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March 25, 2019 - 12:00 am

DUKE UNIVERSITY-WHISTLEBLOWER LAWSUIT

Duke University pays $112M to settle faked research lawsuit

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Duke University will pay $112 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit after federal prosecutors said the school used a research technician's fake data to land federal grants.

The Justice Department claimed in its lawsuit that the private university in Durham knowingly submitted claims for dozens of research grants that contained falsified or fabricated information. Prosecutors said Monday that the faked data involved mouse studies.

Duke said it discovered the problem in 2013 after the technician was fired for embezzling university money. The school says in a statement that it's repaying grant money and related penalties. The statement says the technician pleaded guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to the university.

A former Duke employee who alerted the government will get nearly $34 million.

LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING

Judges work through pretrial challenges in remapping suit

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A judicial panel has ruled North Carolina Republican legislators can avoid testifying for an upcoming redistricting trial over state legislative maps.

But the three judges also ruled on Monday that the GOP lawmakers sued by Democrats and election reform advocates still must respond further to written questions from the plaintiffs about how boundaries were drawn and by whom.

The judges issued a protective order that would keep a dozen current or former legislators and staff from being deposed heading toward a July 15 trial. GOP defendants had cited legislative privilege and immunity in their refusal. The panel did direct the lawmakers to respond in full in six areas where the plaintiffs want information.

Those who sued contend House and Senate maps violate the state constitution due to excessive pro-Republican bias.

POLICE SHOOT ARMED MAN-THE LATEST

The Latest: Police identify officer, victim in shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities have released the identities of a North Carolina police officer and the man she shot and killed in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant.

In a news release, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police identified the slain man as 27-year-old Danquirs Napoleon Franklin. Officer Wende Kerl was identified as the officer involved in the shooting on Monday.

According to the news release, Kerl will mark 22 years with the department next month. She is assigned to the Metro Division.

Kerl has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such instances.

Chief Kerr Putney told reporters that employees at a Burger King called police after the man acted suspiciously. Putney said the man walked outside, where officers ordered him multiple times to drop the gun. Putney says the officer perceived a "lethal threat" and shot the man.

GENITAL MUTILATION

Genital mutilation ban bill passes in North Carolina Senate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina law would make it a severe felony for someone to perform female genital mutilation on a child under a measure advancing at the General Assembly.

The Senate voted unanimously on Monday evening for the prohibition, which has surfaced after a federal ban was struck down in November. A federal judge did say that states can regulate it.

A foundation says nearly 30 states already have legislation that specifically addresses female genital mutilation. The World Health Organization says there is no health benefit to female genital mutilation and it can cause numerous health problems.

The legislation now heading to the North Carolina House also punishes a parent who allows the child's genital mutilation or removal to occur. A first-offense conviction is punishable by at least 3½ years in prison.

UNOCCUPIED CAR-FATAL CRASH

Unoccupied car rolls through parking lot, kills woman

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina say a woman was killed when an unoccupied car rolled through an apartment complex parking lot and hit her.

Winston-Salem police say in a news release the car was parked and unoccupied when it began to roll backward Monday morning and hit 66-year-old Linda Whitaker Idol.

Authorities say Idol was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports the driver of the car was at the scene of the accident. Police Lt. J.S. Doss said it was too early to speculate on possible charges.

THEATER SHOOTING

Police: Man shot in dispute over seating at movie theater

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Police in North Carolina have arrested a man who they say shot another moviegoer in a dispute over seating at a movie theater.

News outlets report Concord police say officers were called to a theater showing the horror film "Us" at Concord Mills mall around 6 p.m. Sunday and found a male with a single gunshot wound which was not life-threatening.

On Monday, investigators announced that 18-year-old Bryant Gregory Eaves Jr. had been arrested at his home in Indian Land, South Carolina. He is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury with intent to kill.

Police do not believe that Eaves and the victim knew each other prior to the shooting.

Eaves is awaiting extradition. It's unclear whether he has an attorney who could comment.

TEACHER PROTESTS

North Carolina teachers' group plan another May rally

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's largest teacher-lobbying group will organize another march and rally this spring to seek higher school salaries and funding from the General Assembly.

North Carolina Association of Educators President Mark Jewell confirmed on Monday the group will hold a public education "Day of Action" for May 1 in Raleigh.

An estimated 19,000 people marched last May to the Legislative Building. They pressed unsuccessfully for Republican lawmakers to stop certain tax cuts that NCAE and ally Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said squeezed money from K-12 education. Jewell says NCAE efforts at the rally and in the fall helped elect favored lawmakers so the GOP no longer has veto-proof majorities.

North Carolina average teacher salaries have been ratcheting up state rankings recently, but Jewell says veteran teachers have been left behind.

DRIVING WITHOUT PANTS-ARREST

Police: Man drove on college campus without pants

(Information from: The State, http://www.thestate.com)

ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man accused of driving around a college campus without pants on has been arrested.

Winthrop University police Lt. Charles Yearta tells The State newspaper that 23-year-old David Nathaniel Atkinson was arrested Saturday and charged with indecent exposure.

Yearta said two students looking out the window of their dorm before 8 p.m. saw a man without pants in a car.

Yearta said Atkinson isn't a student at Winthrop University and has no known affiliation with the school in Rock Hill.

York County Sheriff's Office spokesman Trent Faris told the newspaper that Atkinson was released Sunday after posting $10,000 bail. It wasn't immediately clear whether he had an attorney.

The newspaper reports that Atkinson was previously convicted of indecent exposure in December 2016 in Alamance County, North Carolina.

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