Lawyer is charged over handshake

An American defence lawyer has been charged with assault for allegedly shaking a prosecutor's hand so vigorously that she injured the woman's shoulder.

Kathy Brewer Rentas was in court to represent her husband Anthony, who is on probation for dealing cocaine, when the incident is said to have occurred. After the judge ruled that Mr Rentas be placed under house arrest for 90 days and complete his probation, his wife insisted on shaking the hand of her opponent, assistant US attorney Jennifer Keene.

"She made an upward, then a quick downward motion and pulled Keene toward the ground moving her forward, almost causing Keene to fall to the ground," said a court official in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Mrs Brewer Rentas, 49, spent a night in solitary confinement at a Miami jail and was freed after posting $100,000 (£50,000) in bail. She faces up to a year in jail if convicted.

"Assaulting a federal officer is something we take very seriously," said a spokeswoman for the US Attorney's Office. "As a member of the Bar, she should know better."