The Latest: Cosby’s lawyers put on notice over false claim

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — The Latest on a pretrial hearing in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case (all times local):11:20 a.m.A judge says he's putting Bill Cosby's lawyers on notice after they falsely accused prosecutors of hiding or destroying evidence in his sexual assault case.Judge Steven O'Neill rejected the prosecution's request Monday to throw Cosby's new lawyers off the case. Prosecutors argue the lawyers acted recklessly by making the false claim. The judge calls the allegation serious but says he's reluctant to break up Cosby's legal team with his retrial looming.The 80-year-old comedian is charged with drugging and molesting a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. Cosby says the encounter was consensual. A jury deadlocked on the case last year, setting the stage for a retrial.The defense is seeking to have the charges dismissed, saying they are barred by the statute of limitations.———9:15 a.m.Bill Cosby has arrived in court for the start of a pretrial hearing in his sexual assault case.The 80-year-old comedian entered a suburban Philadelphia courtroom Monday on the arm of his spokesman.Cosby's lawyers are trying to prevent dozens of accusers from testifying at his April 2 sexual assault retrial. Prosecutors want to call as many as 19 women to the witness stand in an attempt to show Cosby engaged in a five-decade pattern of drugging and harming women.Cosby is charged with assaulting a former Temple University women's basketball administrator at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. His first trial ended in a hung jury.Monday's hearing comes less than two weeks after the death of his 44-year-old daughter from kidney disease.———10:40 p.m.Bill Cosby is going to court to stop some of his dozens of accusers from testifying at his April 2 sexual assault retrial.Cosby's retooled defense team is due to clash with prosecutors over the potential witnesses at a pretrial hearing on Monday.Prosecutors want to call as Continue Reading

British company to pay over $900K in false claims settlement

Updated 11:51 am, Tuesday, February 13, 2018 PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Federal prosecutors say an English company and its chief executive officer have agreed on a civil settlement to resolve a false claims charge concerning customs duties. U.S. Attorney Halsey Frank says Pure Collection Ltd. and CEO Samantha Harrison of Harrogate, England, agreed to pay more than $900,000 to resolve allegations of violating the False Claims Act. Frank says the settlements resolve allegations Pure and Harrison improperly avoided U.S. customs duties on merchandise shipped from the United Kingdom to American customers. Pure is a luxury knitwear retailer. Most Popular 1 Texas teacher, wife of athletic director accused of improper... 2 58 years ago this week Houston got four inches of snow just... 3 After Harvey, slight majority still opposes more taxes for... Houston and Texas Player Now Playing: Now Playing Texan tires to stand on ice, takes a spill Houston Chronicle Intense argument captured on video at Montrose CVS Spacewall/Reddit Charred Shishito Peppers with Garlic Herb Oil Food & Wine Spoil bae on a budget Fox 26 Houston Bayou City Buzz - Black Panther preview Fox 26 Houston Thanking Harvey heroes Fox 26 Houston One-on-one with D.A. Kim Ogg Fox 26 Houston Dad fights for son's return Fox 26 Houston The fight against opioids Fox 26 Houston Indicted Montgomery County judge locked in battle for his job Fox 26 Houston Serial killer wills his body, property to known peddler of murderabilia Fox 26 Houston North Texas midterm primaries leave 3 notable seats up for grabs Fox4 Walmart gives out free tickets to Black Panther advanced screening Fox 26 Houston Conjoined identical twins successfully separated at Texas Children's Hospital Fox 26 Houston University of Houston student carjacked Fox 26 Houston Houston FOXRAD Forecast Monday 2/12/18 Fox 26 Houston Prosecutors say Pure and Harrison evaded Continue Reading

Sheryl Crow sang to feds about Lance Armstrong’s illegal activities, new book claims

