TIME Courts

Silk Road Mastermind Sentenced to Life in Prison

This Feb 4, 2015, file courtroom sketch, shows defendant Ross William Ulbricht as the deputy recites the word “guilty” multiple times during Ubricht’s trial in New York.
Elizabeth Williams—AP This Feb 4, 2015 courtroom sketch shows defendant Ross William Ulbricht as the deputy recites the word “guilty” multiple times during Ubricht'’s trial in New York.

The world’s most famous bitcoin criminal received his prison sentence. Ross Ulbricht aka Dread Pirate Roberts will do time for running an online drug and mayhem marketplace.

Ross Ulbricht was an Eagle Scout and a popular physics student who made a fateful decision to reinvent himself as the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a pseudonym he used to operate a massive illegal online bazaar known as the Silk Road. It came crashing down hard on Friday as a federal judge in Manhattan sentenced Ulbricht to serve the rest of his life in prison, following his earlier conviction on seven different charges.

The punishment is surprisingly harsh, exceeding even what the prosecutors had suggested. Ulbricht, who had earlier implored the judge to “please leave my old age,” can appeal the sentence though that would be a long shot.

“You were the captain of the ship as Dread Pirate Roberts, and you enforced the law as you see fit, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest told Ulbricht in imposing the sentence.

Ulbricht may have been able to obtain lighter sentence had he pled guilty, but he instead went with a far-fetched defense strategy at trial that claimed that he had started the site, but that someone else was the real Dread Pirate Roberts.

Friday’s hearing came at a court room so crowded that many spectators were forced into a nearby overflow area. The court scene reflected the worldwide interest in the Silk Road affair, which included numerous ripped-from-an-action-movie elements, including the FBI’s dramatic 2013 takedown of Ulbricht’s dramatic in a San Francisco library.

The ensuing criminal case included allegations that Ulbricht attempted to hire hit men (in reality FBI agents) to kill employees he believed had betrayed him. It also turned featured an FBI agent who went rogue, and sold Ulbricht information about the government’s case for hundreds of thousands of dollars, paid in bitcoins.

Ulbricht’s case has been of huge interest to bitcion users, in part because it has at times unfairly maligned the virtual currency, which is also used for everyday transactions. The bitcoin community also took an interest because of Ulbricht’s personal bitcoin fortune – which the U.S. Marshalls Service has been selling in a series of auctions.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.

TIME Courts

Theater Shooting Gunman Told Psychiatrist He Regretted Attack

"What brings tears to your eyes?" the psychiatrist asks. "Just regrets," James Holmes responds

(CENTENNIAL, Colo.) — Jurors in the Colorado theater shooting trial heard for the first time in the gunman’s own words that he regretted the attack and sometimes cried about it at night.

James Holmes’ comments came about two years after the shooting, in a videotaped interview with a state-appointed psychiatrist.

On Thursday, jurors watched the video and heard testimony from the doctor, William Reid, who said he believes Holmes knew the consequences when he opened fire at a Batman movie premiere in July 2012.

In the video, Reid asks Holmes if he got emotional when his parents visited him in jail for the first time. Holmes responds, “Nope,” but concedes in short answers that he sometimes cries before he goes to bed because he feels bad about the attack.

“What brings tears to your eyes?” the psychiatrist asks.

“Just regrets,” Holmes responds. “Usually it’s before I go to sleep.”

“Regrets about?” Reid asks.

“About the shooting.”

Earlier in the day, Reid testified about his conclusions from the July 2014 interviews, saying “whatever he (Holmes) suffered from” that night, he knew what he was doing.

Reminded that his task was to determine whether Holmes was legally sane during the attack, Reid declared, “whatever he suffered from, it did not prevent him from forming intent and knowing the consequences of what he was doing.”

The comment briefly frustrated the prosecutor, who said his witness had jumped ahead of him, and prompted the defense to ask for a mistrial.

