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The day in photos

Written By kom Namsat on Kamis, 24 April 2014 | 05.55

The day in photos | New York Post
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Michael Phelps talks with his coaches during practice in Mesa, Ariz. The 22-time Olympic medalist is entered in three events at the Arena Grand Prix starting Thursday.

AP

A child places a flower at one of the 107 wooden crosses in Prague, which honor victims of recent protests in Ukraine.

Reuters

A boeoegg, a snowman made of wadding and filled with firecrackers, stands atop a stack of wood at Sechselaeuten square in Zurich, Switzerland. On April 28 the Boeoeeg, the symbol of winter, will be set alight in a bonfire during Zurich's traditional Sechselaeuten celebrations.

Reuters

A group of tourists sit during a bullfight master class for schoolchildren at the Maestranza bullring in the Andalusian capital of Seville, Spain.

Reuters

An adoptable cat from North Shore Animal League America observes the action from up high at a Cat Café in New York.

AP

A pack of riders climbs the "Wall of Huy" during the Fleche Wallonne Classic cycling race in Huy, Belgium.

Reuters

A golden pheasant walks amongst bluebells at Kew Gardens in west London.

Reuters

Actors perform a scene from an adaptation of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" for the gathered press at Shakespeare's Globe in London. This year marks the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, and the launch of the Globe's international tour of "Hamlet" that hopes to visit every single country on earth.

Getty Images

Members of a Polish paratrooper unit watch as an US Air Force plane ferrying men and equipment of the US Army 173rd Airborne Brigade lands at a Polish air force base in Swidwin, Poland. Approximately 150 US troops, as well as another 450 destined for the three Baltic states in coming days, will participate in bilateral military exercises over the coming weeks in a sign of commitment among NATO members.

Getty Images

Children of immigrants march near the White House while calling for immigration reform in Washington, DC. About 100 people joined the protest to voice their concerns over the government's deportation policies.

Getty Images

Friends and neighbors of the late Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira pray before playing soccer in a plaza near the spot where Silva Pereira's body was found in the Pavao Pavaozinho slum of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. On Tuesday night, angry residents who blame police for his death set fires and showered homemade explosives and glass bottles onto a busy avenue in the city's main tourist zone following the killing of the popular local figure.

AP

Kathryn Grant, with the Campaign to Keep Guns Off Campus, speaks during a rally at an Atlanta church protesting a gun bill Georgia's governor is signing today expanding where people can bring their guns. The bill allows those with a license to carry to bring a gun into a bar without restriction and into some government buildings that don't have certain security measures. It also allows religious leaders to decide whether it's OK for a person with a carry license to bring a gun into their place of worship. And school districts would now be able, if they want, to allow some employees to carry a firearm under certain conditions.

AP

A woman weeps as she carries a flower wreath while attending the funeral of Win Tin, a senior leader of the National League for Democracy, in Yangon, Myanmar. Win Tin, a prominent journalist and a giant of Myanmar's democracy movement who became Myanmar's longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule by co-founding the NLD died on April 21.

AP

Pope Francis waves to faithful as he is driven through the crowd for his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican.

AP

Armenians take part in a torch-lit march to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the genocide in Yerevan, Armenia. The genocide killed an estimated 1.5 million Armenians.

AP

Michael Dunn and his new attorney Waffa Hanania, right, walk away from the bench after a pretrial hearing at the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville, Fla. Judge Russell Healey agreed to a request from Dunn's new attorney to push back the May 5 trial date. Dunn is charged with murdering 17-year-old Jordan Davis in 2012 during an argument over loud music outside a Jacksonville convenience store.

AP

A student carries a flower in her mouth during a protest against a tuition increase outside the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan. The 24-hour protest was called even though officials at the university have extended a one-year moratorium on the four percent increase.

AP

People hold a Ukrainian flag atop a World War I-era MK V tank in Kharkiv, Ukraine. Ukraine's highly publicized goal to recapture police stations and government buildings seized by pro-Russia forces in the east produced little action on the ground Wednesday but ignited foreboding words from Moscow.

