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    Cory Booker had hundreds of Democratic activists nodding, applauding and eventually roaring — complete with a sermon-style call-and-response — as he entertained the Orangeburg County party barbecue to put the exclamation point on his first day in South Carolina as a potential presidential contender. The New Jersey senator's two-day swing to the South's first primary state is ostensibly about the upcoming midterm elections. But Booker's visit — like California Sen. Kamala Harris's trip to follow on Friday — is heavy with the overtones of a looming Democratic free-for-all as the party looks for a leader to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. 'Excellent job, hit all the points: health care, prejudice, young people killing each other, all of it,' said Nathaniel McFadden, 59, after Booker's spent 15 minutes on stage at the Orangeburg County Democratic Party's annual gala. Johnny Spells, a 60-year-old local businessman, went higher with his praise. 'He reminds me of a young Barack Obama. And write this down: He's the next president of the United States.' There's a long way to go before Spells can know whether he's prescient or just smitten. Booker said himself he won't decide his next move until after the Nov. 6 midterms. To be sure, Booker is just one of several potential White House contenders swarming South Carolina. Besides Harris, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Columbia earlier Thursday. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic nomination in 2016, has Saturday stops scheduled. Former Vice President Joe Biden was here last weekend. But whether Democrats nominate Booker or someone else, South Carolina will be key. It's the first state, and the only one of the first four to cast primary or caucus ballots, to feature a significant number of black voters. South Carolina went heavily for Obama in 2008 and for Hillary Clinton in 2016, previewing Southern sweeps that propelled each to the nomination. 'We know how important we have become,' said state Rep. Jerry Govan, a local representative and incoming chairman of the state's legislative Black Caucus. Govan said the influence gives South Carolina Democrats the freedom to be choosy. 'We're doing the senator a favor here,' Govan said, pointing out the nearly 1,000 party activists gathered in Orangeburg. Booker seemed to know as much Thursday, taking every opportunity to connect his experience with the voters in front of him. 'I was raised in the black church,' he told overwhelmingly black audiences in Orangeburg and at previous stops — one across town at South Carolina State University, another at Columbia's Allen University. Both are historically black schools. As he often does, he freely quoted African-American luminaries from Martin Luther King Jr. to poet Maya Angelou and writer Langston Hughes. He recounted being mayor of Newark, New Jersey, 'a majority black city,' and noted he's 'the only senator in Washington, D.C., who still lives in a majority black neighborhood.' Booker is one of three black senators. The other two: Harris, who will appear Friday in South Carolina, and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Booker, 49, also leaned heavily on his lineage, mentioning grandparents from Louisiana and Alabama. At the barbecue, he recalled his father humorously. The man wasn't just poor as a child, Booker explained. He was 'po' — p.o. ... couldn't afford the other two letters.' Another Booker household mantra: 'Boy, don't walk around here like you hit a triple. You were born on third base.' Margaret Frazier, sat in the front row, steps from the flatbed where Booker held court. 'That's just what we need to take out the president,' she said afterward, arguing that Booker can mix aggressiveness with charm. Speaking earlier to students, Booker detailed how his father became the first man in his family to break from generations of poverty that stretched back to slavery. He wove that story into a litany of national blights, from the wealth gap between whites and black and escalating college costs for everyone to mass incarcerations and the infant mortality rate. 'If America hasn't broken your heart, you don't love her enough,' he said in Columbia, painting a dire-yet-hopeful image of a country still trying to reach its potential. He didn't necessarily place blame where his partisan audience might expect. 'Republicans didn't do this to us; we did it to ourselves,' by not voting in strong enough numbers. Randall Washington, a 20-year-old student in Orangeburg who asked Booker about barriers facing young black children, stopped short of saying he'd back Booker for president but said he was struck by Booker's outlook: 'It's important to me to have someone who understands our experience, and he's lived it.' Not every Democrat who heard Booker on Thursday is ready to jump on board. Govan, who initially backed Biden in 2008 before he joined Obama's ticket, said Booker's ability to fire up the base is obvious. 'But I'm not sure we can base this party in the Northeast and on the West Coast and win,' he said. 'We've got to win in places like the South, and that takes more than black and brown and liberal.' ___ Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.
  • Cory Booker had hundreds of Democratic activists nodding, applauding and eventually roaring — complete with a sermon-style call-and-response — as he entertained the Orangeburg County party barbecue to put the exclamation point on his first day in South Carolina as a potential presidential contender. The New Jersey senator's two-day swing to the South's first primary state is ostensibly about the upcoming midterm elections. But Booker's visit — like California Sen. Kamala Harris's trip to follow on Friday — is heavy with the overtones of a looming Democratic free-for-all as the party looks for a leader to take on President Donald Trump in 2020. 'Excellent job, hit all the points: health care, prejudice, young people killing each other, all of it,' said Nathaniel McFadden, 59, after Booker's spent 15 minutes on stage at the Orangeburg County Democratic Party's annual gala. Johnny Spells, a 60-year-old local businessman, went higher with his praise. 'He reminds me of a young Barack Obama. And write this down: He's the next president of the United States.' There's a long way to go before Spells can know whether he's prescient or just smitten. Booker said himself he won't decide his next move until after the Nov. 6 midterms. To be sure, Booker is just one of several potential White House contenders swarming South Carolina. Besides Harris, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Columbia earlier Thursday. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who sought the Democratic nomination in 2016, has Saturday stops scheduled. Former Vice President Joe Biden was here last weekend. But whether Democrats nominate Booker or someone else, South Carolina will be key. It's the first state, and the only one of the first four to cast primary or caucus ballots, to feature a significant number of black voters. South Carolina went heavily for Obama in 2008 and for Hillary Clinton in 2016, previewing Southern sweeps that propelled each to the nomination. 'We know how important we have become,' said state Rep. Jerry Govan, a local representative and incoming chairman of the state's legislative Black Caucus. Govan said the influence gives South Carolina Democrats the freedom to be choosy. 'We're doing the senator a favor here,' Govan said, pointing out the nearly 1,000 party activists gathered in Orangeburg. Booker seemed to know as much Thursday, taking every opportunity to connect his experience with the voters in front of him. 