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February 20, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy and Paige St. John
SACRAMENTO -- An attorney who aided an investigation that resulted in fines against lobbyist Kevin Sloat said the settlement of the matter approved Thursday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission falls short and fails to address some of the most serious allegations involving elected officials. β€œIt's not sufficient,” attorney Jesse Ortiz. β€œI think Mr. Sloat should be held accountable for all of his actions and not just some of them, which is what the FPPC decided to do.” Ortiz represents Rhonda Smira, a former employee of Sloat's lobbying firm who sued the lobbyist, claiming she was wrongly fired after complaining about illegal gifts and campaign contributions being made by the firm to a large number of members of the Legislature.
February 19, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The federal judge overseeing the case against accused Al Qaeda propagandist Sulaiman abu Ghaith on Wednesday granted a one-week delay in the trial's start date, giving defense attorneys additional time to review potential testimony that is expected to be offered by Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. The judge, Lewis A. Kaplan, agreed to postpone jury selection from next Monday to March 3. Defense lawyers had sought a 45-day delay. Last week, Mohammed, who is awaiting his own military trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, agreed to review and answer an extensive list of questions about Ghaith, who was Osama bin Laden's son-in-law.
February 18, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - Defense lawyers in the upcoming New York terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law asked for a 45-day delay Tuesday, saying their case hinges on testimony that self-confessed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is expected to give from his Guantanamo Bay prison cell. New York attorney Stanley Cohen said in court filings that Mohammed would receive written questions on Friday and would need at least four days to review the materials and respond, making it impossible for the federal conspiracy trial against his client, Sulaiman abu Ghaith, to begin Monday as scheduled.
February 18, 2014 | By Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A protracted political battle over California's medical malpractice law may be coming to a new front: the voting booth. For decades, trial lawyers and consumer groups have railed against limits on certain damages in malpractice cases, arguing that such restrictions deny victims fair compensation for grisly medical mistakes. Insurance companies, doctors and other healthcare providers have been equally vigorous in defending the law, saying it is crucial to controlling costs and maintaining the availability of care.
February 17, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
One of 2013's biggest literary surprises was the news that Robert Galbraith, a low-profile but well-regarded new detective novelist, was actually J.K. Rowling. And now, Galbraith returns with another novel to be published in June. "The Silkworm" -- by Robert Galbraith -- is another mystery featuring Galbraith's investigator, Cormoron Strike. Strike, a veteran who lost part of his leg in Afghanistan, will again be aided by his assistant Robin Ellacott. It will be published in June in the U.S. and U.K. The plot involves a writer who may have been murdered.
February 17, 2014 | By Shan Li
Joey Mucha used to seal a business deal with a handshake or an e-mail. Now he whips out his smartphone. The San Francisco entrepreneur runs a side business renting out skee ball machines. With the company growing steadily, Mucha decided last year he needed to use contracts to protect his clients and the business. But he didn't go to a pricey lawyer. Instead, the 27-year-old downloaded a smartphone app called Shake. It guided him through the process of creating easy-to-read contracts, which customers can then sign with a swipe of their fingers on the screen.
February 15, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - Eric H. Holder Jr. sounds like a man who suddenly found a second wind. During his first four years as America's top law enforcement officer, Holder's tenure at the Justice Department seemed so unfocused and controversy-prone that even Democrats began to question what the nation's first African American attorney general had accomplished, and whether he had the passion to stick it out. But since President Obama's reelection, the...
February 14, 2014
Re "When lawyers go bad," Opinion, Feb. 11 Yale law student Jane Chong needs to go back to class if she thinks that disgraced former journalist Stephen Glass should be granted a law license in California because current unethical members of the bar did equally bad or worse things. That's a losing argument in any court, whether legal or that of public opinion. Chong misses the salient reason for Glass' unacceptability. An attorney's ethics are challenged in nearly every case, whether in trying to set a criminal client free or in efforts to represent an alleged corporate wrongdoer.
February 13, 2014 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - Lawyers in the upcoming trial of an alleged top Al Qaeda leader reached a compromise Thursday to allow his defense attorney to submit written questions to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, with government lawyers allowed to review the questions and answers from the presumed Sept. 11 mastermind to ensure no classified material is included. If government national security officials clear those replies, that could lead to highly dramatic testimony from Mohammed during the New York trial of Sulaiman abu Ghaith, possibly through a closed-circuit feed or videotape from Guantanamo Bay. The complex turn of events came after Mohammed agreed to help the legal defense of Abu Ghaith, who is charged with criminal conspiracy in connection with the Sept.
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