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A magistrate in Zambia on Thursday granted bail to eight Croatian nationals charged with child trafficking.

Magistrate David Makalicha in Ndola, in the mineral-rich Copperbelt province, said the eight should each pay 20,000 Kwacha (about $1,000) bail and surrender their passports to the court.

The eight were named as Damir Magic, 44, Nadica Magic, 45, Zoran Subosic, 52, Azra Imamovic Subosic, 41, Ladislav Persic, 42, Aleksandra Persic, 40, Noah Kraljevic, 45, and Ivona Kraljevic, 46, when they first appeared in court on Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of child trafficking.

They are defended by a legal aid lawyer, Kelvin Silwimba. In the charges brought before the court, the Croatians are accused of attempting to traffic four named children late last year into Zambia “for the purpose of exploitation.”

Media in Croatia had reported that the detained Croats were four couples and that they included Zoran Subosic, a guitarist for well-known band Hladno Pivo, or Cold Beer.

On Thursday, witnesses included an immigration officer and a guest house manager.

Mercy Phiri, an immigration officer at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport, said she was tipped off that some Croatians were planning to leave the country through the airport with Black children.


Former Louisiana Democratic Party leader Karen Carter Peterson, who resigned from the state Senate last year year citing depression and a gambling addiction — and later pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud — was sentenced on Wednesday to 22 months in prison.

Peterson, who served in the Louisiana Legislature for more than 22 years, admitted in August to taking more than $140,000 in funds from her reelection campaign and from the state Democratic Party. The ex-lawmaker spent a “substantial amount” of that money on casino gambling, according to court documents.

Although the felony charge of federal wire fraud carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years, U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance sentenced Peterson to significantly less, The Advocate reported.

“People trusted me and I breached that trust,” Peterson said in court, WDSU-TV reported.

At the sentencing, Peterson cried at the podium and repented for her criminal wrongdoing — apologizing to her constituents, family and friends.

Ahead of the sentencing, Peterson’s lawyers implored U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance to consider an alternative to prison — such as probation or home confinement.

They said her gambling addiction resulted in “diminished mental capacity,” which can qualify a defendant for a reduced sentence, according to court filings obtained by The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate. In addition, they pointed to her Christian faith, her acceptance of responsibility for the crimes and her participation in Gamblers Anonymous.


The divisive social media personality Andrew Tate appeared in court in Romania’s capital Tuesday to appeal a judge’s decision to extend his arrest on charges of being part of an organized crime group, human trafficking and rape to 30 days.

Tate, 36, a British-U.S. citizen who has 4.4 million followers on Twitter, was initially detained on Dec. 29 for 24 hours along with his brother Tristan, who was charged in the same case. Two Romanian women also were taken into custody.

All four immediately challenged the arrest extension that a judge granted to prosecutors on Dec. 30. A document explaining the judge’s reasoning said “the possibility of them evading investigations cannot be ignored,” and that they could “leave Romania and settle in countries that do not allow extradition.”

Tate arrived at Bucharest’s Court of Appeal in handcuffs. Eugen Vidineac, a Romanian defense lawyer representing Tate, told journalists after a morning hearing that “all four of the accused have made statements” and that “the lawyers’ pleas were listened to entirely.

”Romania’s anti-organized crime agency DIICOT said after the late December raids that it had identified six victims in the case who were subjected by the group to “acts of physical violence and mental coercion” and were sexually exploited by group members.

“The court has to decide. We hope for a positive solution for our clients,” Vidineac said.


The New Mexico Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Monday in a legal challenge to a congressional map that divvies up a politically conservative region of the state.

It’s one of several court battles in states from Kentucky to Utah regarding U.S. House districts enacted by state legislatures and alleged constitutional violations.

The Republican Party and several other plaintiffs have accused Democratic lawmakers in New Mexico of breaking up the southeastern corner of the state — an oil producing region and Republican stronghold — into three districts “for raw political gain.”

The case holds implications for the 2nd Congressional District where Democrat Gabe Vasquez in November ousted incumbent U.S. Rep. Yvette Herrell. The majority-Hispanic district currently stretches from the U.S. border with Mexico across desert oilfields and portions of Albuquerque.

Clovis-based District Judge Fred Van Soelen in April cleared the way for Republicans to challenge the new congressional map, while barring immediate changes that might have disrupted the 2022 midterm election.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and leading Democratic legislators have asked the Supreme Court to intervene and preserve their redistricting plan. They say new boundaries to the state’s three congressional districts were vetted appropriately through the political process to ensure more competitive districts that reflect population shifts, with deference to Native American communities.


