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Across the Nation: Police respond to suit from woman kidnapped by lawyer

SAN FRANCISCO  — Police who dismissed a California woman’s kidnapping as a hoax found her boyfriend’s account of the abduction doubtful and grew more skeptical when the woman refused to reunite with her family soon after she reappeared days later, attorneys for police said.

The explanation by lawyers for the city of Vallejo and two city police officers came in a court document filed last month seeking to dismiss parts of a lawsuit filed by the kidnapping victim, Denise Huskins, and her boyfriend, Aaron Quinn.

Their lawsuit — filed in March — accuses police of damaging their reputations by dismissing the 2015 kidnapping as a hoax akin to the Hollywood movie, “Gone Girl.”

Federal prosecutors have since charged a disbarred Harvard University-trained attorney, Matthew Muller, with Huskins’ kidnapping from her Vallejo home, and the city has apologized to Huskins and Quinn. Muller has pleaded not guilty.

Kevin Clune, an attorney for Huskins and Quinn, said the court filing showed the city was continuing “its misguided approach of blaming the victim.”

“Denise and Aaron have already experienced unimaginable horror at the hands of Vallejo,” he said. “We have complete faith that the court will hold Vallejo accountable for its outrageous tactics.”

During the initial investigation, Quinn told investigators that intruders had placed blackened swim goggles over his eyes and headphones playing soothing music over his ears, said Vallejo police Detective Mathew Mustard, the lead investigator in the kidnapping. They drugged him and took his blood pressure.

When Quinn said he was cold, they made a bed for him. Quinn received demands for $8,500, a figure Mustard said he found small for what would be an elaborate kidnapping.

“I was skeptical of Mr. Quinn’s story because of its outlandish nature,” Mustard said in a court filing accompanying the attorneys’ motion to strike parts of Huskins and Quinn’s lawsuit.

Quinn also waited hours to report the abduction and told investigators that the couple had been having relationship problems, according to Mustard.

Huskins turned up safe two days later in her hometown of Huntington Beach, where she says she was dropped off. She showed up hours before the ransom was due.

When law enforcement offered to fly her back to her family in Vallejo, she refused, Mustard said.

Alabama chief justice to face ethics trial

BIRMINGHAM — A state panel has refused to dismiss an ethics complaint against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, sending him to a trial-like proceeding on Sept. 28.

The Court of the Judiciary on Monday denied Moore’s request to dismiss the complaint that he violated ethical standards for judges with a January memo to probate judges regarding same-sex marriage.

The court also denied the Judicial Inquiry’s Commission’s request to go ahead and remove Moore from office.

Moore told probate judges in January that a March Alabama Supreme Court order to deny marriage licenses to gay couples remained in effect.

The commission has accused Moore of urging probate judges to defy the courts on gay marriage. Moore said he was only noting the order had not been lifted.

Lawsuit: Ed Sheeran copied R&B classic ‘Let’s Get It On’

NEW YORK — The family of a co-writer of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” is suing Ed Sheeran, claiming the British singer-songwriter’s hit, “Thinking Out Loud,” sounds too much like the soul classic.

The lawsuit filed by the family of Ed Townsend claims Sheeran copied the “heart” of “Let’s Get It On” and repeated it continuously throughout “Thinking Out Loud.” It says Sheeran continued to perform the song even after he was notified of the copyright infringement claim last year.

The family is demanding a jury trial and compensation for damages.

The suit also names “Thinking Out Loud” co-writer Amy Wadge, producer Jake Gosling, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Atlantic Records, Warner Bros. and others.

Sheeran’s representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

11 seek to fill new seats on Arizona Supreme Court

PHOENIX— Eleven candidates have applied to fill two new state Supreme Court seats authorized by a law signed this spring by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey.

The signing came despite Chief Justice Scott Bales’ plea to Ducey to veto the law as unneeded and Democrats’ arguments that adding two justices to the current five-member court is court packing.

Five of the 11 candidates who applied to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments sit on the state Court of Appeals. One is a Maricopa County judge, two work for the attorney general’s office and three are in private practice.

The commission will forward at least three nominees to Ducey, who will pick the two justices from the list.

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