Judge Carlos Samour ultimately denied the request, even as he acknowledged it might confuse jurors on the key question of the trial. They must decide whether Holmes’ disease or deficient mental state at the time of the attack met Colorado’s legal definition of sanity, leaving him unable to form a “culpable mental state.”

Essentially, the judge said, Reid was supposed to limit his opinions to whether Holmes was capable of understanding right from wrong — but not whether he actually understood it.

“I do think someone could misunderstand the use of the term “prevent,” Samour said, but he ruled that Reid’s overall comments didn’t violate that subtle boundary.

MORE: Colorado Gunman’s Notebook of Ramblings Becomes Evidence

After a long break to settle the question, District Attorney George Brauchler asked Reid “to be precise” about his findings, and the psychiatrist gave the briefest possible responses.

Did Holmes have a serious mental illness? “Yes.”

Despite that illness, did Holmes have “the capacity to know right from wrong” on July 19 and 20, the night of the attack? “Yes.”

Did Holmes have the capacity to form the intent to act after deliberation, and to act knowingly? “Yes.”

And did Holmes meet the legal definition of sanity? “Yes.”

Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the attack that killed 12 people and injured 70. Colorado law gives the state the burden to prove he was sane, and therefore guilty. Prosecutors want him executed, not sent to a mental hospital.

Reid said before spending 22 hours interviewing Holmes, he interviewed Holmes’ parents and dozens of others who knew him. He said he spent about 300 hours preparing for the sanity exam, including viewing more than a week of videos of Holmes in jail shortly after the attack.

“There was nothing to indicate insanity,” Reid said. “He seemed to sleep at slightly odd hours. I can’t think of very much else.”

Reid acknowledged that Holmes’ mental state had changed in the two years between the attack and the interview, including what he described as a “physical and mental breakdown” in November 2012, when Holmes was videotaped repeatedly ramming his head against a cell wall while naked.

Holmes has taken anti-psychotic medicine since then, but Reid said the episode wasn’t relevant to his capacity to understand right from wrong months earlier.

The judge asked for Reid’s interview after prosecutors challenged the conclusions of the first state-ordered review of his sanity, by Dr. Jeffrey Metzner in December 2013.

TIME Congress

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert Indicted on Bank-Related Charges

He's also accused of lying to the FBI

(CHICAGO)—Federal prosecutors announced bank-related charges against former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert on Thursday, accusing the 73-year-old Illinois Republican of structuring the withdrawal of $952,000 in cash in order to evade the requirement that banks report cash transactions over $10,000. He’s also accused of lying to the FBI.

Each count of the indictment carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago.

From 2010 to 2014, Hastert withdrew a total of approximately $1.7 million in cash from various bank accounts and provided it to a person identified only as Individual A, according to the indictment.

In December last year, “Hastert falsely stated that he was keeping the cash” when questioned by the FBI, the prosecutor’s statement says.

Hastert, a former high school wrestling coach, was a little known lawmaker from suburban Chicago when chosen to succeed conservative Newt Gingrich. Hastert was picked after favored Louisiana Congressman Bob Livingston resigned after admitting to several sexual affairs.

As speaker, Hastert pushed President George W. Bush’s legislative agenda, helping pass a massive tax cut and expanding Medicare prescription drug benefits.

He retired from Congress in 2007 after eight years as speaker.

TIME Courts

How Attica’s Ugly Past Is Still Protected

Attica After Riot
Santi Visalli Inc. / Getty Images The vacant prison yard strewn with debris at the Attica State Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, on Sept. 14, 1971

Why advocates and survivors are disappointed by a new release of records from the 1971 retaking of Attica Correctional Facility

On the morning of Sept. 13, 1971, New York State troopers, along with other members of law enforcement, shot 39 men to death. They wounded scores of others so severely that many suffered permanent disabilities. Not only did these men shoot countless rounds of ammunition at people who had no guns, but they also decided not to log the serial numbers of the deadly weapons they wielded. Some of them had even removed their badges so they couldn’t be identified.

