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Florida judge approves new map for Congress

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Florida judge is giving his approval to a new congressional map that was redrawn by state legislators.

But Circuit Judge Terry Lewis on Friday also said that this year's elections will not use the new boundaries. Instead voters will pick members of Congress based on a map he declared invalid back in July. Lewis opted against calling a special election based on the new map.

State legislators earlier this month altered seven of 27 congressional districts after Lewis ruled the districts had been illegally drawn to benefit Republicans.

Lewis's ruling is a victory for the GOP-controlled Legislature.

But this means the legal battle could continue. Attorneys for the groups that sued the Legislature said recently they would not rule out the possibility of an appeal.


Florida's 2 political parties raise millions

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida Republicans and Democrats are spending millions they received this year from corporations and wealthy donors.

New campaign finance reports filed on Friday show that the Republican Party of Florida raised nearly $15 million between April and Aug. 21. The Florida Democratic Party raised $13.3 million during the same time period. This is the final report before the primary.

Republicans took money from high-powered corporations such as U.S. Sugar and Disney as well as private prison company The Geo Group. Donald Trump gave the party $100,000 while his daughter donated another $25,000.

The largest Democratic donor was a political committee aligned with former Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist's political committee donated $7.8 million since April. But since that time the party has paid for television ads that have helped Crist.


Crist gets another share of public matching money

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Former Gov. Charlie Crist is getting another round of public matching funds.

Crist on Friday received more than $131,000 from the state. He has now received $1.22 million in state money to assist his campaign.

Former state senator Nan Rich has now received slightly less than $223,000.

Any candidate running for a state office can qualify for matching money from taxpayers. The GOP-controlled Legislature tried to repeal public financing of campaigns, but voters defeated the constitutional amendment in 2010.

So far this year, the state has paid out $2.6 million to candidates including more than $285,000 to Attorney General Pam Bondi, nearly $345,000 to Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and nearly $367,000 to Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. Democratic candidate for Attorney General George Sheldon has received nearly $179,000.


Fugitive returned to Tampa from New York

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a Tampa Bay area fugitive is back in Florida after being arrested in New York on a 7-year-old warrant.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reports that 28-year-old Rick Joseph was extradited to Tampa on Wednesday. He faces a second-degree murder charge in the death of 17-year-old Marcus Johnson.

Officials say fugitive cold case detectives used social media, along with public and investigative databases, to track Joseph to an area of Brooklyn, New York, this past spring. He was arrested in April with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Authorities say a group of people where arguing in May 2007 when Joseph fired several shots, killing Joseph and wounding one of his friends.

Joseph had been living in New York under the name "Thomas Brown," but it wasn't clear how long he had been there.


Father charged with murder in baby's death

(Information in the following story is from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), )

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. (AP) - A central Florida man has been charged with murder in the death of his infant daughter, who authorities say was left in the man's truck for at least four hours.

Brevard County prosecutors officially charged 31-year-old Steven Darnell Lillie on Friday with third-degree felony murder, manslaughter and leaving a child under the age of six unsupervised in a motor vehicle. Florida Today reports that he was previously charged with aggravated manslaughter.

Authorities say the Rockledge man was supposed to drop off 9-month-old Anna Marie Lillie at her grandmother's home before heading to work in June. Police say Lillie discovered the baby's body in the truck later that afternoon after getting a call from a relative about the infant's whereabouts.

In a 911 call, Lillie told a dispatcher the baby had been in the truck for hours because he "absolutely forgot about her."


Hernando County Jail inmate dies of embolism

BROOKSVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The medical examiner in Hernando County says a 27-year-old inmate died of a pulmonary embolism.

Hernando County Sheriff's officials said on Friday that Jessica Dixon complained about having trouble breathing after taking a hot shower on Wednesday night. She was taken to the jail's medical unit, where she appeared to be hyperventilating and was cool to the touch. The physician at the jail said she needed to be immediately transported to a hospital in Brooksville, where she died a short time later.

The medical examiner's office in Leesburg listed the cause of death as pulmonary embolus and infective endocarditis. Relatives told the sheriff's office that Dixon had a long history of IV drug use.

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