Obama meets with all living presidents
WASHINGTON - Confronting a grim economy and a Middle East on fire, Barack Obama turned Wednesday to perhaps the only people on the planet who understand what he's in for: the four living members of the U.S. presidents' club.
In an image bound to go down in history, every living U.S. president came together at the White House on Wednesday to hash over the world's challenges with the president-elect. There they stood, shoulder-to-shoulder in the Oval Office: George H.W. Bush, Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
'This is an extraordinary gathering,' Obama said, looking plenty at ease in the humbling office that will soon be his.
'All the gentlemen here understand both the pressures and possibilities of this office,' Obama said.
Killer's lawyer says evidence mishandled
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The convicted killer of 11-year-old Carlie Brucia, whose abduction was captured by a security camera, should be given a new trial, a public defender told the Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Deborah Brueckheimer argued that authorities possibly mishandled DNA evidence of the convicted killer, Joseph Smith, which is essential to the conviction.
Jurors recommended by a 10-2 vote that Smith, now 42, be executed.
Brueckheimer said the DNA expert who testified on behalf of the state's case admitted there had been problems in the past at the FBI lab in Quantico, Va., and that the defense was denied an opportunity to cross-examine the expert and lab workers during the trial.
Texas seeks custody of Jeffs' alleged bride
SAN ANTONIO - Texas authorities are seeking permanent custody of a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly married to jailed polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, a step toward severing her parents' rights altogether.
The girl had been placed temporarily in foster care in August after her mother refused in court to guarantee her safety. She is the only one of 439 children taken from the Yearning For Zion Ranch in Eldorado to return to foster care.
Documents and photos seized from the ranch showed that Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, married the girl when she was 12.
Her father, Fredrick 'Merril' Jessop, is charged with illegally marrying the pair on July 27, 2006. He has not entered a plea.
NY man demands estranged wife pay for kidney
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. - A New York doctor is demanding that his estranged wife pay him $1.5 million to compensate him for the kidney he gave her while they were still on good terms.
Dr. Richard Batista said he gave his kidney to Dawnell Batista in June 2001. She filed for divorce in July 2005.
The 49-year-old Batista works for Nassau University Medical Center. The couple have three children, ages, 8, 11 and 14.
Texas judge faces more sex charges
HOUSTON - A federal judge charged with fondling a court employee and trying to force her into a sexual act pleaded innocent Wednesday to new allegations brought by another former employee.
U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent entered his plea a day after a federal grand jury added three new charges to the indictment it issued in August that accuses him of making unwanted sexual advances toward his former court case manager.
The new charges - aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact and obstruction of justice - allege Kent tried to force a second female court employee into a sexual act and lied about it to investigators.
Joe the Plumber to report on war for Web site
TOLEDO, Ohio - Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook.
The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign said he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.
Samuel J. Wurzelbacher said he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting.
He told WNWO-TV in Toledo that he wants to let Israel's 'Average Joes' share their story.'