A Trump administration ban on bump stocks — devices that enable a shooter to rapidly fire multiple rounds from semi-automatic weapons after an initial trigger pull — was struck down Friday by a federal appeals court in New Orleans.

The ban was instituted after a gunman perched in a high-rise hotel using bump stock-equipped weapons massacred dozens of people in Las Vegas in 2017. Gun rights advocates have challenged it in multiple courts. The 13-3 ruling at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of appeals is the latest on the issue, which is likely to be decided at the Supreme Court.

The decision doesn’t have an immediate effect on the ban though because the case now moves back to the lower court to decide how to proceed.

The case was somewhat unique because the issue involves not the Second Amendment but the interpretation of federal statutes. Opponents of the ban argued that bump stocks do not fall under the definition of illegal machine guns in federal law. The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says they do, a position now being defended by the Biden administration.

“A plain reading of the statutory language, paired with close consideration of the mechanics of a semi-automatic firearm, reveals that a bump stock is excluded from the technical definition of ‘machinegun’ set forth in the Gun Control Act and National Firearms Act,” Judge Jennifer Walker Elrod wrote in the lead majority opinion.

The court found that the definition of a machinegun — which is set out in two different federal statutes — “does not apply to bump stocks.”

The ban had survived challenges at the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals; the Denver-based 10th Circuit; and the federal circuit court in Washington. A panel of three judges at the 5th Circuit also issued a ruling in favor of the ban, upholding a lower court decision by a Texas federal judge. But the full New Orleans-based court voted to reconsider the case. Arguments were heard Sept. 13.

Bump stocks harness the recoil energy of a semiautomatic firearm so that a trigger “resets and continues firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter,” according to the ATF. A shooter must maintain constant forward pressure on the weapon with the non-shooting hand, and constant pressure on the trigger with the trigger finger, according to court records.


A lawsuit over how much money Arizona’s lawmakers allocate for school maintenance, buses, textbooks and technology won’t go to trial next week, after a judge granted a request for a delay by the state’s incoming attorney general.

Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes said her office needs time to determine whether some or all of the claims can be resolved without a trial.

The trial was set to begin Monday. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Dewain Fox approved Mayes’ request Friday and scheduled a status hearing for March 17, the Arizona Republic reported.

A group of school districts and associations representing school officials and teachers sued the state in 2017. They argued that the Legislature had shorted them billions of dollars in capital funding for more than a decade.

The lawsuit sought a declaration that Arizona’s school funding scheme was unconstitutional because it violated the “uniform and general” clause of the state Constitution. The state Supreme Court ruled in 1994 that it is the state’s responsibility to provide cash for new schools, major maintenance and things like textbooks. The Legislature began cutting that spending during the Great Recession of 2007-2009.

Mayes has said in recent filings that the state will no longer argue that the capital funding system is beyond the purview of the courts or that districts need to prove that specific students didn’t receive an adequate education due to their school’s capital facilities.

Kim Martin, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office, said Friday that the case has already cost the state millions of dollars and the hope is that an agreement can be reached with the plaintiffs.

Attorney Danny Adelman is executive director of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, which is helping litigate the case. He’s hopeful that incoming Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs can address some of the concerns through executive actions.

He said one step would be the state agreeing to quality inspections to help accurately assess the needs of Arizona schools.


Environmental groups challenging permits for a natural gas pipeline and export facility in south Texas lost a legal fight at a federal appeals court Thursday.

A panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved the “least environmentally damaging” alternative submitted during the permitting process.

The permit was granted for the project of Rio Grande LNG and Rio Bravo Pipeline Company. The rejected court challenge was filed by the Shrimpers and Fishermen of the RGV, the Sierra Club and a group called Save RGV from LNG. The groups announced their challenge in 2021, saying the project posed an environmental threat to low-income communities, shrimpers and fishers in the Rio Grande Valley region.

According to Thursday’s opinion, the groups argued that the permit violated the Clean Water Act. They challenged the Corps’ finding that the project’s disruption of environmentally vulnerable wetlands would be temporary and would not require mitigating action by the companies.

The 5th Circuit panel said the Corps considered studies showing that the area’s vegetation would return within a year of the project’s completion.

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