'I was raised in the black church,' he told overwhelmingly black audiences in Orangeburg and at previous stops — one across town at South Carolina State University, another at Columbia's Allen University. Both are historically black schools. As he often does, he freely quoted African-American luminaries from Martin Luther King Jr. to poet Maya Angelou and writer Langston Hughes. He recounted being mayor of Newark, New Jersey, 'a majority black city,' and noted he's 'the only senator in Washington, D.C., who still lives in a majority black neighborhood.' Booker is one of three black senators. The other two: Harris, who will appear Friday in South Carolina, and Tim Scott of South Carolina. Booker, 49, also leaned heavily on his lineage, mentioning grandparents from Louisiana and Alabama. At the barbecue, he recalled his father humorously. The man wasn't just poor as a child, Booker explained. He was 'po' — p.o. ... couldn't afford the other two letters.' Another Booker household mantra: 'Boy, don't walk around here like you hit a triple. You were born on third base.' Margaret Frazier, sat in the front row, steps from the flatbed where Booker held court. 'That's just what we need to take out the president,' she said afterward, arguing that Booker can mix aggressiveness with charm. Speaking earlier to students, Booker detailed how his father became the first man in his family to break from generations of poverty that stretched back to slavery. He wove that story into a litany of national blights, from the wealth gap between whites and black and escalating college costs for everyone to mass incarcerations and the infant mortality rate. 'If America hasn't broken your heart, you don't love her enough,' he said in Columbia, painting a dire-yet-hopeful image of a country still trying to reach its potential. He didn't necessarily place blame where his partisan audience might expect. 'Republicans didn't do this to us; we did it to ourselves,' by not voting in strong enough numbers. Randall Washington, a 20-year-old student in Orangeburg who asked Booker about barriers facing young black children, stopped short of saying he'd back Booker for president but said he was struck by Booker's outlook: 'It's important to me to have someone who understands our experience, and he's lived it.' Not every Democrat who heard Booker on Thursday is ready to jump on board. Govan, who initially backed Biden in 2008 before he joined Obama's ticket, said Booker's ability to fire up the base is obvious. 'But I'm not sure we can base this party in the Northeast and on the West Coast and win,' he said. 'We've got to win in places like the South, and that takes more than black and brown and liberal.' ___ Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP.
  • If Republican Marsha Blackburn were to win in November, the congresswoman would become the first female U.S. senator in Tennessee history. And yet women have been slow to embrace her campaign. A Vanderbilt University poll conducted Oct. 8-13 showed Blackburn trailing former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, 49 percent to 37 percent among women registered to vote. The same poll found that men registered to vote favored Blackburn 50-37 percent, even as the broader poll showed the race is a tossup. The stark gender divide, which has persisted in polling throughout the campaign, stands out in what has been described as the year of the female voter. Aware of the stakes as Democrats try to take control of the Senate, both candidates have intensified efforts to win over women as Election Day nears — vividly demonstrating that those voters are pivotal even in a deeply red state. 'Women are increasingly more liberal, and men are increasingly more conservative,' said Amanda Clayton, an assistant professor of political science at Vanderbilt University. 'That trend is becoming more pronounced and is likely to become more pronounced as it gets closer to the election.' Blackburn's tea party roots can appeal to conservative men who oppose traditionally liberal feminist candidates, Clayton said. The push to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, she added, may have given those men reason to look for women they could support, perhaps in response to more liberal women running for office. Blackburn, the first female major-party Senate nominee from Tennessee, has previously demurred when talking about the groundbreaking aspects of her campaign. She said she isn't running on gender and has declined to answer questions about sexism she's encountered. When she was elected to Congress in 2002, she asked to be called 'congressman' rather than 'congresswoman.' But Blackburn's campaign has been willing to play the gender card. In February, when some Republicans worried about losing a Senate seat encouraged retiring U.S. Sen. Bob Corker to reconsider, Blackburn's spokesman said anyone who thought she couldn't win the general election was a 'plain sexist pig.' More recently, Blackburn herself has suggested a liberal bias on gender matters. 'Republican women are never going to get the attention that Democratic women are going to get,' she said in a recent AP interview. 'And you just expect that. I fully understand that Republican women do not fit the narrative that many in the media would like to construct. But I will tell you this: Most women, and you mentioned suburban moms, are very much like me.' Her campaign has emphasized her attempts to break the glass ceiling: the first woman hired by the Southwestern Company — a marketing business that sells educational materials — and the only Republican woman in the Tennessee Senate in 1998. 'Fighting against all odds is the story of her life,' the narrator of one ad says. Blackburn's team also has targeted Bredesen's handling of sexual harassment claims when he was governor. In 2005, The Associated Press reviewed more than 600 workplace harassment investigation files collected when Bredesen was elected in 2002. The AP found that sexual and workplace harassment reports in 2005 were on pace to almost double from the previous year. Bredesen argued that reporting was up rather than the actual number of incidents. Blackburn accused Bredesen of shredding records to cover up poor performance, but Bredesen called that a 'total mischaracterization' and said he was trying to protect the privacy of those who complained. And Bredesen's decision to support Kavanaugh has raised new questions about his support among women. The move appalled some Democrats, but others saw it as a way to win over Republicans in a state where he needs them. In September, his campaign unveiled 'Women United for Bredesen' — a group it says has roughly 50,000 Tennesseans aimed at providing a 'space for women' to focus on their top issues. Recently, pop superstar Taylor Swift broke her long silence on politics to endorse the Democrat. Swift said in an Instagram post that she wanted to back female candidates but could not support Blackburn because of her voting history on LGBTQ issues, opposition to the Violence Against Women Act and an equal pay law — saying bluntly that the congresswoman's voting record 'appalls and terrifies me.' On the ground, Blackburn's core supporters say party loyalty will outweigh gender at the end of the day — though they don't always disconnect the two. 'She has set an amazing example, and in return, we are seeing more women running for office across the state,' said Barbara Trautman, president of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women. 'We are very loyal to her.' Yet Bredesen is a looming threat, Trautman added, warning that voter turnout — particularly women — will be key. 'At this point, I'm not putting a lot of stock into polls,' she said. 'She's one of us, and we have high hopes.' ___ Associated Press writer Jonathan Mattise in Nashville, Tennessee, and Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace contributed to this report. ___ An earlier version of this report incorrectly said the poll was of women likely to vote, instead of women registered to vote.
