Archive for the ‘Media Sensationalism’ Category

The widow of an Illinois police lieutenant who tried to portray his suicide as a murder was indicted this week on 6 counts of participating in her husband’s stealing of charitable funds.  Melodie Gliniewicz, 51, is the wife of Fox Lake Police Lt. Joe Gliniewicz, who killed himself last year.  Officials allege that her husband staged his suicide to appear as if he was killed in the line of duty pursuing three suspects.  The case prompted a massive manhunt until authorities realized it was a scam.

Mrs. Gliniewicz was charged with money laundering and paying personal expenses with funds from the Fox Lake Police Explorer Post that was headed by her late husband for over 25 years.  She held a “fiduciary role as an adult adviser” with the group, which encouraged young girls and boys to explore careers in law enforcement and the military.

The misappropriated funds were taken between 2008 and 2015 and were used for personal expenses including Starbucks, movie tickets, Dunkin’ Donuts, and vacations.  The list includes over 400 restaurant charges, according to authorities.

Melodie Gliniewicz’s attorneys asserted her innocence and said she is a victim of her late husband’s deception.

“Melodie has suffered greatly over the past few months and continues to move her family forward after the emotionally traumatizing events of September 1, 2015,” when her husband killed himself, said the law firm Kelleher & Buckley, “Considering Melodie’s cooperation with law enforcement, she is devastated by the decision to bring charges against her. Melodie is a victim of her husband’s secret actions and looks forward to her day in court…”

Lt. Gliniewicz was deemed a hero killed in the line of duty and the case reached national attention as a manhunt was instituted to find the officer’s murderers.  But, then authorities discovered that he was worried about being sent to jail for misuse of funds and that’s why he staged his death to appear a hero instead of a thief.

His death was a meticulously crafted plan. (more…)

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A federal judge in Pennsylvania granted Bill Cosby’s motion to dismiss a defamation lawsuit pending against him.  Renita Hill, one of more than 50 women who have publicly accused the comedian of sexual assault filed a lawsuit in October of last year alleging that the actor and his lawyer defamed her.  Judge Arthur J. Schwab dismissed the claims against Cosby ruling that the statements “do not support a claim for defamation as defined by Pennsylvania law.”

Hill’s claims of defamation stemmed from three instances:

  1. When Cosby and his lawyer said that the accusers needed to be “fact-checked.”
  2. In November of 2014, following Hill’s public accusation against Cosby, his lawyer said to the Washington Post that the women had “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories.”  Cosby declined to respond to the “innuendos” made against him when asked for comment by Florida Today.
  3. When the comedian’s wife, Camille, then wrote a letter to the Washington Post claiming that the news organization failed to “vet” the accusers.

In the ruling, Judge Schwab found no grounds for defamation, writing that the three instances were “pure opinion” and a “far cry from labeling [Hill] as liars or extortionists.”

“None of the facts alleged by [Hill] supported her claims for defamation, false light, or intentional infliction of emotional distress under Pennsylvania law,” Cosby’s lawyers said in a statement after the ruling. “It is our hope that courts in other jurisdictions with similar matters will respond in like manner.”

Hill intends to appeal.  “We are disappointed, but remain committed to seeking justice in this matter. We strongly disagree with the judge’s reasoning that Cosby’s statements are constitutionally protected opinions,” George Kontos, Renita Hill’s lawyer, told CNN.

Amongst all of the lawsuits and public accusations against Cosby of sexual assault, including drugging women to rape them, he is also facing aggravated indecent assault for an alleged 2004 attack on Andrea Constand in Pennsylvania.

Sources:  CNN

Two neuro-psychiatrists testified before the judge this week that Philip Chasm’s brain is different from those his age and that this volume difference and asymmetry is often seen in those with traumatic brain injuries or schizophrenia.

Jurors will never hear this information because Judge David Lowy ruled the evidence was prejudicial despite the fact that the defense is arguing for a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity.

MRI scans were taken of the 16-year-old’s brain this year and analyzed by doctors at the University of Pennsylvania.  They found that when compared to 61 other 15 to 17 year olds he had indications of schizophrenia.  Dr. Ruben Gur and Dr. Theodore Satterthwaite acknowledged that scans cannot in and of themselves diagnose someone.

In addition, Chism committed the crime at the age of 14 and at the time, no scans were taken.

“The MRI of the defendant’s brain in 2015 is of extremely limited probative value as it relates to the defendant’s mental state … in October 2013,” Lowy said.

Dr. Richard Dudley will testify for the defense that Chism suffers from an unspecified psychosis.

“The issue is whether the defendant has a mental disease or defect, and we have an expert who says he suffers from a psychotic disorder, and this [MRI imaging] is evidence that supports this diagnosis,” defense attorney Denise Regan said.

Assistant District Attorney Kate McDougall wanted the evidence barred calling it a “bomb.”

“We’re going to throw the word [schizophrenia] around the courtroom and throw up brain scans and act like the jury isn’t going to go there,” she said.

The judge agreed stating that “the inference the jury was asked to draw…is that the defendant has schizophrenia…[which] is simply an impermissible inference…”

Sources:  Boston