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Judge rules Epstein documents in court case will stay sealed -- for now

MIAMI -- Who helped the pedophile financier Jeffrey Epstein abuse scores of young women?

Although Epstein was found dead in a New York City jail last summer, a list of names of wealthy and well-connected people who may have helped him commit his crimes lives on. The possible enablers could be named in a batch of sealed court documents filed in a civil lawsuit between one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, and his former girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell, a British socialite who is said to have procured him vulnerable, underage victims.

Now a federal judge has decided that some of those documents will remain sealed -- for now.

At question are motions in the case that were never decided by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet.

A federal appeals court ruled last year that motions upon which Sweet had passed judgment should be unsealed.

But U.S. District Court Judge Loretta Preska concluded that the undecided motions, in contrast, were not "judicial documents subject to the presumption of public access" and should remain under seal. (Sweet died last year.)

-- Miami Herald

9-year-old finds loaded deputy's handgun in California Airbnb

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Friday night, Jon Segarra and his family arrived at their Airbnb in South Lake Tahoe after a four-hour sojourn from the Bay Area, looking to get started on a snowy weekend.

As Segarra, a Hayward, Calif., resident, unloaded the car with his girlfriend and sister, the six kids between them ran pell-mell into the house. While the kids squabbled over sleeping arrangements and searched the house for board games, Segarra's 9-year-old son Joshua, flanked by his two younger siblings and cousin, opened a bedside drawer.

But instead of a checkers set or deck of cards, they found a badge. And a loaded handgun.

Both apparently belong to a Santa Clara County Sheriff deputy who previously stayed at the home, and left behind the police badge and .380 Ruger pistol, which officials say was his personal firearm.

The Sheriff's Office confirmed Monday that both items belonged to one of its deputies, and has launched an internal investigation into the discovery. Late Monday afternoon, the office added via a statement that the deputy in question had been placed on paid administrative leave.

-- The Mercury News

Vegetable-rich diet doesn't slow or cure prostate cancer, study says

SAN DIEGO -- A new study by the University of California, San Diego casts doubt on the belief of many scientists and the public that a diet rich in vegetables might slow the progression of prostate cancer, a disease that kills about 33,000 Americans a year.

The findings were based on a study in which more than 200 men who had been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer significantly increased their consumption of vegetables over a two-year period.

"We were hoping the diet would slow and maybe reverse the cancer," said Dr. J. Kellogg Parsons, the UCSD urology professor who led the research. "However, we found that even eating up to seven servings a day of vegetables did not have that affect.

"We still believe that a diet like this can help people with prostate cancer better tolerate treatments like surgery, radiation or chemotherapy because it goes to their overall health."


The study was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

-- The San Diego Union-Tribune

Benedict XVI disowns co-authorship of controversial celibacy book

VATICAN CITY -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI never agreed to appear as the co-author of a controversial book on priestly celibacy, his personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein, said Tuesday.

It was a remarkable disavowal of a work seen by many as both an attack on Pope Francis' authority and a serious breach of Benedict's promise to remain "hidden to the world" following his retirement in 2013.

In the book, Benedict is presented as arguing against a relaxation of the celibacy rule for priests, wading into a topic on which Francis is due to make a decision within a few weeks.

Gaenswein told the ANSA news agency that Benedict knew that Cardinal Robert Sarah was writing a book on the subject and sent him an essay on priesthood "authorizing him to do what he wanted with it."

Benedict has asked to have his name removed as co-author, Gaenswein said. Sarah tweeted separately that the work would now be presented as written by him "with the contribution of Benedict XVI."

The book is called "From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy and the Crisis of the Catholic Church" and comes out in France on Wednesday. An English version is due on Feb. 20.

-- dpa

Indiana man sparked investigation as he shouted outside Mar-a-Lago

MIAMI -- The man who sparked a U.S. Secret Service investigation last week when he attempted to enter Mar-a-Lago, President Donald Trump's private Palm Beach club and primary residence, is a 34-year-old from Indiana, according to a heavily redacted incident report released Tuesday by Palm Beach police. The man has not been charged with a crime.

The Miami Herald is not publishing the man's name out of concern for privacy regarding mental health. The police report notes that the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office Behavioral Services unit was called to the scene. A police spokesperson said parts of the report were redacted because they included medical information covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

The police report states that around 7 p.m. on Jan. 6, the man attempted to enter Mar-a-Lago through a side entrance on Southern Boulevard, shouting that he wanted something. The specifics of what he shouted were redacted from the report. A club security guard encountered the man at the gate. The man then returned to his black four-door vehicle parked in a lot across the street from the club, according to the report. Club security called the Palm Beach Police Department. An officer arrived at the scene, stopped the vehicle and questioned the man.

The officer then requested that the man turn off the 2013 Toyota and step out of the car, citing "officer safety reasons," the report said. At that point the officer called for backup, including the U.S. Secret Service, which protects the president and his family, and the PBSO Behavioral Services unit.

Trump was not in Palm Beach during the incident.

-- Miami Herald

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