Sandusky son Matt says his father abused him, that he was ready to testify at trial
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- Lawyers for one of Jerry Sandusky’s adopted sons said the man has told authorities the former Penn State assistant football coach abused him.
The lawyers issued a statement Thursday naming Matt Sandusky, one of Jerry Sandusky’s six adopted children, and saying that the 33-year-old had been prepared to testify on behalf of prosecutors at his father’s sex abuse trial.
"During the trial, Matt Sandusky contacted us and requested our advice and assistance in arranging a meeting with prosecutors to disclose for the first time in this case that he is a victim of Jerry Sandusky’s abuse," Andrew Shubin and Justine Andronici wrote in the statement. "At Matt’s request, we immediately arranged a meeting between him and the prosecutors and investigators.
"This has been an extremely painful experience for Matt and he has asked us to convey his request that the media respect his privacy. There will be no further comment."
The statement was issued after jurors in the ex-coach’s child sex abuse trial began deliberating 48 charges against him. The jurors are sequestered during deliberations.
Pile-up of bad economic news sends stocks sharply lower on Wall Street
NEW YORK (AP) -- Investors yanked money out of stocks Thursday after new reports from the U.S. and China
The Dow Jones industrial plunged 251 points, the second-biggest drop this year.
Losses in energy and materials companies led a widespread rout on the stock market. The Dow started sinking after 10 a.m., when the Philadelphia branch of the Federal Reserve reported a sharp contraction in manufacturing in the Northeast. The losses accelerated throughout the day.
"The news has been horrible out there," said Uri Landesman, president of Platinum Partners. "The U.S. economy is slowing down. And China’s growth is definitely under question."
The bad news kept piling up as the day went on. Mining and other companies that made basic materials fell hard after prices for commodities such as copper and oil dropped. Goldman Sachs analysts advised their clients to bet that stocks would fall, and speculation swirled that Moody’s would cut the credit ratings of 17 banks.
Poll: Obama loses advantage over Romney as economic anxieties increase
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fighting a swell of economic anxiety, President Barack Obama has lost much of the narrow lead he held just a month ago over Mitt Romney and the two now are locked in a virtually even race for the White House, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. The survey also found a majority of Americans disapproving of how the Democratic president is handling a national economy that fewer people think is improving.
Less than five months before the election, 47 percent say they will vote for the president and 44 percent for Romney, a difference that is not statistically significant. The poll also shows that Romney has recovered from a bruising Republican primary, with more of his supporters saying they are certain to vote for him now.
The economy remains Obama’s top liability. Only 3 out of 10 adults say the country is headed in the right direction and 55 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy, the highest level detected in AP-GfK polls this year.
"I’m not going to vote for Obama," said Raymond Back, a 60-year-old manufacturing plant manager from North Olmsted, Ohio, one of the most competitive states in this election. "It’s just the wrong thing to do. I don’t know what Romney is going to do, but this isn’t the right way."
Yet, in a measure of Romney’s own vulnerabilities, even some voters who say they support Romney believe the president will still be re-elected. Of all adults polled, 56 percent believe Obama will win a second term. And despite three months of declining job creation that have left the public increasingly glum, Romney has not managed to seize the economic issue from the president, with registered voters split virtually evenly on whether Romney or Obama would do a better job improving it.
Court sidesteps broad issue of broadcast indecency, throws out FCC fines for nudity, cursing
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Broadcasters anticipating a major constitutional ruling on the government’s authority to regulate what can be shown and said on the airwaves instead won only the smallest of Supreme Court victories Thursday.
The justices unanimously threw out fines and other penalties against Fox and ABC television stations that violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on television airwaves.
Forgoing a broader constitutional ruling, however, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs on Fox stations and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC’s "NYPD Blue" could give rise to penalties. ABC and 45 affiliates had been hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million.
Broadcasters had argued that the revolution in technology that has brought the Internet, satellite television and cable has made the rules themselves obsolete. The regulations apply only to broadcast channels.
The justices said the FCC is free to revise its indecency policy, which is intended to keep the airwaves free of objectionable material during the hours when children are likely to be watching.
Trailing Obama with key bloc, Romney vows to tackle immigration in ‘civil but resolute manner’
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- Backing off the harsh rhetoric of the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney pledged Thursday to address illegal immigration "in a civil but resolute manner." He outlined plans to overhaul the green card system for immigrants with families, and end immigration caps for their spouses and minor children.
In a speech before Hispanic leaders, Romney made only passing mention of his promise to complete a 2,000-mile border fence to help stem illegal immigration. Instead he attacked President Barack Obama’s new plan to ease deportation rules for some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children as little more than a "stop-gap measure."
"As President, I won’t settle for a stop-gap measure. I will work with Republicans and Democrats to find a long-term solution," Romney told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. "I will prioritize measures that strengthen legal immigration and make it easier. And I will address the problem of illegal immigration in a civil but resolute manner. We may not always agree, but when I make a promise to you, I will keep it."
Obama will speak to the same group Friday. The speeches come as the Supreme Court prepares to render judgment on a get-tough Arizona law and after Obama announced his new deportation plan.
