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Kentucky governor, attorney general clash before high court
Attorney News | 2017/08/21 23:40
Kentucky's Democratic attorney general warned the state's highest court on Friday that the accreditation of the state's public colleges and universities would be at risk if they don't take his side against the Republican governor.

But an attorney for Republican Gov. Matt Bevin called Andy Beshear's argument "poppycock." He told the justices they should dismiss Beshear's lawsuit and vacate a lower court's judgment that the governor broke the law when he abolished the University of Louisville's board and replaced its trustees with an executive order last year.

What was supposed to have been a 30-minute hearing stretched more than an hour in a courtroom packed with political aides from both parties as two of Kentucky's top politicians faced off before the Supreme Court for the second time in a year.

Ultimately, Bevin got his wish for a new board at the university after the legislature convened and the Republican majority approved his choices under a new law. That's why a ruling from the Kentucky Supreme Court in this case likely won't affect the new board.

But Beshear is asking the court to declare Bevin's original order illegal and to prevent him from doing it again. If he's successful, it would be his second legal victory against Bevin and would be likely fodder for a potential campaign for governor in 2019.

If Bevin wins, it would bolster the governor's argument that Beshear has wasted time filing frivolous lawsuits against him.

Bevin replaced the board because he said the university needed a "fresh start" after a series of scandals and because the board violated state law by not having proportionate representation of racial minorities and political parties.

In issuing his executive order, Bevin relied on a state law, KRS 12.028 , that lets the governor make temporary changes when the legislature is not in session. The legislature then reviews those changes when they reconvene. If they don't act on them, the changes expire.



Maryland removes Dred Scott ruling author's statue
Attorney News | 2017/08/18 23:39
A statue of the U.S. Supreme Court justice who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans was removed from the grounds of the Maryland State House early Friday.

The statue of Roger B. Taney was lifted away by a crane at about 2 a.m. It was lowered into a truck and driven away to storage.

The bronze statue was erected in 1872, just outside the original front door of the State House.

Three of the four voting members of the State House Trust voted by email Wednesday to move the statue. House Speaker Michael Busch, a Democrat who was one of the three who voted to remove it, wrote this week that the statue "doesn't belong" on the grounds.

His comments came after the violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, with clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters. A woman was killed when a car plowed into a crowd of people who were there to condemn the white nationalists, who had rallied against Charlottesville officials' decision to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.



DJ says taking Taylor Swift to court was only option
Attorney News | 2017/08/16 13:07
The former radio host who lost a groping lawsuit to Taylor Swift in federal court this week said he realizes the case was in the pop star's favor, but he had no interest in backing down.

David Mueller told The Associated Press on Tuesday that someone he knew suggested he pull out of the case early, but he refused.

"I knew that I couldn't go on with my life without representing myself," he said. "I'm never going to back down."

A six-woman, two-man jury determined Monday that Mueller groped Swift during a photo op before a concert in Denver in 2013. In keeping with Swift's request, they awarded her $1 in damages — an amount her attorney, Douglas Baldridge, called "a single symbolic dollar, the value of which is immeasurable to all women in this situation."

Mueller said he is thinking of giving Swift a Sacagawea dollar because the Native American is a prominent female.

"I mean if this is all about women's rights. ... It's a little poke at them, a little bit," he said. "I mean, I think they made this into a publicity stunt, and this is my life."

Swift's team initially tried to keep the accusation quiet by not reporting the incident to police, and instead contacting Mueller's bosses.

But it became public when Mueller sued Swift for up to $3 million, claiming her allegation cost him his $150,000-a-year job at country station KYGO-FM, where he was a morning host.

After Mueller sued, Swift countersued for assault and battery. During an hour of testimony last week, she blasted a low-key characterization by Mueller's attorney, Gabriel McFarland, of what happened. While Mueller testified he never grabbed Swift, she insisted she was groped.



Spanish court backs extradition of Russian programmer to US
Attorney News | 2017/08/04 16:10
Spain's National Court has recommended the extradition to the United States of a Russian computer programmer accused by U.S. prosecutors of developing malicious software that stole information from financial institutions and caused losses of $855,000.

Stanislav Lisov, 31, was arrested Jan. 13 in the Barcelona Airport while on honeymoon in Europe. Prosecutors accuse him of developing the NeverQuest software that targeted banking clients in the United States between June 2012 and January 2015.

The Spanish court said Tuesday that Lisov could face up to 25 years in prison for conspiracy to commit electronic and computer fraud. The extradition hearing took place July 20.

The court said its ruling can be appealed by Lisov. The extradition, if finally decided upon, must be approved by the government.


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