Jan. 31 News Briefs

By: 
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Nassar faces another sentence, victims in return to court

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Larry Nassar, the sports doctor accused of sexually assaulting more than 150 women and girls, will be confronted again by scores of victims as he faces another prison sentence for molesting gymnasts, this time at an elite Michigan club run by an Olympic coach.

Judge Janice Cunningham has set aside several days for roughly 60 people who want to confront Nassar or have their statement read in court. The event starting Wednesday could unfold much the same as a hearing last week in another county that ended with Nassar getting sentenced to 40 to 175 years in prison — what a different judge described as signing the doctor’s “death warrant.”

The practice of allowing accusers to speak even if they are not tied directly to a case has raised questions about fairness. But attorneys say the victim statements probably pose little risk on appeal, especially since Nassar pleaded guilty, agreed to allow the statements and is expected to get another long prison sentence as part of his deal with prosecutors.

It’s not uncommon for prosecutors to introduce “aggravating” evidence at sentencing to support their request for a severe punishment. But the parade of victims offering emotional accounts of their abuse to the face of an abuser went well beyond the typical hearing.

Insurance claims from CA wildfires near $12 billion

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Insurance claims from last year’s deadly California wildfires have reached $11.8 billion, making it the most expensive series of wildfires in state history. The staggering number exceeds the total insurance claims from the top 10 previously most costly wildfires in California. Before last year, California’s most expensive single fire was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire that prompted $2.7 billion in claims in today’s dollars.

Nearly $1.8 billion of the 2017 insurance claims stem from fires that swept through Southern California in December. The rest is from a series of fires in Northern California’s wine country in October.
Jones said the two firestorms damaged or destroyed 32,000 homes, 4,300 businesses and more than 8,200 vehicles, boats and other equipment. Dozens of people were killed.

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