PETA, Romero court updates

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1995:

The Nevada Supreme Court has
withdrawn their January 27, 1994 reversal
of the $4.2 million libel verdict won by
orangutan trainer Bobby Berosini in August
1990 against PETA, PETA director of inves-
tigations Jeanne Rouch, the Performing
Animal Welfare Society, PAWS executive
director Pat Derby, and dancer Ottavio
Gesmundo. An FBI probe of alleged conflicts
of interest in other Nevada cases found that
8th Judicial District Judge Jack Lehman is an
advisor to the Animal Foundation of Nevada,
a Las Vegas low-cost neutering organization.
Lehman was appointed by Governor Bob
Miller to serve on the three-judge panel that
heard the PETA appeal of the Berosini ver-
dict, after Chief Justice Robert Rose with-
drew and two other justices were occupied

elsewhere. “Preliminarily,” the new ruling
states, “we want to make it clear we do not
believe that Judge Lehman was subjectively
biased. Rather, we believe, as Judge Lehman
has stated in his affidavit, that it never
occurred to him that his membership on
AFN’s advisory board might present the
appearance of partiality.” However, because
“a trustee of the foundation was active in the
animal rights movement and an occasional
spokeswoman for the foundation was an
active PETA member and a defendant in this
action,” the court ruled that, “we must grant
the motion to disqualify Judge Lehman to
avoid even the appearance of impropriety.”
The case will now be reheard.
Richard Kuh, appointed by the
New York Surrogate Court to probe the
October 28, 1993 death of billionaire
heiress Doris Duke, then 80, reported on
April 25 that while Duke was terminally ill,
her death was deliberately expedited by mor-
phine injections given by her personal physi-
cian, Dr. Charles Kivowitz. In the month
prior to Duke’s death, her butler, executor,
and largest individual heir Bernard Lafferty
dispersed many large cash gifts purportedly on
her behalf, including $1 million to PETA.
“No documentation establishes that these vari-
ous gifts––noncharitable and charitable––were
in fact approved by Duke,” Kuh wrote. “She
may well have been incapable of understand-
ingly approving.”
Venezuelan biologist Aldemaro
R o m e r o, charged with treason for distribut-
ing videotape of a fishing crew killing a dol-
phin in February 1993 (cover, May 1995), in
late April was told by the Venezuelan govern-
ment that he cannot assign powers of attorney
because he is a fugitive. Romero is an adjunct
associate professor at the University of
Miami, while his colleague Ignacio Agudo
remains in hiding in Venezuela. “This action
violates the Venezuelan constitution and inter-
national agreements, according to which any
accused person has the right to an attorney,”
Romero said, noting that Venezuela is mean-
while helping the legal defence of Carlos “The
Jackal” Ramirez, who faces trial in France for
terrorist acts that killed at least 80 people.
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