Judge refuses to dismiss John Edwards charges
2012-05-11 20:01:16 UTC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal judge refused to throw out campaign corruption charges against John Edwards on Friday, meaning the former presidential hopeful will have to present his case to a jury.
Lawyers for Edwards argued before U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Eagles that prosecutors failed to prove the 2008 candidate intentionally violated the law or that some of the alleged offenses actually occurred in the Middle District of North Carolina, the venue where he was indicted.
After two-and-a-half hours of arguments from the defense and rebuttal from the prosecution, the judge ruled quickly from the bench that the governmen...
Kidnap-slaying suspect kills himself; 2 girls OK
2012-05-11 14:05:17 UTC
GUNTOWN, Miss. (AP) — A man wanted by the FBI for killing a mother and daughter and kidnapping two other girls shot himself to death as officers closed in, but the two children were rescued without injuries and released from a hospital Friday.
Authorities who tracked Adam Mayes to a wooded area Thursday evening said they repeatedly ordered him to surrender, but he pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the head. The FBI put him on their Top 10 most-wanted list this week in the killing of a Tennessee woman and her oldest daughter and the kidnapping of the two younger daughters.
Mayes, 35, was pronounced dead and sisters Alexandria Ba...
Judge rejects effort to open CIA volume on Cuba
2012-05-11 13:59:12 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that a final volume of the CIA's three-decade-old history on the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba can remain shrouded in secrecy because it is a draft, not a finished product.
The CIA characterized the volume in court papers as "a polemic of recriminations against CIA officers who later criticized the operation."
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler accepted the CIA's arguments that the fifth volume entitled the "CIA's Internal Investigations of the Bay of Pigs Operations" did not even pass through the first stage of a multilayer review process. The volume represented a proposal by a subor...
Biden proves catalyst for Obama on gay marriage
2012-05-11 13:53:24 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Sorry, Mr. President.
After nearly single-handedly pushing gay marriage to the forefront of the presidential campaign and inadvertently pressuring President Barack Obama to declare his support for same-sex unions, there was only one thing left for Vice President Joe Biden to do: apologize.
Biden's mea culpa came Wednesday in the Oval Office, shortly before the president sat for a hastily arranged interview in which he told the American people that he now supported gay marriage.
The vice president expressed remorse and regret for declaring his support for same-sex unions ahead of Obama, said a person familiar with...
Prosecution rests in John Edwards trial
2012-05-10 19:41:33 UTC
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Prosecutors rested their case against John Edwards on Thursday after calling to the witness stand some of his closest friends and advisers, many of whom gave dramatic, often unflattering testimony about the former presidential candidate whose once-promising political career collapsed amid a sex scandal.
Edwards is accused of being the mastermind behind a plan to use secret payments from two wealthy campaign donors to hide his pregnant mistress as he sought the White House in 2008. The trial centers on whether Edwards knew what the money was being used for, and when he knew it.
While the past 14 days of testimo...
Civil rights lawsuit filed against Ariz. sheriff
2012-05-10 19:29:37 UTC
PHOENIX (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department sued America's self-proclaimed toughest sheriff Thursday, a rare step for the agency after months of negotiations failed to reach a settlement over allegations that his department racially profiled Latinos in his trademark immigration patrols.
Federal officials said that only once before has the agency filed a lawsuit against a police department that they were unable to reach an agreement with in the 18-year history of the DOJ's police reform efforts. The lawsuit means that a federal judge will decide the escalating standoff with Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
"We have invariably been able to work coll...
House OKs social programs cuts to aid Pentagon
2012-05-10 19:22:10 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The GOP-controlled House Thursday passed legislation to replace a looming 10 percent cut to the military budget with cuts to domestic programs like food stamps and health care.
The partisan 218-199 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where it's a dead letter with Democratic leaders, who insist on keeping the automatic cuts in place until Republicans agree to a mixture of tax increases and spending cuts to address the nation's deficit woes.
The automatic spending cuts, totaling $110 billion next year, are punishment for the failure of last year's deficit-reduction "supercommittee" to strike a deal. Lawmakers in bot...
Romney counters notion he bullied gay classmates
2012-05-10 19:14:52 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney apologized Thursday to classmates he may have offended by "hijinks and pranks during high school" and insisted he didn't know that some were gay.
The Republican presidential candidate issued the apology during a hastily arranged radio interview after The Washington Post reported Thursday that he had held down classmate John Lauber and cut off his bleached blond hair when they were students at a prestigious boarding school in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
The Post suggested Lauber was bullied because he was gay.
"The people involved didn't come out of the closet until years late...
Obama making cultural waves, or just a ripple?
2012-05-10 18:15:55 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — He gave no speech, issued no call to action. He spoke of changing alongside the nation's people, not of leading them into uncharted territory. He made sure to say what so many so passionately believe — that states should decide such issues on their own.
