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Nation and World briefs for April 14

Chief Cosby accuser says she was too weak to ‘fight him off’

NORRISTOWN, Pa. — Bill Cosby’s chief accuser took the witness stand for the second time to tell a story of molestation and broken trust, describing for jurors how the comedian knocked her out with three blue pills and then sexually assaulted her at his home.

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“I was weak. I was limp, and I just could not fight him off,” said Andrea Constand, who found herself in the same cavernous courtroom on Friday less than a year after a jury was unable to reach a verdict on charges against Cosby.

Her harrowing account of the events in 2004 was consistent with the one she gave at last year’s trial in suburban Philadelphia, and jurors watched intently and scribbled notes as she told how Cosby, the good-guy celebrity she viewed as a mentor and friend, had betrayed her.

“Ms. Constand, why are you here?” prosecutor Kristen Feden asked.

“For justice,” Constand said.

Trump pardons Scooter Libby, says he was ‘treated unfairly’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump issued a pardon Friday to I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, suggesting the former top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney had been “treated unfairly” by a special counsel. The pardon comes at a moment when the president faces an escalating special counsel investigation of his own.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the pardon was not intended to send a message to the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, saying, “One thing has nothing to do with the other.” But critics noted the timing, coming as Trump fumes over Robert Mueller’s probe, which he has dubbed a “witch hunt.”

Trump said in a statement that he didn’t know Libby, “but for years I have heard that he has been treated unfairly.”

Libby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, was convicted in 2007 of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice following the 2003 leak of the covert identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, though no one was ever charged for the leak. President George W. Bush later commuted Libby’s 30-month prison sentence but didn’t issue a pardon despite intense pressure from Cheney.

In a statement, Libby thanked Trump, saying his family has “suffered under the weight of a terrible injustice.” He said Trump “recognized this wrong and would not let it persist. For this honorable act, we shall forever be grateful.”

Panama president: Trump company letter on hotel a mistake

LIMA, Peru — Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela says Trump Organization lawyers erred by sending a letter to his office directly appealing for help in a fight over the control of a luxury hotel in what experts say was a flagrant mixing of the U.S. president’s business and government interests.

In Peru for the Summit of the Americas on Friday, Varela told The Associated Press that he does not believe Donald Trump was directly behind the letter nor did he feel any added pressure to get involved in the dispute.

But without specifically mentioning Trump, Varela noted that he believed it was important for leaders to build a wall between their own private interests and those of the public when they enter office.

“That’s a wall that must be built,” he said. “You have to leave your private interests aside and focus on the interests of your people.”

The letter from a Panamanian law firm for Trump’s company arrived at Varela’s office after months of bitter dispute over a Panama hotel property and provided concrete proof of the sort of conflict experts feared when Trump refused to divest from his sprawling empire of hotels and other interests in more than 20 countries.

Trump vows to back law to protect marijuana industry

DENVER — President Donald Trump has promised to support legislation protecting the marijuana industry in states that have legalized the drug, a move that could lift a threat to the industry made by the U.S. attorney general just three months ago.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado said Friday that Trump made the pledge to him in a Wednesday night conversation.

It marked the latest flip by the president who pledged while he was campaigning to respect states that legalized marijuana but also criticized legalization and implied it should be stopped.

Gardner has been pushing to reverse a decision made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in January that removed prohibitions that kept federal prosecutors from pursuing cases against people who were following pot laws in states such as Colorado that have legalized the drug.

Marijuana has been fully legalized in eight states, and 24 states allow some form of marijuana use.

Video: Will Ferrell treated after rollover freeway crash

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. — Video shows actor Will Ferrell was treated by paramedics after sustaining minor injuries from a rollover crash on a Los Angeles-area freeway.

The video by OnScene.TV showed the 50-year-old Ferrell sitting on the side of the highway talking to a firefighter shortly after the Thursday night crash. Another video by LA-OC.tv showed Ferrell talking on a cellphone as he sits on a stretcher and firefighters load him into an ambulance.

Ferrell is believed to have been in a limousine SUV with three other people when a 2007 Toyota veered into their lane on Interstate 5, according to a California Highway Patrol report.

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The Toyota hit the rear right side of the SUV, causing it lose control, hit the center divider and overturn.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said the three men in the SUV had minor injuries, while a 27-year-old woman had critical injuries. The driver of the Toyota was not hurt.