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News Briefs

Denny Trial Sent to Jury

Los Angeles Times


The Reginald O. Denny beating case was sent to the jury Thursday, with a defense attorney saying the defendants are scapegoats for the Los Angeles riots and prosecutors portraying them as violent crimininals who committed unconscionable acts.

Superior Court Judge John W. Ouderkirk excused the panel for the day at 3:45 p.m. PDT and ordered them back to court Friday morning. The racially mixed jury of 10 women and two men is expected to select a foreman Friday, but it is unclear how much deliberating it will be able to do before Monday when one juror will be trained to operate a videotape player.

Videotape of the assaults as rioting erupted on April 29, 1992 played a critical role in the prosecution's case. A Los Angeles Police detective played the tape in court on sophisticated equipment, but Ouderkirk said he wanted a clearly neutral technician to train a juror.

The panel of four blacks, four Latinos, three whites and an Asian-American will decide the guilt or innocence of Damian Monroe Williams, 20, and Henry Keith Watson, 29. They are charged with attempting to murder Denny and with assaulting or robbing seven other people at Florence and Normandie avenues, the intersection where Denny was beaten.

Judge Repeats Order Barring Military Discharge of Gays

Los Angeles Times


Reiterating an earlier ruling, a federal judge in Los Angeles barred the government Thursday from discharging gay men and lesbians from the military or treating them differently in any way because of their sexual orientation.

U.S. District Judge Terry Hatter Jr. also warned Department of Defense attorneys that if the government violates his order and is found in contempt, officials will face fines of at least $10,000 a day.

Attorneys for a gay sailor who is challenging the military policy were delighted, saying the judge's unequivocal order would block the Clinton's administration new policy on gays in the military as well as congressional attempts to write the gay ban into law.

"It's much more than I hoped for," said John McGuire, an attorney for Navy Petty Officer Keith Meinhold.

Federal attorneys who appeared before Hatter Thursday declined comment, but Pentagon sources said the Defense Department would immediately appeal the order.

Clinton Awards Science Honors

The Washington Post


President Clinton awarded the nation's highest honors in science and technology at the White House Thursday in a brief ceremony celebrating the spirit of innovation and scientific inquiry.

Recipients of the National Medal of Science were Alfred Y. Cho of AT&T Laboratories for work in semiconductors; Donald J. Cram of the UCLA for work in organic chemistry; physicist Val Fitch of Princeton University; Norman Hackerman of the Welch Foundation for work in electrochemistry and education; mathematician Martin Kruskal of Rutgers University; Daniel Nathans of Johns Hopkins University for contributions to genetics research; astronomer Vera Rubin of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; and genetics expert Salome G. Waelsch of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Awarded the Medal of Technology, which recognizes advances in the commercialization of technology, were: Walter L. Robb of General Electric; Hans W. Liepmann of CalTech; Amos E. Joel '40 of AT&T Bell Laboratories; Willam H. Joyce of Union Carbide; Digital Equipment Corp. founder Kenneth H. Olsen '50; technology transfer guru George Kozmetsky, founder of the IC Institute in Austin, Texas; William D. Manly of Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc; and George Levitt of Dupont Co. and Marinus Los of American Cyanamid Co., who won jointly for work in herbicides.