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Feds: US Supreme Court should turn down 'Bridgegate' appeal
Top Legal News | 2019/05/14 04:01
The U.S. solicitor general's office has recommended that the U.S. Supreme Court not hear the appeal of two convicted defendants in the "Bridgegate" case, nudging the four-year legal saga of New Jersey's most famous traffic jam toward a conclusion.

"Further review is not warranted," the brief filed late Wednesday said. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether to hear the case by the end of its term next month.

Bridget Kelly and Bill Baroni want the court to hear the appeal of their 2016 convictions for causing gridlock near the George Washington Bridge to punish a mayor for not endorsing their boss, former Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie wasn't charged, but the revelations from the scandal and conflicting accounts of when he knew about the plot combined to sabotage his 2016 presidential aspirations.

Kelly, Christie's former deputy chief of staff at the time of the 2013 lane realignments in the town of Fort Lee, and Baroni, deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, had their sentences reduced this spring after a federal appeals court tossed some convictions last fall. Kelly petitioned the Supreme Court to consider the rest of the convictions, and Baroni joined in the appeal.

They argued that while their actions may have been ethically questionable, they weren't illegal because neither derived personal benefit, and the Port Authority, which operated the bridge, wasn't deprived of tangible benefits as a result of the scheme.


Court case threatens to take gloss off Ostersund's rise
Top Legal News | 2019/04/21 23:26
It was one of European soccer's most heartwarming stories, an unconventional club from a sleepy city in central Sweden making an eight-year journey from the amateur ranks to beating Arsenal in the Europa League.

But was the remarkable rise of Ostersund built on illegal foundations?

In a case that has rocked Swedish sport in recent months, Daniel Kindberg, the larger-than-life former chairman of Ostersund who is regarded as the mastermind behind the team's success, is heading to court for a trial in which he is accused of serious financial crimes.

The basic premise? Kindberg is alleged to have helped funnel 11.8 million kronor ($1.3 million) of taxpayers' money into the club in an elaborate scheme that involved two other men and three companies — one being the municipality's housing corporation for which Kindberg was chief executive.

Kindberg could go to jail for a maximum of six years, according to the Swedish Economic Crime Authority. Ostersund could lose its place in the top league in Sweden. A small soccer club's great achievement, which was celebrated and enjoyed across the continent, might be tainted.

"As good as it was for the Ostersund brand with this fairy tale of the OFK team going into Europe," Ostersund's mayor, Bosse Svensson, told The Associated Press, "this is just as bad."

Kindberg, who denies the charges, was arrested a year ago and has stood down from his role as Ostersund chairman.

The case has both shocked and polarized the natives of this remote city — located 300 miles (480 kilometers) northwest of Stockholm and with a population of around 50,000 — that is better known for its winter sports than its soccer.


Nissan ex-chair Ghosn appeal on extended detention rejected
Top Legal News | 2019/04/17 00:55
Japan's top court said Thursday it has rejected an appeal by former Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn's lawyers against his extended detention after his fourth arrest on allegations of financial misconduct.

The decision upholds the extension of his detention through April 22 that was approved Monday by the Tokyo District Court.

The Supreme Court ruling was made Wednesday and conveyed to foreign media on Thursday.

Ghosn was first arrested in November and charged with under-reporting his retirement compensation and with breach of trust. He was released March 6 on bail, but was arrested again on April 4 on fresh allegations and sent back to detention.

Rearresting a suspect released on bail, which is allowed only after indictment, is rare and has triggered criticism of Japan's criminal justice system, in which long detentions during investigations are routine.

Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades and is credited with turning around the company from near-bankruptcy, has denied any wrongdoing.

In a separate legal maneuver, the Tokyo District Court has rejected an appeal by Ghosn's lawyers questioning prosecutors' confiscation of video of security camera installed at Ghosn's apartment, Kyodo News reported Thursday. The court did not respond to calls after office hours.

Last week, Nissan's shareholders voted to remove Ghosn from the company's board.

In his video statement filmed before his arrest and released by his lawyers April 9, Ghosn accused some Nissan executives of plotting against him over unfounded fears about losing their autonomy to their French alliance partner Renault SA.



