Prosecutors can say ‘profiled’ at Zimmerman trial
Prosecutors can argue in opening statements that George Zimmerman profiled Trayvon Martin based on factors such as age or clothing before he shot the unarmed black teenager, but they cannot say he was profiled based on race, a judge ruled. Circuit Court Judge Debra Nelson made the ruling ahead of Monday’s expected opening statements in Zimmerman’s second-degree murder trial. Defense attorneys had asked the judge to prohibit prosecutors from using a series of words in opening statements that they deemed inflammatory. Those words included “profiled,” “vigilante,” “wannabe cop,” and that Zimmerman had confronted Martin. The judge said all of those statements may be used, provided that race is not discussed if the issue of profiling is brought up.
Skilling sentence cut; could be out in 4 years
The long-running battle between federal prosecutors and former Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, 59, came to an end when a judge cut Skilling’s prison sentence to 14 years — from 24 years. That could allow him to be free in as little as four years. Although the federal prison system no longer paroles inmates, it may trim 15 percent off a sentence for good behavior and can take off another year following successful completion of a substance abuse program. Skilling, the architect of Enron’s rise from an obscure pipeline company to an energy giant, will end up spending more than twice as much time in prison as anyone else charged in connection to the company’s stunning 2001 collapse into bankruptcy.
Lawyer accused of misconduct quits BP case
A lawyer working for the administrator overseeing a multibillion-dollar settlement from the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resigned after being accused of misconduct. Lionel H. Sutton III has been accused of collecting portions of settlement payments from a New Orleans law firm to which he had once referred claims, a BP PLC official said.
Putin urges $43B investment in infrastructure
Faced with meager economic growth worldwide and a worrisome ebbing of Russia’s own oil and gas revenues, President Vladimir Putin announced an ambitious and risky economic stimulus program along with a novel amnesty plan for imprisoned white-collar criminals that was intended to improve investor confidence. Putin proposed dipping into the country’s pension reserves for loans of up to $43.5 billion for three big infrastructure projects: modernize the Trans-Siberian Railway; construct a 500-mile high-speed rail line between Moscow and Kazan, and build a superhighway ringing Moscow.