[JURIST] The lawyer for Pfc. Lynndie England [Wikipedia profile] said Friday that the 22-year old reservist made infamous by photographs that showed her posing with with humiliated Iraqi detainees in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison has agreed to plead guilty to seven charges of conspiracy, maltreatment and indecent acts when she appears Monday before a military court in Fort Hood, Texas. With prosecutors agreeing to drop two other charges from the latest charge sheet against England (already reduced [JURIST report] to 9 counts down from 19), she now faces a maximum sentence of up 11 years in prison, down from a possible 16 1/2. At sentencing her counsel will argue that she had a history of mental health problems. England's lawyers has also long insisted that she, like other soldiers implicated in the Abu Ghraib scandal, was only a low-level player in an interrogation strategy set by others high up in the US military chain of command. Reuters has more.
[JURIST] US District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema Friday denied a US Department of Justice request to release a report on FBI missteps leading up to 9/11. The report chronicles three episodes considered to be missed opportunities to detect the 9/11 plot, including the 2001 arrest of Zacarias Moussaoui [JURIST news archive]. Officials said that the majority of the report does not concern the Moussaoui case. DOJ Inspector General Glenn Fine may request the release of an abbreviated version which would remove all references to Moussaoui. Read Judge Brinkema's redacted order [PDF]. The Washington Post has more.
[JURIST] An Alabama Circuit Court refused Friday to dismiss the first wrongful-death suit brought against Merck for their painkiller Vioxx. Merck pulled Vioxx from the market when a study found it to double the chances of heart attacks and strokes in patients who took the drug more than 18 months. The suit is brought by Cheryl Rogers, the widow of a Vioxx user who claims that the use of the drug killed her husband. Merck [corporate website] sought to dismiss the case because the samples of Vioxx brought in by Rogers were shipped from the company six months after her husband's death. Judge John Rochester rejected Merck's argument and will hold a hearing to push back the trial date. The Alabama trial date is set for May 23rd, but will be postponed so as not to conflict with federal litigation [official Vioxx liability litigation website] over the drug. AP has more. JURIST's Paper Chase has background.
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