• TAWANA BRAWLEY BEGINS MAKING DEFAMATION PAYMENTS: NEW YORK (AP) — A black woman who set off a racial firestorm as a teenager after alleging she was raped by a group of white men in 1987 has begun making defamation payments to one of them.
Tawana Brawley has paid just over $3,700 to former county prosecutor Steven Pagones, the New York Post reported (http://bit.ly/14USZiy). Pagones won a claim against her and her advisers, including the Rev. Al Sharpton, after he was named as an attacker.
Brawley, then 15 and living in Wappingers Falls, claimed she had been sexually assaulted by white men who who smeared her with feces and scrawled racial epithets on her body.
The case quickly made headlines and drew the attention of Sharpton, who became an outspoken advocate for the teen.
A special state grand jury later determined that Brawley had fabricated her claims, perhaps to avoid punishment for staying out late.
Pagones sued Brawley for defamation and won a $185,000 judgment. She now owes him more than $400,000 with interest.
Brawley lives in Virginia and works as a nurse. The Post reported her location in December, and Pagones then filed papers to have her wages garnished for the payments owed him.
• FEDS REACH DEAL WITH MAN ACCUSED OF OBAMA THREAT: GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have reached a plea agreement with a former Colorado Mesa University student accused of threatening President Barack Obama last fall.
Twenty-year-old Mitchell Kusick was accused of telling his therapist he wanted to kill President Barack Obama and shoot schoolchildren. The Daily Sentinel reports that Kusick is expected to withdraw his not guilty plea on Aug. 7.
Kusick remains in federal custody. He was arrested last November after the Westminster Police Department forwarded statements allegedly made by him to the U.S. Secret Service.
Kusick was enrolled as an online student at CMU and told agents he’d trained to shoot an assault rifle while practicing at a rifle range in Grand Junction.
• NURSE AT BOTCHED OHIO TRANSPLANT SUES OVER FIRING: COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A veteran nurse present during a botched kidney transplant at an Ohio hospital last summer has sued for wrongful termination.
The lawsuit filed Friday in Columbus seeks $25,000 for Melanie Lemay, a nurse suspended then fired after a different nurse accidentally threw away a viable kidney as medical waste during the procedure last August.
After the error, the hospital apologized and put an administrator and two nurses on paid leave. Lemay alleges her subsequent termination was based on violating policies and procedures that didn’t exist on the day of the operation.
The 30-year employee of the University of Toledo Medical Center alleges that operating room policies that hospital administrators turned over to investigators from the Department of Health and Human Services had an effective date of Aug. 16 — six days after the surgery.
• OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OVERRULES APPLE IMPORT BAN: WASHINGOTN (AP) — President Obama’s trade representative on Saturday vetoed a ban on imports of some Apple iPads and older iPhones, dealing a setback to rival South Korean electronics company Samsung.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman overruled a June decision by the U.S. International Trade Commission, which had banned imports of the iPhone 4 and some variations of the iPad 2. The commission ruled that the Chinese-made Apple devices violated a patent held by Samsung and couldn’t be imported. The ban never went into effect, though, because the Obama administration had 60 days to decide if it would uphold the commission.
Obama is against import bans on the basis of the type of patent at issue in the Samsung case. The White House has recommended that Congress limit the ITC’s ability to impose import bans in these cases.
Samsung and Apple are in a global legal battle over smartphones. Apple argues Samsung’s Android phones copy vital iPhone features. Samsung is fighting back with its own complaints.
• FORMER REDNECK OLYMPICS UNDER WAY IN MAINE: HEBRON, Maine (AP) — Despite being forced to changes its name, the event formerly known as the Redneck Olympic Games continued its tradition Saturday of holding unorthodox competitions like lawn mower races, mud runs and tire burnouts.
A full day of events was on tap during the Maine Redneck “Blank” Games. Organizer Harold Brooks changed the name under pressure from the International Olympics Committee, but noted that “everyone knows what the ‘blank’ stands for.”
Friday’s events included a wedding and a demolition derby. Other events over the weekend included bobbing for pigs’ feet, toilet seat horseshoes and a greased watermelon relay race.
The idea behind the event, Brooks said, was to have what amounts to a great big outdoor picnic and pig roast for hardworking people who’ve earned the right to blow off some steam.
Being a redneck, he said, isn’t about living in a trailer, or getting drunk.
“A redneck is someone who works hard. They say their neck is red because they work outside. A redneck can make fun of himself and have a good time,” said Brooks, who’s a general contractor.
The Redneck Olympic Games kicked off three years ago. But the name was changed after the International Olympic Committee came after him, telling him he couldn’t brand his event as an Olympic event.
• SIDEBURNS CONTEST CELEBRATES 1813 BATTLE HERO: ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A sideburns contest honoring a U.S. Navy commodore known for his impressive facial hair is marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Lake Erie.
The Erie-Times News (http://bit.ly/183gwCe) reports that the winner of the Perry Burns contest will be named this week. Judges will decide who sports the sideburns most like those of Oliver Hazard Perry, who defeated British forces in September 1813. He is considered a War of 1812 hero.
Historical portraits suggest that Perry wore long mutton-chop sideburns that extended toward his lips.
Erie residents say the town had a beard-growing contest marking the battle’s 150th anniversary in 1963.
Participant Kevin Kantz says he’s been growing out his sideburns since July. He says he was inspired by the 1963 contest, which he attended at age 11.