  • The Latest on the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month (all times local): 3:45 a.m. The Washington Post has published a new column by Jamal Khashoggi in which he warns that governments in the Middle East 'have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.' The Post published the column Wednesday, more than two weeks after Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say he was killed by Saudi agents. The Saudi government has denied it. Post Global Opinions editor Karen Attiah says she received the column from Khashoggi's assistant a day after he was reported missing. Khashoggi writes that actions like imprisoning journalists and seizing control of newspapers 'no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community.' He says, 'Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation followed by silence.' President Donald Trump has suggested that the global community has jumped to conclusions that Saudi Arabia is behind Khashoggi's disappearance. ___ 1:30 a.m. The Washington Post plans to publish a new column by missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in which he discusses the importance of a free press in the Middle East. The WashPost PR Blog says Khashoggi filed the column just before he disappeared. It will be published online Wednesday night in the U.S. Khashoggi was a Post Global Opinions contributor who had written opinion pieces critical of the Saudi crown prince. He was last seen Oct. 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork he needed to get married. Turkish officials have claimed Saudi agents killed and dismembered him. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations, but provided no evidence he left the consulate. The Post also plans to publish a page dedicated to Khashoggi in its opinions section Thursday. ___ 11:25 p.m. Wednesday America's top military officer has met with Saudi Arabia's defense chief amid deteriorating relations between the two nations after the disappearance and apparent death of a Saudi journalist who lived in the U.S. Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met Wednesday with Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwayli, Saudi Arabia's chief of the general staff. The meeting comes amid accusations that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and killed two weeks ago while visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork he needed to get married. Asked Tuesday if the Khashoggi matter would come up during the meeting, Dunford declined to say. He said it's premature to say if Khashoggi's disappearance will have an impact on U.S. military relations with Saudi Arabia. ___ 5:30 p.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says America takes the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi 'seriously.' Pompeo made the comments to journalists after leaving Turkey on Wednesday during a quick visit that included a talk with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pompeo said Erdogan 'made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information.' Asked if he heard or asked to hear audio of Khashoggi's alleged slaying, he said: 'I don't have anything to say about that.' A State Department spokeswoman later said Pompeo had not heard any such audio. Pompeo stressed that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have important links, including working on countering Iran. However, he said: 'If a country engages in activity that is unlawful, it's unacceptable. No one is going to defend activity of that nature. They need to simply say what happened.' ___ 4:45 p.m. Turkish police have arrived at the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul to conduct a search over the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi. The police arrived Wednesday at the home. They had wanted to search Tuesday night but did not have permission from Saudi Arabia. The search comes after investigators searched the consulate earlier this week. ___ 3:50 p.m. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is putting a planned trip to Saudi Arabia on hold pending the outcome of an investigation into the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. Maas told reporters Wednesday that, 'regarding my travel plans ... we will wait for the time being.' He called the case 'extremely worrying ... and disturbing' and demanded a complete and quick clarification of what has happened to Khashoggi. Khashoggi vanished Oct. 2 during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish officials have claimed Saudi agents killed and dismembered the Washington Post columnist. Maas says once the Saudi government makes an expected statement, 'we'll use that as an opportunity to consider again if a trip to Saudi Arabia at this time makes sense or not.' ___ Noon U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has met Turkey's president and foreign minister over the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi. No details were immediately released about the talks Wednesday between Pompeo and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The three posed for photos before their meetings, but said nothing in front of journalists. Pompeo held separate meetings with Erdogan and Cavusoglu, each lasting around 40 minutes. Pompeo had just come from Riyadh, where he spoke Tuesday with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Khashoggi went missing on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say they fear Saudi agents killed and dismembered him. Saudi Arabia has denied the allegations, but provided no evidence he left the consulate. ___ 11 a.m. Turkey says it is awaiting final permission from Saudi Arabia to search the home of the Saudi consul in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has 'accepted' a request for a search of the official residence but had not yet given its final consent. Soylu said: 'As soon as (Saudi Arabia) gives the consent, steps will be taken toward investigating.' Turkish forensic teams earlier this week searched the consulate building where Khashoggi was last seen entering two weeks ago. A senior official told The Associated Press that investigators had found more evidence indicating that the journalist was killed there. ___ 9:45 a.m. A strongly pro-government Turkish newspaper has published a gruesome recounting of the alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Yeni Safak on Wednesday cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi's slaying, which it said showed the Washington Post columnist was tortured. The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape, telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: 'Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble.' The newspaper said one of the Saudis torturing Khashoggi replied: 'Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia.' Saudi officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press in recent days. The kingdom has previously denied allegations that Khashoggi was killed. Security services in Turkey have used pro-government media to leak details of Khashoggi's case, adding to the pressure on the kingdom. ___ 9:40 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed in Turkey to discuss the disappearance and alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi with authorities there. Pompeo arrived in Ankara, the Turkish capital, on Wednesday after visiting Saudi King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the day before. Before leaving Riyadh, Pompeo said the kingdom promised a 'transparent investigation.' Asked if that would include members of the royal family, he said: 'They made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable.' Khashoggi vanished Oct. 2 during a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say Saudi agents killed and dismembered the Washington Post columnist, who had written opinion pieces critical of the crown prince. Saudi Arabia initially called the allegation 'baseless,' but reportedly may acknowledge Khashoggi's slaying, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation. ___ 6:45 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Saudi Arabia told him their investigation into the disappearance and alleged killing of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi won't spare anyone, including royals. Pompeo told journalists Wednesday morning before flying to Turkey that the kingdom promised a 'transparent investigation.' Pompeo said: 'They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official.' Asked if that would include members of the royal family, America's top diplomat said: 'They made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable.' Khashoggi vanished Oct. 2 on a visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say Saudi officials killed and dismembered The Washington Post columnist.
