Governor Settles Lawsuit
The action, brought in London in 2004 by a former British TV host, accused Schwarzenegger of fondling her. Aides denied any impropriety.
By Robert Salladay, Times Staff Writer
August 26, 2006
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has settled a lawsuit in London brought by a former British TV host who accused the governor of fondling her and later said the governor's aides had smeared her reputation, attorneys for both sides said Friday.
Anna Richardson, a former late-night personality, sued Schwarzenegger
and two of his top aides in London's High Court in May 2004. She accused
them of falsely saying she had forced herself on Schwarzenegger and said
the accusation was intended to protect his "ruthless political ambition"
during the 2003 recall.
In the final week of that turbulent campaign, Richardson was among several women who told The Times that Schwarzenegger had groped them in the past. Her libel action came after Schwarzenegger's publicist accused Richardson in The Times of being the aggressor during the alleged encounter. Another top aide denied that inappropriate action had occurred with any women.
Attorneys for the Republican governor and Richardson released a joint statement saying that all three people Richardson had sued — including Schwarzenegger aides Sean Walsh and Sheryl Main — had agreed to the settlement "to all parties' satisfaction."
Graham Atkins, Richardson's attorney in London, said in a telephone interview that the terms of the settlement were private: "Can't say anything, actually. It's all confidential. But everyone seems to be pleased."
The standards for libel are different in England. There, the accused must defend the truth of his or her statements. In the U.S., the burden shifts to plaintiffs, who must prove remarks false.
Schwarzenegger never appeared in the London court, but he hired an attorney there to defend him. Even though the alleged libel was printed in a Los Angeles newspaper, Richardson sued in London because The Times is available in Britain on the Internet and in limited circulation.
Schwarzenegger's spokeswoman, Margita Thompson, referred inquiries to his Hollywood attorney, Martin Singer, who did not return calls for comment. American attorneys for Main and Walsh also could not be reached.
Schwarzenegger had appeared on Richardson's late-night show in December 2000 to promote his movie "The 6th Day." Richardson, then 29, said that after the taping, Schwarzenegger pulled her onto his knee, said, "I want to know if your breasts are real" and groped her left breast.
The account appeared soon afterward in the British press and in a 2001 Premiere magazine article headlined "Arnold the Barbarian." The Times contacted Richardson during the recall campaign for its stories as well.
Main, Schwarzenegger's publicist, had told The Times that Richardson had risen from her chair, cupped her right breast and said: "What do you think of these?" Main said Richardson was then escorted out of the room. Walsh issued a blanket denial, saying that any account of inappropriate conduct was part of an orchestrated political attack.
A separate libel lawsuit also grew out of the 2003 recall. In July 2004, a Los Angeles judge dismissed a suit brought by former stuntwoman Rhonda Miller, who accused the Schwarzenegger campaign of trying to smear her reputation as well.
In her suit, Miller said Walsh had led reporters to the criminal record of another Rhonda Miller with a history of prostitution and drug abuse. But the judge said Miller had not shown "clear and convincing evidence" to prove the campaign knowingly provided false information.
Gloria Allred, Miller's attorney, said Friday that she was disappointed
there was a settlement in the Richardson case. "I hope that one day the
governor will be required to appear in court and testify under oath to
answer such allegations," she said.
06:55 PM EDT IM This E-mail This
Ex-Judge Gets Four Years for Indecent Exposure
By MURRAY EVANS, AP
BRISTOW, Okla. (Aug. 8) - Former Oklahoma judge Donald Thompson was
sent to prison for four years Friday for exposing himself by using a sexual
device while presiding over jury trials.
Donald Thompson, center, retired after nearly 23 years as a judge in 2004. His former court reporter testified that she saw him expose himself during trials at least 15 times between 2001 and 2003.
Talk About It: Post Thoughts
Special Judge C. Allen McCall also ordered that Thompson, 59, pay a $40,000 fine. Thompson was convicted on June 29 on four felony courts of indecent exposure for incidents that took place in his court room in Creek County.
McCall denied motions by Thompson's attorneys to either suspend the sentence or to let Thompson serve prison time on the four counts concurrently, which would have meant Thompson would serve only one year of prison time.
"This is not just a one-time incident, this is a continuing series of offenses," McCall said during the sentencing hearing.
McCall, who usually sits on the bench in Comanche County, said he did not believe the accusations against Thompson were fabricated, as Thompson had claimed.
