The week at a glance ... United States
Los AngelesWilliams’ woes: Police this week briefly detained Ted Williams, the homeless man whose pitch-perfect announcer’s voice has propelled him to overnight celebrity, following a noisy argument with his daughter in a Los Angeles hotel room. Williams and his daughter Janey offered conflicting accounts of the dispute, with Janey accusing her father, a recovering substance abuser, of resuming drinking. He denied the claim. Since emerging into the national spotlight, Williams has lent his golden baritone to a Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercial, recorded promos for cable news, and been offered an announcing job—and a house—by the Cleveland Cavaliers. But he has admitted to interviewers that he has had trouble handling his sudden success.
Palm Springs, Calif.Police chief ousted: The police chief of Palm Springs, a mecca for gay tourists, has resigned amid an outcry over a spate of arrests at a popular gay pickup spot. Chief David Dominguez stepped down last week after evidence emerged that he had used anti-gay slurs while supervising the June 2009 arrests. The 19 arrests themselves were controversial for their use of well-muscled undercover officers to lure men into making sexual solicitations. “The sting was an egregious case of entrapment,” said Robert Stone, a vocal critic of the undercover operation. The city has ordered sensitivity training for all its employees.
Austin, TexasDeLay sentenced: A Texas judge has sentenced former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to three years in prison on money-laundering and conspiracy charges, following his conviction for concealing illegal corporate contributions to Texas political campaigns in 2002. DeLay, a Republican known to congressional colleagues as “The Hammer,” was once one of the most powerful politicians in the U.S., enforcing rigid discipline among House Republicans and steering campaign contributions to his allies. Speaking before his sentencing, DeLay told the court, “I can’t be remorseful for something I don’t think I did.” He is free on a $10,000 bond while he pursues an appeal.
Ferriday, La.Decades-old murder solved? A local newspaper has identified two men it says killed an African-American businessman in a racist attack 46 years ago. Frank Morris died in 1964 after assailants doused his shoe store with gasoline and set it alight while he was inside. Morris survived long enough to tell FBI agents that two men had attacked him, but no arrests were ever made. Now, though, the Concordia Sentinel has named Arthur Spencer and O.C. “Coonie” Poissot as the Ku Klux Klan members who torched Morris in his store. The paper cited statements by members of Spencer’s family. Spencer has denied the accusation but admits being a Klan member at the time of the killing. Poissot died in 1992. The FBI has reopened the case.
Washington, D.C.Obama aide’s wife dies: The wife of an Obama administration official died this week after her car burst into flames inside the garage of her Capitol Hill home. Ashley Turton, 37, an energy-company lobbyist and wife of Dan Turton, 43, a liaison between the White House and the House of Representatives, was found dead inside her burning BMW sport-utility vehicle, its rear end protruding from the garage attached to the family’s house. Police said they were unsure why the car caught fire, but they theorized that Turton may have suffered a medical problem and collided with a container holding a flammable substance. At the time of the fire, Dan Turton was at the White House, helping coordinate the response to the shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
AtlantaBruising winter storm: Heavy snows and plummeting temperatures battered the East Coast this week, leaving at least 14 people dead in weather-related incidents, forcing schools and government offices to close, and downing trees and power lines. In Atlanta, ice rendered several main roadways impassable, including the crowded I-285 corridor, and thousands of travelers were stranded overnight at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world’s busiest. In New York City, cleanup crews worked through the night to prepare for the morning commute, aiming to avoid a repeat of the city’s sluggish, and much-criticized, response to last month’s blizzard. Some areas of Massachusetts were buried under 2 feet of snow, and schools were closed across the state. Subfreezing temperatures are expected to persist throughout the East Coast into next week, hampering snow-removal efforts.