  • A former Miss America who is running for Illinois attorney general once said that many victims of sexual harassment believe what is said about them and 'become very promiscuous,' and that some young people who are called names such as 'whore' or 'slut' think: 'That's what I want to be.' Republican Erika Harold is stressing her experience as an anti-bullying advocate as she seeks the job of Illinois' top legal officer, running campaign ads and giving speeches to students about her own painful experiences. The topic also was her platform as the 2003 Miss America, a title that she says helped pay her way through Harvard Law School. Shortly after winning the crown in September 2002, Harold spoke at a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, where she said she wanted her platform to be sexual abstinence — the platform she used to become Miss Illinois — but that pageant officials rejected it and asked her to speak about youth violence and bullying instead. She told reporters she saw a connection between the two. 'I think that if a young person is engaged in a promiscuous lifestyle, it makes them vulnerable to other risk factors, so I definitely see a tie-in there,' she said, according to an article in The Washington Times . 'Many victims of sexual harassment believe what is said about them, and they become very promiscuous. When they're called a whore, when they're called a slut, they think, 'That's what I want to be,' and so they engage in a pattern of self-destruction that can be very detrimental to their lives.' Harold, then 22, also said she was harassed, bullied and called names as a high school student but that she 'took the opposite approach' rather than 'the route of being promiscuous' and was fortunate to have parents and a religious community that supported her. Harold, now 38, faces Democratic state Sen. Kwame Raoul for the seat vacated by Democratic Attorney General Lisa Madigan, who is stepping down after four terms. Neena Chaudhry, general counsel at the National Women's Law Center, said there is no evidence that harassment causes 'many' victims to become 'promiscuous.' She called Harold's statement 'egregious' — in 2002 or today — and said it 'feeds into damaging stereotypes.' 'My deep concern is this is the kind of blaming and shaming that keeps young people from coming forward and reporting sexual harassment and sexual violence,' she said. 'I think (the comment) is egregious whenever it's uttered, and by whomever they're uttered.' Harold's campaign stood by the remarks in a statement Wednesday, saying she didn't intend to blame victims and has worked for decades to help victims of bullying and harassment. They said without a transcript it's impossible to know what question prompted her response. 'Erika was clearly referring to the labels bullies and harassers use on their victims and how it may negatively impact victims' lives. She understands firsthand what victims of sexual harassment are going through because she's lived it herself,' spokesman Aaron DeGroot said. 'The fact is studies show that sexual harassment can cause anxiety, depression, negative body image and low self-esteem in some victims. That's why Erika has made it her life's mission to empower young people, combat bullying and prevent sexual harassment.' A 2013 study from researchers at the Boston University School of Education found that adolescent bullies and their victims reported engaging in more casual sex and sex under the influence with other people than did students who were not involved in bullying. The authors noted that the study could not conclude that bullying was the direct cause of that behavior. ___ Follow Sara Burnett on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sara_burnett
  • The U.S. government has quietly reached a new agreement to keep open a 2,400-bed detention facility used to detain immigrant mothers and children, in a lucrative arrangement for a private prison company and the tiny South Texas town where it's located. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement last month signed a contract with the city of Dilley, where the South Texas Family Residential Center opened in 2014. Dilley signed a contract at the same time with CoreCivic, the private prison operator that runs the detention center, the largest facility of its kind in the U.S. The city released both contracts to The Associated Press last week in response to an open records request. ICE said it was replacing an arrangement dating to President Barack Obama's administration that the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general criticized this year as violating budget guidelines and wasting money. But the new arrangement has some of the same features the inspector general criticized. When it opened the facility in 2014, the U.S. was seeing a surge of women and children immigrating from Central America. ICE argued it had an urgent need for family bed space and had to circumvent government standards for contracting, which require a bidding process and extensive reviews. ICE modified an existing detention agreement with the city of Eloy, Arizona, to include the Dilley facility, 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) away. Eloy technically ran the facility, but routed ICE money to CoreCivic, then known as the Corrections Corporation of America. The inspector general said in a February audit that ICE improperly modified the Eloy contract and that it should have avoided creating a 'middleman' and reached an agreement directly with the company operating the facility. Also, not conducting a bidding process may have led ICE to overpay for services at the detention facility, the audit said. ICE spokeswoman Nina Pruneda said Tuesday that the agency created the agreement with Dilley in response to the inspector general's concerns about Eloy, and that all other terms of the contract will remain the same. ICE will pay Dilley about $13 million a month for the cost of detaining immigrants at the facility. Dilley will then send almost all of that money to CoreCivic, minus administrative fees that add up to an estimated $438,000 a year. That's a significant windfall for a city with a population of about 4,000 people that has an annual budget of $2.1 million. Dilley already collects annual revenue-sharing payments from CoreCivic, with $200,000 due in December. CoreCivic will continue operating a facility that generated $171 million in revenue last year. ICE retains use of a facility that provides most of the 3,000 beds it has in family detention. That space is particularly critical as President Donald Trump's administration tries to detain immigrant families for longer and waive restrictions on the detention of children. But immigrant advocacy groups say the contracts preserve an arrangement in which a local city's oversight is a technicality that lets ICE and CoreCivic to operate without public scrutiny. Claudia Valenzuela, director of the National Immigrant Justice Center's detention project, said the city, ICE and CoreCivic should explain how they reached the agreement. She questioned whether Dilley would actually be overseeing the facility given the money it is receiving from CoreCivic. 'I don't have too much faith ... that there's going to be a whole lot of pushback,' she said. Neither ICE nor CoreCivic announced the new agreement. The Dilley City Council met in closed session on Sept. 17 to discuss the two contracts, and interim city administrator David Jordan signed them one day later. Both Jordan and Dilley Mayor Mary Ann Obregon, declined to comment on the agreement. CoreCivic also declined to comment. Bob Libal, executive director of the group Grassroots Leadership, said ICE may have wanted to avoid the attention that other detention contracts have gotten. One county in Central Texas this year terminated its agreement with ICE and CoreCivic for a 500-bed facility long protested by Grassroots Leadership and others. 'It's an agency that tends to play by its own rules,' Libal said. Located on the site of a former 'man camp' for oilfield workers, the family residential center is a major engine of jobs and taxes in Dilley. CoreCivic runs ads in the local newspaper advertising positions that start as high as $20 an hour, and Obregon wrote a public letter last year lauding the facility. ICE says detainees at Dilley are well cared for, with access to medical care and legal help. But legal groups say immigrants are often traumatized by detention at Dilley and that some struggle to get health care. There are 1,975 people currently detained there. Some of the families at Dilley were reunited in detention after being separated under the Trump administration's 'zero-tolerance' policy that was halted in June. ___ Associated Press journalist Astrid Galvan in Phoenix contributed to this report.
