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Key Witness

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NATIONAL
September 19, 2012 | By David Zucchino
WILMINGTON, N.C. - A disgraced former federal prosecutor testified Wednesday that he never threatened a key witness at the 1979 murder trial of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald - a crucial defense allegation in a federal court hearing on new evidence that MacDonald says could prove he did not kill his wife and two daughters in 1970. James Blackburn, who led the successful prosecution of MacDonald, denied under oath that he had told a witness he would charge her with murder if she testified that she and others were at MacDonald's home at Ft. Bragg, N.C., the night of the killings.
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WORLD
August 26, 2013 | By Barbara Demick
BEIJING - The trial of a fallen comrade, Bo Xilai, was supposed to be a morality play hyping the Chinese Communist Party's determination to fight political corruption. Somewhere the proceedings veered off script, potentially backfiring for President Xi Jinping, who was elevated to the party leadership last year after a power struggle with Bo's faction. Bo's tenacious defense in the trial caught Chinese prosecutors and the state media off-guard. In the closing arguments Monday, he upstaged the prosecution by dropping a bombshell, saying the key government witness, whistle-blower and former Police Chief Wang Lijun, had been secretly in love with Bo's wife.
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SPORTS
April 24, 2012 | By Ian Duncan
WASHINGTON — Lawyers for Roger Clemens, seeking to discredit a key government witness in the All-Star pitcher's perjury trial, contend that Brian McNamee is telling lies, on which he is cashing in. McNamee, a former strength coach, has said he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone. Rusty Hardin, the lead Clemens attorney, said in his opening statement Tuesday that the former trainer had become a celebrity as a result of the allegations he made against Clemens.
NATIONAL
June 28, 2013 | By Tina Susman
Lawyers trying to prove that George Zimmerman stalked and murdered unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin will resume their focus on the scene of the crime and the screams that startled residents of a Florida housing complex as Zimmerman's trial enters its fifth day of testimony Friday. Selma Mora, who lived in the Sanford, Fla., gated community where Zimmerman shot Martin to death on Feb. 26, 2012, returns to the stand to continue testimony that started Thursday afternoon. Mora, whose testimony has been translated from Spanish in court, is one of several neighbors who heard loud voices and screams outside on the rainy evening that Martin and Zimmerman crossed paths.
NEWS
July 27, 1995 | Washington Post
The key witness in the sexual assault trial of Rep. Mel Reynolds (D-Ill.) was held in contempt of court and jailed Wednesday after she refused to answer questions about her early relationship with him. Beverly Heard, 19, who last summer accused Reynolds, 43, of initiating a sexual relationship with her when she was 16, attempted to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Her lawyer told Cook County Circuit Judge Fred Suria Jr.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2007 | From Times Staff Reports
A former employee of an Anaheim vocational academy who may have witnessed the alleged beatings of two disabled adults there was interviewed by police over the weekend, authorities said Monday. Michael Douglas Rama -- considered a "key witness at this time" -- had been sought since the incidents last year at the Jossen Vocational Academy, Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez said. A former caretaker at the facility, Patrick John Solis, 22, was arrested Jan. 25 and is awaiting trial in the case.
NEWS
February 11, 1991 | From Associated Press
Winnie Mandela pleaded innocent today to kidnap and assault charges but in a bizarre twist, the trial was halted when prosecutors said a key witness--one of the alleged victims--had again been abducted. "I cannot expect my witnesses to come in here if their lives are in danger," State Prosecutor Jan Swanepoel told the stunned court this morning after Mandela and three co-defendants entered pleas of not guilty. The case was adjourned until Tuesday while police investigate the disappearance.
BUSINESS
December 10, 1996 | From Bloomberg Business News
In a blow to Universal Studios Inc., a key witness was disqualified as an expert witness in a Delaware Chancery Court trial after the judge said he dodged questions about errors in his resume. Andrew Rosenfield, president of Lexecon Inc., was to testify as an antitrust expert for Seagram Co.'s Universal Studios, which sued Viacom Inc. in a partnership dispute over USA Network. The case ended Friday after a month of testimony, and the judge could take several months to make a ruling.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 29, 1989
The prosecution's key witness in the 1985 slayings of two college sweethearts denied on Monday that he was the gunman who marched Brian Edward Harris, 20, and Michelle Anne Boyd, 19, into a secluded field and shot them in the back of the head.
NEWS
February 12, 1991 | From Reuters
The trial of Winnie Mandela on kidnaping and assault charges was salvaged today after a key prosecution witness reluctantly agreed to testify despite the unexplained abduction of a fellow witness. In a day of drama, prosecutor Jan Swanepoel told the Rand Supreme Court that police had failed to find one of his star witnesses, Gabriel Mekgwe, kidnaped over the weekend from the protection of a Soweto church.