"People who are out to get a judge find an opponent. They don't concoct a story, especially one this bizarre," McCall said.
Thompson showed no reaction when he was sentenced. McCall denied a defense motion that Thompson be allowed to remain free pending an appeal, despite assurances from Thompson's wife, Paula, and older brother, Jim Thompson of Bristow, that Donald Thompson was not a flight threat. Jim Thompson said his brother was "someone you're proud to walk down the street with."
Donald Thompson was allowed a brief visit with family members before being placed in handcuffs and taken to the state Correction Department's Lexington Assessment and Reception Center.
Thompson served as a state legislator and spent almost 23 years on the bench before he retired in 2004. His former court reporter, Lisa Foster, testified at his trial that she saw Thompson expose himself during trials at least 15 times between 2001 and 2003. Prosecutors said he used a device known as a penis pump during four trials between 2002 and 2003.
Thompson, a married father of three grown children, testified that the penis pump was given to him as a joke by a longtime hunting and fishing buddy.
"It wasn't something I was hiding," he said.
He said he may have absentmindedly squeezed the pump's handle during court cases but never used it to masturbate.
Foster told authorities that she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. A whooshing sound could be heard on Foster's audiotape of the trial. When jurors asked the judge about the sound, Thompson said he hadn't heard it but would listen for it.
Police built a case against the judge after a police officer testifying in a 2003 murder trial saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson's robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.
Investigators later checked the carpet, Thompson's robes and the chair behind the bench and found semen, according to court records.
Prosecutor Richard Smothermon said McCall handed down a proper sentence.
"I thought the judge did the right thing," Smothermon said. "He treated this defendant the same as every other defendant in Oklahoma.
"Any sex crime is a serious crime. People with sexual deviances are
a danger to society."
Defense attorney Clark Brewster said there were grounds for appeal.
"There was repeated, persistent error throughout the trial," he said.
He said Thompson should have been freed pending appeal.
"If this guy is denied bail, then who ever gets bail?" he asked.
Brewster said he'll ask the state Court of Criminal Appeals early next week to overturn McCall's decision not to allow Thompson to remain free during the appeals process. Thompson's attorneys have 10 days to file notice of an appeal of the verdict with that court and 30 days to file the actual appeal.
The office of state Attorney General Drew Edmondson would handle any appeal, said Smothermon, the district attorney for Pottawatomie and Lincoln counties, who was specially appointed to prosecute the case.
A presentencing report prepared by Carmelia Brossett, a senior probation officer for the state Department of Corrections, said Thompson refused to undergo psychosexual testing and that "Thompson's denial of the offense would likely present difficulty, if not inability for treatment providers to provide meaningful and beneficial sex-offender treatment."
Brossett recommended Thompson serve a prison term of an unspecified length. The jury that convicted Thompson recommended that he sentenced to a year in jail for each of the four felonies.
In the presentencing report, Foster said that in her 15 years of working with Thompson, she could not recall him ever changing a jury's verdict.
"He voiced to me on more than one occasion that 12 people's opinions
were better than one," she said in the report. "He always sentenced in
accordance with the jury's verdict. I believe he should be held to his
own standard. I believe that this jury wanted Don Thompson to serve four
years in the state penitentiary, and I agree."
08/18/06 17:51 EDT
O'Reilly Hit With Sex Harass Suit
Female Fox coworker details lewd behavior of cable TV star
OCTOBER 13--Hours after Bill O'Reilly accused her of a multimillion
dollar shakedown attempt, a female Fox News producer fired back at the
TV star today, filing a lawsuit claiming that he subjected her to repeated
instances of sexual harassment and spoke often, and explicitly, to her
about phone sex, vibrators, threesomes, masturbation, the loss of his virginity,
and sexual fantasies. Below you'll find a copy of Andrea Mackris's complaint,
an incredible page-turner that quotes O'Reilly, 55, on all sorts of lewd
matters. Based on the extensive quotations cited in the complaint, it appears
a safe bet that Mackris, 33, recorded some of O'Reilly's more steamy soliloquies.
For example, we direct you to his Caribbean shower fantasies. While we
suggest reading the entire document, TSG will point you to interesting
sections on a Thailand sex show, Al Franken, and the climax of one August
2004 phone conversation. (22 pages)
Jessica's Law . . .NoWay