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Saturday, October 23, 2021 10:01 PM

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NASHVILLE, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- James F. Neal, a lawyer who prosecuted Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa and several of President Richard Nixon's aides, has died at the age of 81.

Neal, working in Nashville, went on to a busy career in private practice, representing clients that included Exxon, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley's doctor. He died at a Nashville hospital Thursday of cancer of the esophagus, The Washington Post reported.

A native of Tennessee, Neal grew up on his family's farm near Oak Grove and graduated from the University of Wyoming and Vanderbilt Law School. He was working for the Justice Department when Attorney General Robert Kennedy selected him in 1961 to investigate Hoffa, and he eventually won a conviction for jury tampering three years later.

"Jimmy Hoffa once called me the most vicious prosecutor who ever lived," Neal told an interviewer.

Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox brought Neal into the Watergate investigation. He got a guilty plea from John Dean and prosecuted John Mitchell, John Ehrlichman and H.R. Haldeman.

He was often successful as a defense lawyer, winning acquittals for Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) in a criminal case over the Pinto and for Presley's doctor. But one client, Exxon, ended up with the largest civil judgment up to that point, $20 billion, for the Valdez spill.

Fortune magazine named him one of the Top 5 U.S. trial lawyers in 1985.

Neal played a lawyer in a 1980s TV movie, "Murder in Coweta County." The role was arranged by Johnny Cash.

U. of Tennessee picks new president

KNOXVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The University of Tennessee board has selected the chancellor of its College of Agriculture to be the next president.

Dr. Joe DiPietro, a veterinarian with years of experience in university administration, received 11 votes Friday to 10 for Brian Noland, chairman of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported. The two were finalists from a list of 71 candidates.

"Obviously, when you have a one-vote margin, it was intense, but a divided vote does not mean a divided board," said Karl Schledwitz, who voted for Noland. "We all support DiPietro."

DiPietro, 59, came to Tennessee in 2006 after 10 years as dean of the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine. He graduated from the University of Illinois and went on to earn master's and doctoral degrees there.

At the agricultural college, his responsibilities included the extension program, which has offices in every Tennessee county.

"I understand the system and the state," he said. "My connectivity means I can jump-start my presidency."

Snakes have been biting in Mich. this year

DETROIT, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Massasauga rattlesnakes appear to be unusually active this year in Michigan, with at least seven biting people or pets in the Lower Peninsula, experts say.

No deaths have been reported, The Detroit News said.

The Detroit Zoo says it has received three calls for anti-venom, about three times the average. Children's Hospital of Michigan reports four calls to poison control about snake bites.

"Just from my gut, it seems there are more bites than there have been in the past," Jeff Jundt, curator for reptiles at the zoo, told the News.

The massasauga, with a maximum length of 3 feet, is the only venomous snake in the state. Bites are rarely fatal but can be painful if the snake injects venom.

Logan Coleman, 7, discovered just how painful when he tried to pick up a "weird" leaf in the yard of his family's home in Spring Arbor. He recovered completely after a night in an Ann Arbor hospital getting anti-venom intravenously.

Chris Hoving, endangered species coordinator for the state Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said the warm summer and high temperatures extending into the fall may have increased the number of encounters between snakes and people.

Couple allegedly milked orphans' trust

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- A Pennsylvania couple have been charged with using $1.4 million held in trust for two orphaned relatives they adopted to upgrade their own lifestyle.

Daniel and Merily Pompa of Ligonier surrendered Friday to Pittsburgh Municipal Court, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported. They were released without posting bond.

The couple adopted Dylan and Olivia Young after their father, Leslie, shot their mother, Lisa, and himself in 2003 in Florida. Lisa Young and Merily Pompa, 42, were cousins.

The couple are charged with criminal conspiracy, theft by failure to make proper distribution and misappropriation, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said.

Prosecutors said the Pompas, who have three biological children, began living much better after they adopted Dylan and Olivia and spending much more than Daniel Pompa, 44, earned as a chiropractor. They bought a series of more expensive homes and spent thousands of dollars on home theater systems, expensive clothes and even $529 on a brass toilet paper holder in the shape of a monkey. They also contributed $1,000 in 2006 to Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign and $110,000 to the Northway Christian Center.

An investigation began when authorities got a tip the trust fund, which had $1.4 million when it was set up, had been reduced to about $88,000.

Tenn. mosque opponents say Islam violent

MURFREESBORO, Tenn., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- Much of a hearing on a proposed Tennessee mosque has focused on whether Islam is a religion and whether the mosque's backers want Shariah law.

Three residents of the area around the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro challenged a Rutherford County planning board decision to allow its construction. County Chancellor Robert Corlew began a hearing in September and has presided over six days of argument and testimony, The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal reported.

On Friday, Lisa Moore, one of the three plaintiffs, said local officials should investigate the people behind the mosque.

"The problem is with Shariah law," she said. "The religion part is less than 30 percent. The rest of it is about killing non-believers."

When her lawyer, Joe Brandon, asked her if she knew Islam was responsible for 278 million executions since its founding, she responded, "Yes."

Sheriff's detective Randy Groce testified that a burial at the mosque site in which a biodegradable bag was used instead of a coffin was legal.

"They have a belief in a deity," Groce replied when Brandon asked him if Islam is a religion.

The hearing continues Nov. 12.

(Source: UPI )
(Source: Quotemedia)


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