This carnage took place at one of America’s most forbidding penal institutions—the Attica State Correctional Facility in upstate New York—where, four days earlier, over 1,200 prisoners had begun a historic protest against abysmal conditions and abuses. To ensure that the State of New York would consider their demands and not harm them, these men had taken hostages and also asked that outside observers come to the prison to oversee their negotiations with state officials. On day five, however—despite hostages, observers, and prisoners alike begging them to continue talks—state officials decided to retake the prison with force.

The results were disastrous. Within 15 minutes of hundreds of troopers, as well as some sherrifs, park police and corrections officers storming the prison, Attica’s D Yard was soaked in blood. Hundreds of men lay dead, dying or descending into shock from their gunshot wounds.

Despite this horrific scene, however, no member of law enforcement was ever held responsible for what he did that day. Indeed, even though 39 people had been felled by bullets, including the state’s own employees, no one ever stood trial for these killings. Instead, the State of New York spent the next 40 years resisting any attempt to make public its extensive records regarding who exactly did what to cause so much trauma at Attica.

A few days ago, however, Attica’s survivors and families of the deceased had some measure of hope that this might finally change. On Thursday morning, they waited with bated breath because finally, it seemed, the State of New York was going to release some particularly key records related to Attica, thanks to their relentless pressure and a judge’s ruling back in April. For decades these survivors have wanted the records opened. They believe that, if nothing else, they have the right to know who was responsible for their catastrophic losses. And, at 2:00pm those records were officially released–at least sort of.

What survivors hoped to see was insider information about the retaking of Attica, information that is contained in two previously-sealed volumes of the so-called Meyer Report—a report commissioned back in 1976 when the state was accused by one of its own of, among other things, covering up law-enforcement crimes committed at Attica. Finally getting to read volumes two and three of this report might mean, for example, that surviving hostage Michael Smith could finally find out who had riddled his lower abdomen with bullets, almost killing him and causing him years of agony. These volumes might also allow Traycee Barkley, the younger sister of slain 21-year-old prisoner L.D. Barkley to learn who had shot her brother to death and perhaps also to learn whether in fact, as various prisoners as well as respected state assemblyman observer Arthur Eve kept insisting back in 1971, he was shot to death after the retaking was complete. Or possibly the family of Attica prisoner Kenny Malloy might finally learn the name of the trooper who not only shot him to death, but also then proceeded to shoot out his eyes. Maybe the family of correction officer John Monteleone could finally learn how he ended up bleeding to death from a bullet wound to his chest.

Instead they learned little more than many of them already knew firsthand.

Prisoners’ decades-long insistence that police officers had brutalized them long after the state had regained control of the prison was, for example, confirmed in this release of records. This is no small thing since, for decades, state officials firmly denied that such abuses ever took place. Notably though, the prisoners who endured the retaking of Attica already knew that they had suffered mightily at the hands of law enforcement and, thanks to their tenacity in the courts over the last 40 years, their trauma had been acknowledged legally; juries awarded them damages for that trauma back in 1997 and in 2000 the State of New York was forced to pay them a settlement. That troopers had used excessive force when they retook Attica had also been confirmed and legally censured in 1982 when a judge issued his scathing ruling in a case brought against the State of New York by the widow of a slain hostage.

But, remarkably, of the 340 pages of the Meyer Report that the judge viewed for release, only 46 pages were given to the public and even these pages were partially redacted. It was no surprise that there would be redactions: To the satisfaction of the state’s Police Benevolent Association, the April ruling that led to the release of the papers had specified that no grand-jury testimony would be disclosed, in respect for the traditional secrecy of such proceedings. Still, the extent of the omissions came as a shock. The crucial names and the hoped-for details contained even in non-grand jury materials also remain hidden.

