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Christie press secretary testifies before bridge scandal grand jury

Christie press secretary testifiesA grand jury is now hearing testimony in the federal criminal probe into the George Washington Bridge lane-closings scandal, according to Anthony Iacullo, the lawyer for Gov. Chris Christie’s spokesman, Michael Drewniak, who added that Drewniak appeared before the grand jurors today and testified as a witness.

Legal experts say the hearing of grand-jury testimony is an important development that means U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman has accumulated enough evidence to move past a preliminary inquiry into the controversial lane closings and into a grand jury investigation of them.


Federal judge will require Ohio to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

Judge TImothy BlackA federal judge said Friday he would issue a ruling requiring Ohio to recognize all same-sex marriages performed in other states.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black’s decision in the Henry v. Wymyslo  case comes about nine months after he ruled that Ohio must recognize a gay couple’s marriage in Maryland, where same-sex marriage is legal, on the death certificate of one of the partners.


NYPD officer embroiled in assault trial sued by another Occupy campaigner

Occupy assult trialA New York police officer whose allegation of assault against an Occupy Wall Street activist could send her to prison for seven years is being sued by another Occupy campaigner, who alleges that the officer injured him on the same day.

Officer Grantley Bovell alleges that Cecily McMillan intentionally elbowed him in the face as he was arresting one of the dozens of protesters from the anti-capitalist movement who were seized at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on 17 March 2012.


Serial killer executed with Texas' new drug supply

Serial killer executedA serial killer was put to death Thursday in Texas after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his lawyers' demand that the state release information about where it gets its lethal injection drug.

Tommy Lynn Sells, 49, was the first inmate to be injected with a dose of newly replenished pentobarbital that Texas prison officials obtained to replace an expired supply of the powerful sedative. When asked if he wanted to make a statement before his execution, Sells replied: "No."


Harvard’s Biggest Problem With Sexual Assault Is Harvard Itself

Harvard sexual assaultsWhy does a university use an antiquated definition of sexual assault, put the burden of evidence on victims, and discourage prosecution of cases?

Dear Harvard: I am writing to let you know I give up. My assailant will remain unpunished, and life on this campus will continue its course as if nothing had happened. Today, Harvard, I am writing to let you know that you have won.

The defeated tone of the anonymous open letter published in Monday’s Harvard Crimson struck a nerve far beyond the confines of Harvard Square. The female undergraduate student’s account of her assault at the hands of “a friend of mine” she trusted is chilling, but most of the letter was devoted to exposing the systematic failure of Harvard’s administration to support and protect her in the aftermath.


Mississippi Approves Religious Freedom Bill, Governor Signs It Into Law

Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration ActAfter simultaneous debate in both chambers of the Mississippi Legislature Tuesday, state lawmakers approved a religious freedom bill that some have argued could lead to discrimination against LGBT people and others.

First in the House, the bill passed 79-43, and later, Senate lawmakers approved the bill with a wide majority. [Update — April 3: Gov. Phil Bryant signed the bill into law Thursday, noting in a statement, “I am proud to sign the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act today, which will protect the individual religious freedom of Mississippians of all faiths from government interference.”]


Rick Perry Says Texas Won't Comply With Measures To Reduce Rape in Prison

Rick PerryTexas Gov. Rick Perry (R) refused last week to adopt federal standards aimed at combatting rape in prisons, saying that it would be "impossible" for Texas to comply with the new measures.

In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder on March 28, the governor wrote that though the intention of 2003's Prison Rape Elimination Act is "commendable," the Department of Justice's rules to implement the legislation are "unnecessarily cumbersome" and "counterproductive."


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