National Roundup

Owners of fast food outlets say debit suit wrong

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — The owners of 16 McDonald’s restaurants say a lawsuit filed by a northeastern Pennsylvania woman who’s challenging their decision to pay employees with debit cards has no merit.
The (Wilkes-Barre) Citizens’ Voice reports that attorneys for Albert and Carol Mueller, whose company owns 16 regional McDonald’s restaurants, say the cards “are the functional equivalent of cash or checks.” They say employees consented to the payment method.
The company recently filed its response to a class-action lawsuit initiated by attorneys for Natalie Gunshannon. The 27-year-old Dallas Township woman briefly worked at the Shavertown McDonald’s earlier this year. She says she was charged $1.50 to withdraw cash.
The company says Gunshannon doesn’t have standing to sue because she never was actually paid with a debit card and never incurred any fee.

Suspect in terror plot changes his plea to guilty

MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Alabama say a man has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges. reports 25-year-old Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair changed his plea to guilty Tuesday. Authorities accused the man of plotting violent acts in America and looking to join an overseas jihadist movement.
Abukhdair was initially set to go to trial later this month and changed his plea during a pretrial conference in Mobile.
The man’s co-defendant, Randy Wilson, also pleaded guilty in the case and both men are now scheduled to be sentenced later this year.
Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a 15-year prison sentence on a charge of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.
The man was deported from Egypt after being arrested in November 2010 on suspicion of being involved in terrorist activities.

New York
Gov’t: Terror case lawyer can’t be freed by judge

NEW YORK (AP) — The government told a federal judge on Tuesday he doesn’t have authority to release an ailing disbarred civil rights lawyer serving a 10-year prison sentence for letting an imprisoned blind Egyptian sheik communicate with his followers.
Prosecutors said in court papers that a request by Lynne Stewart’s lawyers for her to be released so she can better fight terminal cancer should be rejected. They wrote that U.S. District Judge John G. Koeltl doesn’t have the authority to reconsider or modify a term of imprisonment previously imposed unless the federal Bureau of Prisons requests it.
Defense lawyers last week asked the judge to free the 73-year-old Stewart after the director of the Bureau of Prisons rejected a compassionate-release request from Stewart in June, saying she had more than 18 months to live. Her lawyers, though, say her condition is “rapidly deteriorating” and she will soon succumb to breast cancer.
Prosecutors, in their papers, recounted Stewart’s crime, saying she “materially assisted terrorists who were striving to kill people outside the United States and who only through fortuity failed in achieving their murderous objectives — although Stewart and her co-defendants’ actions came perilously close to unleashing a violent terrorist attack.”
At trial, jurors heard evidence that Stewart relayed a message from her client, Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman, to the media despite special administrative measures taken to ensure he could not communicate with followers. The sheik is serving a life sentence for conspiracies to blow up New York landmarks and assassinate then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Stewart, who’s been imprisoned since 2009, represented the sheik at his 1995 trial and afterward.
Stewart is being held at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell, in Fort Worth, Texas. Her cancer was first diagnosed in 2005 and was rediscovered last summer.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Tattoo shop owner charged in gun assault 

COQUILLE, Ore. (AP) — The owner of a tattoo shop in North Bend, Ore., is accused of trying to shoot the owner of another tattoo parlor to eliminate his competition.
Bay Area Ink owner David Edgar Wonnacott was arraigned Monday in Coos County court on charges of attempted murder, assault and being a felon in possession of a gun.
Court papers say he assaulted Flying Chicken Tattoo owner Brian Graham on July 31 as Graham drove up to his shop. Graham told police that Wonnacott pointed a gun at him and said, “You’re in the wrong town.”
Court papers say the gun apparently jammed but Wonnacott hit Graham’s head with the butt of the weapon, drawing blood.
The World reports Wonnacott fled and was arrested the next day in Eugene. He’s held on $250,000 bail.

State’s top court OKs suit in teen’s car chase death

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Supreme Court says the family of a teenager killed after a 2010 police pursuit can sue the Weber County deputy who was driving, but not the county itself.
The decision Tuesday comes after a district judge had previously dismissed the lawsuit.
The family of Wayne Torrie says the Petersboro teen was distraught March 23, 2010 after being teased in school and threatened to commit suicide by crashing if he spotted any police.
The deputy spotted the teen, who sped up to 99 mph before crashing west of Ogden. He died the next day.
Attorneys for Weber County contended Torrie caused his own death, but the lawsuit says officers cannot pursue at high speeds if they know the identity of the driver and can safely apprehend him later.

Officer accused of victimizing multiple women

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A 28-year-old Las Vegas police officer is facing criminal charges after women he met on routine calls accused him of abuse of authority and sexual harassment.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday that Solomon Coleman is suspended pending the outcome of criminal and internal investigations.
Coleman isn’t jailed, but is due today in court.
He faces felony oppression under color of law and misdemeanor gross lewdness and taking pictures of a person’s private area charges.
The newspaper says at least five alleged victims had been identified during an investigation that began in June after a domestic violence victim filed a complaint.y