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In brief: Obama withdraws court nomination

Sat., March 23, 2013, midnight

Washington – President Barack Obama withdrew his nomination of Caitlin Halligan to a federal appeals court Friday, handing a victory to Republicans in the Senate who twice blocked his pick for the key judicial post.

Calling the obstruction by Republicans unjustified and unacceptable, Obama said he agreed to Halligan’s request to be pulled from consideration even though she would have served with distinction on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Senate Republicans blocked Halligan’s confirmation for a second time in early March, arguing that Halligan is too liberal and citing her work on lawsuits against gun manufacturers and on behalf of illegal immigrants. The National Rifle Association also staunchly opposed her confirmation.

The D.C. appeals court and its makeup are of critical importance to the president, with oversight of many of the actions his administration takes.

Chef put away who says he cooked wife

Los Angeles – David Viens, the chef who told authorities that he accidentally killed his wife and cooked her body to dispose of it, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Friday.

Viens was convicted last year of second-degree murder in the death of his wife, Dawn. He has since fired his attorney. He spoke for about 40 minutes in a failed bid to persuade Superior Court Judge Rand Rubin to give him a new trial.

In a sentencing memo, prosecutors called Viens “a liar and a manipulator” and said he had a history of narcotics-related crimes before the 2009 slaying.

Caretaker drinks 100k in whiskey

Greensburg, Pa. – The live-in caretaker of a western Pennsylvania mansion is facing criminal charges for allegedly drinking more than $100,000 worth of the owner’s whiskey. Scottdale police have charged 62-year-old John Saunders with receiving stolen property and theft.

Police told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review the owner found nine cases of whiskey hidden in the walls and stairwell of the century-old mansion built by industrialist J.P. Brennan after she bought it in 2012.

Investigators said Saunders drank 52 bottles of the whiskey, which were valued at $102,400 by a New York auction house.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.


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