last-ditch effort to block the removal of a monument to a Confederate general in New Orleans was rejected Wednesday by a Louisiana judge who turned away arguments that the city doesn't own the statue or the land on which it sits.
"This has gone on an inordinate amount of time," Judge Kern Reese said as he outlined reasons for his refusal to grant an injunction protecting the statue of Gen. P.G.T Beauregard. It was a reference to state and federal court battles that delayed removal of the Beauregard monument and three others for more than a year.
The huge bronze image of Beauregard on horseback sits in the center of a traffic circle at the entrance to New Orleans City Park. Those who don't want it removed argued that it belongs to a park board and, therefore, the city has no authority to remove it.
Reese's rejection of an injunction means the city can remove the statue pending further proceedings in his court. Richard Marksbury, a New Orleans resident and monument supporter, said he may go to an appeal court to block removal.
The Beauregard statue, a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee and one of Confederate President Jefferson Davis are slated for removal. A fourth structure, the Liberty Place monument, was removed late last month. It honored whites who battled a biracial Reconstruction-era government in New Orleans.
The Liberty Place monument was taken down without advance notice in the dead of night by workers in masks and body armor. City officials have been secretive about removal plans due to threats of violence against those tasked with taking down the structures.
In Reese's court, Franklin Jones, an attorney for Marksbury, cited documents asserting that the independent, state-supervised board that oversees City Park owns the Beauregard statue and the tract of land on which it sits. Adam Swensek, an assistant city attorney, noted court precedents holding otherwise and said delays in removing the monuments only prolong a controversy that has resulted in tense confrontations between pro- and anti-monument groups at monument sites.
How a U.S. Border Patrol argent’s use of lethal force at the U.S-Mexican border implicates constitutional rights and foreign affairs dominated arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in Hernandez v. Mesa. The lawyer arguing that the agent should be held liable had a rough day in front of the justices.
Both sides agree that while standing on American soil at the border on June 7, 2010, Border Patrol Agent Jesus Mesa fatally shot Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican national standing on the Mexican side. But then the factual accounts diverge.
According to Hernandez’s family, the teenager was playing with his friends near the border opposite El Paso, Texas, where the border runs through the middle of a concrete culvert. There is a fence on the U.S. side of the culvert.
According to Mesa and the federal government, Mesa was detaining one of Hernandez’s companions on the U.S. side of the border, when Hernandez and the other teenagers started throwing rocks at Hernandez. Mesa claims that the rocks posed a danger to his safety. He repeatedly ordered then to stop and back away, but they persisted. Finally Mesa fired in what he claims is self-defense, fatally striking Hernandez.
Hernandez’s family sued, and Mesa filed a motion to dismiss. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, when considering a motion to dismiss, a federal court must consider the plaintiff’s allegations as true when deciding whether to throw out the lawsuit versus letting it continue. The parties later present evidence to prove their version of the facts if the lawsuit goes forward, but when deciding whether to end the case before it gets started, judges must consider only plaintiff’s version.
A California financial analyst has pleaded guilty in New York, admitting he provided insider tips to an SAC Capital portfolio manager.
Sandeep Aggarwal admitted Friday that he provided the tips to the SAC employee and others about a blockbuster deal between Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. Investigators say the information pertained to a secret, pending search engine advertising partnership between the companies.
Aggarwal has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud in Manhattan in a cooperation deal. The 40-year-old was arrested in July in San Jose, Calif.
Authorities say they had wiretap evidence from 2009.
Aggarwal told a magistrate judge he provided the tips to boost his standing as an analyst. He says he is "extremely sorry."
A defense attorney who once had a roster of celebrity clients and boasted of having tried hundreds of cases in federal court was sentenced there on Monday to life in prison without parole after his conviction on nearly two dozen counts including murder conspiracy and racketeering.
Paul Bergrin, in custody since his 2009 arrest, wore khaki prison scrubs and showed little reaction as a judge read what amounted to several life sentences Monday afternoon in a federal courtroom in Newark.
The 57-year-old former federal prosecutor once represented an Army reservist charged in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq and celebrities such as Queen Latifah, the rapper Lil' Kim and the group Naughty By Nature. He also represented reputed gang members and alleged drug kingpins from his offices in Newark.
Bergrin, formerly of Nutley, and several associates were arrested and charged in May 2009 with running his law business as a criminal enterprise. The U.S. attorney's office charged Bergrin with more than 30 counts including racketeering, setting up the murder of a witness, money laundering and drug offenses. His first trial, in which Bergrin represented himself, ended in a hung jury two years ago.
A second trial resulted in his conviction in March on 23 counts related to operating what prosecutors said was a racketeering enterprise that engaged in drug trafficking, prostitution, bribery, plotting to murder witnesses and money laundering.