Nixon’s secret Watergate testimony ordered released

Thirty-six years after Richard Nixon testified to a grand jury about the Watergate break-in that drove him from office, a judge Friday ordered the secret transcript made public.

But the 297 pages of testimony won’t be available immediately, because the government gets time to decide whether to appeal.

The Obama administration opposed the transcript’s release, chiefly to protect the privacy of people discussed during the ex-president’s testimony who are still alive.

Nevertheless, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth agreed with historians who sued for release of the documents that the historical significance outweighs arguments for secrecy, because the investigations are long over and Nixon has been dead 17 years.

Nixon was interviewed behind closed doors for 11 hours over two days in June 1975, 10 months after resigning the presidency.


Price tag for Casey Anthony case exceeds $800,000

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office spent nearly $300,000 investigating the Casey Anthony case.

That brings the estimated investigative and prosecution costs attributed to the case to more than half a million dollars. It also brings the documented cost in public dollars spent on the Casey Anthony case overall to more than $822,470.

The Sheriff’s Office, the lead investigating agency in the case, announced Friday it is seeking reimbursement of $293,123.77 for its role in looking into the disappearance of Caylee Marie Anthony in 2008.

Earlier this month, Casey Anthony, 25, was found not guilty of killing her 2-year-old daughter and convicted only of four misdemeanor counts of lying to investigators. She was released from jail July 17.


Sexual abuse defendants to stand trial together

Monsignor William Lynn, former head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Clergy, and three other current or former priests were ordered Friday to stand trial together for conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Lillian Ransom denied defense motions to throw out the conspiracy charges against Lynn and the other defendants in the case involving sexual assaults on two boys in the 1990s.

The Revs. Charles Engelhardt, 64, and Edward Avery, 68, and Bernard Shero, 47, a former sixth-grade teacher at St. Jerome’s School in northeast Philadelphia, were charged earlier this year in the 2000 rape and sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy.

Another priest, the Rev. James Brennan, 47, is charged with raping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy in 1996.


Six men plead not guilty in beating at country concert

Six Massachusetts men have pleaded not guilty to felony aggravated assault charges stemming from a brutal beating at a Tim McGraw concert in Mansfield.

Police said 19-year-old Michael Skehill of Westwood was nearly killed Sunday. He’s in serious condition but is expected to recover.

A judge in Attleboro on Friday ordered one suspect, Perry DiMascio, 20, held without bail after revoking his bail on an unrelated case. Bail of at least $2,500 was set for the others.

The beating appears to have started over a woman and was exacerbated by alcohol consumption.


Tropical Storm Don welcomed by drought-stricken Texas

As Tropical Storm Don crawled through the Gulf of Mexico, South Texas braced for long-awaited rain and what some saw as a practice run for storms to come.

Almost all of Texas is in extreme drought, and Don’s few inches of rain won’t cure that, but at this point any moisture is appreciated.

The storm shut down 56 offshore petroleum platforms as it made its way across the central Gulf of Mexico toward a sparsely populated stretch of coastline between Corpus Christi and Brownsville. It was expected to reach land late Friday or early today, and a tropical storm warning was in effect from the mouth of the Rio Grande north to Matagorda.

— From news service reports