Midday News Update

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  • (Denver-AP) -- The Colorado Supreme Court is stepping into a First Amendment battle in the Kobe Bryant sexual assault case. The high court has ordered Bryant's trial judge to justify a threat to hold media organizations in contempt, if they reveal contents of transcripts from a closed-door hearing.

    A court reporter accidentally e-mailed transcripts of a hearing last month to seven media groups, including The Associated Press, The Denver Post, the Los Angeles Times, CBS, Fox News, ESPN and “Celebrity Justice.”

    Attorney Tom Kelley says the judge's order amounts not to reveal the transcripts amounts to prior restraint of the press. The Supreme Court gave District Judge Terry Ruckriegle until Friday to explain why it shouldn't overturn his order.

  • (Denver-AP) -- State officials have lowered the fire danger in the Front Range and northern Colorado from high to normal after recent rains. The question now is whether the moisture will tide the state over until monsoon season. Monsoon season historically starts around July 3rd.

    Before a string of thunderstorms this month, fire officials warned of a potentially busy fire season in parts of Colorado due to years of drought.

    The fire danger is still rated high for the Gunnison area, San Juan Mountains, Ute reservation and the Mesa Verde area in southwest Colorado.

  • (Chicago-AP) -- United Airlines' chief executive is appealing for employees' cooperation in a lengthy effort to pull the nation's third-largest carrier out of bankruptcy. United employees are bracing for the prospect of more sacrifices after a federal panel yesterday rejected the company's third and final attempt to secure a government loan guarantee.

    Glenn Tilton said in a recorded message to employees last night that the company will continue to work to complete restructuring and exit Chapter 11. He also thanked employees for their efforts over the past 18 months.

    Experts say cuts may be inevitable as United scrambles to redo its finances after a nearly two-year quest for federal assistance failed. United is the dominant carrier at Denver International Airport.

  • (Denver-AP) -- A former University of Colorado football player has testified he was offered marijuana during a recruiting visit in 1999. Court documents released yesterday show the player says he was also given alcohol and taken to a strip club during the visit.

    The player, whose name was blacked out, said he did not know where the money for the strip club came from and that he wasn't offered sex from women as an enticement to join the CU football team.

    The player's comments came in a deposition last month in a lawsuit filed by three women who say they were sexually assaulted by football athletes who attended an off-campus party in 2001. The player attended that party and denies the women's allegations that the party was set up to provide sex for recruits.

  • (Fort Collins-AP) -- A memorial service is scheduled tomorrow in Loveland for the wife of a Colorado State University coach killed in an alleged drunken driving crash. Janna Klussmann, 41, died June 20th when a pickup truck ran a red light near Cheyenne, Wyoming and t-boned a van she was driving.

    Andy Klussmann, 40, was critically injured in the crash. The assistant CSU volleyball coach has since been upgraded to serious condition at a Cheyenne hospital.

    Authorities say 44-year-old Ronald Holland of Greeley was driving the pickup and had a blood-alcohol content more than twice the legal limit at the time of the crash. He's charged with vehicular homicide, driving under the influence with serious bodily injury, and aggravated assault.

  • (Denver-AP) -- It's been exactly four weeks since a fiery crash in Utah critically injured a woman traveling to Colorado to start a new life. Now, the family of 20-year-old Tara Eichinger Berendes is preparing to take her home to San Jose, California.

    Berendes and her new husband, Joshua, had been married only ten days before another car collided with their sport utility vehicle on Interstate 15 near Salt Lake City. Thad Goodman of Taylorsville, Utah died instantly.

    Tara Berendes is still clinically comatose at a Salt Lake hospital, but could be discharged to a San Jose facility later this week. Josh Berendes has already been released from a hospital. The Berendeses were in the process of moving to Littleton, Colorado when the crash occurred.

  • (Denver-AP) -- A woman who promised to help Coloradans get free money has been fined $50,000 plus attorneys fees and court costs after a money scam that drew hundreds of hopeful applicants.

    Carlotta Wilson said she had access to some $900 billion worth of government and private funds to help people start a business, re-establish their credit, and for other reasons. She also claimed 22 years of grant-writing experience.

    More than 400 people showed up at an Arapahoe County shopping center last August to apply for the free grant money. Attorney General Ken Salazar suit Wilson and her company, SSS Organization 9, in December. The state received a default judgment against Wilson three weeks ago after she failed to respond to the suit.

  • (Minneapolis-AP) -- Denver-based Frontier Airlines will eliminate its nonstop service from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Los Angeles in August. The low-fare carrier says competitive pricing from Northwest Airlines and lack of passenger demand are to blame.

    Frontier launched its nonstop service from the Twin Cities to LA in April. Minnesota-based Northwest soon dropped its fares to match Frontier's low prices, and added nonstop flights to Los Angeles that departed at the same times as Frontier's flights.

    At one point, Frontier and Northwest both dropped round-trip fares from the Twin Cities to Los Angeles to $98. Northwest declined to comment.

  • (Denver-AP) -- A sample of smoking bars in Denver finds the indoor air in most is worse than from the city's brown cloud. The Denver Environmental Health report says 17 of 19 smoking bars sampled had more than 50 micrograms of fine particulates per cubic meter of air.

    When the 24-hour average of outdoor air surpasses that level, Denver considers it a brown cloud day. One bar had 440 micrograms of fine particulates per cubic meter of air when several patrons were smoking. That reading and others surpassed the one-year average of 200 micrograms per cubic meter recorded when the Hayman wildfire broke out.

    The study looked at 22 bars, including three where there was no smoking. The nonsmoking bars all had air well below the “brown cloud” standard.

  • (Lausanne, Switzerland-AP) – U.S. sprinter Jerome Young has been found guilty of doping five years ago, and the world's top sports court says he should be stripped of his Olympic gold medal. Jerome Young had filed a lawsuit in the case against the U.S. Olympic Committee, but later dropped it.

  • (Denver-AP) -- Milwaukee left-hander Chris Capuano will start tonight's game against Colorado at Coors Field, which could prove to be an advantage for the Rockies. Colorado has the fourth-best record in the National League in games where left-handers have started against them.