Penn State official mired in Sandusky scandal wants to be cleared

Gary Schultz
When Penn State's Gary Schultz stepped down in November after an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees amid the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal, he said he hadn't done anything wrong.

Now he wants a judge to agree with him.

Schultz, former senior vice president for finance and business at Penn State, on Tuesday asked a judge to throw out charges against him, according to the Associated Press. He maintains -- then as now -- that he did not lie to a grand jury investigating Sandusky, a former assistant football coach.

Lawyers for Schultz and former Penn state athletic director Tim Curley said in November that the state attorney general had mounted a "flimsy and irresponsible case" against the two men, the Patriot-News reported at the time. Curley and Schultz are each facing a charge of perjury for allegedly lying to the grand jury.

It wasn't perjury, Schultz's lawyer Tom Farrell says, according to records obtained by the AP. Schultz says he was simply stating his opinion when he told the grand jury that allegations he heard in 2002 about Sandusky were "not that serious" and that he believed it wasn't clear that a crime had occurred.

Former Penn State graduate assistant Mike McQueary has said that he told both Schultz and Curley in 2002 that he'd seen Sandusky and a boy -- both of them naked -- in a football locker room shower.

As The Times reported in December, McQueary testified that he was embarrassed because he instinctively knew something sexual was going on. He said he saw Sandusky with his arms wrapped around the boy's waist.

The meeting between McQueary and Curley and Schultz is central to the charges against the two former administrators.

The AP reports that Schultz also joined a motion filed Monday by co-defendant Curley, challenging a failure-to-report charge. They maintain that the law was different in 2002, when McQueary informed the pair that Sandusky was in the campus shower with a young boy.

A spokesman for the attorney general's office told the AP on Tuesday that the agency had not received the filings but would review them when it had.

Sandusky most recently took the stand Friday, when a judge ruled that he could visit with his grandchildren. He stands accused of molesting at least 10 boys through a charity he founded, the Second Mile. He has denied all charges.

ALSO:

'I shouldn't have showered with those kids'

'The check is in the mail' could soon be a legal excuse

Mormons baptize parents of Nazi hunter Wiesenthal -- then apologize

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Former Penn State vice president Gary Schultz enters the courtroom for his arraignment Nov. 7 in Harrisburg, Pa. Credit: Jason Plotkin / York Daily Record


Westminster dog show 2012: Six surefire -- but cool -- losers

Xoloitzcuintli, one of the new breeds in the 2012 Westminster dog show
The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show features six new breeds this year, among them a hair-free pooch, a puffin hunter and a reindeer herder. What these very different breeds share is their underdog status. Each has about as much chance of winning best in show as the proverbial snowball does of not melting.

Sorry, Xoloitzcuintli fans.

"The fastest a new breed has gone from first appearance to best in show is 27 years," said longtime Westminster dog show spokesman David Frei in an interview Tuesday with the Los Angeles Times. 

PHOTOS: Westminster dog show contestants

The results of the competition so far bear him out.

Familiar breeds were winning the day, as Bloomberg reported Tuesday morning.  The four winning the group competitions so far: a German shepherd, a Dalmatian, a wirehaired dachshund and a Pekingese.  Three more groups will be judged Tuesday night, Frei told The Times.

Frei said part of the fun of debuting new breeds is that dog show fans get to learn the looks and history of the breeds.

"We would love for them ... to come here and be successful," he noted. But "in the early years, they find themselves the object almost of entertainment."

There was no small amount of finger pointing, for instance, at the Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced "show-low"), the national dog of Mexico.  The breed is descended from hairless dogs prized by the Aztecs and revered as guardians of the dead, according to the kennel club. They were shaped by living wild in the Mexican jungles -- "by environment rather than by man." 

The Norwegian lundehund -- or puffin dog -- has at least six toes on each foot, which in the old days gave it gripping ability for scaling rocky cliffs in Norway to ferret out puffins for the local farmers, the club says.  That activity is against the law these days, with the puffin's status as protected.

