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March 31, 1983 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Jury finds
Fleming
guilty for
defrauding
Groucho
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) - A
jury decided yesterday that Erin
Fleming defrauded Grouch Marx
during their six-year relationship and
voted 9-3 to award nearly a half-million
dollars to the executor of the late
comedian's estate.
Jurors awarded $221,000 in compen-
satory damages and $250,000 in punitive
damages to the Bank of America
executor of the Marx estate. Defense
lawyers challenged the validity of the
verdict, and the judge ordered the
jurors to explain how they arrived at
the damages.
They returned after a half-hour in the
jury room with a long list of figures,
decreasing the original award of
$221,844.09 by only one dollar. The judge
then entered the verdict into court
records.
THE JURY'S figures showed they
had penalized Fleming for salaries and
-expenses she collected from Marx, for
the purchase price of her 1973 Mercedes
,: enz sports car and $32.75 for half a
W iquor bill at a local delicatessan which
catered parties at the Marx house.
The verdict was so complex that it
took more than two hours before the
decision was completely announced
and accepted by the judge.
During that time, jurors were
brought in and out of the courtroom, a
court session was stopped and started
and defense lawyers expressed con-
sternation at the unclear nature of the
outcome.
IN THE END, it was clear that
Fleming had lost a major battle in her
six-year war with the executors of the
estate and the Marx family, which con-
tended she was a "gold-digger" who
took the late comedian for thousands
and abused him.
Fleming contended she was a loving
and attentive helper to the aged comic
in his 80s and vowed her love for him to
the end of the trial.
Jury foreman Eugene McCarthy told
reporters that jurors felt Fleming was
d'a brilliant woman with an excellent
memory," but were adversely influen-
ced when she pleaded fuzzy recollection
of events incriminating her.
"WE ALL FELT she gave Groucho a
lot of love and attention. But the
majority of us felt she took advantage
of him financially."
Jurors' decisions on 18 "special fin-
dings" often conflicted with its overall
verdict, and Superior Court
Judge Jacqueline Weiss twice called
recesses during the reading of the ver-
dict. She finally ordered jurors back in-
to the jury room to explain how they
arrived at the damage figures.
THE SPECIAL FINDINGS dealt with
such things as whether Fleming used
"undue influence, fraud, duress or
menace" on Marx to obtain a luxury
car and money with which she bought
two houses and her shares in the owner-
ship of Groucho Marx Productions Inc.
The bank, acting as executor of the
Marx estate, sued to force Fleming to
return $428,000 in cash and gifts which it
said she obtained by browbeating and
intimidating the aging comedian. The
bank also asked for $500,000 in punitive
damages.

The panel of nine women and three
men were not in total agreement on the
general verdict, splitting 9-3, with two
women and one man voting against the
bank.
The conflicts arose during reading of
the special findings - the individual
questions in the bank's lawsuit which
ultimately must be decided by the
judge, who has set a hearing for
tomorrow on the matters.

The Michigan Daily-Thursday, March 31, 1983-Page 5
Honduran-Nicaraguan

border t
From AP and UPI
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras - Hun-
dreds of poor Honduran villagers were7
reported fleeing their homes along the
Nicaraguan border yesterday, fearing
attacks by Nicaragua's army in
retaliation for attacks by exiles based
in Honduras.
Eighty residents of the tense
Choluteca border zone, on the Gulf of
Fonseca between Nicaragua and El
Salvador, petitioned President Roberto
Suazo Cordova for troop reinforcemen-
ts. They claimed Nicaragua's San-
dinista government had put 1,500 troops
on the other side of the border.
The petition said hundreds of peasan-
ts have been leaving their villages in
recent weeks.
THE SANDINISTAS "are constantly
watching our every movement," said
the petitioners. "We cannot live, we
cannot work, we cannot breathe in a
. . . climate charged with tension due to.
constant incursions by air and overland
by Nicaragua's Sandinista guards."
There was no immediate comment
from the Honduran government, which