And so, despite the fanfare that accompanied the recent release of records related to the Attica uprising, Attica’s victims are left disappointed. Still they remain in the dark as to whom state officials knew, or believed strongly, had killed 39 people during the retaking or who had worked so hard to make sure those shooters would never be held accountable. Still those who retook Attica with such ugliness are protected–those individuals who unloaded round after round of buckshot and countless explode-on-impact bullets into the backs and bellies of hundreds of unarmed men. Indeed, in this disclosure of the Attica records there is no mention of these acts or these men–let alone any information revealed about them that might allow Attica’s victims some sense of closure.

Perhaps the State of New York is right to be concerned about disclosing all it knows about what exactly happened at Attica back in 1971. After all, there is no statute of limitation on murder in this country, and not only has the public been glad to see quite a few decades-old cases reopened in recent years, but men have gone to prison for crimes they committed long ago. And, what is more, for many months now Americans in cities across the country have been taking to the streets to demand that law enforcement be held accountable for citizen deaths. But Attica’s survivors don’t seem to be out for that kind of justice—or at least they hold no hope that it might be attained. Yet individuals, along with organizations like the Forgotten Victims of Attica, continue to press for an opening of the records. They just want closure. One day, they hope, state officials will finally care more about Attica’s victims than protecting those who caused the chaos.

The Long ViewHistorians explain how the past informs the present

Heather Ann Thompson is a professor of history at the University of Michigan who writes regularly on contemporary issues of incarceration and policing and soon will be publishing the first comprehensive history of the Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and its legacy for Pantheon Books.

Read TIME’s original coverage of the events at Attica, here in the TIME Vault: The Bitter Lessons of Attica

TIME Courts

Cleveland Cop Acquitted in Shooting Deaths of 2 Unarmed Suspects

In this April 9, 2015, file photo, Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo listens to testimony during his trial in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak—AP In this April 9, 2015, file photo, Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo listens to testimony during his trial in Cleveland.

Michael Brelo could have faced up to 22 years in prison

(CLEVELAND)—A white Cleveland patrolman who fired down through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that left the two unarmed black occupants dead was acquitted Saturday of criminal charges by a judge who said he could not determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.

Michael Brelo, 31, put his head in hands as the judge issued a verdict followed by angry, but peaceful, protests: Outside the courthouse police blocked furious protesters from going inside while across the city others held a mock funeral with some carrying signs asking, “Will I be next?”

The acquittal came at a time of nationwide tension among police and black citizens punctuated by protests over deaths of black suspects at the hands of white officers — and following a determination by the U.S. Department of Justice that Cleveland police had a history of using excessive force and violating civil rights.

Before issuing his verdict, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell reflected on the unrest. “In many American places people are angry with, mistrusting and fearful of the police,” he said. “Citizens think the men and women sworn to protect and serve have violated that oath or never meant it in the first place.”

But O’Donnell said he would not offer up Brelo to an angry public if the evidence did not merit a conviction.

“I will not sacrifice him,” O’Donnell said.

Brelo — who fired a total of 49 shots, including 15 down through the windshield while standing on the hood of the suspects’ vehicle — faced as many as 22 years in prison had the judge convicted him on two counts of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths that happened after Timothy Russell’s beat-up Chevy Malibu backfired outside police headquarters.

Russell’s sister, Michelle Russell, said she believed Brelo would ultimately face justice.

“He’s not going to dodge this just because he was acquitted,” she said. “God will have the final say.”

The U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI will review the testimony and evidence and examine all available legal options, said Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

About 200 people walked in a mock funeral procession that had already been planned to mark six months since another deadly shooting that sparked anger in Cleveland’s black community: the killing of Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old carrying a pellet gun who was shot by a white rookie officer.

Protesters carried a black, plywood coffin and softly sang “I’m going up yonder, we’re marching, we’re marching.”

