Judge to weigh trial schedule on NC voting changes
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments over whether a trial on the legality of recent Republican-backed changes to North Carolina's voting laws should be held before or after the November 2014 elections.
A hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Winston-Salem.
Gov. Pat McCrory faces a battery of lawsuits filed by the U.S. Justice Department, the state chapter of the NAACP and other groups who want the case heard before the election in the hopes of dismantling changes that include cutting the early voting period by a week and increasing access for partisan poll watchers. Also at issue is a new requirement for voters to present government-issued photo ID starting in 2016.
Lawyers for McCrory and GOP legislators say it will take them at least a year to prepare.
CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING
McCrory to light State Capitol Christmas tree
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Gov. Pat McCrory is ready to light the State Capitol Christmas tree.
The ceremony is scheduled for Thursday and begins at 5 p.m. with the lighting of luminaries and performances by local musicians.
The lighting is set for 6:15 p.m., when McCrory is to go to the south grounds of the Capitol to light the 24-foot tree from Peak Farms near Jefferson.
After the lighting, the public is invited to attend an open house inside the state capitol to see trees donated by Cartner Christmas Tree Farm of Asheville that have been decorated by the N.C. Department of Agriculture with home grown fruits and vegetables.
The governor and first lady are also asking visitors to bring donations of food, blankets, towels, toys and treats for North Carolina's rural animal shelters.
NC LAWMAKER-TAX CHARGES
NC legislator arrested on felony tax charges
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina legislator has resigned following her arrest on felony tax charges.
The N.C. Department of Revenue announced Wednesday that Rep. Deborah H. McManus, D-Chatham, faces three counts of embezzlement of state property. The first-term lawmaker from Siler City is alleged to have used her position working as a bookkeeper for a medical practice to embezzle more than $47,000 that had been withheld from employees to pay state income taxes between January 2011 and July 2013.
The agency said the 56-year-old had appeared before a magistrate at the Wake County jail and placed under a $150,000 bond. Her first appearance in Wake County District Court is scheduled for Thursday. It's not immediately clear if she has an attorney.
Calls to McManus' home and legislative office were not answered Wednesday.
NC man arrested for forcing teen into prostitution
CARY, N.C. (AP) - An undercover operation at a motel near Raleigh-Durham International Airport has led to the arrest of a 21-year-old man who's accused of subjecting a 17-year-old to prostitution.
The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that Cary police arrested Marcus Kevvon Gibson Tuesday on charges of sexual servitude with a child victim and promoting prostitution.
A warrant said Gibson showed "reckless disregard" of the consequences of prostitution when he subjected the girl to it. The warrant also said Gibson received a portion of the money the girl collected.
Cary Police Capt. Don Hamilton said the girl hasn't communicated with detectives, and police haven't determined where she's from.
Gibson is being held in the Wake County Detention Center in lieu of $250,000 bail and was scheduled for a court appearance Wednesday.
NC police chief: Teen shot himself in patrol car
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Durham's police chief says a teenager who died while inside a patrol car shot himself in the head.
Chief Jose L. Lopez Jr. issued a statement Wednesday saying 17-year-old Jesus Huerta was found slumped over in the back seat of the patrol car on Nov, 19 after the officer driving the car heard what he thought was a gunshot.
Lopez said while the medical examiner has confirmed that Huerta died from a gunshot wound to the head, it's not known if the wound was intentional or accidental.
Authorities said Huerta had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for second-degree trespassing. An investigation showed the officer handcuffed, searched and detained Huerta in the back seat of his patrol car and was taking him to police headquarters to get the warrant.
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