By Brendan Pierson NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday refused to release a former Hong Kong government official on bail while he faces charges that he took part in a scheme to bribe officials in Chad and Uganda in exchange for contracts for a Chinese energy company. Lawyers for Chi Ping Patrick Ho, 68, had sought to have him released on a $10 million (£7.16 million) bond and placed under house arrest in Manhattan, subject to electronic monitoring, but U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest said that was not enough to ensure that Ho would not flee the country. She said Ho’s lawyers were free to make another bail proposal in the future. Ho’s lawyer, Edward Kim, declined to comment on the ruling. Ho, a former Hong Kong home affairs secretary, was arrested in November and has pleaded not guilty to charges of violating U.S. foreign corruption law, money laundering and conspiracy. Prosecutors have said Ho arranged bribes on behalf of a Chinese energy company … [Read more...] about Former Hong Kong official denied bail in U.S. corruption charges
U s lawyers
By Mark Hosenball and Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) – Former British spy Christopher Steele, who compiled a “dossier” of allegations linking U.S. President Donald Trump to Russia, should not be forced to give evidence in a U.S. libel case because it could put his sources at risk and harm UK national security, his lawyer said on Monday. Former MI6 agent Steele was the author of a report which alleged Moscow had attempted to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election and potential collusion between Russia and Trump, along with other unverified and salacious claims about the president. Trump has described the report, which was published by the Buzzfeed website in January last year, as “bogus” and Moscow has repeatedly rejected accusations of interference in the election. A Russian businessman, Aleksej Gubarev, is suing Buzzfeed for libel in a Florida court over claims in the dossier about him and his companies and as part of his case his lawyers have asked to take … [Read more...] about U.S. libel case testimony could put sources at risk
By David Shepardson WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department is seeking “substantial” civil fines from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV <FCHA.MI> after the government filed suit accusing the company of illegally using software that led to excess emissions in 104,000 U.S. diesel vehicles sold since 2014, a person briefed on the matter said Friday. Bloomberg News reported Friday that the Justice Department sent Fiat Chrysler lawyers a Jan. 27 settlement offer that included requiring the company to offset excess pollution and take steps to prevent future excess emissions. A person briefed on the matter confirmed the letter included language that a settlement “must include very substantial civil penalties.” At a discussion in Washington last week between the Justice Department and Fiat Chrysler overseen by court-appointed settlement adviser Ken Feinberg, no specific figures were discussed, two people briefed on the talks said. Another round of … [Read more...] about U.S. seeks ‘substantial’ fines in Fiat Chrysler emissions case
By Tina Bellon NEW YORK (Reuters) – Searing victim testimony during former American gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar’s sentencing hearing has ratched up pressure on the sport’s U.S. governing body and Michigan State University to settle civil lawsuits by girls and women seeking to hold them responsible for his years of sexual abuse, legal experts said. The lawsuits seeking unspecified monetary damages from USA Gymnastics, which used Nassar as team doctor for years, and Michigan State, where he worked as a professor, were filed in January 2017 in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and were later consolidated into a single case. Settlement talks between the defendants and lawyers representing 140 of Nassar’s victims broke down in December, said David Mittleman, an attorney representing some of the plaintiffs. He declined to say why the talks ended but said plaintiffs’ lawyers were now preparing to go to trial. Legal experts said USA Gymnastics and … [Read more...] about Victim testimony raises settlement pressure in U.S. Nassar suit
A U.S. citizen being held in Iraq as an enemy combatant wanted the ACLU to represent him and fight his detention, the civil liberties group said in a court filing Friday. A federal judge last month ordered the government to let the unidentified man — who was picked up on a Syrian battlefield in September and accused of fighting for ISIS — speak to lawyers. As a result, ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz said, he and two colleagues went to the Pentagon on Wednesday and spoke with the man via a secure, unmonitored videoconference. "Basically, the government for the last three months has fought tooth and nail to prevent a U.S. citizen from speaking to a lawyer and having his day in court," Hafetz said. "When finally given the opportunity to speak, his message was loud and clear: I want my day in court and I want the lawyers of the ACLU to represent me to secure my freedom." In its motion filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., the ACLU asks for the government to respond by Jan. … [Read more...] about U.S. man held as ‘enemy combatant’ in Iraq lawyers up
THE wholesome image of American star Bill Cosby has taken a battering — but now it is about to be smashed apart for good.For more than a decade, the once revered comedian, film and TV veteran has been dogged by claims that he drugged women then sexually assaulted them.But now Cosby’s 37th alleged victim could be the key to finally nailing him as a “sexual predator” who, like Jimmy Savile and Rolf Harris, hid a dark side behind his clean-cut image as a family entertainer.Model and lapdancer Chloe Goins claims Cosby attacked her after she passed out at a Playboy party in 2008.She was just 18 when Cosby, then 70, allegedly spiked her drink with a sedative before luring her into a bedroom at the Playboy mansion.Chloe says the next thing she knew, she woke up naked while he was licking her feet and pleasuring himself.Chloe is believed to be the ONLY alleged victim of Cosby’s 37 accusers able to press criminal charges or launch a civil lawsuit against the star, … [Read more...] about Will this woman prove Bill Cosby is the U.S. Jimmy Savile?