The first black president becoming the first president to speak out for a minority denied the right to marry is undoubtedly a powerful political moment. But a significant cultural milestone? A nation full of straight people at ease among openly gay co-workers, relatives and sitcom characters may already have passed Barack Obama by.
It is a truism, but it's worth sayi...
Obama not worried about being upstaged by Biden
2012-05-10 20:16:31 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he'd already decided to come out for gay marriage before Vice President Joe Biden publicly endorsed it.
Obama tells ABC in an interview that he wasn't worried about being upstaged by his vice president on the volatile social issue.
At one point, he says, "Would I have preferred to have done this my own way? .... Sure."
But Obama quickly adds, "All's well that ends well." He tells ABC's Robin Roberts that he "already made a decision to take this position" before Biden made his comments in response to a question asked on a nationally broadcast interview Sunday. Education Secretary Arne D...
Obama voices his support for gay marriage
2012-05-10 06:09:54 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — On the fence no longer, President Barack Obama declared his unequivocal support for gay marriage on Wednesday, a historic announcement that gave the polarizing social issue a more prominent role in the 2012 race for the White House.
The announcement was the first by a sitting president, and Republican challenger Mitt Romney swiftly disagreed with it. "I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman," he said while campaigning in Oklahoma.
Gay rights advocates cheered Obama's declaration, which they had long urged him to make. Beyond the words, one man who married his gay partner in Washington, D.C., was stirred...
Putin pulls out of US summit, meeting with Obama
2012-05-10 01:13:27 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is skipping a planned visit to the United States this month for an economic summit and a much-anticipated meeting with President Barack Obama, the White House announced Wednesday.
The Russian leader told Obama by phone that he is unable to join the other leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations meeting outside Washington on May 18-19 because he needs to finish work setting up his new Cabinet, the White House said. The Obama administration had moved the gathering to the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland from the planned venue in Chicago partly to accommodate Putin.
NC vote shows gay marriage still divisive
2012-05-09 17:52:41 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama faced mounting pressure Wednesday to express support for same-sex marriage after a setback for gay-rights advocates in North Carolina.
Republicans there turned out in force Tuesday night to vote to strengthen the state's gay marriage ban. The passage of the state constitutional amendment, by a whopping 61 percent of the vote, proves that the topic remains a powerful election-year wedge issue despite tough economic times. It also illustrates the risks for the president as Democrats press him to do what no other has before: back gay marriage.
The vote — in a state that Obama won in 2008 and that...
3-state sweep moves Romney closer to nomination
2012-05-09 17:47:16 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has won most of the delegates in a three-state primary sweep, leaving him a little more than 200 delegates shy of the number needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president.
He could get there by the end of the month.
Romney won 84 of the 107 delegates at stake in Tuesday's primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia.
He has a total of 940 delegates. It takes 1,144 delegates to clinch the nomination.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, the only other Republican in the race, has 100 delegates. Paul won six delegates Tuesday, all in North Carolina.
Romney won all 27 ...
Colorful ex-drug dealer livens up Clemens trial
2012-05-09 15:38:10 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kirk Radomski, who provided performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of major league baseball players, injected some much needed energy into a plodding prosecution case at Roger Clemens' perjury trial.
The one-time New York Mets batboy got jurors' attention Tuesday by standing, opening his suit coat and demonstrating on his broad-shouldered body how human growth hormone and steroids are delivered. Even sitting, he leaned in, made eye contact and generally held court with the jurors in ways other witnesses have not.
Radomski talked so quickly in his New York accent that he had to be slowed down several times, both by th...
Wis. recall is rematch of 2010 governor's race
2012-05-09 15:30:00 UTC
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The candidates may be the same, but Wisconsin isn't.
In the tumultuous 18 months since Republican Scott Walker defeated Democrat Tom Barrett in the 2010 governor's race, Wisconsin has been rocked with massive protests over workers' rights, recall elections over a contentious union rights law and a partisan divide that's strained families and friendships.
Now, Walker and Barrett are headed for a rematch.
Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee since 2004, easily won the Democratic primary Tuesday and will take on Walker in the June 5 recall election. Walker defeated Barrett by 125,000 votes, or 5 percentage points, in ...
House panel considers higher 2013 defense budget
2012-05-09 15:21:30 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Armed Services Committee pressed ahead Wednesday with a version of the 2013 defense budget that adds billions to President Barack Obama's proposed budget and rejects the administration's call for military base closings.
The committee convened to go through details of a spending blueprint that calls for a base defense budget of $554 billion, including nuclear weapons spending, plus $88 billion for the war in Afghanistan and related counterterrorism efforts.