AP

A demonstrator looks on with a sign reading "I am against the military courts for civilians" taped over his mouth during a demonstration calling for the release of activists in detention in front of El-Thadiya Egyptian Presidential in Cairo.

Reuters

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe depart Sukiyabashi Jiro sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

AP

Police train their fire hose at protesters as the latter try to force their way closer to the US Embassy for a rally against next week's visit of President Obama, in Manila, Philippines.

AP

Masked Sunni gunmen pray during a patrol outside Fallujah, Iraq. Government forces are fighting rebellious Sunni tribes and an al Qaeda splinter group, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, in western Anbar province.

Reuters

A worker clears away graffiti of the Star of David on the Pope John Paul II memorial boulder in Krakow, Poland. Vandals daubed paint across the stone memorial commemorating the late Pope John Paul II in his home region of southern Poland on Wednesday, days before he is to be made a saint.

Reuters

A snapping turtle on display at the Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester, Va. awaits boxing for a move to its new home during "Moving Day." The museum will open in its new, larger location in Winchester, Va. on Saturday, May 10, 2014.

AP

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Supreme Court voids $3.4M payment for child porn victim

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea to make it easier for victims of child pornography to collect money from people who view their images online, throwing out a nearly $3.4 million judgment in favor of a woman whose childhood rape has been widely seen on the Internet. Two dissenting justices said Congress should change the law to benefit victims.

The justices said in a 5-4 ruling that a 1994 federal law gives victims the right to seek restitution from offenders, but only to the extent that the victim's losses are tied to the offenders' actions. In this case, Doyle Randall Paroline was held liable by a federal appeals court for the entire amount of the woman's losses, though his computer contained just two images of her, among more than 150 illicit photographs.

The case involved a woman known in court papers by the pseudonym "Amy." Her losses for psychological care, lost income and attorneys' fees have been pegged at nearly $3.4 million, based on the ongoing Internet trade and viewing of images of her being raped by her uncle when she was 8 and 9 years old.

She said she was "surprised and confused" by the decision, according to a statement her lawyer posted online.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said for the court that the appellate judges went too far when they said that Paroline was responsible for all of the woman's losses, without determining how much harm he caused her. Kennedy said federal judges have to figure out the right amount, but he provided only "rough guideposts for determining an amount that fits the offense."

A federal judge now will work out what Paroline should pay the woman.

The ruling steered a middle ground between the woman's call for full restitution and Paroline's claim that there was no relationship between his conduct and the woman's losses, so that there should be no award of restitution. The case turned on the interpretation of the federal law granting restitution to victims of sex crimes, including child pornography.

Justices Samuel Alito, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan joined Kennedy's opinion.

Chief Justice John Roberts, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, said the restitution law as written should mean that Amy gets nothing. In a separate dissent, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said she would have upheld the full award.

Both Roberts and Sotomayor said Congress can rewrite the law to make it clearer. The U.S. Sentencing Commission has recommended that lawmakers eliminate confusion among federal judges about the right way to calculate restitution. "The statute as written allows no recovery; we ought to say so, and give Congress a chance to fix it," Roberts said.

Advocates for child pornography victims argued that holding defendants liable for the entire amount of losses better reflects the ongoing harm that victims suffer each time someone views the images online. The threat of a large financial judgment, coupled with a prison term, also might deter some people from looking at the images in the first place, the advocates said.

"It's significant that the Supreme Court said that based on this harm, you have a right to restitution," said Mai Fernandez, executive director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. "But there's no guarantee that she'll be able to collect the full amount that's owed to her." Fernandez also said Congress should write a clear formula into the law to make it easier to force offenders to pay.

Had the woman prevailed at the Supreme Court, courts would not have had to determine exactly how much harm any one defendant caused her. Instead, all defendants would have been liable for the entire outstanding amount, raising the possibility that a few well-heeled people among those convicted might contribute most, if not all, of the remaining restitution.

