- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CALIFORNIA

DNA test sought for octuplets

LOS ANGELES | A former boyfriend of Nadya Suleman wants DNA testing to determine if he’s the father of her 14 children, including her nearly month-old octuplets.

Denis Beaudoin told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday that he donated sperm to Ms. Suleman during their three-year relationship in the late 1990s because she claimed to have ovarian cancer.

Ms. Suleman denied that Mr. Beaudoin was the donor she used to conceive her children, ABC said. When pressed, she admitted he had donated sperm to her but said he was unable to have children, the network said. Mr. Beaudoin is divorced and has two children from the marriage.

Mr. Beaudoin still wants DNA testing. He said he was misled about why she needed him to make three sperm donations “because she couldn’t have kids and, you know, it turned into this.”

CONNECTICUT

Child-porn convict to pay restitution

BRIDGEPORT | A federal judge on Monday ordered a man convicted of possessing and distributing child pornography to pay about $200,000 in restitution to a woman who was photographed being sexually abused when she was a child.

Senior U.S. District Judge Warren W. Eginton said his ruling was the first in a criminal case in which someone convicted of possessing illegal images - but not creating them - is required to pay restitution.

The case involves Alan Hesketh, a British citizen who was sentenced in October to 78 months in prison for possessing and distributing nearly 2,000 photographs of child pornography.

DELAWARE

Ritz Camera eyes bankruptcy

DOVER | Ritz Camera Centers, the nation’s largest retail photography chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

The Beltsville, Md.-based company submitted its filing Sunday in federal bankruptcy court in Wilmington, estimating assets and liabilities at between $100 million and $500 million. The list of its top 30 unsecured creditors is led by Nikon Inc. and Canon USA Inc., which are owed a combined $40 million in trade debt.

The company said revenue from its profitable photofinishing business has declined significantly with the shift from film to digital cameras, and that 2008 holiday sales were “materially lower” than prior-year sales.

FLORIDA

Battle over secret accounts delayed

MIAMI | A federal judge decided Monday it will take months to determine if and when the Internal Revenue Service will learn the identities of 52,000 wealthy Americans who have secret accounts at Swiss bank UBS AG.

U.S. District Judge Alan S. Gold set a July 13 hearing on the IRS lawsuit, unless an agreement is reached first. UBS claims that turning over the account names would violate Swiss privacy law and jeopardize the bank’s license to stay in business.

“Such violations would expose these [UBS] employees to substantial prison terms, as well as fines, penalties and other sanctions,” the UBS lawyers said in a court filing last week. “There is simply no reason to have, nor equity in having, such an expedited process here.”

The IRS had sought an accelerated timetable, but Justice Department tax attorney Stuart Gibson and UBS lawyers told Judge Gold at a brief telephone hearing Monday they agreed on a lengthier process.

NEW JERSEY

Ticketmaster agrees to change system

EAST RUTHERFORD | Ticketmaster has agreed to change the way it sells tickets over the Internet.

New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram announced the settlement Monday. She said the changes apply to all Ticketmaster sales nationwide.

The case stems from complaints received about ticket purchases for a Bruce Springsteen concert. Ticket seekers were redirected from the main Ticketmaster site to a subsidiary that charged more.

Ms. Milgram said Ticketmaster has not admitted wrongdoing but has agreed to pay $350,000 to the state. She said the company will also compensate ticket holders who complained and change how it handles secondary sales.

TEXAS

Judge pleads guilty in sex abuse case

HOUSTON | A federal judge pleaded guilty Monday to lying to investigators about sexually abusing his secretary, in exchange for prosecutors dropping five sex-crime charges alleging he groped the secretary and another female court employee.

As part of the plea agreement, U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent admitted he tried to force his former case manager into unwanted sex acts in August 2003 and March 2007, and did the same with his secretary from 2004 through at least 2005.

Kent, the first federal judge ever charged with a sex crime, also retired, effective immediately. But because Kent was appointed for life it was unclear whether the retirement would help him avoid possible impeachment by Congress or whether he would still collect a salary.

Kent’s guilty plea to obstruction of justice came as jury selection for his trial was to begin Monday. Under the plea agreement, prosecutors will seek no more than three years in prison when Kent is sentenced on May 11.

WASHINGTON

Microsoft: Workers can keep extra pay

SEATTLE | A few weeks after launching the first wide-scale layoffs in its history, Microsoft Corp. admits it screwed up a key part of the plan.

Microsoft realized that an administrative glitch caused it to pay more severance than intended to some laid-off employees. The company’s response: It asked the ex-workers for the money back.

But when one of Microsoft’s letters seeking repayment surfaced on the Web Saturday, the situation turned embarrassing. On Monday, the company reversed course and said the laid-off workers could keep the extra payouts.

Lisa Brummel, Microsoft’s senior vice president for human resources, said the letters were mailed to 25 of the 1,400 people let go in January. She said most of the checks were off by about $4,000.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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