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New court documents show retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre texted the Mississippi governor in 2019 to ask about getting money from the state's welfare agency to build an indoor practice facility for the University of Southern Mississippi’s football team. The governor at the time, Republican Phil Bryant, texted back to tell Favre that federal money for children and low-income adults is “tightly controlled” and “improper use could result in violation of Federal Law.” This happened two years after the director of the state Department of Human Services committed welfare money to a volleyball arena that was Favre's pet project. Court documents were filed Friday by attorneys for the former governor.

AP
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The Mexican army’s role in the disappearance of 43 college students and its alleged links to organized crime are now at the center of a case that has shaken the nation. The government’s Truth Commission has declared the 2014 episode a “state crime.” Three members of the military and a former federal attorney general have been arrested in the case. Few now believe the government’s initial claim putting all blame on a drug gang and allied local officials for killing the students, then burning their bodies. A recent report indicates collaboration between a drug cartel and an officer and that some of the students’ bodies were taken to a local army base.

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Prosecutors in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz are about to begin their rebuttal case. They are expected to present expert witnesses who will testify starting Tuesday that Cruz is a sociopath and fully responsible for his murder of 17 people at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. They are trying to counter defense testimony that said Cruz's birth mother drank heavily during pregnancy, damaging his brain. Cruz pleaded guilty last year to murder. The trial is only to determine if the 24-year-old is sentenced to death or life without the possibility of parole. The rebuttal case could take up to two weeks.

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With one of the highest incarceration rates in the country, Oklahoma has struggled for decades to properly staff its prisons. A private prison in rural east-central Oklahoma where a correctional officer was fatally stabbed by an inmate this summer is no exception. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville has been plagued with staffing shortages and prison violence. In addition to the killing of 61-year-old guard Alan Hershberger, three inmates have also been killed at the prison so far this year. A 2021 audit of the prison shows it was operating at about 70% of its contractually obligated staffing level.

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As billions of dollars in opioid lawsuit settlements are starting to flow to governments, families and advocates impacted by the opioid crisis are pushing for a meaningful say in how the money will be used. There are requirements to direct most of it to fighting the deepening crisis, and in some states, people in recovery or who lost relatives have been put on committees making spending recommendations. But advocates from New York to Nevada are worried they won’t have enough input on how the money is used. The funding processes are already subject to a partisan tussle in Wisconsin and a lawsuit in Ohio.

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Officials say a fugitive Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” at the center of a Navy bribery scandal was trying to head to Russia before Venezuelan authorities captured him. Interpol Venezuela Director General Carlos Garate Rondon said in an Instagram post Wednesday that Leonard Glenn Francis would be handed over to Venezuelan officials to start extradition proceedings. U.S. officials say Francis was under home arrest in San Diego when he cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on Sept. 4, prompting an international manhunt. Francis was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in 2015 to bribing Navy officers to help his ship servicing company, then overcharging the military at least $35 million.

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A former suburban Chicago police officer who was fired after he shot into a car two years ago, killing a Black man and seriously wounding the man’s girlfriend, has been charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. On Thursday, the Lake County State's Attorney's Office announced it had unsealed grand jury indictments against former Waukegan police Officer Dante Salinas in the Oct. 20, 2020, shooting that killed a 19-year-old local man, Marcellis Stinnette, and wounded his girlfriend, Tafara Williams. He was also indicted on charges of aggravated battery and official misconduct stemming from a separate incident in 2019. The shooting sparked protests and led the police department to fire Salinas for what it described as “multiple policy and procedure violations.”

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An Indiana judge has blocked the state’s abortion ban from being enforced, putting the new law on hold as abortion clinic operators argue that it violates the state constitution. Owen County Judge Kelsey Hanlon issued a preliminary injunction Thursday against the ban that took effect one week ago. The injunction was sought by abortion clinic operators who argued in a lawsuit that the state constitution protects access to the medical procedure. The judge wrote “there is reasonable likelihood that this significant restriction of personal autonomy offends the liberty guarantees of the Indiana Constitution” and that the clinics will prevail in the lawsuit.

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New York’s attorney general has sued former President Donald Trump and his company, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit was filed Wednesday in state court in New York. It is the culmination of the Democrat’s three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization. Three of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney. Alina Habba, an attorney for Trump, said the lawsuit is “neither focused on the facts nor the law.”

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The Michigan Supreme Court won’t reinstate the conviction of a former Michigan State University gymnastics coach who was accused of lying to investigators about campus sports doctor Larry Nassar. The state's highest court declined to take an appeal from the attorney general's office. Prosecutors had widened their investigation beyond Nassar, who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing athletes, mostly female gymnasts. But prosecutors now have lost two high-profile cases. Kathie Klages was sentenced to 90 days in jail for lying to police about what she knew about Nassar back in 1997. But the Michigan Court of Appeals in December threw out her conviction and said her statements in a 2018 interview with were not crucial.