Conflict feared
has 400 soldiers patrolling the duras who are trying to top
Choluteca area. Marxist-dominated Sandinista
Shooting across the border has been nment.
reported frequently, and the gover- "These boats, cruising off the
nment claims the Sandinistas have an aggressive manner, pose a
been smuggling weapons through the threat to our security," Borge:
area to leftist rebels fighting the U.S.- did not say how many boats the
supported conservative government of or how far off the coast the
El Salvador. It reported Tuesday that located. Nicaragua claims 200
an army patrol intercepted 12 territorial waters.
Nicaraguan soldiers last week near "We're going out into the
Nacaome, 52 miles from the search of the counter-revolution
Nicaraguan border, with a "large exterminate them," one Nic
amount" of weapons. government soldier said.
Interior minister Tomas Borge
charged yesterday that U.S. warships The estimated 26,000 Nice
were cruising off the Nicaraguan coast refugees in Honduras includ
and claimed government troops 5,000 former Somoza troops,
destroyed an airstrip used by Sandinistas accuse the United
American-supplied rebels. training and arming them forg
U.S. OFFFICIALS had no immediate attacks in their homeland. The
comment on the charges, which came States refuses to comment
as seven Norwegian mercenaries said charge.
they were heading for Costa Rica to join The refugees also include
a former Nazi fighting with the rebels Miskito, Sumo and Rama Indi
to topple the leftist Managua regime. fled their tribal homelands
Nicaragua has repeatedly accused Caribbean coast after the San
the Reagan administration of actively tried to move them inland to c
supporting guerrillas based in Hon- coast.

pple the
gover-
coast in
serious
said. He
re were,
ey were
miles of
hills in
rnaries to
araguan
araguan
e about
and the
States of
guerrilla
e United
on the
e 15,000
ans who
on the
ndinistas
lear the

New witness accuses Klansman

Daily Photo by ELIZABETH SCOTT
Bunny Hap
This large hare, identified only as Peter, hopped through Nickels Arcade
yesterday, apparently confused about which corner Easter is around.
Candidates debate

(Continued from Page 1)
government," she said. "It's not ap-
propriate to sign funding applications
before council has asked for them."
"Aren't you tired of the antics of your
current mayor?" Morris continued.
"Aren't you ready for some honesty
from city hall? There are too many
misunderstandings today."
"THE CITY has been well managed
over the past five years," Belcher coun-
tered. "We have attained long range
goals of economic development, crime
prevention, and human service
programs. We've never been in better
shape."
"The city needs a strong leader,"
Belcher said. "They mayor's job is to
pull out ideas. The council can do that
too, but the mayor is the leader of the
city council.
Belcher and Morris were charac-
teristically divided over development
of high technology industries in Ann
Arbor. Morris said she was concerned
the high tech industries might not
rnpet the job needs of women.

"WOMEN NEED help with child care
and social services. We have to give
everybody a chance to contribute to the
economy," she said.
Belcher scoffed at Morris' worries.
"It is a misconception that high tech
won't create enough jobs," he said.
"Every high-tech job creates another six
service jobs within five years. High
tech has proven that it promotes the
employment of all people."
Belcher and Morris again took op-
posite sides on the proposed sale of
public housing projects. "It's not
feasible to sell our public housing,"
Morris said. "It may not even be legal.
We have a responsibility to the tenants.
We have to learn how to manage public
housing."
Belcher defended the proposal, citing
other cities which have taken the same
course. "It's not a new idea," he said.
"It works all over the country. We don't
need to create our own ghetto."

(Continued from Page 1)
why she kept silent for 18 years. She
said the entire incident "brought a lot of
embarrassment on me and my
children. You just hate to go out in the
public and pinpoint (who committed the
crime) . .-
Thomas' ex-wife said she tried to hide
after the murder and was "scared of
(Thomas) because he had threatened to
beat me so many times." Creel said she
also received threats and phone calls
from other people after the killing.
BUT AFTER seeing her ex-husband
on a television news program, Creel
said she just couldn't suppress the truth
any longer.
Creel said Thomas wants to get
revenge on Rowe. "(Thomas) has got
vengeance in his heart," she said, ad-
ding that her former husband, with
whom she now enjoys a "friendly"
relationship, "made a statement that he
still believed in what the Klan stood
for." .
She said this statement took her by
surprise. "It just shocked me because
he's supposed to be a born again
Christian," Creel said.
CREEL SAID she "wondered if
(Thomas) was being paid to go up there
and tell the lie." She said she was upset
about him telling a lie. "At one time I
had hard feelings against him, bad
feelings." But Creel said she forgave
Thomas after she too became a born
again Christian.
Creel said she never supported
Thomas' Klan activities. "I begged him
to get out of it. He knew I disapproved
of what they did. He wouldn't listen to
me,' 'she said.