Both the lundehund and the Xoloitzcuintli were whupped in the non-sporting category by a Dalmatian known as Ian.

The American English coonhound is the third new breed, a speedy hunter that the club describes as a "strong and graceful athlete."  Another loser.  Winning in the hound group was wirehaired dachshund "Cinders."

Debuting in the herding group were the Entlebucher mountain dog, a sturdy-looking fellow in handsome black, tan and white, and the Finnish lapphund, a reindeer herding dog from northern Scandinavia that is a devoted and friendly breed.  Loser and loser. "Capi" the German shepherd  won in the herding category.

In the terrier category, the Cesky debuts this year.  Longer than it is tall, the club says, the Cesky has an enviable coat, long and silky "in shades of gray from charcoal to platinum."

On Tuesday night, the terriers -- as well as the sporting and working and terrier groups -- will be judged, followed by best in show.  And the recipient of the big prize will assuredly be a familiar -- not an exotic -- face.

Last year, the Scottish deerhound won best in show for the first time in the history of the show.  It took that breed 80 years to reach the top spot.

Behind the hoopla of this 136th annual show was a mini-controversy over the WKC dropping longtime show sponsor Pedigree dog food. Pedigree's ads feature forlorn shelter dogs waiting to be adopted.

Frei was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the dog show is a celebration of "all dogs," but sad-eyed dogs -- "puppies behind bars" -- "it's not our message."

Frei told The Times that he had no comment about the matter, dismissing it "old news. ... We made  the change last spring."

ALSO:

PHOTOS: At the dog show

Scottish deerhound wins it all in 2011 

TV coverage of the dog show: Time and channel

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Alma Dulce, a 2-year-old female hairless Xoloitzcuintli, one of the six new breeds featured in this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, arrives in New York in January for a news conference about the show. Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP/Getty Images


Valentine's Day gets Google Doodle but began with beheading

Valentine's Day 2012

Valentine's Day 2012, honored today with a Google Doodle, is an appropriate time to remember that Valentine's Day -- both beloved and reviled by Americans -- likely began with a beheading.

The ancient history of Valentine's Day is as murky and unconfirmed as the concept of love at first sight. But the existence of at least two martyrs by the name Valentine appears to have some historical credibility.

One Valentine, a Roman priest, helped Christians who were being persecuted by Claudius II, according to Catholic Online. But helping his fellow man didn't turn out too well for Valentine, who was "beaten with clubs" before having his head lopped off.

GALLERY: Evolution of the Google Doodle

The beheading, according to this source, occurred on Feb. 14 around the year 270.

Happy Valentine's Day?

The other Valentine, bishop of Terni, Italy, also was martyred, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, which goes on to speculate that, perhaps, these differing accounts are actually rooted in just one person. 

In any case, a couple of hundred years later, around 497 AD, Pope Gelasius I said, "Hurrah!" and marked Feb. 14 as a day of celebration in honor of Valentine's martyrdom. In 1969, Pope Paul VI said, "Nahhh!" and erased the day from the General Roman Calendar of saints.

It was Geoffrey Chaucer and his lovebirds that may have first brought together Valentine's Day and romance.

"The Parliament of Fowls," written in the late 1300s, told of birds assembling to choose their mates. The poem, as translated by University of Maine's eChaucer, includes these lines:

"And after him you shall choose in order, according to your nature, each as pleases you; and, as your chance is, you shall lose or win. But whichever of you love ensnares most, to him may God send her who sighs for him most sorely."

Happy Valentine's Day.

ALSO:

Gay marriage: Most in New Jersey support it

'Big Miracle': The true story behind the stranded whales

Abraham Lincoln gets Hollywood reboot -- as a vampire hunter

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Cheri Myler, owner of Artistic Creations Flowers and Gifts in Centennial, Colo., prepares Valentine's Day bouquets Monday. Credit: Helen H. Richardson / Denver Post 


Valentine's Day 2012 Google Doodle is a Tony Bennett love note

Valentine’s Day 2012 is celebrated with a video-animation Google Doodle that also showcases the tender crooning of Tony Bennett at age 25, sweetly hitting the high notes of “Cold, Cold Heart.”

