05-16-2022  11:48 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

2022 Midterms: What to Watch as 5 States Hold Primaries

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 is the last day for voters to return ballots. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by election day. Ballots deposited in an official drop box must be received by 8 p.m. on election day.

No Sea Serpents, Mobsters but Tahoe Trash Divers Strike Gold

Scuba divers who spent a year cleaning up Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile shoreline have come away with what they hope will prove a valuable incentive

House Passes Bipartisan Update to Anti-Poverty Program Led by Bonamici, Thompson

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program has not been updated since 1998.

Portland Unrest Drives Interest in 2 Congressional Primaries

The problems have given Republicans a megaphone and raised the stakes for Democrats as a crowded field of candidates vies to advance to November in a historically blue state

NEWS BRIEFS

2 Pleasure Boats Catch Fire on Columbia River

Two pleasure boats caught fire on the Columbia River between Vancouver and Caterpillar Island Sunday afternoon. One boat sank,...

WA Childhood Immunization Rates Decline During Pandemic

Immunization rates have decreased by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic level ...

Attorney General Rosenblum Warns Against Price Gouging of Baby Formula

This declaration will allow the Oregon Attorney General to take action against any business, or online vendor, who upsells the price...

WA High Court: Drivers Can Get DUIs for Driving While High

A decision that upholds the state’s decade-old law regulating marijuana use behind the wheel of a car. ...

Community Basketball Game and Discussion Events Work to Reduce Gun Violence

Basketball game features Black youth and police officers playing together ...

5-term Idaho attorney general in tough GOP primary battle

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s five-term Republican attorney general has handled his duties in the deeply conservative state for 20 years with a strategy he describes as calling legal “balls and strikes.” He's facing two challengers who see a more activist role for the office. ...

Idaho governor faces Trump-backed candidate in GOP primary

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Gov. Brad Little is fighting back a primary challenge on Tuesday from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, a Donald Trump-backed candidate who twice attempted a power grab last year when Little was out of state on business. The intraparty contest...

OPINION

Can Federal Lynching Law Help Heal America?

Despite decades of senseless delays, this new law pushes America to finally acknowledge that racism often correlates to a level of violence and terror woven into the very fabric of this country. ...

The Skanner News Endorsements: May Primary 2022

Primary election day is May 17, 2022. Read The Skanner's endorsements for this important election. ...

Men’s Voices Urgently Needed to Defend Reproductive Rights

For decades, men in increasing numbers have followed women’s lead in challenging gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, so why are we stuck when it comes to abortion? ...

Burying Black Cemeteries: Off the Record

It is a tragedy when we lose a loved one. That tragedy is compounded when are unable to visit their final resting place to honor and remember them. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

'Like every other day:' 10 lives lost on a trip to the store

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — They were caregivers and protectors and helpers, running an errand or doing a favor or finishing out a shift, when their paths crossed with a young man driven by racism and hatred and inane theories. In a flash, the ordinariness of their day was broken at Tops...

Tensions over racial justice shadow Louisville mayor's race

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — On Valentine's Day, a man appeared in the doorway of a Louisville campaign office and fired shots at mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg. He wasn't hit — a bullet grazed his sweater — but some of the tensions still lingering over this city flared once again. ...

Press secretary hopes her rise helps kids 'dream bigger'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Karine Jean-Pierre, the new White House press secretary, hopes she can inspire young people to “dream big and dream bigger” now that she has broken a barrier by becoming the first Black and gay woman to be chief spokesperson for the president of the United States. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brandi Carlile, Yola, Allison Russell lead Americana noms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell and Yola are the leading nominees for the 2022 Americana Honors and Awards, with each one up for album of the year, artist of the year and song of the year. The nominees were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the...

Review: 'Team America' plumbs enduring impact of 4 generals

“Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and the World They Forged” by Robert L. O’Connell (Harper) Insightful and informative, military historian Robert L. O’Connell’s latest book carries a title that might evoke in today’s readers a group of superheroes...

Yiyun Li wins PEN/Malamud Award for short stories

NEW YORK (AP) — Author Yiyun Li has received one of the top honors for short story writers, the PEN/Malamud Award for “exceptional achievement.” Li, 49, has published the collections “Gold Boy” and “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” along with five novels and two...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

In Buffalo, Biden to confront the racism he's vowed to fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Joe Biden talks about his decision to run against President Donald Trump in 2020, the...

New US hospitals face fiscal crisis over COVID relief money

THOMASVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A whole town celebrated in 2020 when, early in the coronavirus pandemic, Thomasville...

N. Korea's Kim faces 'huge dilemma' on aid as virus surges

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — During more than a decade as North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un has made...

'Wagatha Christie' offers her side in whodunnit libel case

LONDON (AP) — The woman known to British tabloid readers as Wagatha Christie testified Monday about the...

EXPLAINER: Next steps for Finland, Sweden on NATO membership

BRUSSELS (AP) — Finland and Sweden have signaled their intention to join NATO over Russia’s war in Ukraine and...

Passenger, cargo trains collide in Spain; 1 killed, 85 hurt

MADRID (AP) — A cargo train smashed into a rush-hour passenger train in Catalonia on Monday, killing an engineer...

