News at this hour
August 31, 2007
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) ” Two men were married outside a minister’s home in the state’s first legal same-sex wedding Friday morning, less than 24 hours after a judge threw out Iowa’s ban on gay marriage.
It was a narrow window of opportunity.
At 11 a.m., after about 20 gay couples had applied for marriage licenses, the Polk County Recorder announced that she had been instructed to stop accepting their applications.
Recorder Julie Haggerty said the instruction came from the county attorney’s office after Judge Robert Hanson, the same judge who threw out the ban on Thursday, verbally issued a stay of his ruling at the county’s request. Hanson was expected to file the written ruling later in the day, his clerk said.
Haggerty said she is not permitted to accept any more marriage applications from gay couples until the Iowa Supreme Court rules on the county’s appeal.
NEW YORK (AP) ” Apple Inc. escalated a dispute with NBC Universal over the pricing of television shows by announcing Friday it would not sell any of NBC’s programs for this fall season on iTunes.
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Earlier, NBC had told Apple that it would no longer allow its programs to be sold via iTunes at the end of the year. NBC Universal-controlled television programming accounts for an estimated 40 percent of the video downloads on iTunes.
“We are disappointed to see NBC leave iTunes because we would not agree to their dramatic price increase,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “We hope they will change their minds and offer their TV shows to the tens of millions of iTunes customers.”
Rather than cut off NBC programs in the middle of the season, Apple decided to stop before the new fall episodes premiere next month, he said.
That would be a blow to fourth-place NBC, which could use the buzz provided by Internet sales for its programming ” not to mention the money.
ABC, CBS, Fox and the CW, and 50 other cable networks, have deals in place to sell fall shows at iTunes’ current price of $1.99 per episode, Apple said. NBC wanted Apple to pay more than double its wholesale price for the material, which would have resulted in the retail price increasing to $4.99, Apple said.
NBC had no immediate comment on Apple’s move.
The company’s contract to sell more than 1,500 hours of news, sports and entertainment programming on iTunes expires at the end of December. NBC fulfilled its requirement to inform Apple by Friday if the contract would not be renewed, said Amy Zelvin, spokeswoman for NBC Universal Digital.
The dispute illustrates unrest among content providers over Apple’s pricing policies. Media companies want more say in pricing and, in NBC Universal’s case, are eager to offer different packages by bundling programs at different prices. Similarly, record companies would like to see an increase in iTunes’ sales price of 99 cents per song.
Availability of Web-popular programs like USA’s “Psych,” NBC’s “30 Rock” and Sci Fi’s “Battlestar Gallactica” are all affected. Programming from NBC and cable properties like USA, CNN, Bravo and CNBC will be cut off from iTunes at the start of the season on Sept. 24, Apple said.
NBC Universal also wants iTunes to stiffen anti-piracy provisions so computer users would not have easy access to illegal downloads.
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) ” A lawyer who stabbed his neighbor to death because he thought the man had molested his 2-year-old daughter was sentenced Friday to 12 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter.
“It’s a Shakespearean tragedy brought into the real world,” Judge Richard Comerford said at the sentencing. “Something was set into motion in this man’s mind ” real or perceived. It was very real to him.”
Jonathon Edington, 29, attacked neighbor Barry James in the man’s bedroom last year after his wife told him she thought James had molested their daughter. Officers said they found Edington washing the victim’s blood off in a kitchen sink.
Fairfield police also investigated the molestation allegation and said they found no evidence to back it up. They said Edington’s wife, Christina, refused to cooperate with the investigation into the slaying, and prosecutor Jonathan Benedict has said a defense psychiatrist determined Edington’s wife suffered from postpartum depression.
Defense attorney Andrew Bowman said his client was not in his right mind when he attacked James.
“He is a good and decent man who suffered such a traumatic event in his life that he lost control,” Bowman said.
Edington and his wife entered court holding hands. After the sentence was read, Edington, who had been free on bond, was handcuffed and led away as Christina Edington fell to her knees. The judge issued a 20-year sentence, but suspended eight years of that, leaving 12 years to serve, plus five years probation.
James’ parents, Rita and Charlie James, filed a victims’ statement with the court saying, “We will never be the same.”
“A terrible tragedy has happened for nothing, but it has destroyed all that we have,” they wrote.
Also Friday, an attorney for the Jameses served Christina Edington with a wrongful death lawsuit, accusing her of triggering the stabbing and making up the abuse claim. A similar lawsuit is pending against Edington.
Christina Edington did not comment as she left the courthouse.
DETROIT (AP) ” A Moroccan immigrant who was held for three years before his terrorism-related conviction was thrown out has filed a $9 million federal lawsuit against the prosecutor and two others involved in the case.
Karim Koubriti, 28, argues in the lawsuit that former federal prosecutor Richard Convertino violated his civil rights.
Convertino led the government’s case in the nation’s first major terrorism trial after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He was removed in 2003 after the Justice Department concluded he withheld evidence that could have proved the innocence of the four defendants accused of comprising a Detroit “sleeper” terror cell.
Three of the men’s convictions were later thrown out after the Justice Department acknowledged its original prosecution was filled with a “pattern of mistakes and oversights.” The fourth was acquitted.
Convertino was indicted last year on allegations that he conspired to obstruct justice and lied to a federal judge in connection with case.
His attorney, William Sullivan, had yet to see Koubriti’s lawsuit, filed Thursday, but said, “I have no doubt that it’s meritless.”
“Mr. Convertino tried to protect the safety of his community in pursuing the case against Mr. Koubriti and his co-defendants, and the jury agreed with a verdict, which we believe should still stand,” Sullivan said.
Also named as defendants in Koubriti’s lawsuit are former U.S. State Department security officer Harry Smith, who was indicted along with Convertino, and Michael Thomas, the lead FBI agent on the terrorism case, who was not charged.
Convertino and Smith have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial in U.S. District Court.