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Nov. 4, 2008 at 6:00 AM
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Stevens juror faked dad's death

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A lawyer for juror No. 4 in the trial of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, said his client made up a story about her father dying to get out of deliberations.

At a hearing convened Monday in Washington to allow Marian Hinnant to explain why she did not respond to the court's attempts to contact her Oct. 24-29, public defender A.J. Kramer told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan his client lied when she initially told the judge she had to leave the District of Columbia to attend her father's funeral, The Hill reported Monday.

"She was in a state of mind where she had to go to California," Kramer said. "The story about her father popped into her mind."

Kramer said what really happened was Hinnant felt the need to attend the Breeders Cup horse race.

During the hearing, Hinnant offered a disjointed monologue regarding seemingly irrelevant topics, including her tenure working in the horse industry and the sale of a horse farm, The Hill said.

Sullivan dismissed Hinnant, saying the court was "thoroughly convinced" she was not in a condition to participate in the jury deliberations.

Hinnant told reporters outside the courthouse she would have voted with her fellow jurors to convict Stevens on all seven counts of concealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and home renovation, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily news reported.

Obama staff seek luck at campaign's end

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Some on Barack Obama's staff, chief strategist David Axelrod included, say they were turning to lucky charms in the U.S. presidential campaign's final days.

Axelrod said he has been carrying around a pink quartz heart given to him by a woman he did not know at a campaign event.

"She seemed to have an aura about her," Axelrod said of the woman he encountered about three weeks ago. "We have been doing pretty well since then."

Aaron Pickrell, who heads Obama's effort in Ohio, said he has not shaved his beard or visited the office without his Columbus Clippers baseball cap in more than a month, Politico reported Monday.

"We went ahead in the polls, two polls in a row," Pickrell said. "I had been lazy for a week and hadn't shaved and had been wearing my hat to work and after the second poll came out that had us up, I decided, well, something is going right here, I'm not going to mess with it and here I am."

Pizza chain pulls Edmund Hillary ad

WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A New Zealand pizza chain has apologized and removed an ad that depicted the late Sir Edmund Hillary as a dancing skeleton.

Hell Pizza pulled the advertisement from its Web site Monday after family members of the first man to scale Mt. Everest objected to the animated ad's use of Hillary's skeletal likeness dancing to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" alongside actor Heath Ledger and the Queen Mother, The Wellington Dominion Post reported Monday.

Rachael Allison, head of marketing for Hell Pizza, said the advertisement was designed for distribution to a "select" group of 7,000 people and was not intended for widespread distribution.

"It was Hell's way of having a bit of fun over Halloween. It was never our intention to cause offense (and) we apologize to the Hillary family."

Peter Hillary, son of the mountain climber who died in January at the age of 88, earlier described the ad as "a little grotesque," The Daily Telegraph (Britain) reported.

"I don't think it's funny and I'm not very impressed," he said. "It is early days and it's still pretty raw. It's extremely poor taste really."

"The reality is they've put it on the Internet. It is now uncontrollable. The damage is done," Peter Hillary said

Police: Man gave wine to trick-or-treaters

GOTENE, Sweden, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- Police in Gotene, Sweden, said they arrested a man who allegedly tried to give alcohol to two trick-or-treaters then poured wine over them.

Investigators said the man, who was described as in his 40s, invited the two 11- and 12-year-old children into his home while they were trick-or-treating on Halloween and offered them what he claimed was non-alcoholic wine, The Local reported Monday.

However, the children spat out the drinks, which police said were a mixture of wine and liquor, and the man then allegedly poured wine all over the children and their bags of treats.

Police said the man was charged with harassment.

"He has confessed and blamed it on the fact that he was drunk," police spokesman Jerry Nyberg told Swedish news agency TT.

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