- - Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Governors: Let states decide Medicaid spending

The nation’s 29 Republican governors want Congress to loosen federal restrictions on how states spend money on health care for poor and disabled Americans.

In a report Tuesday, the GOP governors said states should have a bigger role in determining benefits and who’s eligible for them under the joint federal-state Medicaid program.

They also want Congress to undo an expansion of the program from its current 69 million beneficiaries to 95 million over the next decade under President Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul. The governors are hoping the report gives them a voice in the upcoming debt debate on Capitol Hill.

Democrats have long expressed fears that switching Medicaid money to so-called block grants would enable governors to balance their budgets by reducing health care for the poor.


Trial deciding ownership of sex tape delayed

RALEIGH — A judge has agreed to delay the civil trial over who owns a purported sex tape of John Edwards because of the former presidential candidate’s pending criminal case.

Mr. Edwards’ former mistress, Rielle Hunter, sued his former aide Andrew Young in 2010 over ownership of several items, including an intimate video made by Miss Hunter.

Mr. Edwards was indicted in June on felony charges of violating federal campaign finance laws over about $1 million provided by donors to help hide his pregnant mistress during his presidential campaign. His lawyers in that case requested a delay in the civil case out of concern that information disclosed from that trial could taint his criminal case.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Carl Fox issued an order Tuesday delaying the civil trial until March 26.


Ex-speaker to plead guilty in corruption case

HARRISBURG — A former Pennsylvania House Speaker plans to plead guilty in a state corruption case.

John Perzel is scheduled to change his pleas from innocent to guilty at a hearing in Harrisburg on Wednesday. That’s according to an order issued Tuesday by Dauphin County Court. The order does not specify which charges Mr. Perzel will plead guilty to.

Prosecutors have described the Philadelphia Republican as the architect of a scheme to illegally use millions of dollars’ worth of taxpayer-financed computer technology to gain an edge in political campaigns.

The 61-year-old Perzel faces 82 counts, including theft, conspiracy and conflict of interest.

Eric Ruth, a former House GOP technology office employee, is also scheduled to plead guilty. Mr. Ruth’s lawyer says his pleas will be to conspiracy and conflict of interest.


Pair get 30 days each for pie attack on Levin

DETROIT | A federal judge in Grand Rapids sentenced two recent college graduates to 30 days in jail for protesting U.S. Sen. Carl Levin’s stance on foreign policy by putting an apple pie in his face.

Ahlam Mohsen and Max Kantar were sentenced Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Robert Holmes Bell and handed over to U.S. marshals.

Mr. Levin did not attend the sentencing. He was out of the country and unavailable for comment Tuesday, his office said.

Mr. Mohsen and Mr. Kantar were arrested in August 2010 after Mr. Mohsen attacked the Democrat with the pie during a meeting with constituents at a Big Rapids deli about 50 miles north of Grand Rapids.

Mr. Mohsen, a 23-year-old Michigan State University graduate, had said the crust was removed from the pie “to insure that there would be no physical harm” to the senator, according to a sentencing memorandum filed in federal court.

Mr. Kantar, a 24-year-old graduate of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, read a statement at the public forum just before Mr. Levin was hit with the pie.

Both pleaded guilty to assault on a member of Congress.

Sentencing guidelines for the misdemeanor offense call for eight to 12 months in prison, but probation officials recommended no custody, a year’s probation and a $500 fine. Judge Bell’s sentence did not include fines or restitution.


Giffords aide says she walks with cane, writes

TUCSON | A close aide to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords says the Arizona congresswoman is walking with a cane, writing left-handed and showing she has more goals to achieve.

District director Ron Barber told a meeting of the Democrats of Greater Tucson on Monday that Ms. Giffords is on a path to full recovery following the Jan. 8 shooting of her and others outside a supermarket.

Mr. Barber and fellow Giffords staffer Pam Simon were among those wounded. Six others were killed, including Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman.

The Arizona Daily Star reports Mr. Barber and his wife had dinner with Ms. Giffords when the congresswoman visited Tucson in June. Mr. Barber says Ms. Giffords recognized and responded to every place, person and issue he mentioned.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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