Dean Robb, the Liuzzo children's at-
torney, discredited Creel's testimony.
"She's trying to get even from some
past anger she has for her ex-husband,"
Robb said after yesterday's court
session.
ROBB SAID there is no way to check
up on Creel's story because the conver-
sation she told the court took place in a
bedroom between herself and Thomas.
There were no witnesses.'
He said Creel is probably looking for
a way to get back at Thomas. "I think
she thought that her husband was going
to get something out of this case," Robb
said, adding that he was "particularly
suspicious of her testimony."
According to Marion Williams, a
former FBI agent who was in charge of
selecting and evaluating physical
evidence for the case in 1965, no- finger-
print tests were requested on the guns
belonging to Rowe and the Klan mem-
bers. Another former agent, Robert
Frye, testified he wasn't surprised that
the agents had weapons. "I would've
expected them to have arms in the
car," he testified.
Robb cross-examined Frye about a
file on Liuzzo containing personal in-
formation which was used in the FBI's'
investigation. Robb said this file con-
tained information about Liuzzo and

her family including whether or not her
children went to school on time and
where she spent her time while she was
in Selma. He said it also explored her
husband's background and the fact that
he was connected with the Teamster's
Union.
Frye justified the file's contents,
saying "(The FBI) investigates tvery
facet to determine the full details. We
try not to leave any stone unturned."

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Porn degrades women

(Continued from Page 1)
message of bondage and mutilation of
images that suggest women enjoy
abuse, domination, and humiliation.
"It's sexualized violence against
women," Post said, adding that the
images depict power relationships
rather than sexual behavior.
SEVERAL slides, taken from hard-.
core pornographic magazines, depicted
men mutilating women's sexual parts
with knives, whips, and even
jackhammers.
One bondage magazine pictured a
woman immobilized, with her face and
body completely covered. "She has no
identity," said Post, not even a sexual
one. The only message is complete
domination, she said.
Even "soft-core" magazines, such as
Playboy are dangerous, because they
make the sexual objectification of
women look glossy and appealing, Post
said.

Although pornography is prevalent
throughout society, Post does not ad-
vocate censorship, legislative battles,
or attempts to define obscenity in the
courts. Rather, she says, boycotts,
rallies, and formal protests to the
organizations that promote por-
nographic messages are the best ways
to educate people on pornography's
harmful effects.
About 140 people attended last night's
program - almost half of whom were
male. Today's session will feature a
panel discussion on pornography's ef-
fects on society's perceptions of
women. All programs, coordinated by
two Law School groups, are being held
in Room 100 of Hutchins Hall.

PORNOGRAPHY, CENSORSHIP AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT
Pornography and the Media

Wednesday, March 30th
7-10 p.m.

Women Against Pornography
Slide Presentation

Hardcore Directed by Paul Schrader, with George C. Scot t.
A Hollywood portrayal of the pornography industry.
Pornography and Society

Thursday, March 31st
.3:30-5:30 p.m.

Read and Use
Daily Classifieds

Moderator
Jane M. Friedman, Visiting Professor of Law,
University of Michigan Law School
Speakers
Edward I. Donnerstein, Associate Professor, Department
of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin
Co-Author: Pornography and SexualAggression
Burton Joseph, Chairman of the Board of Directors,
Playboy Foundation
Helen Longino, Assistant Professor of Philosophy,
Mills College. Contributor: Take Back the Night
Paula M. Webster, Director, Institute for the Study of
Sex in Society and History. Co-Author: Bound by Love.

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Friday, April 1st
3:30-5:30 p.m.

Paul Bender, Professor of Law, University of
.Pennsylvania Law School. General Counsel,
United States Commission on Obscenity
and Pornography
Frederick Schauer, Cutler Professor of Law,
William and Mary Law School. Scheduled as
Visiting Professor, University of Michigan Law
School, Fall, 1983. Author: The Law of Obscenity.

Pornography:

Possible Legal Responses

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