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson tells City News Service he thinks there’s no legal way to force the hikers to reimburse their rescue costs — even though one is charged with a drug crime. Nineteen-year-old Nicolas Cendoya and 18-year-old Kyndall Jack were rescued from the Cleveland National Forest last month after spending several days there without food or much water. Authorities say methamphetamine was later found in Cendoya’s car. Continue Reading

New Hampshire committee votes to limit school birthday parties to once a month

A New Hampshire school board, concerned about students consuming unhealthy sugary treats, voted Tuesday to encourage teachers to only celebrate one ‘group’ birthday party each month, The Union Leader reported. “If there were three birthdays in a week, a student could have cupcakes three times,” Sue Sheehy, the district’s consultant dietitian told the paper. “That’s why we’re encouraging one birthday for kids in a month.” The only Manchester School Board member to oppose the birthday limit said she disagrees with the board playing “food police.” “I don’t want to hear that can’t happen,” Debra Gagnon Langton, a sixth-grade teacher in another district, told the paper “It’s a child’s special day.” Continue Reading

Powerball jackpot balloons to $360M, third-largest prize ever

After weeks of rolling without a winner, thePowerballjackpot has once again ballooned in time for its Wednesday drawing, an estimated $360 million jackpot considered the third largest Powerballjackpot and the seventh largest jackpot in history. Lottery officials expect jackpot totals of this size to continue to climb in shorter amounts of time, thanks in part to a game redesign in January 2012 that increased the odds of winning some kind of prize, but also lowered the possible number combinations to win thePowerball. Between that and the “cross-selling” ofPowerballand Mega Millions tickets that began in January 2010, large jackpots will continue to surpass all-time jackpot records set years ago, said Mary Neubauer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery. Iowa is one of the foundingPowerballstates. “It usually took a handful of months, if not several months, for a jackpot to reach this large amount,” she said. Continue Reading

Cleveland Kidnapping Suspect to Plead Not Guilty

CLEVELAND (AP) — The attorneys for a Cleveland man accused of keeping three women in captivity for about a decade say he will plead not guilty.  

Attorneys Craig Weintraub and Jay Schlachet tell WKYC-TV that suspect Ariel Castro has been portrayed as a “monster” in the media, and after meeting with him Tuesday they don’t see him that way. Weintraub says it’s unfair and offensive that “the media and the community want to demonize this man before they know the whole story.” Schlachet says details of Castro’s innocence “will be disclosed as the case progresses.” Weintraub also says Castro “loves dearly” the child he fathered with alleged kidnap victim Amanda Berry while she was in captivity. Continue Reading

Barnett Newman painting auctioned in New York City for $43.8M

A large 1953 painting by abstract expressionist artist Barnett Newman has sold for $43.8 million at a New York City auction, setting an auction record for his work. Sotheby’s said Tuesday the record price for “Onement VI” (WUHN’-mehnt siks) includes the buyer’s premium. The painting is the last of six in Newman’s Onement series. They’re characterized by what’s called the zip, a distinctive stripe running down the center of the canvas. Four are in museum collections. Continue Reading

Soldier in sexual assault prevention office accused of abuse

A soldier assigned to coordinate a sexual assault prevention program in Texas is under investigation for “abusive sexual contact” and other alleged misconduct and has been suspended from his duties, the Army announced Tuesday. Just last week an Air Force officer who headed a sexual assault prevention office was himself arrested on charges of groping a woman in a parking lot. The Army said a sergeant first class, whose name was not released, is accused of pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault and maltreatment of subordinates. He is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Command. No charges have been filed. Continue Reading