The Associated Press

An Orlando jury has handed down hazing and manslaughter convictions to the final three defendants in the death of a Florida A&M University marching band drum major. The verdict brings a three and a half year old legal saga to a close.

Robert Champion, a FAMU Drum Major, died in Nov. 2011 from injuries related to a hazing ritual.
Robert Champion

The three remaining defendants charged in the death of a former FAMU drum major are set to go to trial this month.

A top leader of Yemen's al-Qaida branch has claimed responsibility for last week's attack on a Paris newspaper, when two masked gunmen killed 12 people, including much of the weekly's editorial staff and two police officers.

Nasr al-Ansi, a top commander of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP as the branch is known, appeared in an 11-minute Internet video posted Wednesday, saying that the massacre at Charlie Hebdo was in "vengeance for the prophet." The paper had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, which is considered an insult in Islam.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

MIAMI (AP) - Same-sex weddings may soon begin in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block them.
 
The court said Friday it wouldn't block the marriages. A federal judge previously declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said same-sex marriage licenses could start being issued in the state after Jan. 5 unless the Supreme Court intervened.
 

Scott headshot
Governor Scott's Office

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Newly disclosed records are showing that Florida Gov. Rick Scott used a private email account to discuss state business.

The Scott administration turned over a batch of emails from a gmail account on Tuesday three months after the Associated Press first asked for them.

Most of the emails appear to be from 2011 and 2012. It is not a violation of law to have a private email account, but it would be a violation if someone asked for emails and the governor's office failed to turn them over.

https://www.facebook.com/myron.may.1975?fref=ts

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A law enforcement official says the gunman who shot three people at Florida State University before being killed by police was a lawyer who graduated from the school.
 
     The official told The Associated Press that the shooter was Myron May, who graduated from Florida State before attending Texas Tech University's law school. The official requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release the name.
 

Tony Levell

Attorneys are set to give closing arguments in the case of a former Florida A&M University band member charged with manslaughter and hazing in the death of a drum major who was beaten on a band bus during a hazing ritual.
 
     Once they're finished, Judge Renee Roche will give the jurors final instructions and deliberations could begin sometime Friday.
 
     Prosecutors called eight witnesses, including former band members who identified 27-year Dante Martin as orchestrator of the ritual known as "crossing Bus C" after a football game in Orlando in 2011.

2ndcircuit.leoncountyfl.gov

The Florida Supreme Court has removed Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins from the bench. Hawkins sold her religious books from her office to lawyers and staffers as part of her for-profit ministry.

floridastate.247sports.com

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — In a letter obtained by The Associated Press, the adviser for the family of Jameis Winston has asked Florida State why it has chosen now to engage in the Title IX process and accuses the school of trying to protect its own interests and responding to media pressure.

Florida State announced last week it will use an independent official in a student code of conduct hearing. A female student said Winston sexually assaulted her in December 2012.

Robert Champion, a FAMU Drum Major, died in Nov. 2011 from injuries related to a hazing ritual.
Robert Champion

The four remaining defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M University marching band drum major are about to go on trial, and their attorneys argue what happened to Robert Champion was part of a contest.

Defense attorneys are making a case that Florida's anti-hazing law is so vague that what happened to Champion wasn't hazing but part of a contest.
 
The defense is asking a judge for a hearing challenging the anti-hazing law. Circuit Judge Rene Roche set a hearing a week before the defendants' Oct. 27 trial.

Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi has appealed a judge’s ruling declaring Florida’s gay marriage ban unconstitutional. She filed the appeal within hours of the ruling on Thursday. 

A Monroe County circuit judge made the ruling, which applies only to the Florida Keys.

Judge Luis Garcia agreed with a Key West couple suing for the right to get a marriage license. The men are celebrating their 11-year anniversary together and were turned down when they applied with the Monroe County clerk.

Scott Markowitz

The federal government asked a judge Tuesday to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to overturn a nationwide trade ban on four giant snake species—including snakes invading the Florida Everglades. The action comes amidst calls for the feds to ban five additional snake species.