  • America's most famous pimp partied for days with porn stars, political pals and others to celebrate his 72nd birthday, but the revelry ended when Dennis Hof was found dead in one of his Nevada brothels. Hof, a Donald Trump-style Republican who won a GOP primary for a seat in the state Legislature this year, spent his last nights in a series of celebrations across Nevada that drew notables from politics and the sex industry — two worlds he managed to bridge. His final party Monday night at the Pahrump Nugget hotel-casino, about an hour's drive outside Las Vegas, included aging porn star Ron Jeremy, tax-cut activist Grover Norquist, one-time 'Hollywood Madam' Heidi Fleiss and ex-Arizona sheriff and politician Joe Arpaio. 'Boy, that's shocking,' Arpaio, the former six-term sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix, said of Hof's death. He said Hof was in good spirits when Arpaio left the party around 10 p.m. Hof didn't drink, smoke or use drugs, Hof's campaign consultant Chuck Muth said. Despite the rigorous schedule, Hof seemed in a 'perfect mood' and in 'perfect health' at the parties. 'He was sitting on a stool talking with people when I left about 10,' said Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly, who guessed more than 100 people attended the Pahrump event. 'I guess that's partying at 72.' Jeremy, who also attended the Pahrump Nugget party, told The Associated Press that he and Dasha Dare, a prostitute from one of Hof's brothels, found the pimp's body Tuesday morning in Hof's residence at his Love Ranch brothel. Dare, who Jeremy said spent part of the evening with Hof, did not immediately respond to email and Twitter messages. Sheriff's deputies were summoned and Hof was pronounced dead, said Wehrly, who also serves as county coroner. Wehrly said there was no preliminary indication of foul play but her office was investigating and an autopsy was scheduled by the Clark County coroner in Las Vegas. Wehrly said results of the medical examination could take six weeks. Outside the brothel Tuesday, sheriff's employees and several women watched as Hof's body was carried on a stretcher beneath a red shroud past lawn furniture, Grecian-style statutes and signs advertising the bordello as, 'Always Open, Always Tasty, No sex required.' Muth said Friday night's celebration in northern Nevada had been a 'Save the Brothels' concert raising funds to fight a ballot initiative that would shutter brothels in northern Nevada's Lyon County, where Hof owned four properties. Saturday featured a bash at Hof's Bunny Ranch bar and restaurant near Carson City, followed by a party at Hof's northern Nevada home Sunday and the party in southern Nevada Monday night, Muth said. Hof was the Republican candidate in a heavily GOP state legislative district who brought in popular Trump supporters in his campaign, including Trump adviser Roger Stone and Arpaio, the Arizona sheriff. Arpaio, known nationally for his positions on illegal immigration, lost a primary bid for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate from Arizona. He said Hof asked him to speak at his party. 'The thing I liked about him: He was with Trump and was for the Second Amendment and lower taxes,' Arpaio said. Hof owned a handful of brothels in Nevada, the only state that allows them to legally operate. His Love Ranch brothel is the place where NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious in 2015. The brothel was temporarily shuttered twice this year by regulators who said Hof failed to renew licenses and get proper permits for renovations. About 20 brothels operate in Nevada, mostly in rural areas. In addition to his legislative campaign, Hof fought a push to outlaw brothels and had problems with local regulators in the two counties where he ran licensed bordellos. Hof had also been accused of sexual assault on at least four occasions. The Nevada Department of Public Safety has said it was investigating an allegation made in September but has released few details. Hof had denied wrongdoing. Besides 'Cathouse,' the flamboyant Hof wrote a book titled 'The Art of the Pimp,' a play on Trump's book 'The Art of the Deal.' Wayne Thorley, deputy Nevada secretary of state for elections, said Hof's name will remain on the November ballot. Thorley said ballots with Hof's name have already been mailed to voters but signs will be posted at polling places notifying voters of his death. If Hof wins in the heavily GOP assembly district, officials will nominate another Republican to fill the vacancy, Thorley said. Hof was running against Democratic Las Vegas educator Lesia Romanov in the race for a sprawling assembly district that touches both California and Utah, covering rural southern Nevada, largest stretches of desert and the Nevada National Security Site where nuclear weapons were tested. Hof also ran for the state Legislature in 2016 as a Libertarian but lost the race. He upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with Fleiss. Hof said in interviews that he believed the anti-brothel push and regulatory problems he's faced this year were political retribution. ___ Associated Press writers Ken Ritter and Regina Garcia Cano in Las Vegas and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.