Some carried signs saying “I Can’t Breathe” and “Freddie Gray Lynched,” references to a pair of deadly police encounters: the chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City and the death of a Baltimore man who suffered a spinal injury while in custody.

After the verdict, sheriff’s deputies stood in front of the courthouse carrying clear shields as protesters chanted “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” — a rallying cry linked to the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. One demonstrator bowed his head, hands folded, in front of the phalanx of deputies, praying in silence. Demonstrators later marched through the streets toward the recreation center where Rice was killed.

The unusual timing of the verdict — a Saturday morning on a holiday weekend — was intentional, court officials said. The county’s top judge said it would prevent traffic issues downtown and lessen the impact on the community.

When he took the bench, O’Donnell spent nearly an hour explaining his decision, even using mannequins marked with the gunshot wounds the two motorists suffered on Nov. 29, 2012.

Brelo could have been convicted of lesser charges, but O’Donnell determined his actions were justified following the chase, which included reports of shots fired from Russell’s car, because officers perceived a threat.

Brelo’s lead attorney, Patrick D’Angelo, said Brelo had been unfairly prosecuted in a case that he called a “blood fight.”

“Officer Brelo risked his life on that night,” D’Angelo said.

Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty said he respects the judge’s decision and urged others to do so, as well. He said the case illustrated hard truths.

“This tragic experience has already forced a culture change within the division of police and a needed reexamination of the use of deadly force,” he said.

Thirteen officers fired at the car with Russell and Malissa Williams inside after a 22-mile high-speed chase that involved 62 marked and unmarked cars and reached 100 mph. Brelo was the only officer charged because prosecutors said he waited until the pair was no longer a threat to fire his final 15 rounds.

Russell, 43, and Williams, 30, were each shot more than 20 times. Prosecutors argued they were alive until Brelo’s final salvo but medical examiners for both sides testified they could not determine the order in which the deadly shots were fired.

Brelo has been on unpaid leave since he was indicted last May. Police Chief Calvin Williams said it will continue during disciplinary reviews for him and the other 12 officers.

Authorities never learned why Russell didn’t stop. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery and had been involved in a previous police pursuit. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction. Both were described as mentally ill, homeless and addicted to drugs. A crack pipe was found in the car.

The shooting helped prompt an investigation by the Department of Justice, which concluded the department had engaged in a pattern and practice of using excessive force and violating civil rights. The city and DOJ are currently negotiating over reforms.

In addition to the charges against Brelo, a grand jury charged five police supervisors with misdemeanor dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase. All five have pleaded not guilty and no trial date has been set.

“Our pursuit of justice for Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams is not over,” McGinty said.

TIME Law

The Strange Story Behind the Fight Over JFK Assassination Relics

John Krueger Paul Bentley's 32nd Degree Masonic Ring

Why a city in Minnesota is holding onto the ring that cut Oswald during his arrest

On Nov. 22, 1963, Dallas police Detective Paul Bentley hit Lee Harvey Oswald in the face while arresting him in Texas Theatre in Dallas, barely more than an hour after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Pictures of Oswald after his arrest show a cut over his eye caused by a Masonic ring Bentley was wearing that day.

That ring is now at the center of a dispute over its rightful owner—a fight that spans two states and has embroiled Bentley’s relatives along with a collector who bought the ring last year.

More: An End to Conspiracy? Rare Photo of Lee Harvey Oswald’s Arrest Suggests Why He’s Guilty

The argument over the ring just came to light in a civil suit filed on behalf of the ring’s current owner, a Minnesota collector named John Krueger, 68, who buys and sells historical items through his website, Military Warehouse. Krueger is suing the city of Cambridge, Minn. to ensure that the ring, and two Smith & Wesson police service revolvers that Detective Bentley was carrying the day he helped arrest Oswald, remain in Minnesota while Texas authorities in Kaufman County investigate where the items rightfully belong.