Kennedy said such an approach would undermine a purpose of restitution, which is to make defendants aware that their crimes have victims, because many offenders would have to pay nothing.

Still, he said, "the victim should someday collect restitution for all her child pornography losses, but it makes sense to spread payment among a larger number of offenders in amounts more closely in proportion to their respective causal roles and their own circumstances."

Paul Cassell, who argued the woman's case at the Supreme Court, posted her statement on the Volokh Conspiracy website. "I really don't understand where this leaves me and other victims who now have to live with trying to get restitution probably for the rest of our lives. The Supreme Court said we should keep going back to the district courts over and over again but that's what I have been doing for almost six years now," she said.

She has so far received more than $1.75 million from people convicted of possessing pornographic images of her, Cassell told the court. Of that total, $1.2 million came from one man, Arthur Staples, a Virginia sheriff's deputy who had more than $2 million in retirement savings.


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DOT chief pushes Congress to raise federal gas tax

The city's DOT chief on Wednesday said Congress should look at raising the federal 18.4 cents-a-gallon gasoline tax and use the extra cash to fund mass transit and highway infrastructure improvements.

"The federal gas tax has not been raised in 20 years. It's 18.4 cents a gallon. If you look at what they charge in Europe you realize it's pretty low," said Commissioner Polly Trottenberg during a conference on a new report that said much of the city's infrastructure is more than 50 years old and is in need of repair.

"It takes in $40 billion a year give or take but Congress has authorized DOT to spend $50-plus billion a year on highways and transit so there's a huge gap there. And this summer we are going to start to hit the wall on that gap," she said, referring to a fight in Congress that threatens to derail a deal on the Highway Trust Fund.

"So this is a real crisis that is looming. I know there is a lot of talk in Washington right now about whether they put together a longer-term bill and what might be some potential revenue sources, but it's certainly not resolved and you know we are pretty close to August," she said about the date the current funding bill expires.

DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg is championing an increase of the federal gas tax, which hasn't been raised since 1993, to fund road and transit projects.Photo: Getty Images

Gas tax revenues have fallen largely because of conservation efforts, including people driving more fuel-efficient cars.The fund relies on the 18.4 cents-gasoline tax to pay for road and transit projects, and hasn't been raised since 1993.

The conference was sponsored by the Association for a Better New York to discuss the infrastructure report, prepared by the Center for an Urban Future.

Another participant, Denise Richardson of the General Contractors Association of New York, also supported the higher tax, saying the Metropolitan Transportation Authority needs more federal funding, not less.

"Raising the gas tax by even a nickel or a dime will help fund the highway trust fund," Richardson said.

"If you raise it 25 cents we'll have new money to build new projects and yet we can't get Congress to rule on the issue. But when we poll people and poll the public they say 'Yes it's time, it's time we look at finding new sources of revenue,'" she said.


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Suspect in 2006 fatal fire has bail reduced to $1

A man charged with quadruple homicide for allegedly setting a Brooklyn fire in 2006 that killed two women and two children had his bail reduced to just $1 on Wednesday as the case against him weakened and his defense lawyer accused prosecutors of withholding evidence.

Samuel Martinez, 40, was charged in 2012 in the blaze and had been remanded without bail. But "there was no physical evidence," Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Guy Mangano said in court Wednesday.

"The case has gotten substantially weaker."

Martinez was indicted on the word of two witnesses: One who told cops he heard Martinez confess to the arson and another who said Martinez told him about other crimes.

While one of the witnesses has stopped cooperating with prosecutors, the other has a history of "paranoid delusions" that the Martinez defense team was never told about, defense lawyer Amy Rameau said in court.

The witness wrote a letter from prison in the 1990s to a judge who had overseen his case, describing a criminal relationship between him and the judge that didn't exist, Rameau said.

