Associated Press

NC Governor Vows Executive Order to Expand LGBT Protections

North Carolina’s governor says he’ll act on his own to improve protections for the state’s LGBT residents after compromising with Republicans on a partial repeal of a state law limiting anti-discrimination rights. Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper said Tuesday he will do it soon by issuing an executive order. His spokesmen did not respond when asked to explain the governor’s plans. Cooper’s order would cover the state agencies he controls, but legislators also could override him. The GOP-controlled legislature didn’t do that when Republican Gov. Pat McCrory ordered state employees protected from gender and sexual orientation discrimination a month after...

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Supreme Court Rejects Appeal Over NC Voter ID Law

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification law, which a lower court said targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.” The justices left in place the lower court ruling striking down the law’s photo ID requirement and reduction in early voting. The situation was complicated when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein tried to withdraw the appeal, which was first filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor. Chief Justice John Roberts said the political situation created uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling. The...

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Investigators Meet With Woman at Center of UNC Probe

A woman at the center of North Carolina’s multi-year academic scandal interviewed with NCAA investigators after previously declining to cooperate in the probe. Raleigh attorney Elliot Abrams told The Associated Press on Wednesday night that his client — Deborah Crowder — met all day with investigators. Crowder is a retired office administrator in the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department. “She has never wavered in terms of what happened,” Abrams told the AP, “and I think she knew that this was a chance to actually tell her story, and she did a good job of doing that.”...

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AP Exclusive: SEC’s Sankey Refuses to Step Down in UNC Case

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey has denied a request seeking his removal as head of the NCAA infractions panel handling North Carolina’s ongoing academic case because of a conflict of interest. Sankey stated in an April 14 letter obtained by The Associated Press that the panel would “fairly decide this case.” “The panel, including me, will hear and decide this case based on the case record and the membership’s bylaws,” Sankey wrote to all involved parties. Elliot Abrams — a Raleigh attorney representing a retired office administrator charged with violations — had written the NCAA saying Sankey had a...

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ACC Extends Deals with North Carolina Sites After Law Change

The Atlantic Coast Conference has added a replacement year to contracts for North Carolina venues that lost championships when the league relocated events due to a law limiting protections against LGBT people. The ACC had pulled 10 neutral-site championships for the 2016-17 season. The state passed a compromise bill to roll back elements of the law in March, and the league announced a day later it would return to North Carolina in 2017-18. The league announced Wednesday that restructured contracts would “compensate” venues with a replacement year as a host. That comes a day after the NCAA awarded several...

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Ex-NC Central QB Receives Probation in UNC Agents Probe

A former college football player charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law has received probation in a deal with prosecutors. Michael Wayne Johnson Jr., 28, was charged in 2013 with three felony counts of athlete-agent inducement from 2010. Under terms of the conditional discharge agreement Tuesday, those charges were reduced to misdemeanors and will be dismissed if he complies with all terms over the 12-month probationary period. The charges included providing a place for agent Terry Watson to meet former Tar Heels player Greg Little to provide him $5,000 in an effort to entice Little to sign a...

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NCAA Returns Events to NC After State Rolls Back LGBT Law

The NCAA has awarded men’s basketball tournament games in 2020 and 2021 along with several other championship events to North Carolina after the state repealed elements of a law that limited protections for LGBT people and put it at risk of being passed over as a host for future events. The governing body announced decisions Tuesday for events through 2022, two weeks after the NCAA said it had “reluctantly” agreed to consider North Carolina again for hosting duties. It had stripped North Carolina of seven championship events for the past sports season — including opening-weekend men’s basketball tournament games...

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Ex-Agent Pleads Guilty in Multi-Year UNC Sports Agent Probe

A former NFL agent has pleaded guilty to violating North Carolina’s sports agent law by providing thousands of dollars in improper benefits to three former Tar Heels football players to entice them into signing contracts with him. Terry Watson entered his plea Monday afternoon in a deal to resolve 3 ½-year-old felony charges. Watson received 30 months of probation and a $5,000 fine, while Judge Graham Shirley issued a suspended jail sentence of six to eight months. Watson pleaded guilty to the 13 counts of athlete-agent inducement for providing roughly $24,000 in cash and travel accommodations to eventual NFL...

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Man Charged in UNC Agents Probe Agrees to Testify in Case

A Georgia man charged with violating North Carolina’s sports agent law has agreed to testify against an NFL agent also charged in the case. Patrick Mitchell Jones, 43, was charged in 2013 with athlete-agent inducement for providing $725 to former Tar Heels football player Robert Quinn. An indictment stated he provided the money through Quinn’s former girlfriend to entice Quinn to sign with agent Terry Watson. Jones appeared in court Monday in a deferred prosecution deal requiring him acknowledge is involvement and “testify truthfully” against Watson, according to a court document. That could lead to his charge’s dismissal if...

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Justice Department Drops North Carolina LGBT Rights Lawsuit

The Trump administration is dropping a lawsuit against North Carolina after the state moved to undo its “bathroom bill.” Justice Department lawyers filed a motion Friday to dismiss their federal lawsuit. The move doesn’t directly affect separate pending litigation by LGBT rights advocates who say the new North Carolina law doesn’t go far enough to ensure rights for all. North Carolina’s compromise deal last month got rid of the most well-known provision of House Bill 2 that required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings. But the replacement law...

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