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Home / Wire Stories / Across the Nation: Sandusky’s ex-lawyer pleads guilty in $767,000 theft

Across the Nation: Sandusky’s ex-lawyer pleads guilty in $767,000 theft

Justices won’t touch $236M verdict in Exxon pollution

CONCORD, N.H. — The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it will not hear Exxon Mobil’s appeal of a $236 million judgment for its use of a gasoline additive that contaminated groundwater in New Hampshire.

The court’s order leaves in place a jury verdict involving contamination by the chemical MTBE.

Exxon Mobil wanted the judgment thrown out because New Hampshire was not required to prove that individual water supplies were contaminated. The Irving, Texas-based company also said it is not responsible for contamination caused by gasoline spills at junk yards and independent gas stations.

MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether, is a petroleum-based gasoline additive that has been used since the 1970s to reduce smog-causing emissions.

It was found in the 1990s to contaminate drinking water supplies when gasoline is spilled or leaks into surface or groundwater.

New Hampshire sued Exxon Mobil and other oil companies in 2003 for damages to remediate MTBE contamination, saying they knew they were supplying a product that is more difficult to clean up than other contaminants. Other companies settled with the state, though some said that when used as intended, MTBE is safe and effective, and the problem was with leaking gasoline storage tanks.

The 2013 verdict came after a decade of litigation that spanned five attorneys general and four governors in New Hampshire. The trial, lasting nearly four months, was the longest and resulted in the largest jury award in New Hampshire history.


Former Louisiana prosecutor disbarred for life

NEW ORLEANS — Former St. Charles Parish District Attorney Harry Morel, who pleaded guilty in April to a federal obstruction of justice charge, has been permanently barred from practicing law, according to the Louisiana Supreme Court.

Morel opted to surrender his law license in lieu of facing disciplinary action by the disciplinary council, the high court announced in a news release.

The court said that Morel won’t be allowed to practice law in Louisiana or “in any other jurisdiction” and that he shall be “permanently prohibited from seeking admission to the practice of law in any jurisdiction.”

Morel’s guilty plea followed a three-year federal investigation into whether the veteran prosecutor solicited sexual favors from women in exchange for leniency as district attorney.

Authorities said the veteran prosecutor harassed potential grand jury witness Danelle Keim, who had cooperated with investigators by secretly recording conversations with Morel, but said that Morel preyed on at least 20 women over two decades.

Morel, who has denied those allegations, is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 17.


Sandusky’s ex-lawyer pleads guilty in $767,000 theft

CARLISLE, Pa. — An attorney who represented former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky at his sex abuse trial has pleaded guilty to stealing more than three-quarters of a million dollars from clients.

Karl Rominger, 42, of Carlisle pleaded guilty in Cumberland County Court on Thursday to charges of theft by deception and misappropriation.

Prosecutors say he took about $767,000 in client funds and spent it on casino gambling and other interests.

Rominger voluntarily surrendered his law license and was disbarred last spring. Sandusky was convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys. He is serving a 30- to 60-year prison term.

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