- - Thursday, January 26, 2012

WISCONSIN

2 ex-Walker aides accused of illegal fundraising

MILWAUKEE | Two women who were on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s staff when he was the Milwaukee County executive were charged Thursday with engaging in political fundraising while at work, becoming the fourth and fifth people with ties to Mr. Walker charged as part of a corruption investigation.

Kelly Rindfleisch, Mr. Walker’s deputy chief of staff before he became governor in 2011, is charged with four felony counts of misconduct in office. Darlene Wink, who was Mr. Walker’s county constituent services coordinator, faces two misdemeanor counts of political solicitation by a public employee.

The charges stem from a Milwaukee County district attorney’s office investigation that has led to charges against three men with Walker ties. The governor denies wrongdoing and says he hasn’t been contacted by prosecutors, but it comes at a politically sensitive time for him, as he is trying to stave off an effort to recall him.

Mr. Walker’s campaign spokeswoman, Ciara Matthews, issued a statement Thursday saying Mr. Walker expected everyone who worked for him to follow the law, “and made that clear publicly and privately.”

LOUISIANA

Judge: BP contract shielded Transocean in spill

NEW ORLEANS | A federal judge has ruled that the rig owner involved in drilling the ill-fated well that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico was shielded by its contract with BP for having to pay many pollution claims in the nation’s largest offshore oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Thursday, however, that Transocean Ltd. is not exempt from paying punitive damages and civil penalties that arise from the April 20, 2010, blowout 100 miles off the Louisiana coast.

He also says Transocean is responsible for claims that are directly related to pollution caused by its rig.

The ruling comes as settlement discussions continue among BP, the states affected by the disaster and the government before next month’s trial.

NEW YORK

NYPD head’s son accused in sex assault

NEW YORK | The son of New York City’s police commissioner, also a co-host of a popular New York City morning television show, has been accused of sexually assaulting a woman, a person familiar with the investigation said Thursday.

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