Mike Schneider and Kyle Hightower the Associated Press


George Zimmerman contacted special prosecutor Angela Corey, his former lawyers say.

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- The man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin is said to be losing weight and suffering from high levels of stress from the intense public scrutiny he is under, his former lawyers said. Meanwhile, a special prosecutor said she will soon make an announcement in the case and the nation's attorney general vowed separately to take action if evidence warrants it.

"He is largely alone. You might even say he is emotionally crippled by virtue of the pressure of this case," said Hal Uhrig, a former lawyer for George Zimmerman. The protests and the profound isolation of going into hiding may have pushed him "a little bit over the edge," said Uhrig and his colleague, Craig Sonner.

The two attorneys announced Tuesday they no longer were representing the neighborhood watch volunteer because they haven't heard from him since Sunday.

"As of the last couple days, he has not returned phone calls, text messages or emails," Sonner said. "He's gone on his own. I'm not sure what he's doing or who he's talking to. I cannot go forward speaking to the public about George Zimmerman and this case as representing him because I've lost contact with him."

The attorneys said that, against their advice, Zimmerman contacted special prosecutor Angela Corey, who will decide if he should face charges, but prosecutors in her office refused to talk to him without his lawyers present.

"To handle it this way, suggests that he may not be in complete control of what's going on. We're concerned for his emotional and physical safety," Uhrig said.

A spokeswoman for Corey's office didn't respond to phone and email messages requesting comment, although late Tuesday Corey released a statement saying she would make an announcement on the case within 72 hours. The statement did not specify what new development in the case would be released.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder also said the Justice Department is conducting a thorough and independent review of the case after launching its own investigation three weeks ago. During comments before a civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, Holder said that preventing and combating youth violence and victimization is a top priority of his department.

"If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action," Holder said during the convention of Sharpton's National Action Network.

Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense after following the teenager in a Sanford, Fla. a gated community outside Orlando on Feb. 26. He said he was returning to his truck when Martin attacked him and that he shot the unarmed teen during the fight. He wasn't arrested partly because of Florida's "stand your ground" self-defense law.

The lack of an arrest has led to protests across the nation and spurred a debate about race and the laws of self-defense. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic. Martin was black.

Zimmerman is unable to see a psychologist because he could be spotted, the attorneys said. A bounty for his arrest has been issued by the New Black Panther Party. Plus, he is anxious about possible charges if the special prosecutor believes he committed a crime, his former attorneys said.

Zimmerman also has been in touch with conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, who declined to reveal Tuesday evening what was said.

Uhrig said after they found out that news, the "final straw" came when they learned Zimmerman contacted Corey's office and said he wanted to meet. Uhrig said he told her he no longer had attorneys whom he called "legal advisers" representing him.

Uhrig said they were "a bit astonished" that he had contacted her on his own and that Corey and her team refused to talk to a potential defendant or suspect without counsel.

Zimmerman's current lack of an attorney shouldn't affect the speed of Corey's decision-making since any decent lawyer would advise a client not to talk to prosecutors, said Roy Kahn, a defense attorney in Miami.

"It would not be in a client's best interest to give any statement before it's his time to testify at trial," Kahn said. "Even if I believe he's 100 percent innocent ... my advice to the client would be, `Save it for the trial. It can't help you.'"

Sonner, the first attorney Zimmerman contacted after the shooting, said he agreed to take the case on a pro bono basis until Zimmerman it's determined if he's charged. He said he has never talked to Zimmerman face-to-face, only on the phone, and that the 28-year-old man has gone into hiding but that he believes he's still in the U.S.

Both attorneys said they'd be willing to represent him again if he asks.

Ben Crump, an attorney for Martin's family, said they're concerned that Zimmerman could be a flight risk if he is charged with a crime since his former attorneys don't know how to contact him.

"At this point, we're just concerned that nobody knows where he is at. Nobody knows how to get to him," Crump said.

Meanwhile, tensions were rising in Sanford as townspeople awaited the prosecutor's decision. Someone shot up an unoccupied police car early Tuesday as it sat outside the neighborhood where Martin was killed. And a demonstration by college students closed the town's police station Monday.

Some residents said they worry there will be violence if Corey decides not to charge Zimmerman. Many in town believe she will announce her decision soon.

Police aren't saying what, if any, precautions they are taking.

Zimmerman set up a website therealgeorgezimmerman.com to collect money from his supporters, but the attorneys didn't know about it until they started getting questions from the news media, Sonner said. They had worked with his father and others to set up a different account and when they started getting questions about the new site, Uhrig assumed it was "bogus."

Since then, they determined the site is legitimate.

Sonner said he stands behind his statements that Zimmerman did act in self-defense, however, "I just can't proceed to represent a client who doesn't stay in contact with me."

Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. Attorney in Miami, said it is unusual for attorneys to hold a news conference to explain why they no longer are representing a client.

"The lawyers have every right to withdraw, but it's highly unusual, and it will be controversial, for counsel to describe their client's erratic behavior," said Coffey, who is now in private practice. "In the court of public opinion, the press conference was not helpful for George Zimmerman."

Speaking Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show, Sonner and Uhrig defended going public with their decision to stop representing Zimmerman, saying they didn't feel it was right to speak for him when they weren't in touch with him. Sonner also said Zimmerman was hiding in a place "where he won't be found."

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