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New Mexico’s state election board on Tuesday certified results of a primary that was nearly derailed by county officials amid voter anger and distrust fueled by unfounded conspiracies about vote-counting equipment and election procedures.

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, both Democrats, voted together to endorse the election results as members of the state election canvassing board, at a sparsely attended meeting in the state Capitol. A third board member, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Shannon Bacon, had a scheduling conflict and was attending a retreat with chief judges and court executive officers.

County commissioners in politically conservative Otero County initially refused to certify local primary election results because of unspecified concerns with Dominion voting systems, a target of widespread conspiracy theories since the 2020 presidential election.

Two of three county commissioners relented and certified the primary results under an order from the New Mexico Supreme Court and pushback from state election regulators and prosecutors.

Outbursts from angry crowds were on display in Torrance and Sandoval counties as local boards certified their local primary results. Those county commissions later approved resolutions that highlight dissatisfaction with election procedures.


Scotland’s leader told lawmakers in Edinburgh Tuesday that she plans to hold a fresh referendum on Scotland’s independence on Oct. 19, 2023 — even though U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson maintains it wasn’t the right time for such a vote.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the question to be asked will be the same as that in Scotland’s first independence vote in 2014: “Should Scotland be an independent country?”

The U.K.-wide government of Johnson opposes a new referendum and has repeatedly said the issue was settled in 2014, when 55% saying they wanted to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Scotland’s government requires a special order from Johnson to legally hold a referendum.

Sturgeon said she will ask the U.K. Supreme Court to rule on the Scottish government’s right to hold the vote if Johnson does not give the go-ahead.

Scotland’s most senior law official has referred the matter to the top court on Tuesday, she said.

She added that she would be writing to Johnson to inform him of her plans.

Sturgeon, who leads the Scottish National Party and the devolved government in Scotland, insists it’s time to revisit the matter of independence, not least because of Britain’s exit from the European Union — a move opposed by a majority of Scots.


Construction is scheduled to begin this week on a long-planned road project in the south end of Burlington, Mayor Miro Weinberger said.

The comments came after a federal judge lifted an order that blocked work on the first phase of what is known as the Champlain Parkway.

The first phase of construction will include tree removal and work to protect a brook running through the area.

Opponents say the project does not match current transportation needs and will harm residents in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

In the Friday order, U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford said beginning construction of the parkway would not cause irreparable harm to those who oppose the project and there will be time to address in court those underlying issues.

The Champlain Parkway is designed to be a two-lane road that will eventually connect Interstate 189 with downtown Burlington.

The $45 million, two-mile (three-kilometer) project is designed to improve traffic circulation, alleviate overburdened roadways, protect Lake Champlain through enhanced storm water management, and improve vehicular, bike, and pedestrian safety.


The South Dakota attorney general’s office has declined to file charges against billionaire T. Denny Sanford following an investigation into possible possession of child pornography, saying it found no “prosecutable offenses” within the state’s jurisdiction, according to a court document filed Friday.

Sanford, a banker turned philanthropist, is the state’s richest man and has donated billions to hospitals, universities and charities. South Dakota investigators in 2019 began searching his email account, as well as his cellular and internet service providers, for possible possession of child pornography after his accounts were flagged by a technology firm.

The attorney general’s office said in Friday’s court filing that the “South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation has completed its investigation ... and has determined that there are no prosecutable offenses within the jurisdiction of the State of South Dakota.”

The attorney general’s office had no comment beyond the court filing.

“Mr. Sanford appreciates the public acknowledgement by the SD Attorney General’s office that the DCI has concluded its investigation and they have found no prosecutable crime,” Marty Jackley, Sanford’s attorney, said via text.

South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg had earlier requested the involvement of federal law enforcement. A state filing in January said both state and federal investigations were continuing at the time. The Department of Justice declined to comment Friday when asked if a federal investigation is ongoing.


A Minnesota judge will hear arguments Monday on whether to allow live video coverage of the upcoming trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill took the rare step of allowing live audiovisual coverage of ex-Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial last year, making an exception to the normal rules of Minnesota courts. He cited the need to balance protecting participants from COVID-19 against the constitutional requirement for a public trial.

Now that the U.S. has entered a new phase of living with the coronavirus, Cahill must decide whether to allow the same sort of access for the trial set to begin in June for former Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng.

A coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, said in a brief filed Friday that it understood that Cahill planned to prohibit video coverage, including livestreaming. The coalition said it presumed the reasons included defense objections and the judge’s belief that his hands are tied by the normal court rules “absent the extenuating circumstances caused by the pandemic.”

Thao, Lane and Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting both manslaughter and murder when Chauvin used his knee to pin Floyd, a Black man, to the pavement for 9 1/2 minutes on May 25, 2020. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back. The killing, which was recorded on video, sparked protests around the world and a national reckoning on race.

Defense attorneys have raised concerns about the willingness of witnesses to testify. Minnesota court rules generally require the consent of all parties for audiovisual coverage of trials, with fewer restrictions for sentencings. Chauvin’s trial was the first in Minnesota to be entirely televised, from jury selection to his murder conviction to his sentencing to 22 1/2 years in prison. People worldwide tuned into the livestreams.


Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday he won’t vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, expressing concerns about her record despite supporting her confirmation as an appeals court judge last year.

The South Carolina senator’s announcement had been expected after he criticized Jackson during her four days of hearings last week. But it gives Democrats one less Republican vote as they seek bipartisan backing for President Joe Biden’s pick to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.

Graham, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska were the only three Republicans to vote to confirm Jackson on the appeals court in 2021. Collins announced Wednesday that she’ll vote for Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination, as well, giving Democrats at least one GOP vote. Murkowski has said she’s still undecided.

A final confirmation vote is expected next week. Jackson would be the first Black woman on the high court in its more than 200-year history, and the sixth woman.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Graham said his decision is based partly on what he sees as a “flawed sentencing methodology regarding child pornography cases,” echoing a line of questioning by some Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. Several senators, some eyeing a run for president, repeatedly asked her about her sentencing decisions in her nine years as a federal judge in an effort to paint her as too lenient on sex criminals.


A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by a Delaware prison inmate who claimed he was deprived of his constitutional rights by being placed into solitary confinement because of his mental illness.

The appeals court will hear arguments Wednesday in the case of Angelo Lee Clark, who also claimed he was deprived of his rights to adequate medical care while in solitary confinement.

Attorneys for Clark filed the appeal after a federal court jury ruled in favor of Delaware prison officials last year. The jury found that prison officials did not violate Clark’s rights by putting him in solitary confinement or denying adequate medical care.

Clark died in January at the age of 66. A family member is acting as the appellant in the case.

According to court records, Clark was held at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center from 2004 to 2019, when he was moved to a psychiatric facility.

While in prison, he was treated for serious mental illness, including manic depression, antisocial personality disorder and paranoid schizophrenia.

Clark was housed in solitary confinement for fifteen days in 2015 and for seven months in 2016.

Attorneys for Clark alleged that his placement in solitary confinement was in retaliation for his mental illness, loud voice, and minor rule infractions.

They argued among other things that holding a severely mentally ill inmate in solitary confinement when the harmful effects of such punishment are well known amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Prison officials argued in a motion to dismiss that qualified immunity insulated them from liability for that claim. A trial court judge agreed but allowed the suit to proceed to the jury on other issues.

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