Jurors Claim Defendant Threatened Prosecutor During Mob Trial

    CHICAGO – At least four jurors say a defendant in the city’s biggest mob trial in years threatened a federal prosecutor during the case’s closing arguments, published reports say.     Frank Calabrese Sr., a convicted loan shark and mafia hit man, allegedly told Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcus Fink, “You are an (expletive) dead man,” according to a letter sent by lead prosecutor Mitchell Mars to Calabrese attorney Joseph Lopez, who denied hearing the threat to the Chicago Sun-Times.     The alleged threat raises the possibility of new trials, because if the jurors heard it then it could have affected deliberations. U.S. District Judge James Zagel could let the verdict stand if he reconvenes the jury and finds no evidence of tampering.     Calabrese was among five defendants convicted last month for his involvement in a mob conspiracy that included gambling, loan sharking and murder.

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Advisors Didn’t Adjust Porfolios |To Foreign Markets, Clients Claim

    EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. (CN) – T. Rowe Price International Funds, Artisan Funds, Artisan Partners, AIM International Funds and AIM Advisors fail to make any value adjustments from foreign markets for their clients’ net asset value (NAV) in their portfolios, damaging their clients’ portfolio worth, a class action claims in Madison County Court.     Named plaintiffs T.K. Parthasarathy, Edmund Woodbury, Stuart Smith and Sharon Smith say the defendants set their NAV daily according to the New York Stock Exchange at 4 p.m. eastern time. The plaintiffs claim that positive trends in the NYSE affect Asian and European markets the next day, and the defendants’ NAV fails to incorporate those positive trends.     As a result, the plaintiffs claim, market timers who buy shares of the defendants’ funds on days when the United States market moves up are buying discounted shares at the expense of other fund shareholders.     The class consists of all U.S. citizens who have owned shares of the defendants’ funds for more than 14 days in the past five years. The class is seeking damages and is represented by Stephen Tillery of Swansea, Ill.

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Woman Convicted Of Kidnapping |For Stealing Fetus From Womb

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A woman who claimed she was having delusions when she killed a pregnant woman and cut the baby from her womb was found guilty of kidnapping.     Lisa Montgomery, 39, was convicted of kidnapping resulting in death for the Dec. 16, 2004 attack on Bobbie Jo Stinett, 23, in Skidmore, Mo. The baby has been reunited with the family. The penalty phase will begin today and is expected the last two days. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.     Montgomery claimed she was suffering from pseudocyesis, a condition that causes a woman to believe she is pregnant. Prosecutors argued that Montgomery killed Stinett because she was afraid her ex-husband would find out she was lying about being pregnant and use it against her in a custody battle for their four children.     Skidmore, a northwest Missouri town of 350 people, has a particularly violent history. The most notable crime occurred in 1981 when Ken Rex McElroy, known as the Skidmore Bully, was shot to death in his truck by a mob of people. His death and the town’s silence about who the trigger-man was inspired the book “In Broad Daylight.”

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L.A. Rams Owe Season|Tickets Despite Move

     ST. LOUIS (CN) — The Los Angeles Rams must grant season tickets to some fans who bought personal seat licenses while the team was in St. Louis, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.     U.S. District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. found that the personal seat licenses are valid even though the NFL team moved to Los Angeles. The Rams must also refund deposits for others who bought the licenses.     The ruling covers three class actions filed shortly after the Rams’ move was approved in January. Those cases were consolidated into one.     Envision LLC and Richard Arnold argued that their seat licenses were still valid despite the team’s move and that they had the right to buy season tickets in Los Angeles. The Rams claimed the licenses were terminated by the move.     The other plaintiff, Ronald McAllister, claimed the Rams terminated their contracts with the move and therefore owed the license-holders refunds on their deposits.     The Rams were not available for comment late Wednesday.     More than 46,000 fans bought the licenses when the Rams moved to St. Louis from Los Angeles 21 years ago. The licenses grant owners the right to buy season tickets.     Limbaugh found that two different contracts were issued — some directly by the Rams and others from the team’s ticketing agent, FANS Inc.     Limbaugh found that fans who bought seat licenses directly from the Rams were entitled to buy season tickets even with the move to Los Angeles, because those agreements never stated that the agreement was terminated due to relocation.     However, people who bought licenses from FANS Inc. were not entitled to season tickets, because the FANS contract states that it is terminated in the event of a Rams relocation.     Limbaugh noted that the FANS contract states that the Rams can terminate the contract for any reason and refund “part or all” of the license-holder’s deposit. Deposit is not defined in the contract. Limbaugh said he would determine the amount of a deposit later.

