Hearing For Soldier Accused in Attack on Fellow Troops

A deadly grenade attack on troops sleeping in their tents in Kuwait is all the more jarring for survivors and relatives because of the man accused: a fellow U.S. soldier.

An Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury, begins Monday for Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, who is charged with killing two officers and injuring 14 others in the March 23 attack.

CNN/The AP have all the details here.



EEOC Seeks Key Testimony in Sidley Austin Age Discrimination Suit

Sidley Austin Logo

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has moved to compel testimony about recent conversations between Sidley Austin partners and a former financial director who signed a 1999 letter stating that the firm had a mandatory retirement policy.

Sidley has denied having such a policy in the face of an EEOC suit claiming the Chicago-based law firm discriminated against 31 partners on the basis of age when it demoted them to counsel in 1999. The EEOC has claimed the financial director’s letter “flatly contradicts” the firm’s position.

The letter, dated Oct. 21, 1999, and addressed to the Social Security Administration in Chicago, states that “it is the general policy of Sidley & Austin not to permit a partner of the firm to continue as a partner commencing the first of the year following the year age 65 is reached.” The letter is signed by William B. White, financial director.

According to the EEOC motion filed last Tuesday in Chicago federal court, White testified at a July 26 deposition that he believed the letter to be an accurate statement of the firm’s retirement policy at the time he signed it. But he also testified that, after conversations earlier this year with Sidley partners William F. Conlon and Theodore N. Miller, he realized the letter did not accurately state firm policy.

Sounds like lawyer-speak to me. Details here from the New York Law Journal via Law.com.


A Smaller Legal World

Texas lawyer Michael Gorton says he’s “fairly opposed” to sending work overseas. For patriotic reasons, he believes work should be done close to home, with talent bred in the United States. Whenever practical, he says, he favors doing business with friends.

But when it comes to running Dallas-based TelaDoc, the telemedicine company of which he’s CEO, Gorton says he’s happy to outsource legal help to India.

Gorton’s first foray into the world of international outsourcing happened about a year and a half ago. Gorton says he hired his primary law firm (which he wishes to keep anonymous) to conduct research on legal issues in half a dozen states. The firm’s fee came to nearly $250,000.

So Gorton approached an outsourcing company he had read about in Texas Lawyer, a sister publication of the Daily Report. Atlas Legal Research promised its Indian lawyers could complete the same work at a fraction of the cost.


U.S. Ignored Warnings Over Informant

Dick Cheney

The Iraqi informant’s German handlers say they had told U.S. officials that his information was ‘not proven,’ and were shocked when President Bush and Colin L. Powell used it in key prewar speeches.

BERLIN — The German intelligence officials responsible for one of the most important informants on Saddam Hussein’s suspected weapons of mass destruction say that the Bush Administration and the CIA repeatedly exaggerated his claims during the run-up to the Iraq war.

Five senior officials from Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, or BND, said in interviews with The Times that they warned U.S. intelligence authorities that the source, an Iraqi defector codenamed Curveball, never claimed to produce germ weapons and never saw anyone else do so.

According to the Germans, President Bush mischaracterized Curveball’s information when he warned before the war that Iraq had at least seven mobile factories brewing biological poisons. Then-Secretary of State Colin L.Powell also misstated Curveball’s claims in his pre-war presentation to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, the Germans said.

Details here from the Los Angeles Times.

Hey, Dick Cheney — Are the L.A. Times and the BND now “dishonest and reprehensible” too? Or is it you whose lies kill thousands?


New Orleans Cops Ordered to Stop Looters

From the AP via the New York Times:

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Mayor Ray Nagin ordered 1,500 police officers to leave their search-and-rescue mission Wednesday night and return to the streets to stop looting that has turned increasingly hostile as the city plunges deeper into chaos.

“They are starting to get closer to heavily populated areas — hotels, hospitals, and we’re going to stop it right now,” Nagin said in a statement to The Associated Press.

The number of officers called off the search-and-rescue mission amounts to virtually the entire police force in New Orleans.

It gets worse:


Court: Sampling May Violate Copyright Law

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that rap artists should pay for every musical sample included in their work – even minor, unrecognizable snippets of music.

Lower courts had already ruled that artists must pay when they sample another artists’ work. But it has been legal to use musical snippets – a note here, a chord there – as long as it wasn’t identifiable.

The decision by a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati gets rid of that distinction. The court said federal laws aimed at stopping piracy of recordings applies to digital sampling.

“If you cannot pirate the whole sound recording, can you ‘lift’ or ‘sample’ something less than the whole? Our answer to that question is in the negative,” the court said. “Get a license or do not sample. We do not see this as stifling creativity in any significant way.”

Others may disagree. Details here from the AP via All Headline News, or read the court’s opinion.


“Government Insecurity”

When a B-29 crashed in 1948, the Air Force fought to hide the details. Now, the families of those killed want to reopen the case that became precedent for official secrecy.

This fascinating story details attempts to reopen a 50-year old Supreme Court case that may have been influenced by a fraud on the Court. Details here from The Philadelphia Inquirer. (via How Appealing)


Electronic Frontier Foundation and Stanford Law Clinic Sue Electronic Voting Company

A nonprofit Internet Service Provider (ISP) and two Swarthmore College students are seeking a court order on Election Day tomorrow to stop electronic voting machine manufacturer Diebold Systems, Inc., from issuing specious legal threats. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Internet and Society Cyberlaw Clinic at Stanford Law School are providing legal representation in this important case to prevent abusive copyright claims from silencing public debate about voting, the very foundation of our democratic process.

Diebold has delivered dozens of cease-and-desist notices to website publishers and ISPs demanding that they take down corporate documents revealing flaws in the company’s electronic voting systems as well as difficulties with certifying the systems for actual elections.

Apparently the ruling from the Northern District of California in San Francisco is expected by noon on Tuesday. Details here.


Actor, Producer Trade Lawsuit Tirades

In dueling lawsuits over the move Why Men Shouldn’t Marry, actor Sean Penn accuses producer Steve Bing of blacklisting him because of his opposition to a war in Iraq, while Bing accuses Penn of blackmailing him over a movie deal that never materialized. Read all about it here.