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Magnolia Mornings: January 10, 2024

Magnolia Mornings: January 10, 2024

By: Magnolia Tribune - January 10, 2024

Magnolia morning

Important state and national stories, market and business news, sports and entertainment, delivered in quick-hit fashion to start your day informed.

In Mississippi

1. “Goon Squad” sentencing hearings postponed

U.S. District Judge Tom Lee has rescheduled the sentencing hearings for six former Mississippi law enforcement officers known as the “Goon Squad.” The former officers – five from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department and one from Richland Police Department – have pled guilty to torturing two men in a racially motivated attack.

The new hearings are set for the following dates in March:

  • Hunter Elward – March 19, 2024
  • Jeffrey Middleton – March 19, 2024
  • Christian Dedmon – March 20, 2024
  • Daniel Opdyke – March 20, 2024
  • Joshua Hartfield – March 21, 2024
  • Brett McAlpin – March 21, 2024

2. Coast coalition disputes Corps on effects of spillway opening

WLOX reported Tuesday that the Mississippi Sound Coalition, a group comprised of Coast cities as well as non-profits, addressed the Harrison County Board of Supervisors to rebut the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ position on the impacts of the 2019 Bonnet Carré Spillway opening. Comments were also sent to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

The opening of the spillway has reportedly caused significant trouble in the South Mississippi ecosystem as well as disrupting businesses that rely on harvesting seafood, such as oysters.

According to WLOX, the group is claiming the Corps is in denial about the effects of freshwater intrusion from the spillway.

“The Corps of Engineers position is the Bonnet Carré Spillway doesn’t do anything that’s not just ‘minor’ and ‘temporary’ in the Mississippi Sound. And even if it did, it’s not their problem. In their communications to the National Marine Fisheries Service, they’re not taking responsibility.” Mississippi Sound Coalition attorney Robert Wiygul said, as reported by WLOX.

In January 2023, a federal court found the Corps had violated federal law by not consulting with the NMFS about the spillway opening.

National News & Foreign Policy

1. Austin diagnosed with prostate cancer

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III official portrait session, July 6, 2023. (DoD photo by Chad J. McNeeley)

Doctors revealed on Tuesday that Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was diagnosed with prostate cancer. His recent hospitalization who due to an infection related a surgery to treat the for cancer, a statement from the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Austin and the Department of Defense failed to disclose his hospitalization to the National Security Advisor and the White House, which has drawn the ire of congressional lawmakers including Senator Roger Wicker, the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Officials say the cancer “was detected early, and his prognosis is excellent.”

2. D.C. Appeals Court hears Trump’s immunity claims

The three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. is considering the claims of presidential immunity by former President Donald Trump‘s legal counsel related to the case brought against him by special counsel Jack Smith related to Trump’s alleged actions in the 2020 election.

Trump, who attended hearing, is facing four charges, all of which he’s pleaded not guilty to. A lower court ruled Trump has no immunity.

Trump’s counsel claims that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution for actions taken in office, unless first impeached and convicted.

It’s unclear as to when the Appeals Court will rule in the matter.

Sports & Entertainment

1. Ole Miss comes in at No. 9 in Final AP Top 25 Poll of season

The Ole Miss Rebels football team finished at No. 9 in the AP Top 25 Poll for the 2023 season on Tuesday. Head Coach Lane Kiffin led the team to its first 11-win season in program history, finishing 11-2 and only losing to No. 4 Georgia and No. 5 Alabama.

Too early preseason rankings for the 2024 season have the Rebels listed as high as No. 5 in some polls.

2. Mississippi Braves leaving Pearl

The Mississippi Braves are leaving Pearl after the 2024 season, heading to Columbus, Georgia. The move will leave one Double-A team in Mississippi- the Biloxi Shuckers.

“We want to thank Pearl, the surrounding Jackson community and the state of Mississippi for the incredible support for the franchise over the past 19 years. We have loved creating memories with you at Trustmark Park and we look forward to bringing you an amazing 2024 season. The M-Braves will be commemorating the 20th season at Trustmark Park throughout the 69-game home schedule in 2024, beginning with Opening Day on Tuesday, April 9th vs Biloxi,” the team statement said on Tuesday.

Markets & Business

New rule requires companies to disclose ownership

A new rule included in the 2021 Corporate Transparency Act that went into effect on January 1st requires all but certain types of companies to disclose who really controls and benefits from them, reports CNBC.

“Until now, thousands of companies were registered every year under the names of hired corporate agents, or attorneys for the actual owners, effectively hiding who actually controlled the companies,” CNBC notes. “The new rules will make the registry available to law enforcement to expedite investigations into illicit activities — such as drug trafficking and tax evasion.”

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says over 100,000 small businesses have already registered with the beneficial ownership database

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Magnolia Tribune

This article was produced by Magnolia Tribune staff.