Sheryl Crow was with Lance Armstrong when he went to receive an illicit blood transfusion and later told federal investigators about what she'd seen, according to a new book about the doping conspiracy that propelled Armstrong's cycling teams. The musician accompanied Armstrong during a trip to Belgium in Armstrong's private jet for a 2004 procedure according to "Wheelmen," a book due out next Tuesday from Wall Street Journal reporters Reed Albergotti and Vanessa O'Connell. "Rather than try to hide the transfusion from her, Armstrong was completely open about it," the authors write. "He trusted that Crow would have no desire to tell the press or anyone else about the team's doping program. He explained that it was simply part of the sport - that all cyclists were doing the same thing." Crow and Armstrong were dating at the time, Armstrong having left his wife, Kristin, just as his romance with Crow became public. The singer and cyclist were briefly engaged, but they split up in 2006. A representative for Crow, apprised Wednesday afternoon of the book's contents, did not offer a comment. Crow was forced to revisit her relationship with Armstrong five years after it ended when federal investigators launched the criminal probe that hastened Armstrong's downfall. The Daily News reported last year that Crow spoke with investigators in late 2011. "Wheelmen" states that Crow informed on Armstrong after Food and Drug Administration criminal investigator Jeff Novitzky gave her a proffer agreement, a document that protects witnesses from criminal prosecution if they cooperate honestly. Blood transfusions allow athletes to increase the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells in their bodies, boosting endurance potential without using drugs. Armstrong used transfusions in conjunction with banned drugs during the peak of his career, and doped throughout his entire career. Armstrong escaped Continue Reading

There’s no evidence linking the Las Vegas shooting to ISIS. Why did terrorists make false claim?

Within hours of the mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 59 and wounded 500, ISIS claimed responsibility for the actions of shooter Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old resident of Mesquite, Nev.News outlets picked up the story and later had to backtrack as terrorism experts began to point out that this incident lacks the usual hallmarks of ISIS-inspired terrorism: a young male perpetrator, a history of petty crime and signs of allegiance to ISIS on social media.On Monday, Amaq, the propaganda news agency for ISIS, called Paddock a “soldier of the caliphate” and later published a more formal claim. But terrorism experts say this is likely ISIS's first false claim for an attack in the West. If it’s not, Paddock represents a wild outlier among those who have committed violence in the name of ISIS.Rukmini Callimachi, who covers Islamic extremism for the New York Times, said she began to have doubts about the claim soon after it was posted.“I Googled what was known about the shooter,” Callimachi said. “And as soon as I found out that he was a white male who was 64 years old, I started to question their claim.”Studies have shown that ISIS recruits are typically young and male, with a criminal history.“If this man turns out to be ISIS, he will not just be an outlier, he will be the oldest ISIS recruit in the US by nearly a decade,” Callimachi said.Callimachi said there are several things that could be destabilizing the group, and leading it to make such a false claim. ISIS has lost significant ground in Iraq and Syria in the past year and Amaq, its news agency, has been the target of airstrikes.“One working theory is that as they lose personnel, they’re getting sloppier,” Callimachi said.In June, Rayan Meshaal, the founder of Amaq, was reportedly killed in an US-led airstrike. In July, a bus used as a mobile headquarters was targeted, killing Continue Reading

Gov. Matt Bevin falsely claims Courier-Journal flew drone over his Anchorage house

Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday falsely claimed in a tweet that the Courier-Journal flew a drone over his home in Anchorage to film his children among other accusations.  "The Courier-Journal does not own or operate drones," said Executive Editor Joel Christopher. "It is a false association to include the Courier-Journal in that tweet."Bevin later tweeted that WDRB was responsible for the drone. WDRB News Director Barry Fulmer said in a tweet that the station "was flying a drone in accordance to the FAA rules to cover news happening at your home. There is NO video of children." The governor's home was being inspected Tuesday to determine its value after questions were raised about whether Bevin received a sweetheart deal when he purchased the mansion from political donor Neil Ramsey.  The latest: Reporters denied access to inspection of Bevin's Anchorage home Background: Did Bevin get a deal on his Anchorage home? Tuesday morning, Bevin fired off two tweets claiming the Courier-Journal and WAVE 3 were responsible for "drones again flying directly over and around my home filming my children." WAVE 3 News Director Bill Shory responded on Twitter by saying the TV station has never flown drones over the home and calling for a correction from Bevin. The governor then tweeted asking "at what point does the perverse fascination by @wave3news, @courierjournal & #PeepingTom Loftus with my home & family become stalking?" referring to CJ politics reporter Tom LoftusIn a later tweet, he claimed Loftus came to his home "again with three attorneys demanding to be let in."Loftus and others from Kentucky media outlets went to Bevin's home Tuesday for a property tax board's inspection of the home, where reporters were denied access. The Courier-Journal believes the inspection was a public meeting under the Kentucky Open Meetings Act.Loftus went to the home with one Continue Reading

