MICHIGAN GOVERNOR-KIDNAPPING PLOT
Openings set in Michigan Gov. Whitmer kidnap plot trial
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – Opening statements are set to begin in the trial of four men who prosecutors say plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Prosecutors have said the men were angry about pandemic restrictions the Democratic governor imposed. They are expected Wednesday to lay out a case that includes secret recordings of the men discussing the plan. Defense attorneys say the men deny any conspiracy to kidnap Whitmer. They have signaled an entrapment defense, criticizing the government’s use of undercover FBI agents and confidential informants. Eleven women and seven men were selected Tuesday to serve as jurors, with 12 who will decide the case and six alternates. The court did not make clear which jurors are alternates. The trial in federal court in Grand Rapids could last more than a month.
EXPLAINER: Charges in alleged plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer
CHICAGO (AP) – Four members of anti-government groups are facing trial this week on federal charges accusing them of plotting to abduct Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. The headline charge in the case is kidnapping conspiracy. It’s likely to be the focal point of testimony in a trial that is expected to last at least a month. Charging documents accuse the men of plotting from June to October 2020 to abduct the Democratic governor at her second home di lei in northern Michigan because they were furious by what they saw as Whitmer’s overly restrictive policies di lei during the pandemic. Two co-defendants pleaded guilty before trial and are expected to be key prosecution witnesses. If convicted of the most serious charges, the defendants face maximum life prison terms.
Michigan House candidate denounced for comments about rape
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Top Michigan Republicans are denouncing a legislative candidate over his comments about rape. Republican Robert “RJ” Regan made the remarks in a livestream hosted by a conservative group during an exchange about decertifying the 2020 presidential election. He said he tells his three daughters to “lie back and enjoy” rape if it’s inevitable. On the day of his unofficial upset victory in last week’s House primary in the Grand Rapids area, he called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine a “fake war just like the fake pandemic.” He previously shared antisemitic social media posts. Regan is favored to win May’s special election because it’s a Republican seat.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-SEX ASSAULT
Ex-U. of Michigan athlete’s protest encampment is removed
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – A camper, tent, signs and other items that represented a former University of Michigan football player’s protest against the school’s handling of sex abuse allegations involving a campus doctor have been removed by the school. Jon Vaughn says Tuesday the small blue-and-white camper is gone. University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald confirmed to The Associated Press that the university removed the camper and other items. It had been parked outside the home of the university’s president in Ann Arbor since Oct. 8. The former running back is one of more than 1,000 people who say they were sexually abused by the late sports doctor Robert Anderson over more than three decades. The school earlier this year announced a $ 490 million settlement with the alleged victims.
Resilience Story: Forget about the leg, just watch him dance
CADILLAC, Mich. (AP) – MacKale McGuire, a cancer survivor who lost a leg, recently took the stage in his small northern Michigan hometown to star in his school’s performance of Disney’s “High School Musical.” A show that’s heavy on dancing was a particular challenge for him because he uses a prosthetic. But MacKale, 18, says he likes to surprise people with what he can do. He also plays soccer and golf and has learned to ski on one leg. He heads to college next year and is thinking about becoming a pediatric oncologist to help kids with cancer.
FEDERAL GAS TAX-WHITMER
Whitmer urges Congress to pause 18-cents-a-gallon gas tax
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has joined other Democratic governors in urging Congress to pause the 18.4-cents-a-gallon federal gasoline tax for the rest of the year to alleviate pump prices exceeding $ 4 per gallon. The group pushed for the suspension in a letter Tuesday to congressional leaders. Whitmer, who is up for reelection, doesn’t support temporarily freezing the state’s 27.2-cents-per-gallon gas tax, which funds construction work, or the 6% sales tax on fuel. Pump prices were rising before Russia invaded Ukraine and have spiraled faster since the start of the war. Republicans say Whitmer could sign other tax cuts on her desk than her.
Judge won’t reinstate Michigan prof who made vulgar video
BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) – A judge has declined to reinstate a Michigan professor who was suspended in January for making a profanity-filled video to welcome students to a new term. Barry Mehler said his free speech rights of lui were violated when he was barred from teaching history at Ferris State University while the school investigates his actions by lui. But federal Judge Jane Beckering turned down a request for a preliminary injunction Monday. Mehler has said his 14-minute video of him was simply a performance to get his students’ “juices flowing.” He used profanities and made a sexual reference as he rambled on about his attendance policy, grades, plagiarism and COVID-19.
Michigan auto insurers will begin issuing $ 400 refunds
LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan drivers with auto insurance will soon starting getting previously announced $ 400 refunds per vehicle. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state’s top insurance regulator said Monday that a $ 3 billion transfer of surplus funds from the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association to car insurers will be completed this week. The companies will have 60 days to issue the refunds – no later than May 9. The governor has attributed the surplus and refunds in part to 2019 law that curbed or cut what health providers and attendant care aides can charge auto insurers. Critics say the slashed reimbursements have led to injured motorists losing quality care.
EPA memo steers water money to disadvantaged communities
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Federal officials have issued guidance that they say will ensure the country’s largest-ever investment in water infrastructure doesn’t bypass disadvantaged communities. The memo from the Environmental Protection Agency applies to $ 43 billion from the infrastructure bill for making drinking water cleaner, improving sewage treatment and replacing lead pipes. The memo spells out how much disadvantaged communities should get. For example, it says nearly half of the $ 15 billion for lead pipe replacements should go to disadvantaged communities. Some Republican governors say the Biden Administration should not impose its policy agenda on states through the infrastructure funding.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-DETROIT BUDGET
Detroit Mayor Duggan presents $ 2.4B budget to City Council
Mayor Mike Duggan has proposed a $ 2.4 billion budget to the City Council that he says shows Detroit’s revenues on par with levels before the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Duggan said Monday that the budget would be Detroit’s eighth consecutive balanced budget following its 2014 exit from bankruptcy. The proposed budget includes the city’s $ 1.2 billion general fund budget and other funds for the fiscal year beginning July 1. It The City Council must approve the budget, which would be $ 115 million more than the budget for the last fiscal year. It includes a $ 67 million increase across city departments to restore the budget after cost cuts made due to coronavirus pandemic. The new fiscal year begins July 1.