Votes making Colorado and Washington the first U.S. states to legalize marijuana for recreational use could be short-lived victories for pot backers because the federal government will fight them, two former U.S. drug control officials said on Wednesday.They said the federal government could sue to block parts of the measures or send threatening letters to marijuana shops, followed up by street-level clampdowns similar to those targeting medical marijuana dispensaries the government suspects are fronts for drug traffickers. The U.S. Department of Justice, which considers marijuana an illegal drug liable to being abused, said enforcement of the federal Controlled Substances Act “remains unchanged.”
A U.S. lawsuit has been filed against Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp., seeking $775 million in damages in one of the biggest known actions against the automakers since they admitted overstating the fuel economy of some their vehicles. The South Korea carmakers conceded on Friday that they had overstated the fuel efficiency ratings on more than 1 million recently sold vehicles in the United States and Canada, and agreed to compensate owners for the additional fuel costs. The lawsuit, which seeks class-action status, was filed in the U.S. District Court for Central California on behalf of 23 Hyundai and Kia car owners and challenges the automakers’ compensation plan. Under the plan, customers will receive a debit card that will reimburse them for the difference in fuel economy, and an extra 15 percent to the amount will be added to acknowledge the inconvenience.
Illinois’s attorney general won a circuit-court ruling to proceed with a lawsuit against Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services alleging that the firm misled investors during the financial crisis. The state’s top prosecutor has accused S&P of seeking to boost its profits and cater to its banker clients by assigning its highest ratings to mortgage-backed securities that later imploded. The ruling, delivered Wednesday by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Mary Anne Mason, is “very significant—it’s the first hurdle you need to get over,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “What it really says is that S&P isn’t going to be able to legally maneuver their way out of the fact that they committed fraud.”
The man who pleaded guilty in the Arizona shooting rampage will be sentenced Thursday for the attack that left six people dead and wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others, CBS news reports. The sentencing hearing will mark the first time that victims will confront Jared Lee Loughner in court about the January 2011 shooting at a Giffords political event outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. Prosecutors say an unspecified number of victims will comment before U.S. District Judge Larry Burns sentences Loughner, though it’s unknown whether Giffords or her husband plan to attend or have a statement read on their behalf. Three shooting victims have told The Associated Press that they intend to comment at the hearing.
An Egyptian-American man behind the inflammatory film “Innocence of Muslims” on Wednesday was sentenced to one year in federal prison after admitting to violating the terms of his probation from a 2010 bank fraud case, CNN reports. Mark Basseley Youssef also was ordered to serve four years of supervised release after his prison term. The sentencing by Judge Christina Snyder came in a Los Angeles federal court after a hearing Wednesday in which Youssef admitted using an alias, which prosecutors said violated his probation.