U.S. Attorney intervenes in Starkey lawsuits

U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger
MinnPost photo by Ibrahim Hirsi
U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger

This is going to be interesting. Says Dee DePass in the Strib, “In a rare move, U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger has asked a Minnesota state court to halt discovery in two lawsuits against Starkey Laboratories Inc. The pretrial civil fact-digging, the motion says, could potentially harm the government’s separate criminal investigation. … Some local attorneys not involved with the lawsuits say Luger’s move was unusual and may signal that indictments are coming.”

Might be short a couple zeroes here. Says the AP, “The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis on Thursday filed a bankruptcy reorganization plan that would set up a trust fund of more than $65 million to compensate some 440 clergy abuse victims plus other creditors, with just over half of that amount coming from insurance. The plan would also create a $500,000 fund to pay for counseling and incorporate the terms of a settlement reached with Ramsey County in December that allows for greater legal oversight of the archdiocese over the next three years, with the goal of changing its organizational culture to ensure that no more children are abused.”

After that video of a cop getting tough with a kid at St. Paul Central, Josh Verges of the PiPress says, “Video of a teenager’s arrest Wednesday at Central High School is reopening the debate over police officers’ role in schools just as St. Paul Public Schools is working on a new contract with the city police department. School board member Steve Marchese wrote on Facebook that he’s ‘angry and appalled’ at the 16-year-old former student’s rough treatment. … St. Paul Public Schools is paying up to $854,000 this school year to have nine police officers stationed at district high schools. The city’s cost share for the program is $100,000.”

And if an aardvark captured the nomination? MPR’s Tim Pugmire says, “U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer announced Thursday that he is endorsing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump in his campaign for president. The 6th District Republican made his announcement on social media the same day Trump locked up enough GOP delegates to secure the party nomination. ‘I have long said I would support the eventual nominee, and today Donald Trump clinched that position.’ Emmer wrote. ‘Like most people, I’ve never agreed with a presidential candidate 100 percent of the time. But I am 100 percent sure that this country cannot afford Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the White House.’” I love the smell of courage in the morning.

On the U of M wrestler/Xanax … oh heck, let’s call it a scandal … Jeremy Olson of the Strib says, “Sedatives reportedly sold and abused by University of Minnesota wrestlers might not be generating as much alarm locally and nationally as potent opioid painkillers, but the latest data show they are a fast-rising cause of overdoses and deaths. Xanax, or alprazolam, is the 10th-most prescribed drug in Minnesota and the second-most prescribed drug that is seized by law enforcement in drug stings, according to an April Drug Abuse Trends report for the Twin Cities.”

Speaking of altered states. LaVelle E. Neal III of the Strib reports, “Twins pitching coach Neil Allen was suspended indefinitely by the team after being arrested early Thursday morning for suspicion of drunken driving. … Minor league pitching coordinator Eric Rasmussen will take over as Twins pitching coach for the time being. … Allen frequently has admitted that he struggled with alcohol throughout much of his 11-year major league career pitching for five teams.” 

Al speaks. To Bloomberg’s Victoria Stilwell. “Washington is again mired in political gridlock, this time involving the Supreme Court. A seat on the highest court in the land has been open since February, and it probably won’t be filled until a new president is elected. How do businesses fare in the face of so much uncertainty? For answers, Tori speaks with Al Franken, the junior senator from Minnesota and a former star of Saturday Night Live, along with Bloomberg’s Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr. As an added bonus, Franken shares his thoughts on Donald Trump, the Benchmark theme song, and rumors he may be Hillary Clinton’s vice president.”

Racing in Wisconsin. Says John Lundy of the Duluth News Tribune, “A Minnesota State Patrol trooper was injured and her squad car heavily damaged during a Tuesday night chase that ended in Burnett County, Wis. … Burnett County Chief Deputy Scott M. Burns said trooper Bridget Allison Heaton was injured while assisting Pine County deputies in the pursuit of a silver Dodge Durango traveling at speeds estimated up to 100 mph. As the pursuit reached Burnett County on North Markville Road in the Town of Blaine, Heaton lost control of her squad car while negotiating a curve, and it overturned, Burns said.”

Uh oh. Lorna Benson reports, “State health officials are monitoring two Minnesota women who contracted the Zika virus while pregnant. In one case, a woman traveled to El Salvador and then got sick. The other was a sexually transmitted infection from her husband who had been in Haiti. The mosquito-born infection can cause severe brain damage in developing fetuses. One woman has already had her baby. And so far there are no signs of a problem with that child, or in the other pregnancy. Health Commissioner Ed Ehlinger says the agency will track the mothers and babies for a year.” The hysteria button is twitching.

Another man of the cloth heading to the big house. In the PiPress we learn, “A former pastor in northwestern Minnesota was sentenced Wednesday to 33 years and 10 months in prison for having sexual contact with children. The Rev. Scott Morey of Shevlin, Minn., was charged in 2014 with eight first-degree, three second-degree and three fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. A jury found the 43-year-old guilty April 20 on 13 of the 14 counts, and he was acquitted on one count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.” I’m sure his fellow inmates will be forgiving.

And I think I’m a champ if I do 15 minutes on the rowing machine at the gym. In the Strib, Tony Brown says, “A young woman from Luverne was half of a two-person team that rowed a small boat 2,747 miles over 58 days this winter across the Atlantic Ocean, from the Canary Islands off North Africa to Antigua in the Caribbean. It was actually a race, in which her team finished 17th out of 26 rowed boats. And in a few days, on June 4, a woman and a man from the west metro are scheduled to push off as a team from Monterey, Calif., intending to row a small boat across the Pacific Ocean to Honolulu, at least 2,400 miles and 45 to 60 days away. That, too, is billed as a race. So, let 2016 officially be remembered as the year that Minnesota emerged as a force in the world of competitive trans-oceanic rowing.”

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