Two Smith & Wesson police service revolvers Detective Bentley was carrying the day he helped arrest Lee Harvey Oswald
John KruegerTwo Smith & Wesson police service revolvers Detective Bentley was carrying the day he helped arrest Oswald

Krueger himself has not been charged with any crime, and said he has a notarized statement that the items were gifts and that there was “no question of title,” he told TIME. According to Krueger’s affidavit, it all began when he and his wife were on vacation in Texas in February 2014. While in Dallas, Krueger got a call from a woman who had seen an advertisement he’d posted on the Internet expressing interest in buying war relics. She told him her friend Jerry Holder had something he might be interested in: The masonic ring that had belonged to his brother-in-law, Detective Paul Bentley, who died in 2008.

“This intrigued me because I was in high school when Kennedy was assassinated. We all remember that moment much like today’s generation remembers 9/11,” Krueger said. “When I had an opportunity to help preserve some of the history of that time, I jumped at the chance to do that.”

As Krueger tells it in the affidavit, Detective Bentley’s widow, Mozelle Bentley, had given the guns and the ring to Holder, who was her sister’s husband.

After receiving a notarized letter of authenticity, and a picture of Mozelle Bentley signing the letter, Krueger bought the three items and other Oswald-related artifacts for $10,000 in the fall of 2014.

Then, a few months later, in April of 2015, Krueger got a call from Detective Bentley’s grandson, David Ottinger, insisting that the items he’d bought were “fakes.”After Krueger explained that he had proof of their authenticity, Ottinger admitted they were real, but insisted that the notarized letter of authenticity, and the picture of it signed by his grandmother, had been forged. Ottinger then made a vague threat that he had “‘family friends’ who were in law enforcement in Texas” who could help him get the items back, according to the affidavit.

In May, two Cambridge, Minn. police officers, armed with a search warrant, requested that Krueger hand over the items, which he did. Krueger was not charged with stealing the items, but one of the Cambridge detectives told him that the case might appear before a “property judge” in Kaufman County, Texas, and that the officer handling the case intended to “drive to Minnesota to pick up the items.”

The combination of Ottinger’s vague threat, and the odd insistence by the Texas officer that he drive to Minnesota to get the items, made Krueger worry that the items would end up in Texas and never be seen again, even if he could prove he was the rightful owner, according to his attorney, James Magnuson. After surrendering the items to the city of Cambridge, Krueger filed suit to ensure that the city would hold onto them until the investigation in Texas is resolved. “We didn’t request the items be returned to my client. We requested that they be held pending the investigation down in Texas,” Magnuson told TIME. Kruger hopes he’ll eventually be able to keep the items. “I have 10,000 invested, plus a lot of time,” he said.

A message was left at the listed number for Bentley’s widow, Mozelle Bentley. Working numbers could not be found for Ottinger and Holder. The Kaufman County police department could not immediately be reached. Jay Squires, the attorney for the city of Cambridge, did not return a call seeking comment.

TIME Courts

Ray Rice’s Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed by Judge

In this Nov. 5, 2014, file photo, Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL in New York.
Jason DeCrow—AP In this Nov. 5, 2014, file photo, Ray Rice arrives with his wife Janay Palmer for an appeal hearing of his indefinite suspension from the NFL in New York.

He was caught on surveillance camera knocking his then-fiancee unconscious

(MAYS LANDING, N.J.)—A judge on Thursday dismissed domestic violence charges against Ray Rice, who was captured by a surveillance camera knocking his then-fiancee unconscious in a hotel elevator last year.

Judge Michael Donio signed the order after the Atlantic County prosecutor told him the former Baltimore Ravens running back had completed the terms of his pretrial intervention.

Under terms of the program, Rice paid $125 in fines and received anger management counseling.

Rice was charged with third-degree aggravated assault. His attorney described what happened in February 2014 at Atlantic City’s Revel Casino Hotel as “little more than a misunderstanding.”

