Quick Domestic News Summary - April 5

Bernard Madoff to be deposed by victims' lawyers: filing A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that Bernard Madoff can be questioned by lawyers for some former customers who lost money when the imprisoned swindler's firm collapsed in December 2008...

Bernard Madoff to be deposed by victims' lawyers: filing

A federal bankruptcy judge has ruled that Bernard Madoff can be questioned by lawyers for some former customers who lost money when the imprisoned swindler's firm collapsed in December 2008, a Monday court filing shows. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stuart Bernstein in Manhattan authorized a deposition of Madoff at a March 23 hearing, and Monday's filing proposed a formal order that it be scheduled. A hearing on that request is scheduled for Wednesday.

Cosby allowed to delay providing evidence in Massachusetts defamation case

Comedian Bill Cosby won the right on Monday to delay providing evidence in a lawsuit in Massachusetts, in which he is accused of defaming women with public assertions that they fabricated sexual misconduct allegations against him. In his ruling, the federal judge hearing the case cited a risk Cosby might be forced to disclose facts prosecutors would use in a separate criminal case against him in Pennsylvania.

Construction worker killed, three injured in Chicago suburb: reports


A construction worker was killed and three others suffered minor injuries when a 45-ton beam fell along a highway in a suburb northwest of Chicago early on Tuesday, according to reports. The 187-foot-long overpass steel beam was being lifted when it slipped and fell about 3:30 a.m. CDT during work under an Interstate 90 bridge in Des Plaines, Illinois, a suburb near O'Hare International Airport about 20 miles from Chicago, reports said.

Divided U.S. Supreme Court cautious about taking new cases

With a seat vacant possibly until next year, the U.S. Supreme Court is accepting fewer cases and seeking compromises as it tries to avoid being hamstrung by 4-4 deadlocks on such contentious issues as abortion, birth control and immigration. The court has shown a reluctance to accept new cases as it faces the prospect of the vacancy created by the Feb. 13 death of Justice Antonin Scalia remaining unfilled for an extended period. It has placed only three new cases on its calendar since Scalia died: a patent dispute and two criminal appeals, none likely to generate much controversy.

Former U.S. tax judge charged with cheating on her tax returns

A retired U.S. tax judge and her husband have been charged in Minnesota with cheating the government of $400,000 in taxes in a scheme that treated personal spending such as jewelry, pilates classes and overseas vacations as business expenses, prosecutors said on Monday. A federal grand jury indicted Diane Kroupa and Robert Fackler on charges of tax evasion, obstruction of a tax audit, conspiracy and making and subscribing false tax returns, the U.S. Attorney for the district of Minnesota said in a statement.

Judge orders U.S. to address climate threat to wolverines

A federal judge on Monday rejected a decision by U.S. wildlife managers to deny wolverines Endangered Species Act protection, ruling the government erred in discounting the threat posed by climate change to the weasel-like predator of the Northern Rockies. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2013 proposed an endangered species listing for the estimated 300 wolverines believed to still inhabit the Lower 48 states, most of them in the snowy peaks of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

California lawmakers delay 'tampon tax' exemption bill


A California Assembly panel delayed action on Monday on a bill to end sales taxes on tampons and sanitary napkins, an exemption already enacted in five other states in a growing movement against what sponsors say is a tax that unjustly targets women. The measure has garnered bipartisan support in the Democratic-controlled California legislature, but the Assembly's Revenue and Taxation Committee placed the bill on the panel's "suspense file," meaning its fate will be determined early next month.

Justice Department to announce effort aimed at foreign corruption

The U.S. Justice Department's fraud unit is launching a new program aimed at targeting foreign corruption, the department said in a statement on Tuesday. The department said it would hold a conference call at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) to discuss the program under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, but it gave no other details.

Men arrested in rape of Utah girl while mother smoked meth: sheriff

Four men have been arrested on charges of raping a 9-year-old girl in a Utah home on Easter Sunday as her mother smoked methamphetamine in the garage, authorities said on Monday. The mother was visiting friends in the town of Vernal, about 175 miles east of Salt Lake City, the Uintah County Sheriff's Office said in a statement on Sunday. The mother was not officially identified.

California governor signs $15-an-hour minimum wage into law

Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed into a law a bill raising California's minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour by the year 2023, making the nation's most-populous state the first to boost pay to that level for the working poor. The move marks the culmination of a deal Brown brokered with labor leaders and state Democratic leaders and puts California, home to one of the world's biggest economies, at the forefront of U.S. states and cities that have moved to surpass the federal minimum wage, which has remained at $7.25 an hour since 2009.

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