Lance Armstrong can claim victory in battle waged by federal prosecutors, but cyclist still in fight for his legacy

Legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong is smart enough to know that winning a big battle this week doesn't end the war that a diverse and determined group of people is waging against his legacy. That's probably why not a chirp of satisfaction emerged from Armstrong's robust Twitter account on Friday evening, when federal prosecutors signaled they would not charge him with federal crimes after a deep investigation into alleged doping conspiracies on his Tour de France teams. "Tomorrow is #WorldCancerDay," the 40-year-old Armstrong wrote, as many people involved in the investigation struggled to absorb the stunning news of its abrupt closure. "I'm running 15 around Town Lake in honor of the #28 million dealing with this disease." Armstrong did issue a bland statement through his attorney, Mark Fabiani, that said he was glad that Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, had taken the unusual step of announcing the investigation had been shut down without charges being filed. But there was none of the swagger that Armstrong has displayed as he dispatched foes both on and off the race course during his storied career. Refusing to acknowledge his sudden good fortune may have been Armstrong's way of telling his supporters that he always had bigger priorities than the sordid accusations leveled by former associates. But no one with a view of the pricey legal team Armstrong assembled in 2010, when grand jury subpoenas started flying, would believe that. And Armstrong will likely need to maintain his stance of legal readiness. From a federal whistleblower suit to a continued probe by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, he still has a lot of active skeptics to outpedal. The two-year federal probe has generated an arsenal of testimony and documentation that wasn't in existence in 2009, when Armstrong last retired. "Our investigation into the sport of cycling is continuing and we look forward to obtaining the information developed during Continue Reading

SAMUELSON: The false charms of single-payer health care

WASHINGTON — Could Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for all” proposal — national health insurance — be as good as he says? It’s doubtful.No one claims that today’s system is ideal. It’s complex, confusing, costly and incomplete. Even after the Affordable Care Act, about 30 million people remain uninsured. For decades, rapid spending increased health care’s share of the economy, estimated at 17.5 percent in 2014. And on many health outcomes — say, infant mortality — the United States does worse than some other advanced societies.To hear Sanders tell it, his single-payer plan (the government pays for most health care) would cure these ailments. Everyone would have coverage. People would go to doctors, hospitals and clinics as needed. There would be no deductibles or co-payments to discourage them. Workers would not be locked into jobs they dislike because they fear losing employer-provided insurance.As for costs, the government would negotiate price cuts on drugs and eliminate private insurers’ high overhead costs. To be sure, paying for the plan would require new taxes. But for many middle-class families, these taxes would be less than today’s out-of-pocket expenses and their share of premiums for employer-provided insurance. A family of four with $50,000 of income could save nearly $5,800 a year, Sanders says.It sounds too good to be true, because it is.For starters, even if Sanders became president, the prospect for his plan being enacted would be slim. That’s not a conservative wish but the view of many liberals. It’s politically unrealistic, they argue, to think that nearly a fifth of the economy could be totally remade. “As the old joke goes, ‘You can’t get there from here,’” writes economist Henry Aaron of the liberal-leaning Brookings Institution in Newsweek. There would be too much opposition and uncertainty.Hospitals, doctors and drug Continue Reading