The song was written by country boy Hank Williams, who said on “The Kate Smith Evening Hour” in a 1952 appearance that “Cold, Cold Heart” had “been awful kind to me and the boys,” providing them with “quite a few beans and biscuits.”

It was a moneymaker. And it also was kind to Bennett. His version, with an orchestral arrangement by Percy Faith, spent 27 weeks on the U.S. Billboard chart.

But Bennett, a self-described “city boy,” had his qualms about singing a country ballad.

In an appearance on “Imus in the Morning” in 2006, Bennett recalled saying at the time that it was a great song -- “Hank Williams knows how to write songs. But I’m a city boy, and I wouldn’t be able to sing a country song.”

Bennett did record “Cold, Cold Heart,” and -- as they would say on “American Idol” -- he made it his own.

The Google doodlers continue to make their piece of the search engine giant their own too. With this Valentine doodle, the team adds another video doodle to a growing collection.

The team’s creations have become increasingly sophisticated in the years since 1998, when it all began with a stick figure by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Over time, the doodles have become “more and more involved and complicated,” team member Sophia Foster-Dimino said in a December interview with The Times. “More like works of art than fun gags.”

Among the team’s favorites are other video doodles: For the Charlie Chaplin video, "everyone took on a role as someone in the movie and worked with a video crew," Foster-Dimino said. The elaborate Halloween 2011 doodle involved time-lapse video, and the interactive Gumby doodle was done in the style of Art Clokey with his son, Joe Clokey, among supervisors on the project.

 

  • The concept drawing for the Gumby doodle.
  • One of the Gumby figures. Puppet maker Nicole La-Pointe McKay says three to six puppets were used for each figure.
  • One step in creating the segments of animation, which were assembled by Google.
  • A Pokey figure rears back with the help of a metal arm.
  • A still from the finished doodle.
Gumby-lineup

ALSO:

When the world united to save three whales

Washington state makes 7: Governor signs gay-marriage law

Abraham Lincoln's birthday: President gets Hollywood reboot -- as a vampire hunter

 

-- Amy Hubbard+


First lady fights obesity in Iowa, but overweight kids are few

Michelle Obama dances in Iowa on Let's Move tour

First Lady Michelle Obama on Thursday kicked off a national "Let's Move!" anniversary tour, part of her effort to fight childhood obesity, by heading to Iowa. But obese children are comparatively scarce in that Heartland state.

Better she had begun in, say, Mississippi, where there are 10% more obese children than in Iowa -- and where parents also tend to be much heavier.

Obama's visit to Iowa -- where she appeared at the Wells Fargo Arena and cheered on thousands of children in exercises and heart-pumping dances -- coincides with a push by that state to become the nation's healthiest by 2016, reported the Des Moines Register.

"You are the model" for other states, the news site quoted the first lady as saying.

Though the actual steps state officials are taking weren't spelled out, they must be doing something right. The state ranks 46th among the 50 states with an 11.2% childhood obesity rate. This is according to the 2011 report "F as in Fat" from the nonprofit, Washington-based Trust for America's Health.

The July report said 12 states had adult obesity rates above 30%, compared with one state in 2007. 

Mississippi ranked first for obese adults, with a rate of 34.4%, and first for obese children, with 21.9%.

Other states besides Iowa are making an effort to combat obesity. Just last month, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta released ads that were intended to help curb obesity rates -- but they also ticked off some  Georgians. 

The ads featured obese children talking about the toll of obesity. Proponents called them "in your face." But critics said they were reminiscent of graphic, disturbing anti-smoking ads and "might actually make people feel worse," as The Times reported in January.

