courts

Back in school, did you ever fudge the spacing on a report to meet the teacher's page-length requirement? Lawyers representing oil company BP tried something similar in a recent court filing connected to the company's 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is considering an appeal of Texas laws restricting access to abortions.

Covering the story for Houston Public Radio is health and science reporter Carrie Feibel.

A businessman who provided key testimony against former Mayor Ray Nagin has been sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison.

Rodney Williams had admitted his role in a conspiracy to bribe Nagin.

U.S. District Judge Susie Morgan imposed the sentence yesterday.

Williams pleaded guilty in 2012. In February, he was among several witnesses who testified against Nagin.

Williams said he handed over $60,000 in payoffs to secure city contracts.

Before he was sentenced, Williams tearfully apologized to his family.

A public defender has been appointed for former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who is appealing his February conviction on corruption charges.

Federal court papers filed Friday say Assistant Federal Public Defender Jordan Mark Siverd will handle the appeal. Last week, U.S. District Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan approved the appointment of a public defender. According to a questionnaire filed with the court, Nagin had just $23.65 in the bank and numerous debts.

A federal judge has given a 2½-year prison sentence to a former deputy mayor whose testimony helped convict former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin of corruption.

U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon sentenced Greg Meffert yesterday.

Meffert apologized for the bribery scheme. His testimony helped convict Nagin and city contractor Mark St. Pierre.

Meffert was indicted in 2009 on charges of conspiracy, bribery and public corruption.

He pleaded guilty in November 2010 to accepting about $860,000 in bribes from St. Pierre, whose firms collected millions from the city.

BP will be appealing a federal judge’s finding that it acted with gross negligence for its 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Some legal experts say the oil company will have a tough time in the appellate process.

In a long-awaited ruling, a federal judge on Thursday said BP acted with gross negligence in relation to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and consequent oil spill.

The decision could cost the British oil giant billions of dollars. Bloomberg reports:

Eileen Fleming / WWNO

Supporters of gay rights will be appealing a federal judge’s ruling that supports a ban on same-sex marriage. The decision will be fought in court and in the voting booth.

Ludovic Bertron / Wikimedia

A federal judge has upheld Louisiana's ban on same-sex marriages, as well as the state's refusal to recognize gay marriages legally performed in other states.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman's ruling Wednesday broke a string of 20-plus court wins for supporters of same-sex marriage since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last year.

Feldman said gay marriage supporters failed to prove that the ban violates equal protection or due process provisions of the Constitution.

A federal judge in New Orleans has upheld Louisiana's law banning same-sex marriage. The decision is the first break in a string of more than two dozen federal court rulings that have struck down same-sex-marriage bans in other states over the past year.

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