Republican charged with insider trading looks to skip court proceeding

NEW YORK— Chris Collins seems more worried about next month’s election than his pending insider-trading trial.

The Republican congressman from western New York is looking to skip an Oct. 11 pre-trial conference in Manhattan, just weeks before the Nov. 6 vote, as his legal troubles show a tightening race in the heavily Republican district that incorporates the Buffalo suburbs. The Crystal Ball political website has moved the contest from “Likely R” to “Leans R,” as has FiveThirtyEight.

The third-term representative was a heavy favorite for re-election before he was charged. He initially suspended his campaign, then changed his mind and opted to stay in the race. His opponent, a Democratic town supervisor in Grand Island, N.Y., has been trying to get Collins to debate — even on the Manhattan courthouse’s steps, if necessary.

“I’ll meet you there October 11, the date of your hearing so it’s easier for you,” Nate McMurray said in a Sept. 30 tweet. “Right there, on the courthouse steps, let’s debate. It will be hard for the local media, but we’ll figure it out. Let’s go!”

— Bloomberg News

Former LAPD sergeant involved in Rodney King beating sentenced to probation in DUI case

LOS ANGELES — A former Los Angeles police sergeant who served a prison sentence for his role in the beating of Rodney King was sentenced to three years of probation Wednesday after he pleaded no contest to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Stacey Koon, 67, entered a no contest plea to a misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher during a pretrial hearing in the Santa Clarita Courthouse. A misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol that had been filed against him was dropped, according to Los Angeles County Superior Court records.

A judge also ordered Koon to complete a three-month DUI class, pay a $390 fine and install an ignition interlock device on his vehicle, according to court records and City News Service.

Koon was arrested May 1 after he crashed his vehicle into a parked car in Castaic, authorities said.

Koon and three other LAPD officers were charged with excessive force in the 1991 beating of King, which was captured on videotape. Riots broke out across Los Angeles after the officers were acquitted in 1992.

Though acquitted in state court, Koon was one of two officers convicted of federal civil rights violations in connection with the beating. He served 30 months in prison and was released in 1995.

— Los Angeles Times

Peruvian ex-President Fujimori reportedly under arrest at hospital

LIMA, Peru — Peruvian police have entered the clinic where former president Alberto Fujimori is receiving treatment to place him under arrest, the daily La Republica and other media reported Thursday.

The 80-year-old was hospitalized on Wednesday after the Supreme Court overturned a pardon that was granted to him in December by then-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Fujimori will have to serve the 15 years that remain from his 25-year prison sentence for human rights abuses.

The former strongman was reportedly placed under police custody while remaining at the clinic.

He said his health would not be able to withstand more jail time.

“I want to ask president (Martin Vizcarra) and members of the judiciary for one thing: Please don’t kill me,” Fujimori said in a video shot at the clinic and released on social media.

“If I return to prison, my heart will not be able to stand it; it is too weak to experience the same thing again. Do not sentence me to death, I’m done,” he said from his hospital, looking exhausted and disheveled.

Interior Minister Mauro Medina said earlier on Thursday that police were waiting for the ex-president to be discharged from the clinic in order to arrest him.

“Police are complying with the written order of the court,” the national news agency Andina quoted Medina as saying.

Fujimori was taken to the Lima clinic after the court announced its decision.

He is receiving treatment for rapid heartbeat and low blood pressure, the broadcaster Canal N quoted his doctor, Alejandro Aguinaga, as saying.

Supreme Court judge Hugo Nunez ruled on Wednesday that the pardon that Kuczynski granted the ailing Fujimori on humanitarian grounds was not justified.

Fujimori was found guilty in 2009 of joint responsibility for 25 murders and two kidnappings during his 1990-2000 rule. He has also been found guilty in several corruption cases.

— dpa

Duterte signals readiness to step down if he has serious illness

MANILA, Philippines — Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte said he was uncertain if he’s still physically fit and signaled a readiness to step down if he has any serious illness such as cancer.

“I don’t know where I am now physically but I have to wait for the results” of the tests, the 73-year old leader told graduates of the Philippine Military Academy on Thursday, admitting he had gone to a hospital for digestive tract tests, which his aides have denied.

“But I would tell you that — if it’s cancer, it’s cancer. And if it’s third stage, no more treatment. I will not prolong my agony in this office or anywhere,” Duterte said, according to a transcript of his speech sent by his office Friday morning.

The controversial leader, who’s presiding over a deadly drug war that has killed thousands since he took office in June 2016, has long complained of suffering from Barrett’s esophagus — an inflammation of the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach — from alcohol use when he was younger.

He has also admitted to having daily migraine and spinal issues, in addition to an illness affecting the blood vessels called Buerger’s disease caused by smoking.

Duterte said on Thursday that his acid reflux has gotten worse. Three weeks ago he had endoscopy and colonoscopy and, on Wednesday, he canceled appointments so he could go to the hospital after his doctor ordered some tests. A few hours before his admission, his spokesman Harry Roque denied that the president was hospitalized.

The president is required under the country’s constitution to disclose any serious illness to the public, and will be replaced by the vice president if he decides to step down.

The incumbent vice president, Leni Robredo, is the leader of the opposition Liberal Party, and is facing an electoral protest from former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., the son of the former dictator. Duterte, whose six-year term is scheduled to end in 2022, has said previously that he would rather have Marcos take his place.

— Bloomberg News