  • Turkish crime-scene investigators searched the home of the Saudi consul general in Istanbul on Wednesday in the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, and a pro-government newspaper published a gruesome account of the journalist's alleged slaying. As Saudi Arabia's green national flag flapped overhead, forensics teams entered the residence, only 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the consulate where Khashoggi vanished Oct. 2 while trying to pick up paperwork to get married. It was the second-such extraordinary search of a site considered under international law to be sovereign Saudi territory after investigators spent hours in the consulate earlier this week. The account published in the Yeni Safak newspaper alleged that Saudi officials cut off Khashoggi's fingers and then decapitated him at the consulate as his fiancée waited outside. Hours later, The Washington Post published a column by Khashoggi it said it received after he was reported missing, in which he pointed to the muted international response to ongoing abuses against journalists by governments in the Middle East. 'As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate,' Khashoggi wrote. He added: 'The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power.' The searches and the leaks in Turkish media have ensured the world's attention remains focused on what happened to Khashoggi, who went into a self-imposed exile in the U.S. over the rise of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It also put further strains on the relationship between the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, and its main security guarantor, the United States, as tensions with Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East remain high. Flying back home after a visit to both Saudi Arabia and Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remained positive about an ongoing Saudi probe into Khashoggi's disappearance, but he stressed that answers are needed. 'Sooner's better than later for everyone,' Pompeo said. The search of the consul's residence came 15 days after Khashoggi's disappearance — and after police apparently thought they would be able to conduct the search on Tuesday. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Saudi officials had halted the earlier search, claiming that Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi's family was still there. Crime-scene technicians wore white coveralls, gloves and shoe covers entering the residence. It wasn't immediately clear what they hoped to find there, although surveillance video had showed diplomatic cars moving between the consulate and the residence nearly two hours after Khashoggi walked into the diplomatic post. Turkey's private DHA news agency, without citing a source, said police wanted to inspect a 'water well' in the garden of the residence. Investigators also re-entered the consulate Wednesday night. A high-level Turkish official previously told The Associated Press that police found 'certain evidence' of Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate, without elaborating. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. The report by the newspaper Yeni Safak cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi's slaying. It described the recording as offering evidence that a Saudi team immediately accosted the 60-year-old journalist after he entered the consulate. Al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape, telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: 'Do this outside; you're going to get me in trouble,' the newspaper reported. One of the Saudis reportedly replied: 'Shut up if you want to live when you return to (Saudi) Arabia.' Security services in Turkey have used pro-government media to leak details of Khashoggi's case, adding to the pressure on the kingdom. President Donald Trump, who initially came out hard on the Saudis over the disappearance but since has backed off, said Wednesday that the U.S. wanted Turkey to turn over any audio or video recording it had of Khashoggi's alleged killing 'if it exists.' Saudi officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from the AP in recent days, including Wednesday. Al-Otaibi left Turkey on Tuesday, Turkish state media reported. Trump's previous warnings over the case drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. The U.S. president wants King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran in November. Pompeo, wrapping up a trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to discuss the crisis over the missing journalist, made a point to stress areas where the kingdom and America cooperate. 'We have lots of important relationships — financial relationships between U.S. and Saudi companies, governmental relationships, ... the efforts to reduce the risk to the United States of America from the world's largest state sponsor of terror, Iran,' he said. 'We just need to make sure that we are mindful of that when we approach decisions that the United States government will take when we learn all the facts associated with whatever may have taken place.' However, Pompeo said there were clear lines that America would not stand to see crossed. 'If a country engages in activity that is unlawful it's unacceptable,' he said. 'No one is going to defend activity of that nature. We just need to simply say what happened.' Prominent U.S. newspapers have reported, citing anonymous sources, that Saudi officials may soon acknowledge Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate but blame it on a botched intelligence operation. That could, like Trump's softening comments, seek to give the kingdom a way out of the global firestorm of criticism over Khashoggi's fate. However, no major decisions in Saudi Arabia are made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom's ruling Al Saud family. ___ Fraser reported from Ankara, Turkey, and Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed.
  • Dennis Hof, a pimp who gained notoriety for an HBO series about his brothel business and who fashioned himself as a Donald Trump-style Republican candidate for the state Legislature, was found dead hours after his extended-weekend 72nd birthday bash, authorities said Tuesday. Hof was pronounced dead in his private residence at his Love Ranch brothel west of Las Vegas, Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly said. Ron Jeremy, a pornographic movie star who attended Hof's party on Monday night, told The Associated Press that he and a woman found Hof's body after Hof failed to meet them. Hof's eyes 'were not full' and his skin felt cold, said Jeremy. 'He was totally stiff. And I'm saying 'Honey, we really have a problem here.'' A group that included sheriff's employees and several women watched several hours later as Hof's body was removed on a stretcher beneath a red shroud, past lawn furniture, Grecian-style statutes and signs advertising the bordello as, 'Always Open, Always Tasty, No sex required.' Wehrly, who also serves as county coroner, said she saw Hof at his birthday party late Monday at a local casino-hotel reception room with more than 100 of his friends, including former Phoenix-area sheriff Joe Arpaio. Other birthday celebrations were held throughout the weekend, according to Chuck Muth, a campaign consultant to Hof. 'He was sitting on a stool talking with people when I left about 10,' Wehrly said of Hof, who she said had celebrated at another party during the weekend in northern Nevada. 'I guess that's partying at 72.' The sheriff said there was no preliminary indication of foul play but her office was investigating. An autopsy will be conducted by the Clark County coroner in Las Vegas. Wehrly said results of the medical examination could take six weeks. Hof, who turned 72 on Sunday, was the Republican candidate in a heavily GOP state legislative district. Arpaio, the former six-term sheriff of metropolitan Phoenix known nationally for his positions on illegal immigration, said Hof was in good spirits when Arpaio left the party around 10 p.m. Monday. 