Prince Andrew suit goes ahead despite Epstein deal
NEW YORK | A judge has — for now — refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Britain’s Prince Andrew by an American woman who says he sexually abused her when she was 17.
Stressing Wednesday that he wasn’t ruling on the truth of the allegations, U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan rejected an argument by Andrew’s lawyers that Virginia Giuffre’s lawsuit should be thrown out at an early stage because of an old legal settlement she had with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier she claims set up sexual encounters with the prince.
Kaplan said the $500,000 settlement between Epstein and Giuffre didn’t involve the prince and didn’t bar a suit against him now.
Giuffre sued the 61-year-old Andrew in August, saying she was coerced into sexual encounters with him in 2001 by Epstein and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell. Giuffre said she was sexually abused by Andrew at Maxwell’s London home, at Epstein’s New York mansion and his estate in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Panel requests interview from GOP leader McCarthy
WASHINGTON | The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection requested an interview and records from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday, seeking first-hand details from members of Congress on former President Donald Trump’s actions as hundreds of his supporters brutally beat police, stormed the building and interrupted the certification of the 2020 election.
Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, Democratic chairman of the panel, requested that McCarthy, R-Calif., provide information to the nine-member panel regarding his conversations with Trump “before, during and after” the riot.
Not-guilty plea entered for teen in Michigan shooting
A Michigan teenager charged in a mass shooting that left four students dead at his high school made his first appearance in trial court Wednesday.
Ethan Crumbley, 15, was arraigned in Oakland County Circuit Court via video from the jail where he is being held on first-degree murder, assault with intent to murder, terrorism and gun charges. Crumbley is charged as an adult in the Nov. 30 shooting at Oxford High School, about 30 miles north of Detroit.
Army increases bonuses for recruits as COVID takes toll
WASHINGTON | The U.S. Army, for the first time, is offering a maximum enlistment bonus of $50,000 to highly skilled recruits who join for six years, The Associated Press has learned, as the service struggles to lure soldiers into certain critical jobs during the continuing pandemic.
Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, told AP that shuttered schools and the competitive job market over the past year have posed significant challenges for recruiters. So heading into the most difficult months of the year for recruiting, the Army is hoping that some extra cash and a few other changes will entice qualified young people to sign up.
Chicago teachers agree to deal, keeping kids in school
CHICAGO | Students in the nation’s third-largest district returned to classrooms Wednesday after Chicago Public Schools canceled five days of classes amid a standoff with the teachers union over COVID-19 safety protocols.
Their return happened the same day the full membership of the Chicago Teachers Union gave their stamp of approval to the hard-fought safety plan that includes expanded testing and metrics to shut down individual schools during outbreaks.
Union President Jesse Sharkey said the agreement “wasn’t a home run” but was “as much as we could get right now.”
Interior to hold auction for offshore wind power in N.Y.
TRENTON, N.J. | The Biden administration said Wednesday it will hold its first offshore wind auction next month, offering nearly 500,000 acres off the coast of New York and New Jersey for wind energy projects that could produce enough electricity to power nearly 2 million homes.
The auction comes after the administration announced a flurry of clean energy actions Wednesday, such as steps to speed up reviews of clean energy projects on public lands, including solar, onshore wind and geothermal energy.
—From AP reports