Court reverses ruling on state campaign contribution limits
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal appeals court has reversed a judge’s decision that would have allowed individuals and political parties to give unlimited campaign contributions to Montana candidates.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Tuesday that U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell used the wrong legal standard when he ruled the state’s contribution limits unconstitutionally violated free speech.
The three-judge panel sent the case back to Lovell with orders to apply the correct standard. The appellate panel says Lovell must decide whether the state attorney general’s office has proven its argument that contribution limits further the state’s interest and to identify what that interest is.
Lovell struck down the contribution limits a month before the 2012 general election. The 9th Circuit blocked the ruling after the state filed an appeal.
Court asked to reverse order preserving judge’s emails
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge was reconsidering an order to preserve hundreds of racist and inappropriate emails sent by Montana’s former chief U.S. District Court judge.
The case involves correspondence sent by former Judge Richard Cebull, who stepped down in 2013 following revelations he’d forwarded a racist email involving President Barack Obama.
Civil rights attorney Larry Organ said U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers did not immediately rule following a Tuesday hearing on the matter in Oakland, California.
Rogers in March ordered the preservation of hundreds of other emails sent by Cebull.
Attorneys for the federal judiciary have argued that the emails were part of a confidential misconduct investigation and would be retained regardless under court policies.
Organ represents American Indians who want to use the emails to challenge Cebull’s past rulings.
Teen hospitalized in good condition after weekend shooting
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A northeastern Montana girl who was shot in the head by her father, who then shot and killed himself, is recovering at a Billings hospital.
A spokeswoman at Billings Clinic says the 16-year-old girl was listed in good condition Tuesday, meaning she is conscious, comfortable and her prognosis for recovery are good to excellent.
Valley County Sheriff Glenn Meier says 62-year-old Raymond Rahn shot his daughter Rebecca in the head Sunday morning at their home northwest of Frazer. He then fatally shot himself.
The two were the only ones in the house at the time of the shooting. Meier says Rahn’s wife was in Seattle undergoing medical treatment.
Man pleads guilty in 2-year-old son’s methadone overdose
(Information in the following story is from: The Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Billings man has acknowledged illegally having a bottle of methadone and endangering his 2-year-old son, who suffered a near-fatal overdose.
The Billings Gazette reports 33-year-old Michael Anthony pleaded guilty Tuesday to one felony count each of drug possession and negligent endangerment. His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 17.
Prosecutors say Anthony obtained the methadone from a woman who has a prescription. Anthony said he took a small amount because he was suffering tennis elbow and put the bottle in the cupboard. He found the bottle empty on the kitchen table the next morning.
Court records say Anthony’s son was blue, limp and unresponsive when he arrived at the hospital Aug. 17. The boy received CPR and other life-saving treatment.
Company that owns Butte hotel files for bankruptcy
(Information in the following story is from: The Montana Standard, http://www.mtstandard.com)
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — The company that owns the Copper King Hotel in Butte has filed for bankruptcy protection, postponing a public auction that was set for next week.
Ken Burningham, president of the Cimarron Group Inc., told The Montana Standard on Monday that the company filed for bankruptcy. He declined further comment.
The company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which the debtor’s assets are sold and the proceeds are distributed to creditors.
The vacant hotel was facing a foreclosure sale Monday unless the Cimarron Group paid more than $47,000 in delinquent loan payments owed to First Citizens Bank in Butte and more than $60,000 in unpaid taxes.
Burningham closed the hotel in January 2014.
Billings woman misses court dates in false rape reports case
(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A Billings woman accused of making several false rape reports failed to appear in court on felony charges filed in Flathead and Yellowstone counties.
The Daily Inter Lake reports 25-year-old Christina Nadine Nelson did not participate in a May 21 court hearing in Kalispell. A spokesman in the attorney general’s office says she missed a May 12 hearing in Billings.
A Yellowstone County judge has issued a $100,000 warrant for her arrest on a charge of fabricating evidence.
Nelson, whose maiden name is Mark, came to Columbia Falls as a German exchange student. Prosecutors allege she accused her prom date of raping her in 2009 and made accusations against former boyfriends in Billings in 2009 and twice in 2012.
State prosecutors believe Nelson may be in Europe.
Elton John will return to Billings for “Final Curtain” tour
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Multiple Grammy Award-winner Elton John is coming to Billings for his “Final Curtain” tour.
John will be playing at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark on Oct. 7. This will be the 68-year-old entertainer’s first performance in Billings since 2011 when he played a sold-out show lasting nearly three hours.
But, the upcoming show may be John’s last in Billings. He is calling the tour his “Final Curtain,” and says he plans to play fewer shows and only at larger venues.
In a press release, John said he wants to spend more time with family and less time touring.
John’s tour manager, DC Parmet, has told the Billings Gazette that fans can expect to hear John’s hits at the show, as well as songs that he’s never played before.
Former PSC chairman Bill Gallagher dies of pancreatic cancer
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — William Gallagher Jr., an attorney and former chairman of the Montana Public Service Commission, has died of pancreatic cancer.
Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home says Gallagher died Friday. He was 55.
Gallagher wrote his own obituary, in which he displayed his humor while recounting his faith, love for his family and Montana and appreciation for the nearly two years’ “heads up” he had before his death, allowing him time to repair some relationships.
He wrote a final Facebook entry that his daughter posted on Sunday. In it he reminds readers “this isn’t a dress rehearsal and you only get one go around here, so live your life intentionally.”
Gallagher is survived by his wife of 37 years, Jennifer, children David and Catrina and five grandchildren.
Historian, author of ‘The Pacific’ Hugh Ambrose dies at 48
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Best-selling author and historian Hugh Ambrose has died at age 48.
His sister, Stephenie Ambrose Tubbs, says Ambrose died of cancer Saturday in Helena.
Ambrose consulted on the HBO miniseries about World War II called “The Pacific” and wrote a book by the same name. It was a project he began researching with his father, historian Stephen Ambrose, before the elder Ambrose’s 2002 death.
Hugh Ambrose was on the board of directors and later vice president of development for the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Ambrose began his career in graduate school in the mid-1990s by helping his father research best-selling books such as “Undaunted Courage,” the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition.