Stevens: The Justice Department has dropped its charges against former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. According to NPR, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. has decided to end the prosecution rather than repeatedly try to defend against charges of prosecutorial misconduct.
Up in Smoke: It seems the third time wasn’t a charm for Philip Morris. Yesterday the Supreme Court dismissed the cigarette maker’s appeal of a $79 million verdict handed down in Oregon, issuing just a one-sentence ruling. The high court had already heard the case twice before, and sent it back to the Oregon Supreme Court both times. Legal Times’ Tony Mauro reports that the dismissal, coming four months after oral arguments, may have been a sign that the justices could not coalesce around a single opinion.
Salaries: It’s looking like the economic climate is finally tugging down associates’ salaries, at least on the West Coast. First years at Los Angeles’ Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis are now making $145,000 a year, as will the incoming class, reports the Recorder’s Amanda Royal.
Point Franken: Al Franken came one step closer to claiming Minnesota’s open Senate seat yesterday, when a three judge panel decided to recount only 400 ballots from the hotly contested Nov. election. That’s not likely to erase Franken’s 225 lead. But don’t expect anyone to be seated in Congress before the end of April, Politico cautions. Incumbent Norm Coleman’s lawyers are promising to appeal to ruling as far as the state Supreme Court. Failing that, they’re talking about filing a federal suit.
G20: President Obama touched down last night in London for the highly anticipated G20 summit. The economic crisis has soured global leaders on American style capitalism, but many are still quietly hoping that U.S. spending can help lift the world economy, the New York Times writes. Despite the best efforts of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is playing host, the Times says “frictions are clear” between the participants.
Tax Time: April 15 is looming, and apropos of the season it appears another Obama cabinet pick has run into some tax trouble. Barack Obama’s latest nominee to be Health and Human Services Secretary, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, recently paid more than $7,000 in back taxes, the AP reports.