However, Rice’s promising career with the NFL turned after TMZ released videos that showed him dragging his fiancee, Janay Palmer, out of the elevator after he struck her.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games, then suspended him indefinitely after a second video revealed the knockout punch.

Rice appealed, and an arbitrator reinstated him. However, Rice has yet to sign with a team.

Rice’s admission into the state’s pretrial interview program drew criticism.

Only 70 of the more than 15,000 domestic violence assault cases adjudicated from 2010 to 2013 in New Jersey’s Superior Court were admitted into the pretrial intervention program, according to records obtained by The Associated Press.

New Jersey guidelines advise that those who commit violent crimes should “generally be rejected” from the program, but Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain, who handled the case, says he signed off on it after reviewing the circumstances and consulting with Palmer, who married Ray Rice after a grand jury indicted him.

The intervention program is seen as a key tool as the state tries to keep low-level suspects out of jail.

Defendants can have charges dismissed if they meet all the program’s conditions, which can include random urine testing, community service and restitution. PTI supervision averages from one to three years, according to the state.

Of the 15,029 people charged with assault in domestic violence cases from 2010 to 2013, 8,203 had their cases dismissed or downgraded to a lower court, according to the data provided by the state judiciary. Nearly 3,100 pleaded guilty, 13 were found guilty at trial and nine were found not guilty.

TIME Courts

FTC Says 4 Cancer Charities Were Frauds

A suit claims that the man behind the charities and his family spent $187 million on personal expenses

Four cancer charities deceived donors and spent more than $187 million on personal expenses, according to a complaint filed this week by the Federal Trade Commission and the attorneys general from all 50 states. If the allegations are true, it would be one of the biggest charity fraud cases in American history.

The FTC says that donors were told in telemarking calls and mail solicitations that money would be used for medicine and transporting patients to chemotherapy, according to the Associated Press. Instead, the money was allegedly spent on personal indulgences, like gym memberships, luxury cruises and online dating site subscriptions. All four charities—the Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society—were created and led by James Reynolds Sr. with the help of his now-ex-wife and son.

Never before have the FTC and the attorneys general across all states taken joint action against a charity. They filed a suit against the organizations in the United States District Court for Arizona, naming Reynolds and several of his relatives and associates as defendants. The complaint claims that less than 3% of donations to the charities were spent on cancer patients from 2008 to 2012.

Two of the organizations, the Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society, will settle the charges out of court and be dissolved, according to the FTC.

Though the other charities’ websites were down Tuesday morning, a long post on the Breast Cancer Society’s website allegedly written by Reynolds’ son, James T. Reynolds II, said increased government scrutiny led to the charity’s undoing.

[AP]

TIME Boxing

Fans Across U.S. Sue Pacquiao Over Mayweather Fight

In this May 2, 2015 photo, Manny Pacquiao answers questions during a press conference following his welterweight title fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.
John Locher—AP In this May 2, 2015 photo, Manny Pacquiao answers questions during a press conference following his welterweight title fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.

They contend that the fight was a fraud

(LAS VEGAS)—Boxing fans across the country and their lawyers are calling the hyped-up fight between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. a fraud and want their money back, and then some.

At least 32 class action lawsuits across the country allege Pacquiao should have disclosed a shoulder injury to boxing fans before the fight, which Mayweather won in a unanimous decision after 12 lackluster rounds that most fans thought didn’t live up to the hype.

Fight of the century? More like fraud of the century, the lawsuits contend.

“The fight was not great, not entertaining, not electrifying. It was boring, slow and lackluster,” according to a lawsuit filed in Texas alleging racketeering, a claim usually reserved for organized crime.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Flights Beer Bar near LAX airport in California said Pacquiao and his promoter’s actions were, “nothing but a cash-grab.” The bar paid $2,600 to broadcast the fight.

