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Court briefs

March 18. 2013 10:56PM
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WILKES-BARRE — A Hazleton man pleaded guilty Friday in Luzerne County Court on charges he robbed a hair salon.

Shawn W. Shafer, 29, of Alter Street, pleaded guilty to robbery, escape, resisting arrest and possessing instruments of crime.

Prosecutors withdrew two counts of robbery and a single theft charge against Shafer.

Judge David W. Lupas said Shafer will be sentenced May 6.

Hazleton police alleged Shafer robbed a clerk inside Shirley’s Hair Salon on Aug. 1. Shafer hid the money in a bathroom in his apartment, where it was recovered, according to the criminal complaint.

Shafer was handcuffed and tried to run away until he tripped and fell on his face, suffering a broken cheek bone and other facial injuries, the complaint says.

WILKES-BARRE – Attorneys for The Times Leader are asking a federal judge to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed against numerous parties based on an October 2011 article that appeared in the newspaper.

Attorney Joseph Reisinger sued employees and officials at The Times Leader, Luzerne County and Wilkes-Barre city, claiming he was defamed in an article about properties he owns in the city. The article outlined other lawsuits Reisinger had filed against the city and the county and the cost associated to defend the suits.

Attorneys Christopher Guth and Daniel Rhynhart, of Philadelphia, who are defending the newspaper, said in court papers filed Monday that the suit should be dismissed on a number of grounds, including that the article written by Terrie Morgan-Besecker is a “fair and accurate reporting,” that the newspaper is protected by the Fair Report Privilege and that the article addresses publicly filed lawsuits and not private facts as Reisinger alleges in the suit.

“Reisinger’s arguments are tortured and confusing, and boil down to bare allegations … unsupported by any factual allegations,” the attorneys wrote.

In February, attorneys for the city of Wilkes-Barre and Mayor Tom Leighton also filed court papers asking a judge to dismiss the suit, claiming the suit is heavy on speculation and light on substance.

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