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Inside Michael Bloomberg’s big play for black voters
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg has been aggressively courting black voters while his rivals have been battling it out in majority-white Iowa and New Hampshire. The billionaire’s effort is backed by millions of dollars in ads. It has taken him across Southern states that vote on Super Tuesday and where African American voters can decide a Democratic primary. The outreach aims squarely at former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s banking on black voters to resuscitate his bid after poor showings in Iowa and New Hampshire. It’s also forcing Bloomberg to respond to criticism of his criminal justice policies when he was mayor of New York.
CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS-NORTH CAROLINA
Judge voids deal giving UNC statue to Confederate group
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A judge has thrown out a settlement by the University of North Carolina’s governing board that gave a Confederate heritage group a toppled rebel statue, along with money to preserve it. Judge Allen Baddour ruled Wednesday that the Sons of Confederate Veterans didn’t have standing to bring the lawsuit that led to the hastily arranged deal that gave them possession of the statue known as Silent Sam, along with $2.5 million to maintain it. He ávacated the deal and dismissed the group’s underlying lawsuit. áCritics had questioned how the deal was quietly struck with the UNC Board of Governors and approved just before Thanksgiving.
ELECTION 2020-NORTH CAROLINA
Bloomberg, surrogates for Sanders, Biden come to N Carolina
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s primary elections are heating up with presidential candidates and their surrogates visiting as early in-person voting begins.áRegistered voters or people who want to register now can cast ballots at locations in all 100 counties starting on Thursday through Feb. 29.áDemocratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg scheduled early-vote campaign events Thursday in Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Raleigh.áThe sister of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders supporter actress Susan Sarandon also planned Thursday events. Sanders has rallies scheduled for Friday in the state. The March 3 primary also features races for governor, the U.S. House and Senate and scores of other contests.
Man sentenced to 12 years in bank robbery case
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Prosecutors say that a man charged with robbing three North Carolina banks by passing notes to the tellers has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.áThe Raleigh-based U.S. Attorney’s Office issued a news release saying 47-year-old Jimmy Earl Godfrey of Raleigh, received the sentence Wednesday in federal court. He had been charged with three counts of bank robbery and entered a guilty plea last year. Authorities say that Godfrey robbed three banks in Raleigh in 2018 of amounts ranging from about $1,950 to over $8,500. They say in each case he handed the teller a note demanding money.
NORTH CAROLINA-AGENTS PROBE
Police: Ex-UNC athlete had $160K worth of marijuana, edibles
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say a former college football player was arrested after receiving a parcel that contained about $160,000 worth of marijuana and THC edibles. Thirty-seven-year-old Christopher Jamel Hawkins was arrested this week and faces several drug charges. The Wake County Sheriff’s Office said investigators this week saw Hawkins pick up the package at a Raleigh home. Hawkins was previously charged in 2015 and again in 2019 for violations of the state’s Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Hawkins is due in Orange County Superior Court in those cases Feb. 24. It’s unclear whether Hawkins had an attorney.
NC Senate leader complaint focuses on house sale, payments
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A retired campaign reform group leader has lodged an ethics complaint alleging a powerful North Carolina state senator improperly benefited financially from the purchase and sale of a townhouse. Senate leader Phil Berger’s campaign called allegations filed Wednesday by Bob Hall before the Legislative Ethics Committee “smears.”áThe campaign said the transactions were pre-approved by state officials. Hall already asked the State Board of Elections to investigate late last year. The focus is upon a Raleigh house that Berger and his wife bought in 2016 and sold in December. The home was sold to a lobbyist who is the son of one of Berger’s former top lieutenants in the Senate.
GAS STATION-MURDER CHARGE
North Carolina man charged in fatal gas station shooting
WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man is charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with a fatal shooting at a gas station. The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office says 18-year-old Jadakiss Jahein Watkins of Riegelwood isen charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of shooting into an occupied vehicle. The sheriff’s office says deputies were called to Sam’e Pit Stop on Feb. 6, and when they arrived, they determined the shooting involved several people and happened in the parking lot. Investigators say 28-year-old Dwon Demontre Maultsby of Chadbourn was taken to Columbus Regional Healthcare Systems and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
15 indicted for racketeering, drugs at Maryland prison
GREENBELT, Md. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a federal grand jury has indicted 15 defendants on federal racketeering and drug conspiracy charges at Jessup Correctional Institution. The U.S. Department of Justice says in a news release that the defendants include former correctional officers, inmates, and outside “facilitators.'” áA portion of the indictment says that from at least 2017 until now, the correctional officers, inmates, and outside facilitators conspired to smuggle contraband into Jessup, including narcotics, alcohol, tobacco, and cell phones, in order to enrich themselves and protect and expand their criminal operation.áIf convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison for racketeering conspiracy and 20 years for the drug trafficking conspiracy charge.