- The Washington Times - Friday, February 6, 2004

Jackson sued over halftime stunt

CHICAGO — A Tennessee woman has sued Janet Jackson and others involved in her breast-baring Super Bowl halftime show, saying millions of people are owed monetary damages for exposure to lewd conduct, court records showed yesterday.

The suit, filed earlier this week in federal court in Knoxville, Tenn., also names pop star Justin Timberlake, who performed with the singer, CBS Broadcasting Inc., show producer MTV Networks Enterprises Inc., and the parent of those two companies, Viacom Inc.

CBS and Viacom said they had no comment on the filing.

The action seeks a court order to prevent anything like last Sunday’s stunt from being repeated on network television prior to 10 p.m. local time when children might be watching.

It also asks the court to declare the matter a class action for purposes of damages. No dollar figure is mentioned in the suit, but it estimates that more than 80 million U.S. viewers might be due compensation. CBS has said the game drew an average viewership of just under 89.6 million people.

If additional punitive damages are granted, it adds, they should be no higher than the “gross annual revenues of each defendant for the last three years.”

Lethal injection not cruel, judge rules

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal court ruled yesterday that lethal injection does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment, clearing the way for the execution next week of a man convicted of hacking four persons to death.

Kevin Cooper, 46, is due to be executed Tuesday for using a hatchet and buck knife to kill two parents, their 10-year-old daughter and her friend in 1983. He says he is innocent. If the execution goes through, it will be California’s first in just more than two years, and the 11th since 1976.

“There also appear to be questions concerning the underlying conviction that have been and continue to be the subject of impassioned debate,” U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose, Calif., wrote in his decision.

Charges dropped in teen-slamming case

LOS ANGELES — After two trials that ended in hung juries, prosecutors dropped brutality charges yesterday against a former police officer who was videotaped slamming a handcuffed teenager onto a patrol car.

Prosecutors said they did not believe they could get a unanimous verdict in a third trial for former Inglewood Officer Jeremy Morse.

Superior Court Judge William Hollingsworth Jr. agreed.

“I’m convinced that the chances of reaching a unanimous decision either way is virtually nil. The case is dismissed,” Judge Hollingsworth said.

Court rejects bid to outlaw hemp food

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that the U.S. government overstepped its boundaries when it banned the sale of food made with hemp.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that although the Drug Enforcement Administration has regulatory authority over marijuana, the agency did not follow the law in asserting authority over all hemp food products as well.

Hemp is a plant related to marijuana that contains only trace amounts of THC, marijuana’s active substance.

Fiber from hemp long has been used to make paper, clothing, rope and other products. Its oil is found in body-care products such as lotion, soap and cosmetics and in a host of foods, including energy bars, waffles, veggie burgers and bread.

Hemp food-sellers say their products are full of nutrition.

But last April, DEA attorney Daniel Dormont told the court that “there’s no way of knowing” whether some food made with hemp could intoxicate people.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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