Respres

Financial relief provided to Floridians under a mortgage settlement has far exceeded what state officials expected, according to a new national report. More than 120,000 Floridians have received billions of dollars in in aid so far from five major banks.

The report shows much of the roughly $9 billion in assistance has been from lenders forgiving loans or liens to enable home sales. It’s just a piece of the landmark $25 billion settlement that came after an investigation of foreclosure abuses.

MIAMI (AP) - Argentines in Miami are celebrating the selection of Pope Francis from Buenos Aires.

At the Buenos Aires Bakery & Cafe in Miami Beach, Argentines drinking their afternoon coffee on Wednesday broke into cheers and applause as the new pope was announced.

Update 3:10 pm:   A sweeping multi-state investigation of a purported veterans' charity based in Florida has led to nearly 60 people indicted and the resignation of the state's lieutenant governor.
 
Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll once did public relations for the charity Allied Veterans of the World. She was questioned in the investigation, but she has not been charged with wrongdoing.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has filed a petition that would allow authorities to exhume human remains on the site of the Dozier School for Boys at Marianna.
 
Bondi's office filed a petition Tuesday on behalf of the appointed medical examiner for the 14th District of Florida. The petition seeks a court order to exhume bodies from "Boot Hill Cemetery" and surrounding areas, where it is believed there may be unmarked graves and unaccounted bodies of boys who died between 1900 and 1952 at the school.

Leon County Jail

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - An attorney for one of the defendants in the hazing death of a Florida A&M drum major says his client is going to plead guilty and cooperate with prosecutors.

Florida economists on Thursday came out with a new price tag for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that is dramatically lower than the one cited earlier this year by Gov. Rick Scott.

Economists are now projecting that it would cost Florida taxpayers about $5.2 billion over the next decade to pay for the changes.

Gov. Rick Scott won office on the slogan "Let's get to work" and is now proclaiming "It's working."

Tony Levell

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Prosecutors are charging 12 former Florida A&M University band members with manslaughter in the 2011 hazing death of a drum major.
 
     Ten of the band members had been charged last May with felony hazing for the death of 26-year-old Robert Champion, but prosecutors said Monday they are raising the charges to manslaughter. They also have charged two additional defendants with manslaughter.
 

CROSS CITY, Fla. (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union has dropped its lawsuit challenging a granite monument inscribed with the Ten Commandments in front of a north Florida courthouse.
 
ACLU of Florida executive director Howard Simon said Friday that the group had to withdraw the case because its client, a North Carolina man, no longer plans to move to Dixie County.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS--A Florida Panhandle developer has pleaded guilty to a charge of making a false statement to federal election officials.
 
Destin Developer Jay Odom told a federal judge Tuesday that he engineered a scheme to circumvent federal election laws and funnel money to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee during Huckabee's 2007 presidential run.
 
Prosecutors agreed to drop a charge of violating election laws in exchange for Odom pleading guilty to making false statements.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The Miami Dolphins are getting early support from state legislators to use tax dollars to renovate Sun Life Stadium.
 
A Florida Senate panel on Tuesday unanimously approved a measure (SB 306) that would guarantee $3 million a year for the next 30 years to help pay for stadium upgrades.

Gov. Rick Scott  says he wants to see more tax cuts for business, and more funding for education.

Scott’s proposed budget will include lowering the corporate tax rate to exempt another 2,000 businesses. He’s also calling for getting rid of sales taxes on manufacturing equipment.

“They usually consider many different locations for making a manufacturing equipment decision and Florida is just one of their options. We want this kind of manufacturing investment in Florida," Scott told reporters Wednesday in a preview at the Capitol.

Silver Springs

Silver Springs, one of Florida's oldest tourist attractions, is going out of business and will become a state park.
 
The north Florida attraction, famed for its glass bottom boats, has been plagued by low attendance and pollution, which has clouded its once-clear waters.
 

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