Lawyer says LA police shot women without warning

A lawyer says two women delivering newspapers had no warning before they were mistakenly shot by Los Angeles police officers searching for triple murder suspect Christopher Dorner. Investigators say 47-year-old Maggie Carranza and her 71-year-old mother Emma Hernandez were in a Toyota Tundra pickup truck similar to Dorner's vehicle. They were delivering newspapers in Torrance when LAPD officers guarding a target named in Dorner's manifesto peppered the pickup with bullets, wounding the women, before dawn on Thursday. Police Chief Charlie Beck says the pickup's headlights weren't on and it was a case of mistaken identity. The women's attorney, Glen Jonas, tells KCBS-TV there were no warnings and no orders. Just gunshots. Carranza had minor hand injuries. Hernandez is hospitalized with a gunshot wound in the back.

Law firm: Phoenix lawyer dies from shooting wounds

A lawyer wounded by a gunman in a Phoenix office shooting this week has died, the second of three people hit by gunfire in the attack, the publicist for his law firm said Friday. Mark Hummels, 43, had been on life support at a Phoenix hospital after Wednesday morning's shooting that killed a company's chief executive and left a woman with non-life threatening injuries. Colleagues of Hummels described him as a smart, competent and decent man who was a rising star in his profession and dedicated to his wife, 9-year-old daughter and 7-year-old son. The gunman — Arthur Douglas Harmon, 70 — was found dead early Thursday in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Harmon opened fire at the end of a mediation session at a north-central Phoenix office building over a lawsuit he filed last April. Steve Singer, 48, a father of two and CEO of Scottsdale-based Fusion Contact Centers LLC, died hours after the shooting. Harmon targeted Singer and Hummels and "it was not a random shooting," police said. A 32-year-old woman not involved in the mediation was caught in the gunfire near the building entrance and suffered a gunshot wound to her left hand.

Alabama terror suspects pleads not guilty

A Mobile man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges of providing support to international terrorists. U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine Nelson set a tentative trial date of March 3 for Randy Lamar Rasheed Wilson, 25. But everyone involved in the case, including the judge, said the trial will likely be delayed because the charges are so unusual and the evidence so vast and complicated. "This is obviously the first one of these cases I've handled and maybe the first we've had here in this district," Nelson said. Federal agents arrested Wilson earlier this month as he was boarding a plane with his young family headed to Morocco. Prosecutors allege Wilson planned to travel from Morocco to another African country and support fellow Muslims in waging terrorist activity. The same day, agents arrested Mohammad Abdul Rahman Abukhdair, a 25-year-old Egyptian native and former business partner of Wilson's. The government alleges the two men plotted with others to travel overseas and join international terrorists. The government also alleges Wilson was influenced by his friendship with fellow Mobile-area native Omar Hammami. Hammami grew up in Alabama and was raised Muslim. He later moved to Somalia and became a leading figure in the group al-Shabab. Hammami is on the FBI's list of most wanted terrorists.

Mont. can pursue ex-billionaire bankruptcy

Montana's bid to force ultra-luxury resort founder Tim Blixseth into bankruptcy and make him come up with up $57 million in purported back taxes has been resurrected by an appeals court ruling in the case. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled a lower court Monday and said Nevada is the proper venue for the case. Blixseth, a one-time billionaire who lives in Washington state, is believed to have most of his assets in a Nevada-based trust. On Tuesday, he promised an appeal. The appellate ruling comes after a Dec. 5 order that Blixseth pay $41 million to creditors from the Yellowstone Club, the private ski resort he founded near Big Sky. Beginning in 2005, Blixseth diverted most of a $375 million loan to the club to himself and then-wife Edra Blixseth. They used the money to buy up luxury estates around the world, a pair of jets, cars, furniture, art and jewelry. When the resort started to founder, Tim Blixseth turned it over to Edra Blixseth during their 2008 divorce and took most of their remaining assets. The Yellowstone Club went bankrupt months later. It was later sold and is now under new ownership. Montana tax authorities contend the money Blixseth got out of the 2005 loan, from banking giant Credit Suisse, was taxable. They've tried for more than two years to get him to pay up. A separate proceeding to get the money is pending before the Montana Tax Appeals Board.

NY court: Lap dances are not art and are taxable

Lap dances are taxable because they don't promote culture in a community the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do, New York's highest court concluded Tuesday in a sharply divided ruling.

The court split 4-3, with the dissenting judges saying there's no distinction in state law between "highbrow dance and lowbrow dance," so the case raises "significant constitutional problems."

The lawsuit was filed by Nite Moves in suburban Albany, which was arguing fees for admission to the strip club and for private dances are exempt from sales taxes.

The court majority said taxes apply to many entertainment venues, such as amusement parks and sporting events. It ruled the club has failed to prove it qualifies for the exemption for "dramatic or musical arts performances" that was adopted by the Legislature "with the evident purpose of promoting cultural and artistic performances in local communities."

The majority reached similar conclusions about admission fees to watch dances done onstage around a pole, as well as for lap dances or private dances.

W. Anderson McCullough, attorney for the club, said he and his client were bitterly disappointed by the judges' ruling.

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