courts

Corruption
3:38 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Broussard's corruption trial delayed to Nov. 5

U.S. District Judge Hayden Head Jr. has postponed Aaron Broussard's trial until Nov. 5, giving the former Jefferson Parish president an extra month to prepare his defense against corruption charges. Trial had been scheduled Oct. 1.

The Times-Picayune reports Head did not go as far as the defense had wanted, to Jan. 7.

Broussard and co-defendant Tom Wilkinson, his former parish attorney, sought the delay because of Hurricane Isaac damage to the Mandeville home of Wilkinson's attorney. The government did not oppose Jan. 7, defense attorneys said, but Head settled on Nov. 5.

The Salt
12:01 pm
Thu September 13, 2012

Beef Products Inc. Sues ABC Over Repeated Attacks On 'Pink Slime'

Lean, finely textured beef, dubbed "pink slime" by critics, is frozen on a large drum as part of its manufacturing process at the Beef Products Inc.'s plant in S. Sioux City, Neb. in March.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 1:46 pm

Beef Products, Inc., the South Dakota company at the center of a firestorm this spring over its product labeled "pink slime" by critics, announced Thursday it is suing ABC News for defamation and $1.2 billion in damages.

BPI alleges that ABC reporters and hosts made 200 false statements over the course of a month about BPI's product, known in the industry as lean, finely textured beef (LFTB).

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Food Stamps
4:23 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

La. man gets prison for $1.2M food stamp theft

A Lake Charles man has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison for stealing more than $1 million in food stamp benefits.

U.S. District Judge Richard Haik on Tuesday sentenced 46-year-old Vincent Edward DaPrince to 51 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $1.2 million in restitution to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Haik also ordered him to serve 50 hours of community service following his release from prison.

DaPrince pleaded guilty in April to fraud charges.

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Medicare Fraud
4:16 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Woman gets prison in Medicare fraud plot

A woman who worked as a patient recruiter for several Louisiana medical equipment companies has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for her role in a Medicare fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge James Brady in Baton Rouge also on Tuesday ordered 47-year-old Karen Rayburn to pay nearly $3.2 million in restitution.

Rayburn, of Baton Rouge, pleaded guilty in January to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

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Courts
3:46 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

Katrina floodwall case heads to trial

The Army Corps of Engineers is back on trial, seven years after Hurricane Katrina's storm surge shredded New Orleans' flood protection system.

Starting Wednesday, a federal judge will hear testimony in a lawsuit by several homeowners who claim negligence by the corps and a contractor caused the failure of floodwalls protecting the Lower 9th Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish.

The corps says rain and storm surge overtopped floodwalls along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal.

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BP Oil Spill
4:43 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Transocean, feds considered $1.5B settlement

Transocean Ltd. and the Justice Department have discussed a $1.5 billion settlement that would resolve federal civil and criminal claims against the company over its role in the deadly 2010 rig explosion that spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

But Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. said in a regulatory filing Monday that a "number of issues," including the possible time period for payment, must be resolved before a deal can be completed.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

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Public Records
4:15 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Lawsuits challenge shielding of state records

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration is facing court challenges over attempts to keep records from the public.

At issue is the use of a public records exemption successfully pushed by Jindal and added to state law during his first term.

Shreveport-based Willis-Knighton Health System sued the Department of Transportation and Development over its refusal to provide information about a highway extension project. The department claimed an exemption tied to the governor's "deliberative process," a permitted exemption under the open records law.

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Louisiana Supreme Court
2:53 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Lawyer explains appeal in La. chief justice spat

A lawyer for Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says a federal judge created confusion when she ruled in favor of state Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson's bid to become the court's next chief justice.

Kevin Tully, one of the state's attorneys, said in a statement Saturday that it's unclear whether U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan believes a 20-year-old federal court settlement prohibits the state's highest court from "carrying out its constitutional duties" and naming its next chief justice.

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Louisiana Supreme Court
1:09 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

State appeals ruling in La. Chief justice spat

The State of Louisiana is appealing a judge's ruling that Louisiana Supreme Court Justice Bernette Johnson has the seniority that entitles her to become the court's next chief justice.

Friday's court filing by a lawyer representing Gov. Bobby Jindal's office asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to review U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan's ruling. Morgan sided with Johnson's bid to become the state's first black chief justice and succeed Justice Catherine Kimball when she retires in 2013.

Johnson had sued to block her colleagues from deciding the matter.

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Bank Robbery
9:39 am
Fri September 7, 2012

New Orleans man gets prison for armed bank robbery

A New Orleans man who pleaded guilty to robbing a bank at gunpoint has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman on Wednesday sentenced 30-year-old Khadafi Chico Degruy to 85 months in prison and ordered him to pay more than $9,500 in restitution to First Bank & Trust.

Degruy pleaded guilty in May to robbing one of the bank's branches, in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans.

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