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Archive for Saturday, September 23, 2000

National Briefs

September 23, 2000

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Pennsylvania

Bread squeezer convicted

A man accused of squishing baked goods on a store's shelves and costing the supermarket serious dough has been convicted.

Samuel G. Feldman, 37, of suburban Philadelphia, had been charged with damaging up to $8,000 worth of baked goods over three years, including 175 bags of bagels, 227 bags of potato dinner rolls, and 3,087 bags of sliced bread.

On Thursday, a Bucks County judge found him guilty of two counts of criminal mischief for damaging less than $1,000 worth of cookies and bread.

The key evidence against Feldman was an April 1998 supermarket surveillance tape showing him removing and replacing seven loaves of bread. On other visits to the store, prosecutors said Feldman poked holes in cookie wrappers and squeezed loaves of wheat and rye.

Defense attorney Ellis Klein said the videotape merely showed his client was a picky shopper.

The judge told Feldman on Friday that he could impose up to six months of jail time, but he could be persuaded not to do that if Feldman seeks mental treatment. The sentencing was postponed indefinitely.

Houston

Former Playmate battles for husband's fortune

Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall II became a cliche when they married: the aging multimillionaire and his celebrity model trophy wife. On the day of their 1994 wedding, she was 26 and he was 89.

The following year, when Marshall died, he bequeathed everything to his younger son, E. Pierce Marshall. The outcry from his widow and elder son was immediate both Anna Nicole and J. Howard Marshall III say they deserve a share of the money.

And so was born a financial battle royal that went to trial Friday with the start of jury selection. Some 150 potential jurors assembled in a large courtroom to get written questionnaires and some brief instructions from Harris County Probate Judge Mike Wood.

At the center of the family feud sits a disputed fortune, estimated at anywhere from $48 million to $1.6 billion.

According to Smith, her sweetheart promised her half his fortune in exchange for her hand in marriage.

"He wanted to make me happy," she told a Los Angeles judge last year. "My wish was his command."

Miami

O.J. Simpson faces complaint

O.J. Simpson's ex-girlfriend has filed a burglary complaint against the former football great, claiming he broke into her home, erased a message on her answering machine and took a letter.

Christine Prody, 25, told officers Friday night that Simpson, 53, had used a key to enter her Miami-Dade County home between midnight and 7 a.m., according to the police report.

Prody said she telephoned Simpson about it and he admitted going to her home because he wanted to erase a message he had left for her, the report said.

The only thing missing was the letter, which Simpson did not want Prody to mail to a "mutual friend," the report said. The contents of the letter were not disclosed.

Simpson and Prody reportedly stopped seeing each other six weeks ago. In May, police were called to a Miami hotel after Simpson and Prody got into a loud dispute where Prody allegedly slapped and kicked him. Simpson refused to press charges.

In October 1999, police responded to a 911 call Simpson placed from Prody's house. According to a police report, Simpson said Prody had been on a cocaine binge. Simpson later called it a misunderstanding, saying he had placed the call about one of Prody's friends.

Washington, D.C.

Kennedy-Smith pays settlement

Former U.S. ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith paid $5,000 Friday to settle conflict-of-interest allegations arising from a donation she solicited for an Irish festival at the Kennedy Center here.

The civil settlement, released by the Justice Department, said there was never any allegation that Smith, sister of slain President John F. Kennedy, gained personally from the $1 million gift from Ireland. It was made to finance an Irish Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Smith was a trustee of the nonprofit cultural and charitable center at the time. She was also the U.S. ambassador to Ireland.

Federal criminal law bars any executive branch employee, including ambassadors, from knowingly participating personally and substantially in any particular matter in which an organization has a financial interest if the employee is a trustee of that organization.

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