Georgia, according to the Trust for America's Health report, ranked second nationally for childhood obesity with a rate of 21.3%.  It came in 17th for adult obesity.

The national Let's Move! tour will mark two years since the first lady launched her drive to solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. Obama visits Iowa, Arkansas and Texas on Thursday; she has a Texas visit and two stops in Florida on Friday; and then she makes another stop in Florida on Saturday before winding things up. 

That's three stops for a state that reportedly ranks 13th nationwide for childhood obesity. Just sayin' ...

ALSO:

U.S. military meals redux: Less fat for our soldiers

10 states get to skip No Child Left Behind, thanks to the president

Indiana stage collapse: Company, fair commission and union are fined

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: First Lady Michelle Obama dances "the Interlude" after speaking at a Let's Move! rally with Iowa students at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Credit: Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press


Charles Dickens, a man with his own ghosts, gets Google Doodle

Charles Dickens celebration

Charles Dickens is the subject of a Google Doodle today on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of his birth. It’s widely known that this Victorian author could really put together an opening line (i.e. the 119-word grabber of an intro to “A Tale of Two Cities”: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”). But his life held fascinating as well as sorrowful twists (and by that we don’t just mean Oliver).

Dickens’ novels were populated with waifs and oafs. It was the frail Oliver Twist who ate his thin gruel and told the workhouse master: “Please sir, I want some more.”

Fledgling writers are often told, “Write what you know,” and Dickens did.  He was born in 1812 into a lower-middle-class family that only sunk from there. Some of the ghosts from his past -- poverty and fear among them -- later invaded his novels.

CELEBRATIONS: Ralph Fiennes helps set the stage

John Dickens was a clerk and with wife Elizabeth had eight children. Charles was the second and the eldest boy.  John was rash with his money and, after becoming unemployed, was imprisoned in 1824 because of his debts. Charles’ father and the rest of his family to boot then resided in debtors prison -- except for Charles, who, alone at age 12 and away from his imprisoned family, was sent to work in a “blacking” (shoe polish) factory to make money.

John was eventually released and got a new job, but he never could get the knack of keeping hold of his money. Charles went on to fame as a writer, but that dark period in his life seeped into many of his novels, and his father and mother -- and others in his family -- can be found among his literary characters.

Dad became the basis for Mr. Micawber in “David Copperfield.” It was Micawber who said: "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

Dickens’ mother inspired the confused, comic character of Mrs. Nickleby in “Nicholas Nickleby” -- a veiled insult of which she was never aware. Apparently, young Charles and Mom had a falling-out after he lost his job at the blacking factory. His mother tried hard to get him his job back, but Charles never forgave her.

A few more Dickens tidbits:

-- Dickens became wildly successful after serializing “The Pickwick Papers” in 1836-37, with about 1 in 10 people in Victorian England snapping up and following his writings. He’s said to be the first person to make serialization of novels profitable.

-- In his later years, Dickens railed against slavery in lectures in the United States.

-- As his fame was taking off with “Pickwick,” he married Catherine Hogarth, daughter of a newspaper editor. They managed to have 10 children during their 22-year relationship, which broke off in 1858. According to Web developer and Dickens fan David Perdue, "Dickens found Catherine an increasingly incompetent mother and housekeeper and seemed to blame her for the birth of their 10 children."

-- When Dickens was a child, his father would walk him by the mansion Gad’s Hill Place and told him that, if he worked hard, he could live in such a place. In 1856, Dickens bought it.

-- Dickens had a harrowing experience in 1865. He was riding in a train with a woman, who may have been his mistress, when it derailed. Some carriages of the train fell off a bridge. Ten people were killed. Dickens, who helped minister to the wounded, realized his only manuscript of “Our Mutual Friend” was in his carriage, which was perched atop the bridge. He crawled through a broken window to save the manuscript.