That compares with the administration's proposed figures of $551 billion plus $88 billion.
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the committee, sai...
Penn St. ex-coach wants sex-abuse trial postponed
2012-05-09 15:04:39 UTC
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Jerry Sandusky's lawyer on Wednesday asked for a delay in the former Penn State assistant football coach's child sex-abuse trial, saying he needed more time to prepare and that he was still waiting for disclosure of prosecution material.
Defense attorney Joe Amendola argued in a 13-page motion that without more time, he was worried he would be "unable to effectively and adequately" represent Sandusky. Amendola said he was still waiting for material from prosecutors.
Judge John Cleland has previously indicated he was reluctant to push back the trial, currently scheduled to begin June 5 in Bellefonte. A hearing o...
Postal Service: Will keep rural post offices open
2012-05-09 15:01:13 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — The struggling U.S. Postal Service is trying to tamp down concern over its wide-scale cuts, saying it will seek to keep hundreds of rural post offices open with shorter hours.
Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe tells a news conference the new plan will save the mail agency half a billion dollars each year while addressing concerns of rural residents most opposed to post office closings.
Previously, up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices were slated for closure or consolidation beginning sometime after May 15, many in rural areas. It was part of a multibillion-dollar postal cost-cutting effort to stave off the agency's...
FBI, police hunt kidnap-slaying suspect, 2 girls
2012-05-09 14:56:24 UTC
GUNTOWN, Miss. (AP) — Heavily armed FBI agents and authorities from Mississippi and Tennessee were searching woods and back roads for what they said was a dangerous man suspected of killing a Tennessee woman and her teenage daughter and fleeing with her two younger girls.
Authorities released a surveillance video that showed Adam Mayes, 35, at a convenience store in Union County, Miss., about three days after the alleged kidnapping. In the video, Mayes appeared calm when he approached the counter and had a fresh haircut.
Meanwhile, a community mourned the slain mother and daughter and the loss of the girls.
Authorities canvassed r...
Gas price likely won't set record this summer
2012-05-09 07:19:41 UTC
NEW YORK (AP) — Gasoline prices likely won't set any records this summer, thanks to a recent drop in the price of oil.
The government on Tuesday slashed its forecast for average gas prices to $3.79 per gallon for the summer driving season. That's down from an initial estimate of $3.95 and below 2008's record average of $3.80.
The Energy Information Administration's revised forecast is encouraging news for the economy. Some economists blame high pump prices for so-so consumer spending this year. They were also seen as a factor in the loss of 35,000 retail jobs in February and March.
Gasoline prices soared 20 percent from January to...
Lugar loss has lessons for Republicans, Democrats
2012-05-09 06:45:35 UTC
VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Veteran Sen. Richard Lugar's loss in the Indiana GOP primary provides warnings for President Barack Obama and his Democrats as well as Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans six months before the November election.
In one state at least, anti-incumbent sentiment is coursing through the electorate, a potentially ominous sign for the incumbent Democratic president seeking a second term and lawmakers of all political stripes. The GOP also remains deeply split between the establishment wing and insurgent tea party, a fissure that underscores the challenge the presumptive Republican presidential nominee and other GOP cand...
Primaries reflect conservative enthusiasm for 2012
2012-05-09 06:37:23 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a show of conservative enthusiasm, a tea-party backed Republican vanquished six-term Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar in a GOP primary and North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state's gay marriage ban.
Republican Mitt Romney, who long has been viewed skeptically by the GOP's base, won three primaries to move closer to clinching the nomination of a party that remains sharply divided between its establishment and right flanks.
The nation's polarized environment was on display in Tuesday contests scattered across several states six months before Americans choose whether to give Democratic Presi...
Romney inches closer to magic number of delegates
2012-05-09 06:31:48 UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney added to his big lead in the race for convention delegates Tuesday by sweeping Republican presidential primaries in North Carolina, Indiana and West Virginia, inching closer to the number of delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination.
Romney won at least 63 delegates Tuesday, with the 28 delegates from West Virginia still undecided. Romney has a commanding lead in the race for delegates with 919. He is 225 delegates shy of the 1,144 he needs to clinch the nomination — a gap he could close by the end of the month.
The only other Republican still in the race, Texas Rep. Ron Pau...
Effect of NC gay marriage amendment unclear
2012-05-09 15:28:48 UTC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina voters overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as solely between a man and a woman, but not much is expected to change immediately.
That's because North Carolina law already banned gay marriage. The amendment voters passed Tuesday night by about 61 percent of voters effectively will seal the door on same-sex marriages and potentially have other effects farther down the road.
"Same-sex marriage was illegal today; it's illegal tomorrow," said John Dinan, a political science professor at Wake Forest University who writes an annual review of state constitutional amendment...