New Jersey's top court won't hear ex-NFL star's appeal
Top Legal News | 2019/02/01 03:24
The New Jersey Supreme Court won't hear a request from former NFL star Irving Fryar to overturn his conviction for his role in a mortgage scam.

The court announced its decision Tuesday but did not elaborate.

Fryar and his mother were convicted in August 2015 of applying for mortgage loans in quick succession while using the same property as collateral. They eventually were found guilty of conspiracy and theft by deception.

Fryar's defense argued at trial he was the victim of a "con artist" who told him to carry out the scheme.

Fryar was a star wide receiver at the University of Nebraska and played in the NFL in the 1980s and 1990s for the New England Patriots, the Miami Dolphins, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins.



Congress to Probe Report that Trump Directed Lawyer to Lie
Top Legal News | 2019/01/22 07:08
The Democratic chairmen of two House committees pledged Friday to investigate a report that President Donald Trump directed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about negotiations over a real estate project in Moscow during the 2016 election.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said “we will do what’s necessary to find out if it’s true.” He said the allegation that Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie in his 2017 testimony to Congress “in an effort to curtail the investigation and cover up his business dealings with Russia is among the most serious to date.”

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York, said directing a subordinate to lie to Congress is a federal crime.

The report by BuzzFeed News, citing two unnamed law enforcement officials, says that Trump directed Cohen to lie to Congress and that Cohen regularly briefed Trump and his family on the Moscow project — even as Trump said he had no business dealings with Russia.



Congo court poised to rule on presidential vote challenge
Top Legal News | 2019/01/15 15:14
Congo's constitutional court is poised to rule on a challenge to the presidential election, with the government on Friday dismissing an unprecedented request by the African Union continental body to delay releasing the final results because of "serious doubts" about the vote.

Upholding the official results could spark new violence in a country hoping for its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960. At least 34 people have been killed since provisional results were released on Jan. 10, the United Nations said.

The AU on Monday will send a high-level delegation to Congo to address the crisis in the vast Central African nation rich in the minerals key to smartphones and electric cars around the world. Its neighbors are concerned that unrest could spill across borders.

Congo government spokesman Lambert Mende called the matter one for the country's judicial bodies, and "the independence of our judiciary is no problem."

The declared runner-up in the Dec. 30 election, Martin Fayulu, has requested a recount, alleging fraud. He asserts that Congo's electoral commission published provisional results wildly different from those obtained at polling stations.

Fayulu welcomed the AU's stance and urged Congolese to support it.

Congo faces the extraordinary accusation of an election allegedly rigged in favor of the opposition. Fayulu's supporters have asserted that outgoing President Joseph Kabila made a backroom deal with the declared winner, Felix Tshisekedi, when the ruling party's candidate did poorly.



Russian court says bobsledder can keep Olympic titles
Top Legal News | 2019/01/10 09:59
Russian bobsledder Alexander Zubkov won a Moscow court ruling on Friday that could make it harder for the International Olympic Committee to recover his gold medals.

The Russian flagbearer at the 2014 Sochi Olympics was stripped of his two gold medals from those games in 2017 by the IOC for doping. He failed to overturn that disqualification at the Court of Arbitration for Sport last year.

But Moscow’s highest civil court in November upheld Zubkov’s claim that the CAS procedure was unfair and shouldn’t be recognized in Russia. That means Zubkov is legally recognized as an Olympic champion — but only in Russia.

On Friday, the court rejected an IOC-backed appeal from the Russian Olympic Committee, which earlier said letting Zubkov keep his medals could “give rise to doubt that Russia truly observes the main principles of the fight against doping.”

Zubkov strongly denies cheating. “I am a clean athlete. If you don’t know my story you can open Wikipedia and see how much I’ve done for sport and what I did in Sochi,” he said. “I brought gold medals here and gave sport 30 years (of my life).”

Friday’s ruling will also make it harder for Zubkov to be removed as president of the Russian Bobsled Federation, and may entitle him to a Russian state pension for retired star athletes.



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