"He chastised the judge for stealing the proceeds of crimes he [said he] and the judge committed around the city," Rameau said, adding that the addled witness wrote, "That wasn't very nice considering everything I did for you, including teaching you to play basketball."

Rameau bashed prosecutors for not alerting her to the witness' shaky mental status.

"This evidence should have been turned over a very long time ago by the previous administration," she said in court. "I find it hard to believe that the [then-DA Charles] Hynes administration didn't know about this."

Martinez's family rejoiced at the news that his bail had been reduced – though he still faces an unrelated assault case in The Bronx.

"My son is innocent of this crime," said Martinez mom Lillian Ubarry-Nunez, 59.

"I feel very badly for the family and I hope they get justice but my son needs justice too and he got that today."


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N-word on stage on Broadway

The Great White Way — already under attack for its lack of diversity — is now featuring the N-word on several stages.

Audra McDonald utters the word as Billie Holiday in "Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill." Chuck Cooper says it in "Act One" in a scene in which young Moss Hart has a part in Eugene O'Neill's "The Emperor Jones." And everyone in "Of Mice and Men" uses it to describe a black co-worker.

While much has been made of the lack of black actors in a Cotton Club scene in "Bullets Over Broadway," the N-word isn't causing controversy because all three plays deal with the era before the Civil Rights movement and before the term was widely perceived as a hateful slur.

"In every case, it was appropriate," said my theater-going source who saw all three plays. "It was the word that was used at the time."


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Teen boy shot in eye released from hospital

Written By kom Namsat on Rabu, 23 April 2014 | 05.55

The 13-year-old boy who was shot through the eye when a gunman opened fire in Brooklyn has been released from the hospital Tuesday, and says he's grateful to be alive.

"I would like to say thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the prayers," Gama Droiville said on his way out of Kings County Hospital.

"A special thank you to the NYPD for catching this guy, and I hope to feel much better."

Droiville was waiting at a Flatbush Avenue while shopping with his aunt April 14 when shooter Kareem Potomont, 21, pulled out a gun and tried to blast a gang rival.

Potomont hit his intended target in the leg, but two stray bullets hit the innocent teen in the head, one of which tore through his right eye.

Gama Droiville was released April 22, 2014 from Kings County Hospital after two stray bullets hit the Brooklyn teen in the head.Photo: Gregory P. Mango

Miraculously, the church choir boy survived the ordeal, and even had the wherewithal to forgive the gunman from his hospital bed.

Potomont was arrested last Thursday when cops found him hiding in a Jamaica, Queens basement.

"The tragedy is still there, but Gama is alive," said the boy's uncle, Jimmy Marcel. "We just want to say thank you first to our god. If it weren't for him it would have been worse."

Doctors stopped short of saying that Gama will ever regain sight in his right eye, saying it's too early to tell.

"Gama is an inspiration for the staff here at Kings County," said Dr. Douglas Lazzaro. "We were lucky to be able to serve this young man who, in the face of unbelievably senseless violence, sustained a very serious injury."


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NYC makes bid to host 2016 Democratic National Convention

WASHINGTON – Mayor de Blasio wants to bring a "world class" 2016 Democratic Convention to his home borough of Brooklyn.

The Democratic National Committee has named New York as one of 15 cities that could host the party's convention in 2016, the DNC confirmed – a first step in survivor-style competition cities must go through to win the prize of hosting the super bowl of political events.

The bid raises the real prospect that Hillary Clinton could end up making political history by accepting her party's nomination in her adopted hometown – and all just blocks away from de Blasio's Park Slope neighborhood.

In its appeal to the DNC, signed by deputy mayor for housing and economic development Alicia Glen and obtained by the Post, the city touts the new Barclay's Center "in the heart of Brooklyn" as "a multi-purpose venue that can accommodate audiences of up to 18,000.

"More than any other American city, New York City is uniquely suited to plan, organize, and execute a successful Convention," she adds, noting that the city's five buroughs "would provide the perfect stage on which to present the Democratic Party's ideals and vision."

