National Roundup

Police: Man shot roommate after accusing him of eating the last Hot Pocket

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A man in Kentucky’s largest city is facing criminal charges after allegedly shooting his roommate during a dispute over a Hot Pocket, authorities say.

Clifton Williams, 64, was arrested on assault charges Sunday after he accused his roommate of eating their last Hot Pocket and attacked him, shooting him in the buttocks, Louisville Metro Police Department officials told WLKY-TV.

According to police, Williams started throwing tiles at the man after he realized the last microwaveable turnover was gone. He then shot him in the buttocks as he tried to escape, the TV station reported.

Williams is prohibited from contacting the victim, who was taken to UofL Hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. His bond was set at $7,500.

Ex-House speaker fined $47,000 for alleged campaign finance violations

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A disgraced former Missouri House speaker has been fined $47,000 for allegedly breaking campaign finance laws, according to records released Tuesday.

The Missouri Ethics Commission, which handles ethics violations by politicians, said it uncovered the alleged misconduct during an audit of Republican John Diehl’s campaign last year.

Voters elected Diehl to the state House in 2008 to represent suburban St. Louis, and he briefly served as the powerful House speaker in 2015. He resigned in May 2015 after admitting to sending sexually explicit messages to a House intern.

The Ethics Commission found that Diehl opened a bank account in July 2015 where he kept unreported campaign money. The audit discovered that Diehl had roughly $52,000 more in campaign funds than what he had reported.

Diehl used campaign money to make a nearly $7,000 credit card payment for personal expenses in 2020, the commission found. He has since repaid the funds to his campaign. The commission also found Diehl donated close to $35,000 in 2019 and 2020 without publicly reporting those gifts.

Diehl’s lawyer, Marc Ellinger, described the issues as “minor paperwork errors.”

“Over the course of many, many years, millions of dollars and thousands of transactions, there was a small number of them that there were some errors made in reporting,” Ellinger said. “We cleaned all those up, and we’re trying to put this all behind us.”

Although he was fined $47,000, Diehl only owes about $10,000 if he pays within the next month and a half. He will owe the full $47,000 if he violates campaign finance laws in the next two years.


$3.1M settlement reached in fatal police shooting of Black man

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Officials in the city of Tacoma, Washington, will pay $3.1 million to the family of a Black man who was fatally shot by police during a traffic stop in 2019.

The City Council announced Tuesday’s settlement with the relatives of 24-year-old Bennie Branch in a news release.

“This family’s loss has been felt deeply across our entire community – specifically amongst Tacoma’s African American community,” the statement said, adding that the settlement was “not an admission of legal liability,” but rather a way for both sides to avoid an expensive trial.

Branch was in a car with other people on Sept. 8, 2019, when a patrol officer spotted the vehicle idling and pointed in the wrong direction. The officer approached the driver after recognizing the vehicle as one associated with previous gun-related crimes, police said.

Branch left the car and got into his mom’s, which was nearby, police said. The officer notified dispatch about Branch’s actions and told them Branch might be armed.

When officer Ryan Bradley and his partner responded to the scene, they ordered Branch to get out of the car. Police said officers heard a woman shrieking in the car and thought it might have been a carjacking. Police said Bradley’s partner tried to pull Branch out, but he tried to escape. Police said they shocked Branch twice with stun guns and he fell to the ground.

Bradley’s partner then hit Branch in the head and chest multiple times, police said. They said the officer then called out that Branch was going for a gun and moved away. Bradley fired at Branch 11 times, hitting him seven times.

A county prosecutor said Bradley acted lawfully and that the BB gun Branch had on him resembled a handgun.

The city said in its statement that it supports the Tacoma Police Department’s ongoing efforts to build community trust through measures that include updating their use of force policy, requiring officers to activate body cameras whenever they engage with the public, and the development of a community service officer program.

Trial over fake electors set to start just before 2024 election

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A jury trial in a lawsuit seeking $2.4 million in damages from Republicans who attempted to cast Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes for Donald Trump in 2020 even though he lost is scheduled to begin just two months before the 2024 presidential election.

Dane County Circuit Judge Frank Remington on Wednesday scheduled the trial to begin on Sept. 3, 2024, and last one month. Defendants are expected to file a motion to dismiss the case in coming weeks. Many other legal moves are expected over the next year that could affect the start date of the trial.

Democrats filed the lawsuit against the fake electors and two attorneys for Trump, arguing they violated a number of laws and were part of a conspiracy by Trump and his allies to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential race. It also seeks to disqualify the Republicans from ever serving as electors again.

Fake electors met in Wisconsin and other battleground states where Trump was defeated in 2020, attempting to cast ballots for the former president even though he lost. Republicans who participated in Wisconsin said they were trying to preserve Trump’s legal standing in case courts overturned his defeat.

President Joe Biden won Wisconsin by nearly 21,000 votes, a result that has withstood recounts, partisan-led investigations, a nonpartisan audit and multiple lawsuits.