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FBI: Polygamous leader had 20 wives, many of them minors

Authorities say the leader of a small polygamous group near the Arizona-Utah border had taken at least 20 wives and punished followers who didn't treat him as a prophet. The details of Samuel Bateman's life were alleged in an FBI affidavit released last Friday. It was filed in a case that charges three of his female followers with kidnapping children from state custody in Arizona and impeding a foreseeable prosecution. Two of the women are scheduled to appear in federal court in Flagstaff on Wednesday. Bateman is facing state and federal charges of child abuse and tampering with evidence.

Trial ordered for 5 men in plot to kidnap Michigan governor

A state judge has ordered five men to stand trial on charges involving a foiled plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Michael Null, William Null, Eric Molitor and Shawn Fix, all of Michigan, are accused of providing material support for terrorist acts as well as a gun crime. Brian Higgins of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, is charged with providing material support for terrorist acts. Judge Michael Stepka ruled Wednesday that evidence presented in a preliminary hearing justified a trial. The trial will take place in Antrim County, where Whitmer’s Elk Rapids vacation home is located and prosecutors say the abduction was to happen.

Interracial marriages to get added protection under new law

As the Respect for Marriage Act moves toward final passage, much of the attention has been focused on the protection the law gives to same-sex couples. But the bill would also enshrine interracial marriages in federal law. That provision came as a surprise to some interracial couples who believed any legal uncertainty about their right to marry ended in 1967. That's the year the U.S. Supreme Court struck down state laws banning marriages between people of different races. The Respect for Marriage Act has been picking up steam since June, when the Supreme Court overturned the federal right to an abortion. The ruling sparked concern the high court could potentially overturn other precedent-setting rulings on same-sex and interracial marriages.

Duke Energy: All equipment damaged in NC shooting now fixed

Duke Energy says it has completed repairs on substation equipment damaged in shootings over the weekend and that it's restored power to all but a fraction of the thousands of customers who lost electricity in a central North Carolina county. The company says Moore County customers will gradually get power back throughout the day as it finishes testing and completes restoration safely.As of Wednesday afternoon, only about 3,000 customers in were without power in the county, according to Duke Energy’s outage map. That’s down from a peak of more than 45,000 customers without power over the weekend.

Vigil held in Texas to honor 7-year-old Athena Strand

A 7-year-old Texas girl who was found dead last week after she was reported missing from her home is being remembered as “the best little girl” who loved animals, drawing and dancing. Athena Strand was found dead Friday, two days after she was reported missing from her home in Paradise, Texas, a town of fewer than 500 people about 60 miles northwest of Dallas. Police have arrested Tanner Lynn Horner, a FedEx delivery driver, on suspicion of capital murder and aggravated kidnapping. Authorities have not said how Athena died but Wise County Sheriff Lane Akin said investigators believe she was killed shortly after she was kidnapped.

Sundance Film Festival unveils lineup for 2023 edition

Documentaries about Brooke Shields, Judy Blume and Michael J. Fox are among the world premieres set for the Sundance Film Festival in January. The upcoming festival in Park City, Utah, will also include films from veteran directors like Nicole Holofcener, an adaptation of the viral New Yorker story “Cat Person” and the feature directorial debut of actors Alice Englert and Randall Park. Programmers announced the lineup for the 2023 edition Wednesday. After two pandemic hobbled years, plans are in motion to return in full force for the festival which runs from January 19-29. Stars like Anne Hathaway, Tiffany Haddish, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Alexander Skarsgård and Gael García Bernal are headlining some of the 101 feature films.

Oregon asks state court to clear way for gun magazine ban

Oregon’s attorney general has asked the state Supreme Court to overturn a lower court judge’s decision and allow a tough new voter-approved gun law to take effect this week. The measure, which includes a ban on the sale and transfer of high-capacity magazines, was due to take effect Thursday. But Harney County Judge Robert Raschio blocked it on Tuesday, just hours after a federal court ruled in favor of the law. The Oregon Department of Justice argues in an urgent filing Wednesday that Raschio got it wrong. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says in a statement that the federal and state constitutions allow such reasonable regulations.