As for that grabbed cash, the fighters are each expected to earn more than $100 million, Mayweather more than Pacquiao, and HBO and Showtime broke records raking in more than $400 million from 4.4 million paying to watch the pay-per-view broadcast.

Those 4.4 million paid up to $100 each to watch the fight, and the lawsuits are seeking their money back.

It isn’t as easy as showing a receipt and demanding a refund, though. A federal panel of judges will likely first need to decide if the cases from multiple states and Puerto Rico should be consolidated into one case. From there, a judge would have to decide whether to certify them as class actions or not.

What’s sought in each is the same: a jury trial and at least $5 million in damages, the threshold for federal class actions.

But the defendants differ. All include Pacquiao and his promotions team but some add Mayweather and his representatives along with HBO, Showtime and cable companies.

Representatives for Pacquiao and Top Rank Promotions, HBO and Showtime had no comment to offer on the lawsuits and Mayweather Promotions did not return multiple phone messages.

Exhibit A for most of the lawsuits is a Nevada Athletic Commission medical questionnaire that Pacquiao signed days before the fight. When asked if he had any injuries including to his shoulder he replied “no.”

In fact, his shoulder was injured enough to warrant surgery shortly after the fight.

In a twist reserved for who-done-its, Pacquiao revealed for the first time in a post-fight press conference that he had torn his rotator cuff weeks before. The Nevada Athletic Commission denied him a pain reliever mere hours before the fight when regulators first learned of the injury.

Conspiracy theories abound as to how many people knew about the injury and when, including claims in a few of the lawsuits that Mayweather had a spy in Pacquiao’s camp and the boxer targeted Pacquiao’s right shoulder during the fight.

Experts in resolving legal disputes doubt disgruntled boxing fans will be able to claim victory.

“They’d have more lawsuits if they didn’t hold the fight,” said Maureen Weston, director of Pepperdine University’s entertainment, media and sports dispute resolution project.

If a fight is what fans were paying for, the fighters unquestionably delivered, she said. Just because people didn’t like the show doesn’t mean they get their money back, she said.

Ultimately, the question is, who did Pacquiao have a legal duty to explain his injury to? Weston said.

Short answer: He didn’t have to tell viewers, Weston said. The only contract viewers had was with their cable companies, which in turn had contracts with HBO and Showtime.

It’s not the first time customers have taken their fight to court when things didn’t go quite the way they expected in the field of entertainment.

Remember Milli Vanilli? Music fans in the 1990s argued the lip-synching pop duo owed them a refund once it was revealed they weren’t actually singing.

Or the bite-fight with Mike Tyson? Sports fans may have gotten an earful but they contended they didn’t pay to see a boxing match only for it to be disqualified.

Neither resulted in judgments for refund-seeking customers. Milli Vanilli fans got a buck or two back in a settlement.

So if viewers were promised a fight, and they got a 12-round fight, isn’t that enough?

Lawyer Caleb Marker, who represents clients in two separate class action suits against Pacquiao, says that’s arguable.

TIME Courts

Manhattan Prosecutor Intends to Retry 1979 Missing-Boy Case

Etan Patz
Mark Lennihan—AP A memorial for Etan Patz is seen in the SoHo neighborhood of New York on May 28, 2012.

Etan Patz disappeared while walking to school on May 25, 1979, and his body hasn't been found

(NEW YORK) — A prosecutor says in a television interview he intends to ask for a retrial in the case of a New Jersey man who confessed to choking a 6-year-old New York City boy missing since 1979.

Pedro Hernandez in 2012 admitted killing Etan Patz (AY’-tahn payts), who disappeared while walking to school May 25, 1979, and whose body hasn’t been found.

Hernandez’s murder trial ended in a mistrial this month after jurors said they were deadlocked on the 18th day of deliberations. The defense had argued his confession was false.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. spoke Monday on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” about a June 10 court date in the case.

Etan’s photo was one of the first missing children’s images on a milk carton. His father says he’s convinced Hernandez is the killer.

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