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A New Mexico judge has approved a $1.15 million settlement between a medic who worked on the “Rust” film set and one of several defendants she accused of negligence in the fatal 2021 shooting of a cinematographer by Alec Baldwin during a rehearsal.

Court records show the partial settlement between Cherlyn Schaefer and prop master Sarah Zachry was approved during a hearing Monday. Schaefer told the judge there’s not a day that goes by when she doesn’t think about what happened, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.

In her civil complaint, Schaefer said she fought desperately in a failed attempt to save the life of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. She said the shock, trauma and emotional distress that followed has made it impossible for her to continue working in her field.

Prosecutors dismissed an involuntary manslaughter charge against the actor and producer last month, citing new evidence and the need for more time to investigate.

State District Judge Kathleen McGarry Ellenwood had entered a default judgment against Zachry in November after the film worker failed to file responses within court deadlines.

Zachry’s current attorney, Nathan Winger, told the court Monday that her previous attorney, William Waggoner, let deadlines pass without her permission, and she intends to seek damages from him to fund her settlement with Schaefer. Waggoner disputes the claim.

Justin Rodriguez, one of several attorneys representing Schaefer, said the settlement “is a small portion of what we expect to receive in the future.” The remaining defendants include Rust Movie Productions, weapons supervisor Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director David Halls, but not Baldwin.

Schaefer’s complaint claims Zachry and Gutierrez-Reed failed to ensure there were no live rounds in Baldwin’s weapon. An involuntary manslaughter charge remains pending against Gutierrez-Reed, but her attorneys have said they fully expect her to be exonerated.


A deal has been reached over control of an 1888 painting by Vincent van Gogh, lawyers said, weeks after the custody fight created public buzz and much tension near the end of a rare U.S. exhibition in Detroit.

Brokerarte Capital Partners LLC, which claims to own “The Novel Reader,” told a federal appeals court that it reached a confidential settlement with the unnamed entity who loaned the painting to the Detroit Institute of Arts for an exhibition of Van Gogh’s works that ended Jan. 22.

Because of the dispute, the museum has been under orders to hold the painting while the court determined who would next get the art.

Brokerarte Capital, an art brokerage, said it acquired the painting in 2017 for $3.7 million and gave temporary possession of it to a third party who absconded with it. The company filed a lawsuit on Jan. 10 seeking to seize the painting, and the museum subsequently posted a security guard next to it.

The museum was caught in the middle but wasn’t accused of wrongdoing. It has not publicly explained how it got the painting on loan, saying only that it came from a collection in Brazil.

Lawyers for Brokerarte Capital and its sole proprietor, Gustavo Soter of Brazil, said a deal had been reached with the other party.

“Consistent with the confidential settlement, Brokerarte no longer seeks injunctive relief, and therefore, this appeal is moot,” lawyers said in a March 13 filing with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The museum said it spent more than $100,000 defending itself in the litigation, which began in federal court in Detroit. It argued that a federal law governing the international sharing of art prevents courts from intervening. The U.S. Justice Department took a similar position.

The museum still is concerned about the significance of the appeals court issuing an injunction in February. It wants the court to consider declaring the injunction “null and void” so it can’t be cited as a precedent in any future international art disputes.


The police union in St. Paul, Minnesota is suing the city in an effort to halt a mandate that requires city employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year.

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter announced the requirement for nearly 4,000 workers last month, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. But the St. Paul Police Federation has resisted, suggesting that unvaccinated employees be allowed to continue working if they wear masks and take regular tests for the virus. It filed the lawsuit Tuesday in the Minnesota court system.

Police departments around the U.S. are running up against pockets of vaccine resistance that some fear could leave law enforcement shorthanded and undermine public safety.

The St. Paul police union’s lawsuit argues that the vaccine requirement amounts to a new condition for employment that was not negotiated with the union. It is asking a judge to halt the mandate until the union and city negotiate an agreement.

“We are not anti-vaccine, nor are we conspiracy theorists — we are reasonable and dedicated public servants who believe in personal choice,” the union said in a statement.

The mayor’s office said it planned to move forward with the mandate unless a judge orders to halts it.


The Biden administration on Wednesday proposed changing how asylum claims are handled, aiming to reduce a huge backlog of cases from the U.S.-Mexico border that has left people waiting years to find out whether they will be allowed to stay in America.

Under the proposal, routine asylum cases no longer would automatically be referred to the overwhelmed immigration court system managed by the Justice Department but would be overseen by asylum officers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of Homeland Security Department.