'Boy, that's shocking,' Arpaio said of Hof's death. Arpaio, who lost a Senate GOP primary in Arizona in August, said he had taken part in some of Hof's campaign efforts and was asked by Hof to speak at the party. The lawman said he delivered his comments to the crowd, wished Hof well and ate birthday cake. 'The thing I liked about him: He was with Trump and was for the Second Amendment and lower taxes,' Arpaio said in a telephone interview before boarding a plane to Phoenix. Ahead of the birthday celebration, Hof teased on Twitter that rapper and reality television star Flavor Flav would be there. Flavor Flav's 'Flavor of Love' reality TV series ran about a decade ago, about the same time as Hof's HBO series 'Cathouse.' Flavor Flav's lawyer, Kristina Wildeveld, said Tuesday her client did not attend. Hof owned a handful of brothels in Nevada, the only state that allows them to legally operate. His Love Ranch brothel outside Pahrump is where NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious in 2015. The brothel was temporarily shuttered twice this year by regulators who said Hof failed to renew licenses and get proper permits for renovations. About 20 brothels operate in Nevada, mostly in rural areas. In addition to his legislative campaign, Hof fought a push to outlaw brothels and had problems with local regulators in the two counties where he ran licensed bordellos. Hof had also been accused of sexual assault on at least four occasions. The Nevada Department of Public Safety has said it was investigating an allegation made in September but has released few details. Hof had denied any wrongdoing. Besides 'Cathouse,' the flamboyant Hof wrote a book titled 'The Art of the Pimp,' a play on Trump's book 'The Art of the Deal.' Wayne Thorley, deputy Nevada secretary of state for elections, said Hof's name will remain on the November ballot. Thorley said ballots with Hof's name have already been mailed to voters but signs will be posted at polling places notifying voters of his death. If Hof wins in the heavily GOP assembly district, officials will nominate another Republican to fill the vacancy, Thorley said. Hof was running against Democratic Las Vegas educator Lesia Romanov. Hof also ran for the state Legislature in 2016 as a Libertarian but lost the race. This year, he ran as a Republican and earned backing from Trump associate Roger Stone and tax-cut activist Grover Norquist, who attended one of Hof's parties. He upended Nevada politics this summer when he ousted an incumbent Republican lawmaker in a primary, celebrating at an election night party with former 'Hollywood Madam' Heidi Fleiss. He said the anti-brothel push and regulatory problems he's faced this year were political retribution. ___ Associated Press reporters Ken Ritter and Regina Garcia Cano in Las Vegas and Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix contributed to this report.
  • President Donald Trump is insulting the physical appearance of porn actress Stormy Daniels, calling her 'Horseface' in a tweet about a recent legal ruling. A federal judge dismissed Daniels' defamation lawsuit against Trump. Daniels alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and sued him in April. The defamation lawsuit came after Trump tweeted about a composite sketch of a man Daniels says threatened her in 2011 to keep quiet about an alleged affair. He called it a 'total con job.' The judge on Monday said Trump's tweet was a 'hyperbolic statement' protected under the First Amendment. Trump tweeted: 'Great, now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer.' Daniels' attorney Michael Avenatti called Trump's comments 'outrageous.' Trump has a history of derogatory comments about women's appearances.

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  • Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has withdrawn his bid to purchase Wembley Stadium in London.  In a statement sent to WOKV, Khan says the intent of his effort to buy the iconic venue was to bring people together and strengthen the sport and stadium. Instead, he says opinions split, and it became clear there was no strong support for the sale at this time. “Unfortunately, given where we are today, I’ve concluded that the outcome of a vote next week would be far from sufficient in expressing the broad support favored by the FA Chairman to sell Wembley Stadium. Until a time when it is evident there is an unmistakable directive from the FA to explore and close a sale, I am respectfully withdrawing my offer to purchase Wembley Stadium”, Khan says.  The FA Council was set to vote October 24th on Khan’s offer.  At the time of his offer in April, Khan said purchasing Wembley would deliver another very significant asset and local revenue source for the Jaguars.  He issued a separate statement specifically to Jacksonville about deciding to pull out of the sale, saying the deal would have had a “much-needed positive effect” on the Jags in Jacksonville and London. “Our commitment to London would have been amplified and strengthened with the certainty of officially making Wembley Stadium an annual host to Jaguars or other NFL games, and the local revenues we would have generated operating Wembley throughout the year would have been invested in our continued efforts toward building and maintaining a sustainable NFL franchise in Jacksonville,” Khan further says it would have helped the FA invest in their sport as well. “An agreement that would have served everyone exceptionally well, and brought everyone together for shared success, was the one and only goal,” he says. The FA says they respect Khan’s decision and commit to ensuring Wembley will “continue to thrive”, but acknowledge that things will have to evolve. “There has been much deliberation on both sides of this debate and it has undoubtedly raised awareness of the issue that community football facilities in England need significant investment,” says the statement from FA Chief Executive Martin Glenn. Khan tells Jacksonville he is disappointed by these developments, but will continue to emphasize London, and the role that has in ensuring the Jags have a stable, long-term future in Jacksonville. “London as the Jaguars’ home away from home remains a priority. Downtown Jacksonville with the Jaguars serving as a catalyst in its revitalization remains a priority. The relationship between London and the Jaguars is as important as ever and we will continue to develop it to the benefit of all,” he says. And Khan further says he is willing to revisit the purchase in the future, but only if there is unity in support of the deal. Khan has invested in projects at TIAA Bank Field since taking over ownership of the team, including chipping in to projects like upgrading the Club Level, installing new video boards and pools, and building the Daily’s Place amphitheater and flex field adjoining the stadium. He also continues to negotiate with the City’s Downtown Investment Authority over the redevelopment of the Shipyards and Met Park area. Additionally, he recently unveiled plans for a massive redevelopment of the Sports Complex overall, which he envisions starting with an overhaul of what is now Lot J, used for parking.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars hope to be able to announce plans for redeveloping Lot J by the end of the year. The team’s leadership has been working with the City for months on the project, according to Jags owner Mark Lamping, but it is even more important now, as they pursue revenue streams to help secure the team’s long-term stability in the city.  