- The Washington Times - Friday, April 16, 2010

CALIFORNIA

9 porn agencies named in complaints

LOS ANGELES | An AIDS advocacy group is bringing labor complaints against nine porn talent agencies for promoting actors willing to have unprotected sex on camera.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein said the Los Angeles-area talent agencies are knowingly exposing the actors to sexually transmitted disease.

The complaints addressed to state Labor Commissioner Angela Bradstreet cite a labor code that prevents talent agencies from being licensed if they endanger the health, safety or welfare of artists.

The foundation has been pushing for mandatory use of condoms in porn films since an HIV outbreak in 2004 spread panic through the industry and briefly shut down production at several studios.

CONNECTICUT

Kennedy cousin can be paroled in 2013

NEW HAVEN | Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel, who lost an appeal Monday of his conviction for a 1975 killing, could be released from prison in three years because of more lenient laws in place at the time of the crime, officials said.

Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy’s, is serving 20 years to life for fatally beating Martha Moxley with a golf club in wealthy Greenwich when they were 15-year-old neighbors. The Connecticut Supreme Court on Monday rejected his latest appeal.

Brian Garnett, spokesman for the Connecticut Department of Correction, said Skakel is eligible for parole consideration on April 3, 2013, based on credits for good behavior and other activities such as participating in programs.

HAWAII

Parents end furlough sit-in

HONOLULU | Parents who have been protesting Hawaii’s shortest-in-the-nation school year have ended a sit-in that lasted several days at Gov. Linda Lingle’s office.

Their decision came Wednesday night after state sheriff’s deputies arrested two more protesters, raising the total to four. The protesters and their supporters are angry over school furloughs that have cut 17 days off the current school year, giving the state the shortest instructional calendar in the country.

Another 17 furlough days are planned for next school year.

The parents and other adults camped in the office lobby for five of the past eight days, hoping to prod the governor into taking action to end the furloughs.

MAINE

Last sardine plant could get second life

PORTLAND | A deal is close to save the plant that was the nation’s last sardine cannery and use it to process lobsters and other types of seafood, the Maine governor’s office said Thursday.

A seafood-processing company has signed a nonbinding letter of intent to buy the Stinson Seafood plant from Bumble Bee Foods LLC, said David Farmer, spokesman for Gov. John Baldacci.

The announcement came on the final day of sardine processing at the plant in the eastern Maine village of Prospect Harbor. Its closing marks the end of 135 years of sardine processing in the U.S.

NEW YORK

Imam dodges jail in subway-plot case

NEW YORK | An Afghanistan-born imam linked to the suspects in an aborted suicide bomb plot against New York City subway stations has dodged jail time, but he must leave the country within 90 days.

Ahmad Afzali pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in a deal sparing him serious jail time. He faced up to six months in prison.

In a tearful statement Thursday in Brooklyn federal court, he said he never intended to help the suspects.

Afzali said he didn’t know what country he would go to.

He was arrested in September as federal authorities scrambled to thwart a plot by Najibullah Zazi, a Colorado airport van driver who is the case’s principal suspect. Afzali has said he had wanted to help authorities but lied under grilling by the FBI about his phone conversations with Zazi.

TEXAS

No contest pleas in bigamy case

SAN ANTONIO | Two members of a polygamist sect were sentenced to prison Thursday on bigamy charges, the first legal finding of multiple marriages in a community that has mostly dodged questions about the practice.

Lehi Barlow Jeffs pleaded no contest to bigamy and sexual assault of a child in San Angelo, avoiding a trial that had been set for April 26. State District Judge Barbara Walther found that he committed the crimes and sentenced him to eight years in prison.

Judge Walther found that Michael George Emack, who also pleaded no contest, committed bigamy. He was given a seven-year prison term that will run concurrently with a seven-year sentence he received in January for sexual assault of a child.

Both men belong to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which teaches that plural marriage brings glorification in heaven. Members have been reluctant to talk publicly about such unions, in part because Texas’ bigamy statute makes it illegal to even purport to marry more than one person. Many of the FLDS unions are only church-sanctioned, not legally documented, marriages.

WASHINGTON

Court: Immigration status inadmissible

SEATTLE | The Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that a man’s illegal immigrant status should not have been introduced in court while he sought damages in a negligence lawsuit against a construction contractor.

In a 7-2 ruling, the high court reversed a lower court decision that upheld a jury verdict against Alex Salas.

The state Supreme Court said admitting Mr. Salas’ immigration status presented a danger of unfair prejudice.

A native of Mexico, Mr. Salas was working on a construction project in Seattle when he fell from a ladder. He was seriously injured and sued the contractor, alleging the ladder did not meet safety codes.

Mr. Salas’ immigrant status was revealed during a pretrial deposition. He moved to exclude it from trial, but his request was denied.

WEST VIRGINIA

Most coal operators will stand down Friday

MORGANTOWN | Most West Virginia coal operators will honor Gov. Joe Manchin III’s request to cease production for a day and use the time to focus on safety training and maintenance.

Friday’s production halt will honor 29 miners killed in the April 5 explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine.

West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said his members represent about 85 percent of the state’s coal production, and none has expressed concern about lost production or revenue.

He said everyone wants to ensure there are no more accidents.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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