Federal judge won't undo Georgia voter purge
ATLANTA (AP) — A federal judge says he won't undo Georgia's removal of almost 100,000 voters from its rolls. The judge ruled Friday that a voting rights advocacy group is improperly asking him to interpret state law, and hasn't proved that the people who have been removed had their constitutional rights violated. However, the judge is also ordering Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to do more to warn people that they're being removed. Raffensperger in October released a list of over 313,000 voters whose registrations were at risk of being canceled. A voting rights group founded by Democrat Stacey Abrams had asked for the purge to be halted.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER-CRIMINAL CHARGES
Judge sets bail for bus driver charged after girl was hit
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — A judge is granting bail to a Georgia school bus driver who was charged with a felony after a girl was struck by another vehicle. The Augusta Chronicle reports Richmond County Magistrate Judge Stephen Shepard on Friday set bail of $3,500 for 35-year-old Talunda E. Martin Smith. She was arrested Monday on a charge of second-degree cruelty to children. Smith is accused of failing to activate flashing lights or stop signs on the bus until after the girl was hit on Dec. 16. Shepard says the 12-year-old girl suffered a collapsed lung, a broken arm and cracked ribs.
CAR CRASH FATALITIES-CHRISTMAS
Georgia Police: 14 dead in crashes over Christmas holiday
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia State Police say 14 people were killed in car crashes over the Christmas holiday spanning from Tuesday evening to Thursday night. The agency made the announcement Friday. News outlets report the number of fatalities were the same as last year, although last year the holiday period was a day longer. One man died Tuesday when he hit a guardrail head-on while fleeing from a trooper. The driver of a four-wheeler died on Christmas when he hit a fire engine truck head-on while attempting to pass a car. State officials urge drivers to stay safe, sober and alert.
Passenger dies after Georgia deputy rams fleeing vehicle
DUBLIN, Ga. (AP) — A high-speed chase ended with a Georgia sheriff's deputy intentionally hitting a fleeing car, causing the car to wreck and a passenger to die. Laurens County Sheriff Larry Dean says the driver was approaching Dublin when a Laurens deputy executed a pursuit intervention maneuver, ramming the fleeing vehicle to make it spin out. Dean says the fleeing driver was putting people in “grave danger” and that the deputy was trying to protect others. Forty-year-old passenger Andrea Jones died while 29-year-old driver Malik Harmon was airlifted to a hospital. Also taken to a hospital was 27-year-old Deandre Munn, another passenger.
CHILD ABUSE ARREST
Georgia man charged with abusing girlfriend's child
STATESBORO, Ga. (AP) — A south Georgia man has been jailed on charges that he molested his girlfriend's children. The Statesboro Herald reports 31-year-old Calvin Bernard Williams of Claxton was arrested Dec. 18 in Pembroke and remains jailed Friday without bail in Bulloch County. He's charged with three counts of aggravated child molestation. Statesboro Police Capt. Jared Akins says an investigation is continuing and more charges are possible. Williams' girlfriend told police on Nov. 8 that Williams had touched her 5-year-old child inappropriately. Akins says that warrants were issued for Williams after physical examinations and interviews with the child conducted by a Statesboro child advocacy center.
Boyfriend now charged in hot car deaths of Georgia twins
HINESVILLE, Ga. (AP) — A man has now been criminally charged after twin girls were found dead in a hot car in coastal Georgia in September. WTOC-TV reports that Sam Edwards was arrested Dec. 19 and charged with two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of second-degree child abuse. Edwards is engaged to Claudette Foster, who was arrested on similar charges in October. Foster was the foster mother to 3-year-old twins Payton and Raelynn Keyes. The pair went missing and were found dead from accidental heatstroke in a car in Hinesville. Georgia law allows charging caregivers with second-degree murder when children die from criminal negligence.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY-SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Georgia official accused of sexual harassment, retaliation
ATLANTA (AP) — A district attorney in Georgia is accused of sexually harassing an administrator for months and then demoting her for resisting it. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the allegations are detailed in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission compliant filed by former Fulton County human resources director Tisa Grimes. Grimes says District Attorney Paul Howard made her feel uncomfortable for months through suggestive comments and unwanted touching, including during a staff retreat. An attorney for Howard says the allegations lack merit. She says the allegations only arose after Grimes' role was changed. Howard says the role change wasn't a demotion and kept Grimes at the same level of compensation and benefits.
Falcons choose stability: Quinn, Dimitroff to remain in 2020