News briefs

April 5, 1996
Web posted at: 11:40 p.m. EST

Burned cat makes progress; kittens in 'foster home'


NEW YORK (CNN) -- Scarlett, the hero cat that rescued her five kittens from a burning building last week, was eating well Friday and appeared more comfortable than she had been Thursday. Marge Stein of the North Shore Animal Medical Center on Long Island, where Scarlett is being treated, said the cat's eyes are heavily medicated, and she is losing some skin over burn wounds in some areas, but her condition is stable.

Her kittens, who were slightly singed, are receiving care in a "foster home." They will not be available for adoption until they have fully recovered. They are no doubt already well spoken for, as over 1,000 callers from as far away as England and Canada have asked about adopting the kittens or contributing funds for their recovery. The North Shore Animal League has started a "Scarlett Fund," a fund designed to help animals that need emergency treatment.

Scarlett and her five kittens were discovered by veteran firefighter David Giannelli a week ago as he battled flames in an abandoned building in Brooklyn. After the fire was put out, he saw the mother carrying her kittens one by one across the street.

Cora Fischman denies having affair with Simpson


LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Cora Fischman, one of Nicole Brown Simpson's closest friends, disputed a lawyer's speculation that she is having an affair with O.J. Simpson.

Fischman, accompanied by her lawyer, spoke Friday at a news conference aiming to clear up the hubbub surrounding two statements she made behind closed doors in her deposition for the Simpson civil trial.

Her statement under oath that she currently sees a lot of Simpson was interpreted by a lawyer for Ron Goldman's family to mean that she is probably having an affair with him. She said Friday that she is not -- and that she only sees Simpson so often out of a desire to be near his children.

"All I did was want to take care of his kids. I was very close to those kids," she said.

The second statement was that Fischman did not believe Simpson killed his ex-wife and her friend, Ron Goldman. During her news conference, Fischman said she took that stance because she "wasn't there -- and that's all I've ever said."

Prosecutors must prove Kevorkian intended to kill


DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) -- The Michigan Court of Appeals late Friday upheld last week's ruling in the trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian. The ruling said that prosecutors must prove to a jury that Kevorkian intended for his patients to commit suicide in order to be convicted of assisted suicide.

The ruling is a victory for the defense, which contends Kevorkian intended only to relieve his patients' pain and suffering when he counseled and helped his patients end their lives. The prosecution says he will likely appeal the decision to Michigan's Supreme Court.

Kevorkian is charged in the 1991 deaths of Sherry Miller, 43, of Roseville and Marjorie Wantz, 58, of Sodus. Miller died after inhaling carbon monoxide. Wantz died of an injection.

Kevorkian, 67, has escaped conviction twice under Michigan's now-expired assisted suicide law, enacted by the Michigan Legislature specifically to stop him. His current trial is being held under Michigan common law.

Brevard schools sued over kissing kids

Kissing kids

MELBOURNE, Florida (CNN) -- The Brevard County school system is being sued for punishing two fifth-graders who admit they were kissing in the halls of Atlantis Elementary School.

They were suspended for a day, then told that they may not be allowed to join their school chorus when it takes a trip to Tallahassee next week, as punishment for sneaking off to smooch.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the two students. The ACLU said it plans to ask a circuit court judge Monday to force the school to take the pair on the field trip. According to the ACLU, the 11-year-olds were denied due process and civil rights. Their suit seeks compensation for the students' pain, and reimbursement for their legal expenses.

The school's principal, Vicki Mace, said the two students can only go to Tallahassee if their parents accompany them. The parents say they can't afford to go.

Nobel scientist charged with child sexual abuse

Dr. Daniel Gajdusek

FREDERICK, Maryland (CNN) -- A Nobel Prize winning scientist has been charged with sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy.

The FBI says that Dr. Daniel Gajdusek, who won the Nobel prize in 1976 for his work on infectious diseases, brought the boy to Maryland from Micronesia and molested him from 1987 through 1991.

FBI spokesman Larry Foust said that the 72-year-old chief of the Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies at the National Institutes of Health was held in lieu of $1 million bail.

The accuser, now a college student, was living with Gajdusek while the alleged abuse took place. Gajdusek denied being a pedophile.

"Not in the way that you are using the term," he told reporters outside the sheriff's office.


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