National

Texas man who invoked ‘affluenza’

defense released from jail

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ethan Couch, who as a 16-year-old driver drunkenly struck and killed four pedestrians but dodged prison after suggesting at trial that his irresponsibility was a result of his entitled upbringing, walked free Monday after serving almost two years in a Texas jail on a probation violation.

Couch, 20, was released from the Tarrant County jail near Dallas on Monday morning, according to Tarrant County sheriff’s spokesman David McClelland, who provided no other details. It was not immediately clear where Couch went after leaving jail.

The group Mothers Against Drunk Driving issued a statement calling Couch’s short stint in jail “a grave injustice to the victims and their families who have been dealt life sentences because of one person’s devastating decision to drink and drive.”

Couch was found to have a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit for adult drivers after the crash in June 2013. He subsequently was charged with manslaughter.

A psychologist at trial blamed the teen’s irresponsibility on his family’s wealth, dubbing it “affluenza.” A juvenile court sentenced him to 10 years of probation. That probation was revoked in 2016 after he attended a party where alcohol was served then fled to Mexico with his mother to avoid punishment.

US Rep. Esty won’t seek re-election amid harassment queries

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced on Monday she will not seek re-election this year amid calls for her resignation over her handling of the firing of a former chief of staff accused of harassment, threats and violence against female staffers in her congressional office.

Esty, a Democrat from Connecticut and an outspoken #MeToo advocate, made the announcement not to seek a fourth term in the November election days after apologizing for not protecting her employees from the male ex-chief of staff.

Since her Friday apology, which came after two news organizations published articles about her handling of the matter, a growing number of fellow Democrats, including the top two in the Connecticut Senate, had urged her to resign.

The congresswoman, who insisted last week she would not resign, said Monday she determined “it is in the best interest of my constituents and my family to end my time in Congress at the end of this year and not seek re-election.” She added how “too many women” have been harmed by workplace harassment.

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