Legal battle brews over fees in tobacco decision

Saturday, February 2, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A law firm involved in the state's lawsuit against the tobacco industry is suing over the disbursement of $111.2 million earmarked for legal fees associated with the settlement.

Humphrey Farrington McClain and Edgar PC has filed a lawsuit against lead attorney Thomas Strong, his Springfield law firm, and three other firms.

The case was filed Tuesday and immediately sealed by Circuit Judge J. Miles Sweeney, Greene County Circuit Clerk Mike Carr said Thursday.

As a result, few details were immediately available about the lawsuit. But Carr confirmed that the lawsuit involves the payout of attorney fees.

Sweeney has not yet set a court date.

Legislative leaders get campaign accounts ready

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Control of the Illinois Legislature won't come easy or cheap.

The four legislative leaders had raised nearly $9.6 billion as of Dec. 31 for campaigns in a vital election year. That's about $1.8 million more than at the same time during the last election season.

All 177 legislative seats are up for election this year, and the districts have been redrawn to reflect changes in population. Democrats controlled the redistricting process, so they produced a map that gives them a strong chance of winning control of both chambers.

The state's Democratic Party chairman, House Speaker Michael Madigan, had the largest bankroll -- more than $2.9 million in two campaign funds under his control.

Hired killer sentenced to life in prison

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A man hired to beat a woman to death with a tire iron was sentenced Friday to two life terms.

Antonio L. Swanson, 21, pleaded guilty last April to one count of second-degree murder and one count of armed criminal action. He admitted beating Beth R. Henderson to death in June 2000 for $850 from her husband, Aaron L. Henderson.

An original charge of first-degree murder was reduced in exchange for Swanson's testimony against Aaron Henderson and his aunt, Rosemary Jackson. At Aaron Henderson's trial, Swanson testified he turned on the others after being given a bad check in payment for the killing.

Henderson and Jackson were convicted in Jackson County Circuit Court of first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Each was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder convictions, with a concurrent life sentence for armed criminal action.

Woman gets five years in prison for sitting on man

PEORIA, Ill. -- A woman who suffocated a smaller man by sitting on him during an argument was sentenced to five years in prison Friday.

Circuit Judge Thomas Ebel gave Rachael L. Thompson, 20, credit for more than a year already spent in jail when he gave her the maximum sentence.

Thompson in December was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the July 15, 2000, death of Shiraz Jamsa, 49.

She told jurors she became angry with Jamsa when he refused to pay her for an act of prostitution. Thompson said she knocked him down, then sat on his chest and hit him in the head while trying to get his wallet.

Two forensic pathologists testified that Jamsa suffocated.

--From wire reports

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