The letter also mentions Madison Square Garden's "long tradition" of hosting "remarkable" events, including the 1992 Democratic Convention where Bill Clinton won his party's nomination and the 2004 convention where George W. Bush won the Republican nomination. It also touts the Javits Center's 760,000 square feet of exhibition space.

It calls all three "state-of-the-art venues."

The convention would bring millions to hotels, restaurants, and bars in the surrounding areas – though there have been disputes about how much a windfall the mega-events really bring.

The Clinton family at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, where then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton was nominated for president, that was also hosted in New York City.Photo: The Clinton Presidential Library

No major party has held its nominating convention in Brooklyn. The last time any party held a political convention there was 1968, when Henning Blomen of the Socialist Labor Party declared: "Our work, coupled with the goading, exploitative, world-endangering efforts of capitalism, will arouse the workers to rebel against capitalism."

The city even tries to dazzle the DNC by mentioning that the Hammerstein Ballroom could serve as the possible site of the DNC's media operations office.

"New York City is enthusiastically assembling a proposal to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention," said de Blasio spokesman Phil Walzak.

From the looks of the second-rate cities that make up the competition, New York has a shot.

Cities have until June to respond with their formal proposal. Other contenders include rust belt enclaves of Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, plus Atlanta, Vegas, Miami, Nashville, Orlando, Philly, Phoenix, and Salt Lake, the DNC confirmed.

A massive party in the heart of the nation's economic and cultural center might seem like a poor way for a major party to try to win over vote-rich Middle America, although both the 2004 and 1992 conventions were successful.

(L-R) Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, First lady Michelle Obama, and Second lady Dr. Jill Biden listen to President Obama speech to accept the nomination during the final day of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.Photo: Getty Images

New York also has a big leg up on the competition when it comes to having major venues, hotels, public transit, and places for delegates to party — frequently on the dime of corporate donors or campaign accounts.

Chicago, where Clinton came of age (she grew up in the suburb of Park Ridge) is also on the list, but as outgoing President Obama's adopted hometown, it might not scream "forward" (Obama's 2012 slogan).

The winning city must have "strong relationships" with organized labor, according to a letter to mayors from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida. She also lists touchy-feely criteria that seem to mesh with De Blasio's platform: the winning city must share "our values of equality, inclusion, diversity, respect and dignity," she wrote.

Traditionally, the selected city also must project the right message and somehow capture the national mood in a way that works with whoever gets nominated – a lesson not lost on former Clinton hands within the party hierarchy. "The convention city will be chosen based on the information in the bids that are submitted. Potential candidates simply aren't a factor," said DNC spokeswoman Lily Adams.

Clinton won't have to make any phone calls to be a part the process. Her former press secretary, Mo Elleithee, heads communications for the DNC.


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NYPD’s Twitter outreach completely backfired

The NYPD asked its followers today to share photos of themselves with city cops using the hashtag #myNYPD — but the plan completely backfired when people posted a slew of pix showing police brutality and other unflattering moments.

"Do you have a photo w/ a member of the NYPD? Tweet us & tag it #myNYPD," tweeted @NYPDnews about 2 p.m. "It may be featured on our Facebook."

The hashtag went viral when Occupy Wall Street tweeted the same message to its followers with pictures of cops battling protesters – and a flood of negative cop photos started rolling in.

"Here the #NYPD engages with its community members, changing hearts and minds one baton at a time. #myNYPD," wrote @OccupyWallStNYC.

The photos included an elderly man bloodied by cops after jaywalking, as well as a picture of cops striking a homeless man in a synagogue.

"Beating an 84 year old man for jaywalking. #MyNYPD // keep it classy!" tweeted @occupywallstnyc.

Followers were quick to join in.

@Dellcam wrote, "7-year-old child arrested, handcuffed and taunted by police for hours at NYPD station. youtu.be/Z-vVmlJxbJE #myNYPD"

Other pictures showed a woman having her hair yanked by cop. "The #NYPD will also help you de-tangle you hair. #myNYPD," wrote @MoreandAgain.

