3 FIGHT EXPLOSION OVER FACEBOOK THREATS: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Three eighth-graders from northwest Indiana who say they were expelled after joking on Facebook about which of their classmates they would like to kill asked a federal judge Wednesday to order the district to allow them to return to school.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit on behalf of the three 14-year-old girls in federal court in Hammond, claiming that Griffith Public Schools violated the students' free-speech rights.
The girls were suspended and later expelled in January for the remainder of the school year after a classmate's mother alerted officials at Griffith Middle School to the girls' Facebook posts, the lawsuit says. The suit says school officials told the girls they had violated school policy against bullying, harassment and intimidation.
School officials didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Wednesday.
ACLU attorney Gavin Rose said it was clear the girls were joking because their remarks were accompanied by smiley faces and other emoticons, along with Internet abbreviations for laughter, such as LOL.
BEVERLY HILLS SCHOOLS MOVE TO DROP NONRESIDENTS: BEVERLY HILLS (AP) — Beverly Hills school officials voted unanimously Tuesday to bar students who live outside the district from attending its moneyed public schools, renewing a previous effort.
Beverly Hills Unified School District board members said costs have pushed them to stop issuing inter-district permits for the upcoming school year.
The permits were used for legacies to gain entry into classrooms in the district. Students whose parents attended Beverly Hills schools or whose grandparents live in the city were allowed to attend under the permits.
NY WOMAN ADMITS FAKING CANCER IN WEDDING SCHEME: GOSHEN, N.Y. (AP) — A New York woman admitted Wednesday that she faked cancer to con donors out of money and services for her wedding and Caribbean honeymoon.
Jessica Vega, 25, isn't likely to do any time in state prison, court officials said, but she will have to repay $13,368 to her victims and remain in jail until her sentencing on May 15.
She pleaded guilty in Orange County Court to scheming to defraud and possession of a forged instrument charges.
In 2010, Vega spread the word in her Hudson Valley community that she was dying of leukemia and wanted a "dream wedding" to Michael O'Connell, the father of her infant daughter, in the few months she had left.
Donors stepped up with rings, an embroidered wedding dress and a time-share in Aruba for the honeymoon. Other contributions included food, wine and hairdressing.
WHITE HOUSE GATE CRASHER TO RUN FOR VA. GOVERNOR: RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Tareq Salahi, a Virginia vintner who achieved notoriety for crashing a White House party and later saw his wife run off with a guitarist for the rock band Journey, now says he will run as a Republican for governor of Virginia.
In a move that provoked rolled eyes and guffaws within Richmond's political chattering classes, Salahi filled out and submitted a candidacy declaration Tuesday. It came one day after another GOP candidate for governor, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, sued Salahi and his winery. The suit claims they cheated customers who bought winery tours.
Salahi's declaration of candidacy is meaningless until Jan. 1. Virginia law prohibits the State Board of Elections from accepting the declarations until the year in which the elections are scheduled, said board senior official Chris Piper.
SEN. ASKS FBI TO LOOK INTO 'GIRLS GONE WILD' CLAIM: LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor said Wednesday he's asked the FBI to investigate who set up an online auction for an internship in his Washington office that the founder of "Girls Gone Wild" says he bought for the winner of a reality show.
Pryor denied a claim that the winner of "The Search for the Hottest Girl in America" contest put on by video empire founder Joe Francis will intern in the senator's office this summer. Pryor called the claim a "hoax" and said his office doesn't sell, donate or auction off internships.
"We believe someone outside Senator Pryor's office has broken the law by fraudulently impersonating a U.S. senator, fraudulently attempting to sell a government position and using the Senate seal without authorization," Pryor spokeswoman Lisa Ackerman said. "We have asked the FBI to fully investigate who is perpetrating this fraud against the senator and the U.S. Senate."
OBAMA CAMPAIGN RETURNING DONATIONS FROM L.A. MAN : WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama campaign is returning donations from a Los Angeles hedge fund manager who is accused by the government of operating a Ponzi scheme.
Shervin Neman donated the maximum $35,800 to the Obama campaign and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee. The Obama campaign says it will be refunding the contributions and have placed the funds in escrow until a trusteeship or other appropriate place is established for the returned funds.
The Securities and Exchange Commission accused Neman of operating a $7.54 million Ponzi scheme earlier this month that targeted members of the Persian-Jewish community in Los Angeles.