Romney again refused to say whether he would reverse Obama’s policy, promising his "own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the president’s temporary measure."
Syrian pilot lands jet in Jordan, is granted asylum; Damascus calls him a traitor
BEIRUT (AP) -- A Syrian fighter pilot on a training mission flew his MiG-21 warplane to neighboring Jordan, where he was given asylum Thursday in a defection from the fiercely loyal air force that signals some of the most ironclad allegiances in Damascus could be fraying. Syria immediately denounced the pilot as a traitor.
The brazen move was a clear triumph for the rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad and was the first defection by an air force officer with his plane since the uprising began in March 2011.
The pilot, identified as Col. Hassan Hammadeh, removed his air force tag and knelt on the tarmac in prayer after landing at King Hussein Air Base in Mafraq, Jordan, 45 miles (70 kilometers) north of Amman, a Jordanian security official said.
Hammadeh will be allowed to stay in Jordan on "humanitarian grounds," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
"He was given asylum because if he returned home, his safety will not be guaranteed. He may be tortured or killed," the official said. He declined to say what Jordan will do with the jet.
Video shows Zimmerman taking police through re-enactment of fight, fatal shooting of Martin
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- George Zimmerman appears believable when he re-enacts for police what he says led to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, but some of his statements are questionable, lawyers who reviewed the footage said Thursday.
Even a detective who interrogated the neighborhood watch leader pointed out inconsistencies in his story, particularly Zimmerman’s claim that Martin punched him and slammed his head onto the ground when the teenager had no prior history of violence.
The video and audio tapes released by Zimmerman’s attorney give Zimmerman’s most detailed account yet of what led to the Feb. 26 shooting, but it still leaves unanswered whether the shooting was justified.
The evidence was released almost a week before Zimmerman’s second bond hearing on a second-degree murder charge, and on the heels of unflattering telephone calls capturing Zimmerman and his wife talking in code about using money collected for a defense fund to pay credit cards.
In one of the audio recordings, detective Chris Sereno asked Zimmerman whether he was profiling the black teen, a claim Martin’s parents have made.
Boehner takes hard line, says House will proceed with contempt vote on AG
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Speaker John Boehner demanded Thursday that the Obama administration give in and turn over documents related to a botched gun-tracking operation, insisting that’s the only way to stop a House vote to hold the attorney general in contempt.
Boehner took a hard line against the Obama administration and Attorney General Eric Holder despite a willingness by House Republicans and Holder to negotiate a settlement before the matter becomes a constitutional crisis. The president has invoked executive privilege, a legal principle used to avoid disclosure of internal presidential documents.
While a confrontation between the legislative and executive branches of government would be an academic dispute to most voters, Boehner on Thursday injected a human element into the dispute over documents related to Operation Fast and Furious. He said the family of slain border agent Brian Terry deserved answers about the guns that killed him.
Two guns that were allowed to "walk" from Arizona to Mexico in the failed effort to track weapons were found near Terry after he was killed.
"The Terry family deserves answers about why their son was killed as a result of an operation run by the United States government," Boehner told his weekly news conference. Ohio ‘personhood’ push faces signature shortfall in attempt to make Nov. ballot
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- An anti-abortion group in Ohio is facing a significant shortfall in the number of signatures needed to ask voters in the presidential battleground this fall whether the state constitution should declare that life begins when a human egg is fertilized, throwing up another obstacle for the "personhood" movement.
With less than two weeks before a crucial July deadline, the group’s director says it has close to 20,000, or 5 percent, of the roughly 385,000 signatures required for the proposed personhood constitutional amendment to appear on November ballots.
Stacks of signatures have yet to be counted, and more arrive each day.
Still, Patrick Johnston, the director of Personhood Ohio, acknowledges that the group might not get enough signatures in time to make the ballot for this year’s presidential election.
"I don’t know what I’m going to get the last week of this month, but it needs to be a ton to get it by July 4," Johnston said in an interview this week with The Associated Press.
At least $275K raised to send bullied N.Y. school bus monitor on vacation; boys receive threats
A video of a 68-year-old school bus monitor mercilessly taunted by seventh graders became an international online rallying point against bullies Thursday, with a fund for the Rochester, N.Y., grandmother raising at least $275,000 and a deluge of people demanding harsh punishment for the boys.
Police said Karen Klein does not want her young tormenters to face criminal charges, partly because of the storm of criticism leveled at the boys from the Rochester suburb of Greece after the video went viral.
"They’ve received death threats," Greece Police Capt. Steve Chatterton said Thursday. "Their families have been threatened. We have custody of one of their cellphones, and he had over 1,000 missed calls and 1,000 text messages threatening him. And he’s 13 years old. That must stop."
The verbal abuse was captured in a 10-minute cellphone video recorded Monday by a student of Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester and later posted to YouTube. The video shows Klein trying her best to ignore the stream of profanity, insults and outright threats directed at her. One student taunted: "You don’t have a family because they all killed themselves because they don’t want to be near you."
Klein’s oldest son killed himself 10 years ago.