WORLD
March 11, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
NAIROBI, Kenya -- The International Criminal Court's prosecutor dropped charges of crimes against humanity against a fellow defendant of Kenya's president-elect Monday, raising questions about whether the case against Uhuru Kenyatta will hold up as he is on the verge of becoming the nation's leader. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda announced that the charges against former public service chief Francis Muthaura had been dropped because a key witness recanted and admitted he had accepted bribes.
NATIONAL
November 4, 2012 | By Kim Murphy and Ned Parker, Los Angeles Times
KABUL, Afghanistan - Most everyone was asleep when an Afghan guard at a U.S. military camp spotted the American soldier walking out the southern gate into the quiet chill of the desert. A general alarm had been sounded by the time he returned and laid his weapon on the ground. What happened that night, U.S. authorities say, was one of the most horrific massacres of the war in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, a spit-polished and personable veteran of four deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, is accused of murdering 16 villagers and attempting to kill at least six others.
WORLD
November 2, 2012 | By Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Activist Angy Peter, who has spent years exposing police failures in the sprawling township of Khayelitsha outside Cape Town, was due to testify at an upcoming commission of inquiry. Instead, she is behind bars, charged with killing a petty thief and police informer, Rowan du Preez, who supporters say Peter once saved from an angry mob that had accused him of theft. The timing of Peter's arrest and the homicide allegation are both suspicious, say fellow activists from Cape Town's Social Justice Coalition.
NATIONAL
September 20, 2012 | By Michael Muskal
A worker at a Chrysler factory in Detroit fatally stabbed a fellow employee Thursday on the carmaker's grounds, then fled and apparently committed suicide at a municipal park, police said. Work at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant was halted as employees on the first shift were sent home, Chrysler said. The company didn't say when production would resume at the factory that makes Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs. The incident began about 8 a.m. when a man stabbed a coworker on the factory grounds, Detroit Police Officer Phillip Cook told the Los Angeles Times by telephone.
NATIONAL
September 19, 2012 | By David Zucchino
WILMINGTON, N.C. - A disgraced former federal prosecutor testified Wednesday that he never threatened a key witness at the 1979 murder trial of convicted killer Jeffrey MacDonald - a crucial defense allegation in a federal court hearing on new evidence that MacDonald says could prove he did not kill his wife and two daughters in 1970. James Blackburn, who led the successful prosecution of MacDonald, denied under oath that he had told a witness he would charge her with murder if she testified that she and others were at MacDonald's home at Ft. Bragg, N.C., the night of the killings.
NEWS
September 16, 2012 | By David Zucchino
WILMINGTON, N.C. - This is the case that refuses to die. Forty-two years ago, the wife and daughters of a handsome young Green Beret doctor, Jeffrey MacDonald, were stabbed and bludgeoned to death at the family home in military housing at Ft. Bragg, N.C. MacDonald, now 68, is serving three life sentences for the crime, which spawned a bestselling book, "Fatal Vision," a hit TV miniseries and decades of speculation over whether MacDonald is...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 10, 1987 | JANE HULSE, Times Staff Writer
A murder charge against a man accused of strangling an 18-year-old woman was dropped Monday because the key witness, the dead woman's boyfriend, has disappeared. Van Nuys Municipal Judge Robert H. Wallerstein dismissed the charge against Richard Heywood Jordan, 40, when the witness, Richard Hurst, failed to show up for a preliminary hearing Monday. Hurst, 20, also had failed to appear at a hearing two weeks ago.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 8, 1992 | VICTOR MERINA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Federal prosecutors sought Tuesday to chip away at the credibility of a Los Angeles police detective who testified for the defense of six narcotics officers on trial for alleged civil rights violations. Although he has not been charged, Detective Anthony Robert Moreno was portrayed by prosecutors as a co-conspirator with five sheriff's deputies and a Los Angeles Police Department officer accused of skimming drug cash, planting narcotics on suspects and beating drug dealers.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2012 | By Phil Willon, Los Angeles Times
More than eight years after the 2003 Old fire destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and led to the deaths of at least five people in San Bernardino County, the prosecution and defense in the arson-murder trial of Rickie Lee Fowler find themselves wrestling with time's corrosive effects on memory and evidence. Fowler, a career criminal, is charged with tossing a road flare into the parched, brittle brush at the base of the San Bernardino Mountains. He faces a possible death penalty if convicted of any of the five counts of murder he faces.
NATIONAL
May 25, 2012 | By Rene Stutzman and Jeff Weiner
ORLANDO, Fla. - Evidence released last week in the second-degree murder case against George Zimmerman shows four key witnesses made major changes in what they say they saw and heard on the rainy February night when he fatally shot 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Three changed their stories in ways that could damage Zimmerman. One man who initially told police Martin was atop Zimmerman punching him "MMA-style" - a reference to Mixed Marital Arts - later said he was no longer sure about the punches.
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