ALSO:

Gumby gallery: Evolution of the Google Doodle

M.I.A. may owe Kelly Clarkson a sincere Super Bowl apology

Interested in the presidency? Apply here, no speaking involved

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Ralph Fiennes, with Prince Charles and wife Camilla, speaks at a ceremony honoring Charles Dickens on Tuesday at Westminster Abbey. Fiennes stars in the latest film version of Dickens' "Great Expectations." Credit: Arthur Edwards /AFP/Getty Images

 

 


TSA thefts? Well, yes, but don't forget the good, TSA rep says

Grenades found in luggage. TSA agents 'good catches

A TSA officer was arrested Wednesday at New York's JFK airport after a fellow officer allegedly saw her steal cash out of a passenger's jacket as it moved along a conveyor belt, a Transportation Safety Administration spokeswoman has acknowledged.

Alexandra Schmid is accused of taking $5,000 from the jacket as it passed by on its way to be X-rayed, the Associated Press reported.

The alleged theft is just one of several recent incidents that have cast the agency in a negative light -- and TSA officers, arguably, didn't have a stellar reputation with the public to begin with.

But Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, is staunch in her defense of TSA officers' integrity. "The actions of a few individuals in no way reflect on the outstanding job our 50,000 security officers do every day," Farbstein said in a news release after Wednesday's arrest.

The question may boil down to: Do several bad apples outweigh five grenades, a 19-inch sword and a 2-carat diamond?

In an interview with The Times on Thursday, Farbstein talked of such "great catches" by agents -- who screen an average of 2 million people a day nationwide -- and other "good work" often overlooked by the media.

But first, more on the incidents that have stirred criticism:

At LaGuardia last week, a "pipe bomb" scare had the agency in hot water with reports that possible bombs had been left lying around for hours before the bomb squad was called. 

A TSA official said, in fact, that the device was discovered in a carry-on bag about 11:30 a.m., screened for explosives "and determined not to be a threat." The owner of the device helped officers in determining what it was and what it was for. 

"It appears that only when a later shift came on duty and saw the device in the abandoned property area and without the full information, they pursued the suspicious device protocol and contacted the Port Authority Police Department," the official said.

The Associated Press noted several other incidents from January. An agent at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport was suspended after a passenger's stolen iPad was allegedly found at his home -- where seven other iPads also were found, police said.

At Miami International Airport, the AP reports, a TSA agent was charged in January with stealing items and luggage and smuggling them out in a hidden jacket pocket.

And two other former TSA agents at JFK were sentenced on Jan. 10 to six months in jail and five years' probation for stealing $40,000 from a piece of luggage in January 2011, the AP says.

Still, Farbstein says, "the majority of our officers do the right thing every day. ... People would be surprised at how many weapons are found.  People would be surprised at how people artfully conceal things."

In August, she said, a TSA security officer operating the X-ray machine at a checkpoint at Greater Rochester International Airport found "a double-sided 19-inch sword concealed inside a cane." In December, a knife disguised as a belt buckle -- attached to a pair of pants inside a carry-on bag -- was stopped at a TSA checkpoint at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Early last month, a man headed from JFK International Airport to San Juan was stopped by baggage screeners who found five knives in the man's checked baggage. Police confiscated the knives and arrested the man on a local charge.

In December, TSA explosives experts at Newark airport were called in, she said, after screeners found five grenades inside luggage. The team found that the grenades were inert and the Belgium-bound passenger surrendered her items to officials.

There are also happy endings, which Farbstein admitted are not great news fodder.

A woman buckled onto a flight leaving Greater Rochester airport found that her 2-carat diamond had fallen out of her ring. TSA agents at the security checkpoint were informed, and some scoured the floor on hands and knees. It was spotted in a walk-through metal detector and returned.

When a French man and his daughter who both spoke little English were separated at Newark airport, TSA, police, airline gate agents and airport personnel launched a wide search that eventually netted the emotional girl, who was reunited with her father.