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Special Prosecutor Not Entitled to Immunity

     SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CN) — A special prosecutor accused of malicious prosecution is not entitled to sovereign immunity, a state appeals court ruled.     On March 26, 2014, Louis Bianchi, the state’s attorney of McHenry County, and three of his employees — Joyce Synek, Ronald Salgado and Michael McCleary — filed a lawsuit in state court against special prosecutor Thomas K. McQueen, Quest Consultants International and Quest investigators Daniel Jerger, Robert Scigalski, James Reilly, Patrick Hanretty and Richard Stilling.     Bianchi’s lawsuit claimed the defendants filed malicious charges as a form of political retaliation. The complaint sought damages for malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and defamation.     Bianchi says the investigation was started by a disgruntled former employee and unnamed political enemies that the employee performed political work while working in the state’s attorney’s office under Bianchi.     Bianchi claims McQueen was appointed to assist specially appointed prosecutor Henry Tonigan in the case against him.     Bianchi says McQueen conspired with the Quest investigators to limit Tonigan’s role and knowledge of the investigation and that the defendants “manufacture[d] and fabricate[d] evidence for the purpose of removing Bianchi from office by charging and prosecuting Bianchi and [the other plaintiffs] with criminal offenses, despite the lack of probable cause or credible evidence.”     According to court records, the manufactured and fabricated evidence mainly consisted of false witness statements.     In September 2010, Bianchi and Synek were indicted and arrested on multiple counts of official misconduct and obstruction of justice. The indictments alleged that Bianchi and Synek deleted certain computer files after receiving a grand jury subpoena to produce certain documents, court records state.     On Oct. 22, 2010, a grand jury returned a superseding indictment alleging that Bianchi and Synek committed “theft of labor, services, and use of property” of McHenry County based on withheld evidence and another fabricated witness statement, Bianchi claims.     On March 23, 2011, after a two-day bench trial, Judge Joseph G. McGraw acquitted Bianchi and Synek of all charges.     McQueen and Scigalski then began an unauthorized second investigation into the plaintiffs’ handling of criminal cases.     Defendants presented the false and manufactured evidence to the grand jury, and on February 24, 2011, based solely upon the false evidence, the grand jury returned indictments against Bianchi, Salgado, and McCleary for official misconduct, according to court records.     In June 2011, Judge McGraw dismissed the indictments against Salgado and McCleary, and in August 2011, after a bench trial, Bianchi was acquitted of all charges.     The plaintiffs’ lawsuit against the defendants was dismissed by the state court with prejudice on June 4, 2015 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.     The plaintiffs appealed on June 24, 2015 arguing that the defendants do not have sovereign immunity. A three-judge panel of the Illinois Appellate court agreed .     “Because sovereign immunity affords no protection when employees of the State have acted in violation of statutory or constitutional law or in excess of their authority, which is precisely what plaintiffs here have alleged, plaintiffs were entitled to proceed in circuit court,” Justice Robert D. McLaren wrote. “Accordingly, we determine that the trial court erred by dismissing plaintiffs’ complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.”     However, the court threw out the plaintiffs’ defamation claim.     “In this case, Bianchi, Salgado, and McCleary alleged that, four days after they were indicted and arrested, McQueen made defamatory statements during a press conference, repeating the false and inflammatory allegations contained in the indictments and making an additional false and inflammatory statement,” McLaren wrote. “The alleged additional statement that McQueen made was that a number of lawyers called McQueen and told him that cases handled by Bianchi ‘suggested that equal protection rights of all [criminal] defendants were not being upheld because of favoritism.’ Plaintiffs have not alleged that McQueen made any defamatory statements unrelated to their indictments in this case. Thus, plaintiffs have failed to allege facts that, if proven, would show that McQueen’s statements were made outside the scope of his official duties.”     The case has been remanded back to state court. Justices Mary Seminara-Schostok and Robert B. Spence concurred with McLaren.

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Whistleblower Sues Little League Baseball Inc.

     CHICAGO (CN) — A whistleblower claims in court that he has received death threats due to Little League Baseball’s cover-up of the Jackie Robinson West scandal.     In August 2014, Jackie Robinson West became the first team comprised of only black players to win the U.S. title in the Little League World Series. The team later was stripped of its wins after several players were found to live outside of the team’s boundaries.     The scandal was a public relations blow to Little League Baseball, who has just signed a $60 million broadcast rights deal with ESPN.     Chris Janes sued Little League Baseball Inc. (LLBI) in federal court on Monday.     Janes says he brought the players’ residency issue to LLBI’s attention in August 2014, as media attention surrounding the Jackie Robinson West team brought the discrepancies to light.     “In response, LLBI decided to engage in an attempt to cover-up the cheating and harm the whistleblower Chris Janes,” the complaint states.     “As part of that cover-up, LLBI announced on or around December 16, 2014 that Janes claims had no merit.     “Janes has been subjected to threats of violence, death and accusations of racism as a result of the publicity.”     Kevin Fountain, Little League Baseball’s Director of Media Relations, said in an email that it is the organization’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.     “While we have not yet been served with the lawsuit, once it is received and thoroughly reviewed with our legal counsel, we will respond through the appropriate legal process,” Fountain wrote.     Janes claims that from December 2014 to Feb. 11, 2015, LLBI refused to release its boundary maps and went on a campaign to harm his reputation.     “In the face of mounting publicity that proved that Plaintiff Janes’ claims were valid, LLBI changed its opinion on February 11, 2015 and revoked JRW’s U.S. title, finding JRW and its Administrator falsified a boundary map to place players on their team ‘who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries,’” the complaint states.     In June 2015, attorneys for Jackie Robinson West filed a lawsuit seeking more information about its accusers.     Janes says he has suffered depression, anxiety, loss of consortium and has been fearful for the safety of him and his family. Janes seeks $75,000 in damages for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress or in alternative Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress.     Janes is represented by Christopher Langone of Langone, Batson & Lavery.

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