The bedside reading of the man responsible for leading the drafting of the new European constitution was the biography of one of America's great political philosophers. The lawyer, thinker and one-time U.S. President John Adams was a champion of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, which set the United States on the path to the drafting of its first constitution ten years later. European Union Convention President Valery Giscard d'Estaing is nearing the completion of a similar political journey right now, heading a 105-member convention charged with drafting the document that will define an expanded Europe's future. In speeches, d'Estaing, a former French president, often invokes the work the U.S. draftsmen carried out in the hot summer of 1787. At the same time, the 77-year-old Frenchman makes clear that the relatively modest goals of the European Union are clearly different from the original intentions of the United States' founding fathers. "Our aims are not as grand as theirs: we … [Read more...] about A Little Bit of the U.S. in the Future EU?
Prime Minister Tony Blair received his much-needed parliamentary support late Tuesday for British participation in a war against Iraq, but he had to pay a political price in his own Labour Party for the victory. With the support from the opposition, the House of Commons strongly endorsed the government's decision to use "all means necessary" to strip Saddam Hussein of his weapons of mass destruction. The decision allows Blair to commit the 40,000 British troops in the Persian Gulf in a war that could begin anytime after the deadline of 2 a.m. Central European Time on Thursday set by U.S. President George W. Bush. Before Blair could celebrate his victory, he had to put down a revolt in his own party and defeat an amendment that declared that the case for war "has not yet been established." On the surface, the numbers showed that Blair was able to handily put down the amendment, 396 to 217. But 138 members of his party were among the 217 lawmakers who voted for the measure. It was … [Read more...] about Blair Wins Fight to Join U.S.-Led War Against Iraq
Ten Iraqi civilians are planning to press war crimes charges against U.S. General Tommy Franks, the commander of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, the American newspaper the Washington Times reported. The Iraqis, allegedly eyewitnesses and victims of U.S. atrocities, hold coalition forces responsible for numerous crimes, including failing to prevent looting, firing on an ambulance, shooting and injuring Iraqi civilians, causing the deaths of scores of people by bombing a Baghdad marketplace and killing at least ten passengers driving in a civilian bus near the town of Hillah. According to the report, Brussels-based human rights lawyer Jan Fermon, who intends to represent the Iraqis, said the complaint against Franks and other U.S. military officials would be filed in a Belgian court in about two weeks. "U.S. military officials had the authority but did nothing to stop these war crimes from occurring," Fermon told the newspaper. "A military commander is responsible for war crimes … [Read more...] about U.S. Threatened with Iraq War Crimes Trial
European leaders were deeply divided on Thursday over the possibility that the United States would launch a war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. In an appeal that appeared in 12 continental newspapers, the leaders of eight European countries called on their citizens to support the United States in its effort to find any weapons of mass destruction held by Iraq. "Europe and America must stand together," said the article, which appeared on the newspaper's opinion pages. The call of support was signed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, outgoing Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel and the leaders of Portugal, Denmark, Hungary and Poland. The appeal was issued three days after U.N. weapons inspectors issued their first report on their work and said Iraq had failed to cooperate adequately with teams seeking to assess its ability to produce and use weapons of mass destruction. In Thursday's appeal, … [Read more...] about Europeans Leaders Split On U.S. Support In Iraq Debate