WOKV first told you Wednesday that Jaguars owner Shad Khan withdrew his plan to buy London’s Wembley Stadium, because he didn’t see the widespread support he would want for that type of venture. Lamping says the specific purpose of that deal was to bring more local revenue to the Jags, similar to other projects they have taken on, including the annual London game, Daily’s Place, and more.  “All of those projects are designed to support the Jaguars to make sure that we’re a sustainable franchise here in Jacksonville. So, the fact that it’s [Wembley purchase] not going to happen, that puts pressure on us to find other ways to generate the revenue that would have come from there, and I’m confident that we’ll do that,” Lamping says.  GALLERY: Lot J and Sports Complex redevelopment One of those projects is Lot J, or the redevelopment of an existing parking lot at TIAA Bank Field in to a mixed-use entertainment district, which could also include residential, office, or hotel space. Lamping says the team would self-operate the entertainment district, and act as landlord for other components- all providing various revenue opportunities. The Jags announced their intention to seek the redevelopment months ago, and they have since been working with the City on the proposal. Lamping says Khan is ready with financial support, but it will take a partnership with the City, and he believes they have been moving in the right direction.  “We will certainly be disappointed with ourselves if we’re not making significant progress by the end of the year,” he says.  Another project that is undergoing negotiations is redevelopment of the Northbank Riverfront, including the Shipyards and Met Park. Khan was selected as the master developer for that site, but there was a lengthy extension approved for how long those negotiations could take. Lamping says one of their sticking points continues to be the removal of the elevated Hart Bridge lanes in Downtown, which is something the Jacksonville City Council recently approved $12.5 million for. The Florida Department of Transportation has also committed $12.5 million for the project, and the City has not yet heard whether they won a federal grant for the final third of the funding.  IN DEPTH: Proposal to take down the Hart Bridge ramps GALLERY: Shad Khan’s plan for the Shipyards Overall, the Jags estimate their proposed redevelopment in and around the Sports Complex to be worth some $2.5 billion.  Lamping says they are also looking at big events, like the recent “Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour” featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd, which took place at TIAA Bank Field on Labor Day weekend. They continue to program the Daily’s Place amphitheater with shows that bring in revenue for the team as well.  “There is no silver bullet. If there was one thing that we could do to solidify the Jaguars here in Jacksonville, we would do it, but it doesn’t exist,” Lamping says.  But he says the team will nonetheless continue to look for more revenue opportunities to achieve that stability.  “We think it’s our responsibility to solve it. It’s not the community’s responsibility, it’s not the fans’ responsibility, it’s our responsibility to do it. And, if we didn’t think we could do it, Shad [Khan] wouldn’t be spending the hundreds of millions of dollars that he’s prepared to continue to invest,” Lamping says.  There is a lot of development that has recently moved forward in that immediate area, including the proposed redevelopment of Berkman Plaza II in to a hotel, parking, and entertainment space. Khan has also put forward a plan to kickoff the Shipyards development with a new Convention Center, although the City’s Downtown Investment Authority Board has authorized negotiations on a different proposal, which would be on the old Courthouse/City Hall Annex site.  GALLERY: Convention Center proposed for the Jacksonville Shipyards “We are focused on doing everything that we need to do, to produce a sustainable, stable franchise here in Jacksonville,” Lamping says.  He believes that will have to mean new local revenue, because football revenue alone will not bring in enough. They have nonetheless pursued avenues within the football frame as well, including adding more premium seating in the stadium, and some that also involves fan attractions, like the pools.  While they’re disappointed the Wembley deal fell through- because it was not only an independent revenue stream, but could have helped secure the team’s continued annual presence on London- Lamping says the timing wasn’t right.  “We got drawn in to the middle of, really, an internal dispute amongst the Football Association. We knew that if this project was going to be successful, that it was going to be a long-term partnership with the FA. And if you’re ever getting in to a partnership that you know if going to take a lot of give-and-take, and is going to take long-term, you better make sure that you get off on a really strong foot. And it just seemed like the seller of the stadium didn’t have all their ducks in a row,” Lamping says.  He’s nonetheless confident about the partnerships the Jags have built in London and with the NFL in the UK, and he says they will do everything they can to maintain that annual game, as a key contributor in supporting Jacksonville operations.  And for those who continue to believe that the Jags are trying to move to London outright, Lamping says Khan continues to be frustrated by that talk, and asks fans to keep looking at their actions, not speculation.  “You don’t do the type of stuff that he’s [Khan’s] doing, you don’t invest the type of money that he’s investing, if you’re planning to leave,” Lamping says.  He says Khan is prepared to invest in the next opportunity that will continue to support the team in Jacksonville, and they will continue pursuing partnerships with the City and others to achieve what’s best for the community overall.
  • The Georgia State Patrol says a man is dead after he managed to fire a weapon that he had hidden behind his back while he was handcuffed during a traffic stop on Interstate 75 in Georgia. >> Read more trending news The shooting happened at exit 293 in Cartersville, near the exit ramp to Highway 411 in Bartow County. Officials say a trooper pulled a couple over around 5 a.m. Thursday and the trooper found contraband in the car. The female driver was taken into custody. Authorities said the male passenger originally gave a false name and, at some point, the first trooper called for backup. When a second trooper arrived, the officers determined the man was a wanted parole violator who had been on the run for months, officials said. The troopers searched the man’s car for weapons and handcuffed his hands behind his back, according to investigators. >> Man carrying replica machine gun fatally shot by police, cops say The man was able to grab a weapon hidden behind his back in his pants and fired at the troopers. One of the officers was struck in the stomach, but protected by a bullet-proof vest.  The troopers shot back at the suspect, authorities said. The man was taken to the hospital and later died, according to officials.  The trooper was treated at the hospital and released.  Authorities continue to investigate.
  • JEA is working to determine the cause of a hole that opened up in downtown Jacksonville. The utility says between investigating the cause and the complex work of repairing the hole, they will need to close both directions of W. 1st Street between Rudolph McKissick Sr. Blvd and Pearl, likely for the next five days.  A spokesperson says crews will first need to remove water from the hole to determine the cause, which includes setting up a de-watering system. A wastewater bypass system will also need to be set up while the hole is being repaired.  JEA says asphalt work is slated to begin Thursday night, with excavation slated for Friday.  We're told a detour will be in effect for the area in the meantime.

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