North Carolina News – August 20

North Carolina News – August 20


N.C. judge won’t halt use of touch-screen vote-mark machines

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has ruled certain touch-screen ballot-marking machines will remain in use in the state this fall. The judge rejected a request by the state NAACP and voters who wanted ExpressVote machines barred from future elections. They’re used in roughly 20 counties. The names of the voters’ choices are printed on the ballot and correspond with bar code data that’s printed on the same ballot and tallied by a separate counting machine. Judge Rebecca Holt wrote no ExpressVote tabulation errors have been reported and there’s no evidence their use will increase the spread of the coronavirus.


North Carolina couple linked to overdose death plead guilty

ABINGDON, Va. (AP) — A North Carolina doctor and his wife linked to a man’s overdose death in Virginia have pleaded guilty to federal drug charges. U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen’s Office said in a statement Wednesday that Dr. David Francis Lelio and Nadja Siiri Kujanson-Lelio pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Abingdon, Virginia, to one count each of conspiracy to distribute prescription opioids. Lelio also pleaded guilty to an additional count of making a false statement. Prosecutors alleged Lelio wrote more than 60 prescriptions for oxycodone to patients without a legitimate medical purpose and that he shared them with his wife, who reimbursed patients for filling them.


N.C. political donor gets 7 years in prison, Hayes probation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A major political donor convicted of attempting to bribe a North Carolina elected official to get preferential regulatory treatment for his insurance business has received over seven years in prison. A federal judge sentenced billionaire businessman Greg Lindberg on Wednesday. Sentencing came shortly after Cogburn gave probation to former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes for lying to FBI agents. Hayes and Lindberg were among four people indicted in 2019, accused of trying to give money to help state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s campaign. Hayes accepted a plea agreement last fall. Lindberg and consultant John Gray were convicted in a March trial. Causey wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.


N.C. colleges aren’t providing key COVID data to the public

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina colleges and universities are reopening, with many seeking to learn from the mistakes of UNC-Chapel Hill. UNC moved all undergraduate courses online this week after a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. But public officials may be unable to get sufficient coronavirus data from other campuses across the state. Universities in North Carolina are providing weekly updates, and some have offered minimal details on COVID clusters and sources of outbreaks. Mandy Cohen, the state’s top public health official, said her department cannot legally require the campuses to report information about coronavirus hot spots.


N.C. judges listen to challenge over restoring voting rights

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Attorneys for convicted felons have urged North Carolina judges to block a state law that keeps those who are on probation or parole from voting. On Wednesday, groups that help ex-offenders argued that the state’s law is racially discriminatory and that people with felonies should be able to regain their voting rights after they are no longer incarcerated. If voters’ rights activists are successful, the decision could lead to an influx of voters in a hotly contested election year and potentially affect close races. Florida has faced a similar ongoing legal battle after Republican state lawmakers passed a law requiring all fines, fees and restitution to be paid before felons could vote.


Sheriff: North Carolina man shot, killed by deputies

TRENTON, N.C. (AP) — Authorities in North Carolina say a man was shot and killed after deputies responded to a domestic call. News sources report Jones County Sheriff Danny Heath said the shooting occurred Tuesday evening at a home near Pollocksville. District Ernie Lee says more than one deputy was involved in the shooting, but no deputies were hurt. The sheriff’s office identified the victim as 38-year-old Trevor Edwards, who was listed as a resident at the home where the shooting took place. There was no immediate word on whether Edwards was armed. The State Bureau of Investigation has been called in to investigate the shooting.


North Carolina college apologizes for supporting slavery

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Officials at a North Carolina college have issued an apology for the school’s support of slavery as well as its acceptance of racist laws and policies that followed. Davidson College issued a statement Wednesday pointing to the school’s support of slavery during its first 30 years. The apology was the result of recommendations made by a commission chaired by former Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx, who also served as U.S. Transportation Secretary under President Barack Obama. The recommendations included public commemoration of contributions by enslaved persons on campus and setting up a committee to recommend any changes in the names of prominent spaces at the school, which was founded in 1837.


North Carolina city sues to remove Confederate statue

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina city is suing to try to secure authorization to remove a Confederate statue from its downtown. The Dispatch of Lexington reports the City of Lexington filed the lawsuit Monday against Davidson County and a chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy. The lawsuit asks for judgment that the city has the right to remove the statue and seeks a permanent injunction prohibiting the return of the monument once it has been removed. The downtown property that includes the statue is owned by Davidson County. The statue was erected by the Daughters of the Confederacy in 1905.

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