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Nation & World Briefs


Friday, January 12, 2018
Bill Cosby’s next trial will carry weight of #MeToo movement

PHILADELPHIA — Jurors couldn’t agree the first time around whether to accept a woman’s story that “America’s Dad,” Bill Cosby, sexually assaulted her over a decade ago. Now he faces a retrial in less than 90 days in a vastly different cultural climate, one in which powerful men from Hollywood to the U.S. Senate are being toppled by allegations of sexual misconduct.

The jury in Cosby’s case was hopelessly deadlocked on charges he drugged and molested a woman in 2004, and the judge declared a mistrial in June. But that was before the revelations about movie producer Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement burst into the public sphere.

The shift is clearly on Cosby’s mind. He quipped to a reporter after shaking her hand Wednesday night outside a Philadelphia restaurant: “Please don’t put me on MeToo.”

Legal experts say the seismic change in believing and supporting victims of sexual harassment and assault — and the near-immediate ramifications for so many famous men — will surely trickle into the Cosby retrial, slated to begin April 2.

“Given the split last time, the challenge is going to be in jury selection,” said Los Angeles lawyer Mark Geragos, who is not involved in the Cosby case but whose clients have included Michael Jackson. “Almost all cases are won and lost in jury selection, this case in particular.”

Florida man wins $451 million Mega Millions jackpot

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A 20-year-old Florida man claimed the $451 million Mega Millions jackpot on Friday, choosing to get $282 million at once instead of more in annual installments.

A Florida Lottery news release said Friday that 20-year-old Shane Missler, of Port Richey, had claimed the jackpot from the multistate game’s Jan. 5 drawing. They say he chose to receive his winnings in a one-time, lump-sum payment of $281,874,999.

“I’m only 20, but I hope to use it to pursue a variety of passions, help my family and do some good for humanity,” he said in a statement.

The winning numbers to claim the nation’s 10th-largest jackpot were 28-30-39-59-70 with a Mega Ball of 10.

‘Mississippi Burning’ KKK leader Killen dies in prison at 92

JACKSON, Miss. — Edgar Ray Killen, a 1960s Ku Klux Klan leader who was convicted decades later in the “Mississippi Burning” slayings of three civil rights workers, has died in prison at the age of 92, the state’s corrections department announced Friday.

Killen was serving three consecutive 20-year terms for manslaughter when he died at 9 p.m. Thursday inside the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman.

His conviction came 41 years to the day after James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, all in their 20s, were ambushed and killed by Klansmen.

The three Freedom Summer workers had been investigating the burning of a black church near Philadelphia, Mississippi. A deputy sheriff in Philadelphia had arrested them on a traffic charge, then released them after alerting a mob. Mississippi’s then-governor claimed their disappearance was a hoax, and segregationist Sen. Jim Eastland told President Lyndon Johnson it was a “publicity stunt” before their bodies were dug up.

The slayings shocked the nation, helped spur passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and were dramatized in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning.”

Saudi stadiums open for women in a first to watch soccer

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi women were allowed into a sports stadium for the first time Friday to watch a soccer match between two local teams — though they were segregated in the stands from the male-only crowd with designated seating in the so-called “family section.”

The move was the first of Saudi Arabia’s social reforms planned for this year to ease restrictions on women, spearheaded by the kingdom’s 32-year-old crown prince. The kingdom has also announced that starting in June women will be allowed to drive, lifting the world’s only ban on female drivers.

More than just an incremental step toward greater rights, the presence of women in the sports stadium underscored a wider effort to integrate women in society and grant them more public visibility in a country where gender segregation is widely enforced and where most women cover their faces and hair with black veils and don loose-flowing black robes, known as abayas.

The stadium in the capital, Riyadh, will open to women on Saturday, followed by the western city of Dammam on Thursday. At the Jiddah stadium Friday, young Saudi women wearing bright orange vests over their abayas were deployed to help with the female crowds. “Welcome to Saudi families,” read a sign in Arabic erected across the section of the stadium reserved for women.

From Associated Press