Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EST
VOTER ID LAWSUIT
Republican lawmakers ask voter ID lawsuit be dismissed
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Republican legislators want a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s new voter identification rules thrown out, saying accusations that they violate several portions of the state constitution aren’t true.
The offices of House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger confirmed their dismissal motion was filed in Wake County court late Tuesday.
Several voters sued last month within minutes of a photo voter ID requirement becoming law once the General Assembly overrode Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto. The law implemented a constitutional amendment approved in a November referendum mandating photo ID to vote in person.
In 2016, federal judges struck down a 2013 law containing a photo ID requirement. The new lawsuit says the new law is discriminatory. GOP lawmakers disagree and contend the new law meets constitutional muster.
ELECTION 2018-NORTH CAROLINA-THE LATEST
The Latest: Judge rejects deciding disputed N Carolina race
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina judge is considering whether he must order the victory of the Republican in the country’s last undecided congressional race despite an investigation into whether his lead was boosted by illegal vote-collection tactics.
Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway said Tuesday that he’s unclear why Republican Mark Harris’ lawyers insist he decide the winner when he doesn’t know what investigators found.
Harris narrowly leads Democrat Dan McCready in the 9th District race. There are allegations that mail-in ballots could have been altered or discarded by a Harris subcontractor.
The state elections board was disbanded by an unrelated court order last month, and a new one takes over in nine days.
Harris’s attorneys say the judge should step in because the district’s residents urgently need a representative in Washington, D.C.
ELECTION 2020-US SENATE
County commissioner Fuller running for Sen. Tillis’ seat
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – A Democratic elected leader in North Carolina’s largest county is running to try to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis in 2020.
Mecklenburg County Commissioner Trevor Fuller announced his candidacy Tuesday in Charlotte, with about two dozen supporters in attendance.
The Charlotte Observer reports Fuller’s platform includes universal early childhood education, immigration reform, a higher minimum wage and improvements to the 2010 health care overhaul law.
The Charlotte attorney on Tuesday accused Tillis of refusing to stand up for North Carolina residents while standing up for President Donald Trump’s actions. Tillis campaign spokesman Paul Shumaker says Fuller is attacking Tillis to try to keep other “liberal Democrats” from running.
The 52-year-old Fuller is in his fourth term on the commission. Candidate filing begins next December before the March 2020 primaries.
RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
US prosecutors: Bribes used to hide Russian kickback scheme
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Prosecutors say a businessman accused of a $150 million kickback scheme involving Russian military contracts bribed authorities there to drop an investigation into the fraud.
The arguments helped convince a North Carolina federal judge on Tuesday to order that Leonid Teyf remain incarcerated pending trial on charges he laundered millions of dollars through U.S. banks and plotted to kill a man suspected of having an affair with his wife. Teyf’s lawyers deny the charges and say he should be released because of health issues.
Prosecutors’ arguments filed late last week offer new details on the unusual case.
The new court documents say Russian officials were investigating Teyf over the scheme until he bribed them. Prosecutors say if released, Teyf had multiple homes and job opportunities waiting in Russia.
WINTER WEATHER-NORTH CAROLINA
Winter weather advisory posted for North Carolina Piedmont
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Another round of winter weather is targeting the North Carolina Piedmont.
The National Weather Service in Raleigh posted a Winter Weather Advisory on Tuesday for the northwest piedmont until 10 a.m. Wednesday. Forecasters say there could be a trace to a couple hundredths of an inch of ice is possible, but they add no power outages are expected and travel problems will be limited.
Forecasts indicated the greatest impact will occur from 4 a.m. through 9 a.m. Scattered slick spots are expected on road surfaces such as bridges and overpasses, making for a tricky morning commute. Parking lots and sidewalks could also become slick, leading to slips and falls.
FORMER PROSECUTOR-PEEPING CHARGE
Ex-prosecutor banned from campus convicted of peeping
(Information from: Winston-Salem Journal, http://www.journalnow.com)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – A former North Carolina prosecutor has been convicted of peeping after he violated an agreement which banned him from a college campus.
The Winston-Salem Journal reports 44-year-old Brooke McKinley Webster was convicted of misdemeanor secret peeping and second-degree trespass in connection with an incident at the Wake Forest University library in April 2017. Campus police escorted Webster off campus and warned him he would be arrested if he returned. Police spotted him on campus last September.
Webster violated a deferred-prosecution agreement that would have kept a conviction off his record if he had complied with all the conditions. He told investigators he was using the school as a cut-through, and his attorney said he never got out of the car.
Webster was a prosecutor in Wilkes and Yadkin counties.
OUTER BANKS BRIDGE
Engineers say new Outer Banks bridge to open by March
(Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com)
NAGS HEAD, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina highway engineers are planning to open the new bridge linking the Outer Banks by March.
The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reports the new bridge spans Oregon Inlet, connecting N.C. Highway 12 and Hatteras Island eventually to the mainland.
The new bridge roadway will rise 90.5 feet (27.5 meters) above the water at its highest point. The high-rise portion is 3,500 feet (1,066 meters) long.
In July 2011, the state issued a design-build contract with construction scheduled to begin in early 2013, but lawsuits filed by environmental groups delayed the process until they were settled in 2015. Construction began in March 2016.
The old Bonner Bridge will be demolished, and plans are to beef up the existing reefs off the Outer Banks with 80,000 tons of concrete from that span.
COOPER-EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA
Cooper, Cabinet visit eastern North Carolina for events
NEW BERN, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper and his administration’s top lieutenants are visiting eastern North Carolina to talk about Hurricane Florence recovery, the economy and other topics.
Cooper, members of his Cabinet and staff scheduled a public meeting Tuesday at Tryon Palace Education Center in New Bern to discuss issues of importance to the region. New Bern was among the hardest-hit communities from last September’s flooding and high winds.
The governor also planned to visit a soup kitchen and a damaged home getting repaired through a Florence recovery program.
Cabinet secretaries also were visiting sites in Craven, Lenoir, Jones, Pitt, Pamlico and Greene counties.
Cooper and his Cabinet held a similar road trip last April to Asheville and surrounding mountain communities.