It's these such incidents, rather than the negative ones, that are representative of officers' "normal job," Farbstein said. "That's what they do, they don't even think twice about it."

ALSO:

Donald Trump eyes eternity in New Jersey. Seriously.

Polo club's John Goodman, facing lawsuit, adopts girlfriend, 42

Lawmaker whose nephew was a victim calls for a halt to military hazing

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Grenades found in luggage. Credit: TSA


Scientists take bite of 'alien' space cloud that encompasses us

IBEX, an artist's rendering. IBEX has measured an alien space cloud.

Our solar system is adrift in an "alien" cloud, recent headlines have trumpeted. But that news is actually tens of thousands of years old. What's new is that NASA has, at long last, tapped into this interstellar wonder.

NASA's IBEX spacecraft (IBEX stands for Interstellar Boundary Explorer) is about the size of a bus tire, but it's performed a mighty task.

For the first time, IBEX has directly measured chemical elements of an "'alien' cloud that has blown into the solar system," said Eric Christian, an IBEX mission scientist at NASA. The agency reported its findings in a series of papers this week.

This so-called Local Cloud is a longtime visitor. It arrived, scientists believe, thousands upon thousands of years ago from a group of super-giant stars "found by looking back in the direction of the cloud's movement," Christian said Wednesday in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

"The space between stars is mostly empty, but there is gas there," Christian said.

"The denser parts of interstellar space are called clouds," he added. There are several clouds near our solar system, he said; we're at the edge of the Local Cloud.

But solar wind and the solar magnetic field effectively blew "a bubble" in this cloud -- a bubble in which we live -- so "almost everything we've measured before comes from the sun or the solar system."

Now we've bitten into that alien space cloud.

What NASA found by collecting gases directly from the cloud was "the same chemical elements ... found on Earth and in the sun and solar system, but the amount of each element [specifically the oxygen to neon ratio] was different than that in the solar system and different than the galaxy as a whole," Christian said.

But why is there less oxygen in the Local Cloud? Perhaps the oxygen has been caught by small particles of dust between the stars, maybe as water ice, he speculated. Or perhaps the super-giant stars from which the cloud appears to have originated are somehow different.

Understanding the Local Cloud will help us better understand that previously mentioned solar bubble -- our heliosphere -- which acts as a shield against harmful cosmic rays, Christian said, and may have affected the development of life on Earth.

"We need to understand the size and shape of this shield," which is affected by the speed of the inflowing interstellar wind, Christian said. IBEX, by the way, also measured this wind and showed that it was not as strong as previously thought.

"As we look for nearby solar systems," he added, "understanding our shield helps us understand the 'astrospheres' around other stars and whether it affects the habitability of planets in those nearby solar systems."

IBEX's measurements set the stage for more interstellar excitement.

In the next couple of years, Voyager 1 will pass out of the heliosphere, Christian said, "and become our first interstellar probe."

ALSO:

Scientists eavesdrop on brain impulses 

The making of NASA's blue-marble Earth image

For woodchuck rescuer, everyday is Groundhog Day

-- Amy Hubbard

Image: Artist's rendering of IBEX. Credit: NASA

 


Biggest snowflake ever gets Google Doodle. Ever? Really?

Catching snowflakes.  None are the biggest ever.

The "biggest snowflake ever" gets a Google Doodle today, and what's surprising is that this incredible bit of information is entirely founded upon the word of one 19th century Montana rancher.

It was reportedly 15 inches in diameter and 8 inches thick. Zowie.

Guinness World Records took the word of ranch owner Matt Coleman, of Fort Keogh, Mont. He took those measurements himself in 1887 and said the snowflake was larger than "milk pans," according to USA Today.

PHOTOS: Google Doodles 2011

A milk pan, apparently, was a common item around the 1800s home, says the Illinois State Museum. The milk was poured into the pan, where it sat until the cream rose to the top. Sounds like Coleman had one.

