Bryant Defense Cites Victims Fund

DENVER -- Kobe Bryant's defense team says the woman accusing him of rape has received more than $17,000 from a victims compensation fund in what it calls a rich incentive to pursue a false claim against the NBA star, according to a court transcript released Thursday.

The 20-year-old woman would be ineligible for at least $17,000 she has already received if she lied about the alleged rape, defense attorney Pamela Mackey argued in a June 21 hearing. She said the woman would have to reimburse the fund if lies were discovered -- even more incentive to go forward with the case.

Mackey said the compensation records should be admitted as evidence because they show the accuser had a financial interest in continuing her participation in the case.

It was unclear whether the compensation information would be allowed as evidence. District Judge Terry Ruckriegle released the partial transcript along with a sealed ruling on use of the material.

Prosecution spokeswoman Krista Flannigan declined to comment on Mackey's arguments, but said the accuser remains determined to proceed with the case.

FDA Approves Drug for Alcohol Abuse

The government approved the first new drug to treat alcohol abuse in a decade, a medicine called Campral that promises to help ward off relapses.

Campral, known chemically as acamprosate, is not for patients who are drinking at the start of treatment or who abuse other substances besides alcohol, the Food and Drug Administration warned.

How Campral works is not fully understood. But it is thought to ease alcohol withdrawal symptoms by normalizing abnormalities in two brain chemical systems.

Campral, made by France's Lipha Pharmaceuticals, has been used in Europe for years. In the United States, there are two other FDA-approved drugs for treating alcohol abuse:

* Antabuse, which reacts with alcohol to make the drinker ill, and naltrexone, which blocks brain chemicals that make alcoholics feel good after a drink.

* COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina's agriculture commissioner pleaded not guilty to charges of taking payoffs to protect a cockfighting ring. Charles R. Sharpe, 65, was indicted on charges including extortion and money laundering. Cockfighting is illegal in South Carolina.

* SACRAMENTO -- The California Legislature gave final approval to a $105 billion state budget after a nearly one-month deadlock during which Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called his opponents "girlie men." The Senate passed the plan on a 28 to 11 vote, a day after the package cleared the Assembly 69 to 11. Schwarzenegger is expected to sign it into law on Saturday.

* HOUSTON -- Andrea Yates, the Houston woman serving a life sentence for drowning her five children in a bathtub three years ago, is back in prison after more than a week in a hospital. Yates, 40, had refused to eat and drink while in prison and spent about nine days at a prison hospital in Galveston where she received intravenous feeding and other hydration, according to doctors who treated her. Her husband has said she had trouble dealing with the three-year anniversary of the killings.

-- From News Services