Advocates for the change see it as a way to help those with legitimate claims for protection while allowing officials to more quickly deal with people who do not qualify for asylum or are taking advantage of the long delay to stay in the United States.

“Individuals who are eligible will receive relief more swiftly, while those who are not eligible will be expeditiously removed,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said.

The proposal must go through a public comment period before it can be adopted as a new policy.

The immigration court system has an all-time high backlog of about 1.3 million cases. The Trump administration tried to deal with the issue in part by imposing stricter criteria for asylum and forcing people to seek protection in Mexico and Central America. President Joe Biden’s proposal would streamline the system.

The reason for the change is that more people have been seeking asylum under U.S. law, particularly at the U.S.-Mexico border in recent years.

As the system works now, people who present themselves at the border or are apprehended by the Border Patrol and identify themselves as asylum-seekers must pass what is known as a “credible fear” interview. A USCIS asylum officer determines whether they meet the criteria of someone facing persecution in their homeland because of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion.


The Ohio Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments Wednesday in a case filed by news media groups seeking school records about the man who gunned down nine people in Dayton last August.

The media groups, including The Associated Press, argue the student records could provide information on whether authorities properly handled early warning signs from slain gunman Connor Betts.

The Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Local Schools district argues Betts’ records are protected by state and federal privacy laws. Ohio GOP Attorney General Dave Yost will argue they should be released.

Betts was killed by police 32 seconds after he opened fire Aug. 4, 2019, in Dayton’s crowded Oregon District entertainment area. Armed with an AR-15-style gun with an extended ammunition magazine, Betts killed nine, including his sister, and injured dozens more.

The Supreme Court took the case after an appeals court ruled in favor of the district and its denial of access to Betts’ high school files.



The coronavirus pandemic has put on indefinite hold a major portion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket, including a multibillion-dollar clash between software giants Google and Oracle Corp. and cases that could affect President Donald Trump’s reelection chances.

What was supposed to have been a drama-filled spring at the high court has instead become a season of waiting, especially for the lawyers and litigants in 20 arguments that had been scheduled for March and April. The court has postponed 11 of those cases and could do the same soon for the remaining nine.

The cases include fights over congressional and grand jury subpoenas for Trump’s financial records — clashes that need to be resolved in the court’s current term to give the president’s critics any chance of seeing the documents before the November election. Also on hold is a clash over the Electoral College for presidential elections and an $8 billion copyright dispute between Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Oracle.

It’s not clear whether the justices are still hoping to resolve those cases in their current term, possibly by forgoing argument or by breaking tradition and hearing arguments by phone or online. Lawyers say they’ve received no guidance from the court on the subject, though briefing deadlines are still in force. The term normally ends in late June, although that time frame is now in doubt as well.

“As far as oral arguments go, we’re just waiting upon the court,” said Jay Sekulow, the lead lawyer for Trump in the president’s bid to block a New York grand jury subpoena for the president’s financial information. The case had been set for argument March 31.


The most senior Catholic to be convicted of child sex abuse took his appeal to Australia’s highest court Wednesday in potentially his last bid to clear his name.

Cardinal George Pell was sentenced a year ago to six years in prison for molesting two 13-year-old choirboys in Melbourne’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral while he was the city’s archbishop in the late 1990s.

He was convicted by the unanimous verdict of a Victoria state County Court jury in December 2018 after a jury in an earlier trial was deadlocked.

A Victoria Court of Appeal rejected his appeal against his convictions in a 2-1 majority decision in August last year.

Pope Francis’ 78-year-old former finance minister is arguing before the High Court that the guilty verdicts were unreasonable and could not be supported by the whole of the evidence from more than 20 prosecution witnesses who include priests, altar servers and former choirboys.

Seven judges are hearing the case over two days.

Pell’s lawyer Bret Walker told the judges that there had been a “reversal of onus” in which Pell was expected to prove the offending didn’t happen instead of prosecutors proving the crimes were committed beyond reasonable doubt.

“That is a wrong question which sends the inquiry onto a terribly damaging wrong route,” Walker said.

Walker said the allegations that Pell had molested the two boys in a priests’ sacristy moments after a Mass could not be proved if the jury had accepted the evidence of sacristan Maxwell Potter and Monsignor Charles Portelli.

Potter had testified that the sacristy was kept locked during Masses and Portelli had given evidence that he was always with Pell while he was dressed in his archbishop’s robes.

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