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A federal attorney in South Texas said in court this week that during the ongoing partial government shutdown, he only has been allowed to work on cases related to President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.

The Texas Civil Rights Project on Thursday released a transcript of a Tuesday hearing in a case where the U.S. government has sued a local landowner for her property along the U.S.-Mexico border. Many other civil cases have been delayed during the shutdown, which was triggered by Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall.

According to the transcript, U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez noted that government attorneys working on border wall cases have not been furloughed despite the shutdown.

The prosecutor, Eric Paxton Warner, responded, “This is all I’m allowed to work on, Your Honor.”

Warner and a spokeswoman for the local U.S. attorney’s office did not return messages. A spokesman for the Department of Justice says each U.S. attorney had the authority to determine which civil cases should move forward or be delayed, but that civil cases would be delayed “to the extent this can be done without compromising to a significant degree the safety of human life or the protection of property.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said last year that it planned to start building in February. But unlike on other parts of the border, most border land in South Texas is owned privately. That requires the government to seize it through eminent domain, suing private landowners in cases that can take months or years. Some landowners who would be affected have already vowed to fight the government in court.



A new legislative audit report says West Virginia's Supreme Court skirted state law concerning pay for senior status judges.

News outlets report the audit released last week found 10 senior-status judges were authorized overpayments. State law prohibits them from making more than active circuit judges. The audit said that to circumvent the law, Supreme Court officials began converting senior status judges from employees to independent contractors.

The audit by the Legislative Auditor's Office Post Audit Division also pegged renovations for Supreme Court offices between 2012 and 2016 at $3.4 million, including $1.9 million for the five justices' chambers. Auditors say invoices for renovations to the court's law library and administrative offices were not made available.

Four justices who were impeached by the House of Delegates are due to go before the state Senate on Tuesday.



A South Korean high court has extended the lengthy prison sentence of former President Park Geun-hye for corruption in office.

In April, a district court sentenced Park to 24 years in jail over bribery, extortion, abuse of power and other charges. She was removed from office last year following months of street rallies over the corruption scandal.

The Seoul High Court on Friday handed out a 25-year prison sentence after concluding Park took more money in bribes than initially believed.

Park, daughter of late dictator Park Chung-hee, was South Korea's first female president. She has called herself a victim of political revenge.



Longtime British rock icon Cliff Richard's case against the BBC's coverage of a police raid at his home has begun in a London court.

Richard is suing the broadcaster for its coverage of the 2014 raid, when police were investigating an alleged sex assault.

The 77-year-old singer was never charged with any crime. His lawsuit claims he suffered "profound" damage to his reputation as a result of the BBC's coverage of the police activity at his home.

BBC says it will "vigorously" rebut Richard's case. Richard's lawyer Justin Rushbrooke told the court BBC used its cameras to "spy" into Richard's home.

He said it was hard to describe "the sense of panic and powerlessness" Richard experienced when he realized the BBC was broadcasting images of the raid based on allegations he knew were false.



A white former police officer charged in the shooting death of a black motorist is returning to a federal courtroom in South Carolina.

U.S. District Judge David Norton has set a Friday hearing on the civil rights charges brought against former North Charleston officer Michael Slager. It's Slager's first appearance in federal court since his arraignment in May.

The federal charges stem from the shooting death of Walter Scott, 50, in April of 2015. Scott, who was unarmed, was fleeing a traffic stop when he was shot. A bystander's video recording of Scott's shooting reignited the national debate about the treatment blacks face at the hands of white police officers.

Slager faces a murder charge in state court in a trial set to begin in October.

The federal indictment charges that Slager, while acting as a law officer, deprived Scott of his civil rights. A second count says he used a weapon, a Glock Model 21 .45-caliber pistol, while doing so.

The third count, charging obstruction of justice, alleges Slager intentionally misled state investigators about what happened during the encounter with Scott.


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