- - Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Mom pleads guilty in escape case

PHOENIX | The mother of one of three inmates who escaped from an Arizona prison in July faces up to 2½ years in prison after admitting she provided assistance to her son following the escape.

The state Attorney General’s Office says 68-year-old Claudia Mae Washburn of Payson pleaded guilty to a felony charge of hindering prosecution and will be sentenced Jan. 7 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The office says Washburn admitted providing money to her son, John McCluskey, through an intermediary and that she knew her son had escaped from prison and that the money would be used to help him flee from law enforcement.

All three escaped convicts have been recaptured.


Lawyer takes stand in fight

NEW YORK | A lawyer locked in a multimillion-dollar dispute with Brunei’s Prince Jefri Bolkiah is telling a New York court there’s nothing to the royal’s claims that she stole from him.

Faith Zaman Derbyshire testified Wednesday that she was acting on Prince Jefri’s instructions when she took a $4 million share of his proceeds from a real estate sale.

She said the money was supposed to cover fees that the prince owed her and her lawyer husband, Thomas Derbyshire.

She also says she bought three pricey watches with the prince’s money because they were for members of his family.

The prince says the Derbyshires stole about $7 million. They say he owes them more than that in fees and authorized everything they did.

Prince Jefri is a brother of the sultan of oil-rich Brunei.


Storm packs winter wallop for holiday

BISMARCK | A powerful storm that pummeled much of the West is promising to bring its chaotic mix of snow, sleet and ice to much of the Dakotas on Thanksgiving Day.

The system closed roads and delayed flights from Anchorage, Alaska, to Salt Lake City on some of the busiest travel days of the year.

Meteorologists warned residents in the Dakotas to expect a range of messy wintry weather, from freezing drizzle in the eastern two-thirds of South Dakota to a possible blizzard in eastern North Dakota.

“Like the Boy Scouts, you’ve got to be prepared for a North Dakota winter or you’re asking for your own problems,” said Gerald Miller, 52, who plowed roads on his farm just east of Bismarck on Wednesday.

Mr. Miller has spent every winter of his life in North Dakota except for one in 2003 when he served in Iraq with the National Guard. “After Iraq, I promised I’d never complain about the weather in North Dakota again,” he said.

Blowing snow was likely to cause problems for holiday travelers even in areas not expected to get significant amounts.

“We have snow on the ground in many areas, and any snow on top of that will combine for the potential to blow around, reduce visibility and drift, and cause problems for people trying to drive,” said meteorologist Jeff Savadel.


Passenger strips down at airport

SALT LAKE CITY | A college student has posted a video on the Internet in which he strips down to a Speedo bathing suit to protest security measures at Salt Lake City airport.

The video purportedly was shot Tuesday in a security line, but an airport official reported another Speedo protest was taking place Wednesday.

In the video, a Transportation Security Administration agent asks the student, “Sir, what are you doing?”

“This is a safety precaution, man,” the student replies. “Just making sure I don’t have any trouble.”

“Put your clothes back on!” an agent orders before the protester tries to explain that he plans to dress after exiting a metal detector.

“Put your clothes back on!” the agent repeats.

The protester refuses and tells a TSA supervisor, “I looked on the TSA website, and it didn’t say anything about going through in a bathing suit.”

Agents then try to coax the man at least to put on a shirt.

“I will on the other side — is that cool?” he replies.

Agents finally give up and let the man remain in his Speedo.

The student was identified only as Jimmy on the blog complaining of “ridiculous” screening procedures at U.S. airports. The footage was taken by a video camera filming from a security-line conveyor belt.


Soldier in Afghan case waives hearing

SEATTLE | A U.S. soldier who told his family of an alleged plot to kill Afghan civilians for kicks — only to be charged later in the case — has waived his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning his case likely will go straight to military trial, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Spc. Adam Winfield of Cape Coral, Fla., is one of five soldiers charged in the deaths of three civilians during patrols in Kandahar province this year.

Prosecutors said he willingly participated in the final killing, but his lawyer, Eric Montalvo, has argued that Spc. Winfield feared he’d be killed by one of his co-defendants if he didn’t follow an order to shoot at the victim.

Duress is not a legal defense to a murder charge.

Spc. Winfield was set to have an Article 32 hearing next Tuesday at Joint Base Lewis-McChord south of Seattle to help decide whether there’s enough evidence for a court-martial. He waived it because “it would have been a waste of time,” Mr. Montalvo said. He said he and prosecutors have already discussed the case during plea negotiations, and each side is aware of the other’s legal position.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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