But routine, official measurements of snowflakes are not taken, notes USA Today's Doyle Rice. So we can't be sure that Coleman's big flake was indeed the largest.

A 2-inch snowflake? Yeah, that can happen, meteorologists agree. But Coleman's big piece of snow likely wasn't just one crystal, says WGN's Chicago Weather Center. It probably was made up of many smaller crystals of snow clinging together in one big mass. As flakes fall, they can stick together, forming larger snowflakes -- which makes the speed of descent increase.

RELATED: Evolution of the Google Doodle

That means that huge hunk of snow as big as a milk pan may have plummeted into Coleman's space pretty quickly. Let's hope it didn't' hit him on the head.

ALSO:

'The Grey' angers wolf fans

35 pounds of cocaine found in U.N. mailroom

'Welcome Back, Kotter': Robert Hegyes' 'Epstein' helped alter TV 

-- Amy Hubbard

Photo: Madalyn Weiler, 9, attempts to catch snowflakes on her tongue as she leaves school on Jan. 12, in LaPorte, Ind. Credit: Bob Wellinski / The LaPorte Herald-Argus / Associated Press

 


'Barefoot Bandit' heads to court amid echoes of 'fools,' 'swine'

 Barefoot Bandit. Colton Harris-Moore is set to be sentenced.

The "Barefoot Bandit" heads to court Friday morning in Seattle, just days after a memorandum from federal prosecutors detailing emails in which Colton Harris-Moore called prosecutors and police "swine," "fools" and "asses."

Harris-Moore, 20, is set to appear in federal court for sentencing in a two-year string of airplane, car, boat and equipment thefts from Washington state to the Bahamas. It's a cross-country dash that included stealing a plane in Indiana and crash-landing it off the Caribbean islands and, ultimately, led to a movie deal.

Harris-Moore was arrested in a dramatic, pre-dawn confrontation with police in July 2010 in the Bahamas.

As The Times' Kim Murphy reported at the time, he jumped into a 30-foot boat and roared away, but he quickly ran aground in shallow water. Police moved in and shot at the engine, bringing the boat to a halt and leaving the then-19-year-old with nowhere to run:

Harris-Moore threw his laptop and iPhone into the water and briefly held the gun to his head, said Anne Ward, manager of the resort, who was nearby. "He was saying he was going to kill himself," she said. "But they talked him out of it, subdued him and brought him back to our marina."

Colton Harris-Moore was contrite and remorseful before a Washington state judge in December, saying how sorry he was for his two-year crime spree.

Tuesday's memorandum from prosecutors painted a different picture:

"The things I have done as far as flying and airplanes goes, is amazing. Nobody on this planet [could] have done what I have, except for the Wright brothers," Harris-Moore said in a private email, monitored by authorities, last August from the federal detention center in Seattle.

Prosecutors said in the memo that Harris-Moore "called his sentencing 'political,' meant to 'appease' the 'citizens and sheriffs'; and called the prosecution and police 'swine,' 'fools' and 'asses.' "

Harris-Moore's lawyer says prosecutors "cherry-picked" the messages from among her client's emails and phone transcripts, adding that most of those reflected his genuine remorse.

In August, 20th Century Fox acquired the rights to Harris-Moore's story for about $1 million. Harris-Moore signed the film deal with the stipulation that the money go to compensating his victims, according to an attorney who negotiated the deal.

RELATED

Damning emails revealed

"Barefoot Bandit," in the movies

Lawyers say he was fleeing a nightmarish childhood

-- Amy Hubbard

 Photo: The Island County Sheriff's Department in Washington provided this 2009 self-portrait made by Harris-Moore while on the run. Distributed by Associated Press.


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement
Your Hosts

Rene Lynch has been an editor and writer in Metro, Sports, Business, Calendar and Food. @ReneLynch

As an editor and reporter, Michael Muskal has covered local, national, economic and foreign issues at three newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. @latimesmuskal


In Case You Missed It...

Video



Archives