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American Scene

- - Sunday, December 21, 2008

'Black widow' to get new trial

LAS VEGAS — A woman convicted of killing her millionaire husband in one of Las Vegas' highest-profile murder cases will be getting a new trial.

Margaret Rudin was convicted of murder with a deadly weapon in 2001 in the shooting death of her fifth husband.

The former socialite, dubbed the "black widow," was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years.

Judge Sally Loehrer ruled Friday that Rudin's attorneys weren't properly prepared to defend her at her trial.

Detroit mayor orders cutbacks

DETROIT — The mayor of Detroit has ordered all departments to reduce their budgets by 10 percent as the city deficit approaches $300 million.

Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. said Friday that new problems are being discovered daily regarding the finances and reporting practices of the administration of his predecessor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

He said the discoveries confirm that Mr. Kilpatrick "misled Detroiters and misled City Council."

Detroit has a budget this year of $3.1 billion and employs about 15,000 people.

OSHA probing bridge collapse

ATLANTA — Federal investigators were working through the weekend to determine what caused a pedestrian bridge being built high above an Atlanta park to collapse, killing one man and leaving 11 other workers hospitalized, seven in intensive care.

Contractors were pouring concrete on the "canopy walk" at the Atlanta Botanical Garden when it crumbled Friday morning, sending workers hurtling 40 feet to the forest below. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating Saturday, but spokesman Mike Wald said it could take months to determine what happened.

The 30-acre garden, which is adjacent to Atlanta's popular Piedmont Park north of downtown, will stay closed through the weekend out of respect for the workers and their families, according to a statement on the garden's Web site.

Misuse of campaign funds suspected

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann used his campaign account to bankroll home repairs and family vacations, according to a newspaper review of state investigative reports.

The reports are part of a complaint filed last week with the Ohio Elections Commission by state Inspector General Tom Charles. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner also filed an elections commission complaint against Mr. Dann last week alleging misuse of campaign funds.

The Ohio Elections Commission will address both complaints Jan. 22.

From wire dispatches and staff reports