National Roundup

Oldest county courthouse still in use in state to be replaced

OLIVET, S.D. (AP) — Voters in Hutchinson County have approved a $4.5 million courthouse.

The Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan reports that nearly two-thirds of the 1,700 voters in Tuesday’s election favored the project.

The current courthouse was built in 1881 and is the oldest in use in the state. County officials say it has mold, water damage, cracks and other structural deficiencies.

The County Commission decided in February to replace it, but opponents organized a successful petition drive to put the matter to a public vote. Opponents had raised concerns about the proposed cost, location and necessity of a new courthouse.

The county has built up $2.7 million in a construction fund and will borrow the rest of the needed money from a bank.

President Trump nominates 2 to judicial posts

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — President Trump is nominating an Oklahoma Supreme Court justice and a Tulsa lawyer to federal judgeships.

Trump on Tuesday nominated Judge Patrick Wyrick as a U.S. district judge for the western district of Oklahoma and attorney John O’Connor as district judge for courts in the eastern, northern and western districts of the state.

Wyrick was named to the state Supreme Court in February 2017 after six years as solicitor general in the Oklahoma attorney general’s office where he represented the state in various cases before the U.S. and Oklahoma supreme courts as well as other courts.

O’Connor is a shareholder in the Tulsa-based law firm Hall Estill and is a member of the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa board of trustees.

Both nominations must be approved by the U.S. Senate.

New York
Ginsburg swears in 201 new citizens, urges them to vote

NEW YORK (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg swore in a new group of American citizens and urged them to vote.

The 85-year-old daughter of a Russian immigrant father administered the oath of allegiance to 201 new citizens during a ceremony Tuesday in New York City.

She told the group from 59 countries that the nation is “made strong by people like you.”

She told them how her father arrived from Russia when he was 13 years old with no fortune and unable to speak English. Ginsburg said her family’s experience was a “testament to our nation’s promise.”

The justice says the nation continues to struggle to achieve a greater understanding of each other.

New York
US prosecutors detail evidence against El Chapo

NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. prosecutors say their evidence against notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman includes killings, torture, kidnappings, prison breaks and even an attempt to smuggle seven tons of cocaine in cans of jalapenos.

A government memo filed Tuesday also says there’s evidence that Guzman was involved in a 1992 drug-gang shootout at a Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, nightclub that left six people dead, according to The New York Times.

Guzman’s lawyer, Eduardo Balarezo, said he was reviewing the memo and would “respond in due course.”

The Brooklyn conspiracy trial starts in September.

On Monday, the defense requested the criminal histories of drug lords, couriers, enforcers and accountants that prosecutors may put on the stand. The list includes about 40 witnesses, including some who might be allowed to testify under aliases.

Prosecutors said they also had satellite photos of Guzman and his operation, drug ledgers, dozens of videos, thousands of intercepted phone calls and emails, and more than 300,000 pages of documents.

The government also has asked the judge to exclude some topics, including charitable works that Guzman performed in Mexico; his recent announcement through a lawyer that he was planning to run from his New York jail cell for the Mexican Senate; and a January 2016 Rolling Stone article by actor Sean Penn, which said Guzman had built “an almost mythic,” multi-faceted reputation, including that of “a Robin Hood-like figure.”

Founder of megachurch quits following misconduct allegations

SOUTH BARRINGTON, Ill. (AP) — The founder of a Chicago-area evangelical church that grew to become one of the largest in the nation is stepping down, calling allegations that he touched and made lewd comments to female congregants a distraction.

The Rev. Bill Hybels, 66, announced his immediate retirement at a meeting Tuesday with members of the Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois. He has said since 2012 that he planned to retire this October.

The Chicago Tribune last month reported details of the misconduct allegations against Hybels stretching back to the 1990s. A church inquiry cleared Hybels. He has said he has been accused of things he “simply did not do” and that the allegations are “flat-out lies.”

Hybels told congregants Tuesday that the allegations have become a distraction from the church’s mission and work. He apologized for making choices that put him in situations that could be misconstrued, and for reacting in anger when the accusations were made public.

Heather Larson, executive pastor, will take over as the church’s chief executive.

The church that Hybels started in Palatine, Illinois, in 1975, now has eight Chicago-area locations. Leaders say it draws 25,000 people each week.

New Hampshire
Job applicant at jail arrested in theft case

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — A woman applying for a job at a New Hampshire county jail has been arrested because it turns out she was wanted on a charge in Maine.

Police say Kristina Hoefs, of Manchester, applied for the job on Friday at the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections. But workers soon realized she was being sought on a theft-related offense in Maine.

Hoefs was taken into custody and taken to police headquarters. She was scheduled for arraignment Monday.

It’s unknown if Hoefs has a lawyer. No phone number for her can be found.