Safe street advocate @KeeganNYC, who has called for the NYPD to release bikes being held indefinitely at a Brooklyn warehouse damaged by Sandy,
also joined in.

"#myNYPD has locked up thousands of #bikenyc and thrown away the key," he wrote, tweeting a picture of thousands of bikes shuttered at the Greenpoint facility.

By late afternoon, #myNYPD was the most popular hashtag in New York— and second nationally. It also rose to the fourth most popular hashtag on Twitter globally.

A few Twitter users around the country also began hash-tagging their own police departments.

"Oakland's BART police shoots Oscar Grant while he's handcuffed, on stomach, and unarmed," wrote @Falawoods. "#myOPD. pic.twitter.com/vzLsDLdA92"


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Missing Malaysia jet may have landed, not crashed: Sources

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane may return to the possibility that the jet landed somewhere, according to latest media reports.

The New Strait Times quoted sources close to the investigation saying that the failure to turn up any debris at the current southern Indian Ocean search site was causing a rethink among investigators.

The sources said that they were considering revisiting the scenario that the plane had landed at an unknown location.

"The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370. However, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd," the sources said.

The sources told the paper that another possibility was that the plane had crash landed in a remote spot.

MH370 went missing March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing along with its crew and 227 passengers, most of them Chinese.

The hunt for the jet has focused on a search area about 1500km north west of Perth after pings believed to be from the plane's black boxes were detected there.

The air search has been suspended due to bad weather as a result of Tropical Cyclone Jack.

Relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane in a prayer room in Beijing.Photo: AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

"It has been determined that the current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility, and would make any air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous," the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.

Up to 10 military aircraft were part of the visual search. The 10 ships involved in the search will be able to continue their planned activities.

The unmanned submersible Bluefin-21 is still scouring the ocean depths on its ninth mission trying to locate wreckage from MH370.

So far it has searched about two thirds of the underwater area, with no contacts of interest found to date.

Meantime, family members of passengers lost on the missing flight have criticised the Malaysian government for an investigation they say has been mismanaged.

Appearing on US morning television, Sarah Bajc, the girlfriend of MH370 American passenger Philip Wood, told Today host Matt Lauer passengers' loved ones all just "wanted to go back to square one."

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

"We just don't believe they're using proper evaluative techniques to check the data," she said. "It's day 45 and we're basically on the same position we were on the first day."

This article originally appeared on news.com.au.


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Anderson Cooper ‘stalker’ chickens out of plea

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper's alleged stalker chickened out of pleading guilty to menacing charges Tuesday, whimpering that he never intended to harm the handsome journalist.

Self-proclaimed "gay, Jewish white supremacist" Alex Hausner, 38, of Queens could have been released from jail the same day if he copped to a charge of felony menacing, which carries a maximum sentence of four years, and an aggravated-harassment rap.

Hausner is accused of terrorizing Cooper and his boyfriend for nearly six years.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Solomon told Haunser, "You repeatedly followed Anderson Cooper and engaged in a course of conduct … intentionally placing or attempting to place Anderson Cooper in a reasonable fear of physical injury.

The sobbing, scraggly-haired suspect replied, "I did those things [follow Cooper], but that was not my intention" to menace him.

The skeptical judge shot back, "You showed up at night banging on his door. What do you think he's gonna think?"

An exasperated Solomon finally said, "I don't want to take a plea under these circumstances. I'm going to have to have [Hausner] admit — if he wants to — that he committed these acts."

The judge ordered Hausner to return to court Friday after talking things over with his lawyer to either take the plea deal or head to trial, which he was found mentally fit for last week.

Hausner has been locked up since July 27 of last year, when he showed up at Cooper's home in a rage and repeatedly kicked in his front door.

"I swear to f–king God, don't insult me!" he shouted. "I'm going to f-k you up!"

The man believes his imaginary friendship with Cooper includes "romantic undertones."


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