Fighting ‘the man’ can pay off: Pfizer whistleblower gets $51M+

Taking on corporate giants can feel like tilting at windmills, but John Kopchinski's six-year legal battle against Pfizer Inc just made him a rich man. The Gulf War veteran and former Pfizer sales representative will earn more than $51.5 million as a result of his whistleblower lawsuit against the world's biggest drugmaker and the record penalty the company must pay the U.S. government for its massive marketing transgressions. The unassuming Texas resident celebrated his windfall by having a family portrait photograph taken Wednesday morning. "We're going to be staying right here in San Antonio in the same house, and my wife tells me when we go to the movies we're still getting one tub of popcorn -- the large tub," Kopchinski said in a telephone interview. Kopchinski, appalled by Pfizer's tactics in selling the pain drug Bextra, filed a "qui tam" lawsuit in 2003, sparking federal and state probes that led to Wednesday's agreement by the company to pay $2.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties and plead guilty to a felony charge for promoting Bextra and 12 other drugs for unapproved uses and doses. "In the Army I was expected to protect people at all costs," Kopchinski said in a statement. "At Pfizer I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives. "I couldn't do that," added Kopchinski, 45, who was fired by Pfizer in March of 2003, two years before the company pulled Bextra from the market over concerns it raised the risk of heart attacks and strokes. At the time of his dismissal after raising his concerns with the company, Kopchinski had a baby son and his wife was pregnant with twins. He went from earning about $125,000 a year to living off his retirement fund before landing a job with an insurance company for $40,000 a year. "It was a lot of stress on the family. I pretty much depleted my entire 401(k)," he said. "The last six years have been pretty hard, so going forward it's going to be pretty much Continue Reading

How to break away from the “false nice guy” managing syndrome

Many managers are weak, hands-off, and treat every employee the same. These are the “false nice guy” managers who refuse to make decisions, give orders and hold people accountable. They tell themselves that they are doing so because they don't want to be a “jerk,” or they want to be “nice.” They convince themselves that it is somehow not okay to be the boss. The wielding of authority by one person over another seems wrong to them. This is a misunderstanding that flows out of an egalitarian impulse. A boss-employee relationship should be transactional. One’s authority as the boss at work does not require some claim of superiority. One’s employees are being paid to do the job. That is the ultimate source of a boss’ authority, plain and simple. The irony of false nice guy managers occurs when bosses tend to soft-pedal their authority so much that things are bound to go wrong. They get frustrated, angry and act like jerks – arbitrary, out of line, mean and even abusive. False nice guy managers tend to have difficulty with management conversations because they happen only on special occasions. False nice guy managers do not make expectations clear, so management conversations come as unpleasant surprises to employees. And these conversations usually occur when a problem absolutely must be dealt with, so the conversations are likely to become heated. Plus, solving a problem after the fact is more difficult than preventing it in advance. Because the managers are out of the loop, they usually do not have all the facts. They have less confidence in their point of view and fewer resources with which to make their points and respond to employee push-backs. It is easy for them to loose their temper: A manager finally decides to put his foot down about one or more issues and problems that he has let slide. He calls a team meeting and pronounces, “People have to start coming in on time Continue Reading

AIDS foundation scammed Medicare for $20M, claims lawsuit by former managers

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — One of the nation's largest suppliers of HIV and AIDS medical care is accused of bilking Medicare and Medicaid in an elaborate $20 million dollar scam that spanned 12 states, according to a lawsuit filed in South Florida federal court. Three former managers of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a suit last week alleging the company paid employees and patients kickbacks for patient referrals in an effort to boost funding from federal health programs. Employees were paid $100 bonuses for referring patients with positive test results to its clinics and pharmacies. The lawsuit alleges kickbacks started in 2010 at the company's California headquarters and spread to programs in Florida and several other locations. The Los Angeles-based company cares for more than 400,000 patients in 36 countries and is leading a mass testing initiative to identify and treat an estimated 25 million people who don't know they are infected, according to its website. The referrals were key to the company's business model and touted by AHF President Michael Weinstein at a 2013 leadership summit, where the complaint alleges he specifically directed staff to immediately raise the patient financial incentive to $50 and to implement the incentive program nationally throughout the organization. Weinstein said small incentives for linking people to services and keeping them there are "mainstays of public health interventions." "Not only has AIDS Healthcare Foundation done nothing wrong, our pro-active approach to finding and linking HIV-positive individuals to lifesaving care and treatment is critical to stopping HIV in this country," Weinstein said in a statement. He noted that the federal government and state of Florida formally declined to intervene in the legal action, which he says "speaks volumes about the merits of the case." The lawsuit was originally filed last year, but an amended complaint was brought last week. Former managers Jack Carrel of Louisiana, Continue Reading