MICHIGAN GOVERNOR KIDNAPPING PLOT
Lawyers: FBI lured men for Michigan Governor Whitmer’s kidnapping plot
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Lawyers for four men accused of planning to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer tell jurors they were influenced by informants and federal agents who targeted them for their anti- -governmental. They portrayed the men as big talkers, wannabes and, in one case, a “misfit” manipulated by an FBI informant. Attorney Joshua Blanchard said in federal court in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Wednesday that the FBI lined up an informant with a long criminal history to contact Barry Croft Jr. and lure him to militia meetings. Four men are tried: Croft, Adam Fox, Brandon Caserta and Daniel Harris. Prosecutors say the men plotted to snatch Whitmer in 2020 because they were angry at pandemic restrictions and went way beyond talking.
Michigan Legislature begins voting to suspend state gas tax
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Republican-led Legislature has begun voting to lift Michigan’s gasoline and diesel taxes of 27.2 cents per gallon for six months as prices at the pump exceed $4 per gallon. Republican leaders announced the plan on Wednesday, after Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer urged Congress to suspend the federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents a gallon and the diesel tax of 24.4 cents. His office did not pass the temporary halt to state fuel taxes, saying it would hamper road repairs. The state legislation would save drivers an estimated $725 million. The federal legislation would transfer general funds so that transportation funding to the states is not reduced. Republicans said they would do something similar in Michigan.
HEALTH CARE FRAUD
Dozen doctors jailed for healthcare fraud and opioid scheme
DETROIT (AP) — A dozen doctors are among 16 people from Michigan and Ohio sentenced to prison for health care fraud that included distributing 6.6 million doses of opioids and 250 millions of dollars in fake invoices. The Justice Department said Wednesday that a multistate network of pain clinics participated in the program from 2007 to 2018 in which doctors refused to provide patients with opioids unless they accepted injections. expensive, unnecessary and sometimes painful backbones. Authorities described the clinics as “pill factories” and said they were frequented by people with addictions and drug dealers seeking high-dose prescription drugs like oxycodone. The injections were selected because they were among the highest paying procedures, rather than based on medical need.
GENERAL MOTORS ELECTRIC VEHICLE PLANTS
Michigan lawmakers finalize $666 million transfer for GM projects
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Lawmakers have authorized a transfer of $666 million in state funds to finalize incentives for General Motors to locate an electric vehicle plant and an electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan. The deal was approved by the state’s economic development board in January, but still needed the blessing of lawmakers. The Senate Appropriations Committee voted 14-4, the House Appropriations Committee 18-9. GM plans to spend up to $4 billion to convert and expand its Orion Township assembly plant to make electric pickup trucks and $1.5-2.5 billion to build a battery cell plant with a joint venture partner in Lansing. These moves will create up to 4,000 jobs.
RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR-MICHIGAN SALES
Board orders Michigan pension funds to dump Russian assets
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Opposing the war in Ukraine, a state board has ordered Michigan’s pension systems to dump assets invested in Russian companies and securities. Prior to the invasion, the $98 billion pension fund’s portfolio had 0.06% of its holdings tied to Russia. Much of it is in international index funds managed by outside companies and is probably worth much less now due to sanctions and the shutdown of the Russian stock market. The Michigan State Board of Investment resolution, passed on Wednesday, also applies to Belarusian companies and securities. The vote came after Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked the council to act.
Police seize cash and 82 slot machines in Lansing
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Police raids have led to the seizure of more than $91,500 in cash and 82 slot machines at two illegal casinos in Lansing. The Lansing State Journal reported Wednesday that the raids followed an investigation by Michigan’s Gaming Control Board, the state attorney general’s office and Lansing police. Most of the machines, including 28 slots and a virtual blackjack table, were removed Feb. 28 from a storefront in a mall. Thirteen full-size slots and seven other games were removed on March 4 from the other storefront. Mayor Andy Schor said in a statement that “illegal and unregulated gambling operations in Lansing invite crime” in city neighborhoods and commercial corridors.
A Michigan deputy was shot while executing a felony warrant
BROWN CITY, Mich. (AP) — Authorities say a Michigan sheriff’s deputy was in stable condition after he was shot and injured while serving a felony warrant at a home. Michigan State Police said the Lapeer County deputy “was shot multiple times” and hospitalized. State police said the shooting took place in Brown City, a community of about 1,300 residents about 40 miles northeast of Flint. State Police spokeswoman Lt. Kim Vetter said the status of the person(s) involved in the shooting was not immediately available for public release. State Police said the agency is investigating the shooting at the request of the Lapeer County Sheriff’s Office and that “there are no suspects at large and no threats to the community.”
Michigan announces first charges in Boy Scouts investigation
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Authorities in Michigan announced the first criminal charges stemming from the state’s review of child sex abuse charges against the Boy Scouts of America, charging a former troop leader ahead of his release from a New York prison for separate crimes. Mark Chapman, 51, is accused of sexually assaulting two boys when he was a Boy Scout leader in the Detroit suburb of Roseville, where he also worked and attended The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . Beginning in 2000, one victim was abused at the church – where the troupe sometimes met – and at other locations, Attorney General Dana Nessel said. The second victim was molested for years from the age of about 11.
FATAL PLANE CRASH – FLORIDA
Small plane crash kills 2 near Panama City Beach airport
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Officials say the head of a Michigan health care system and her husband died after their small plane crashed a short distance from an airport in the Florida Panhandle. The Federal Aviation Administration said the single-engine Cessna 182 crashed Tuesday night in a wooded area about two miles from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City, Florida. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office identified the occupants as MyMichigan Health President and CEO Diane Postler-Slattery and her husband Donald Slattery. Sheriff’s officials say the plane was approaching the airport around 7 p.m. when it disappeared from radar. The plane was eventually found using drones in a densely wooded area.
EXPLAINER: Charges in an alleged plot to kidnap Governor Whitmer
CHICAGO (AP) — Four members of anti-government groups are on trial this week on federal charges accusing them of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in 2020. The primary charge in the case is a kidnapping conspiracy. This will likely be the focus 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 from her northern Michigan vacation home because they were enraged at what they saw as Whitmer’s overly restrictive policies during the pandemic. Two co-accused pleaded guilty before the trial and are expected to be the main prosecution witnesses. If found guilty of the most serious charges, defendants face maximum sentences of life in prison.