A lawyer who resigned abruptly from the office handling BP oil spill claims has denied allegations he accepted kickbacks from lawyers with claims pending in the process, saying the money was paid for earlier work and that his aim was to hide it from his wife — who also happened to work at the claims office — rather than to conceal anything improper. [New Orleans Times-Picayune]
“A man accused of firebombing three New Jersey synagogues may have been influenced by violent Xbox video games that aggravated his mental issues, his attorney said Tuesday. … [Anthony] Graziano’s attorney, Robert Kalisch, speaking outside court after the hearing Tuesday morning, described Graziano as a young man with mental health issues who had few friends and played violent games on his Xbox.” [MSNBC, Patrick Scott Patterson/Examiner](& Elie Mystal, Above the Law)
Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), who chairs the Committee on Business, Professions and Consumer Protection, has “pleaded no contest to charges that she tried to walk off with $2,500 in clothes.” [L.A. Times via Amy Alkon] “Hayashi spokesman Sam Singer has called the incident ‘a mistake and a misunderstanding.'” [Dublin Patch, KGO] “Hayashi’s attorney, Douglas Rappaport, told reporters that the lawmaker is taking medication for a benign brain tumor and that the ailment may have been responsible for her behavior.” But that doesn’t mean she’ll be taking a medical leave from her duties: according to her attorney, the tumor “is being treated with medication and no longer affects her,” reports the Sacramento Bee, which continues in a skeptical vein: “Medical experts said Monday that it is very rare, however, for a brain tumor that does not require surgery to influence behavior so significantly.” “I am confident that with the close of these proceedings, she will continue to ably serve her constituents with the same talent and passion she has displayed throughout her time in office,” wrote Assembly Speaker John Pérez in a supportive statement.
“Reports today say that a 33-year-old Kentucky man will argue in his murder trial this week that he should be found not guilty of killing his wife because he was under the influence of caffeine at the time.” [Lowering the Bar] Update: Lawyer doesn’t mention caffeine theory on trial’s first day [ABA Journal] From commenter Shtetl G: “I would be more sympathetic if he claimed lack of caffeine caused the murder.”
“A federal appeals court has overturned the arson convictions of a Caltech grad student accused of torching and vandalizing 125 SUVs, ruling the trial judge wrongly barred evidence of the defendant’s Asperger’s syndrome.” [ABA Journal, L.A. Times] While we’re at it, also from the ABA Journal: “Law Prof Charged with Tax Evasion, Claims Severe ADD, Prosecutors Say“.