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AP-TX--Texas News Digest 12 am, TX

September 21, 2018

Good morning! Here’s a look at AP’s general news coverage in Texas at this hour. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the Dallas AP at 972-991-2100, or, in Texas, 800-442-7189. Email: aptexas@ap.org. Jill Bleed is at the desk after 5:30 a.m.

Reminder: This information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Central.

For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.




LAREDO, Texas — Juan David Ortiz appeared to be living a typical, suburban life in a subdivision where rows of new homes abut surrounding fields of desert brush in South Texas. He and his wife were raising two children. He was a Navy veteran who became a Border Patrol agent, like one of his next-door neighbors and many others in the city. His neighbors would see him come and go, exchanging waves. Ortiz, 35, is now charged with four counts of murder in the killings of women who prosecutors in Laredo say were sex workers. The case has shocked the border community and baffled law enforcement. By Susan Montoya Bryan. SENT: 750 words, photos.


ATHENS, Texas — Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s mother is typically asked how her son got his name or if he was a troublemaker. But in a rural county Donald Trump overwhelmingly won in 2016, a supporter brings up different family history: Accusations her son pushed a project that would benefit his wealthy father-in-law. It’s a decade-old accusation that Beto O’Rourke has denied and stems from his days on the El Paso City Council. An attorney who filed two ethics complaints against O’Rourke in 2006 over the project called recent attack ads misleading. But Republican Ted Cruz has revived the accusations as he tries to defend his Senate seat against the Democratic congressman, who had said going into their first debate Friday that he won’t similarly go negative. His family says they’re doing the same. By Paul J. Weber. SENT: 720 words, photos.


— IVANKA TRUMP-NASA — Ivanka Trump made a telephone call to the International Space Station and spoke to the crew while touring NASA’s Johnson Space Center. SENT: 130 words.



PHOENIX — Arizona officials are moving to revoke the licenses for a nonprofit that houses immigrant children in part because it missed a deadline to show that all its employees passed background checks. The Arizona Department of Health said in a scathing letter Wednesday that Texas-based Southwest Key demonstrated an “astonishingly flippant attitude” toward the state’s concerns about delayed background checks for workers at its eight Arizona shelters. By Astrid Galvan. SENT: 500 words, photos.



FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines is threatening to prohibit customers from making changes to nonrefundable tickets if Congress makes good on a proposal to crack down on unreasonable airline fees. American CEO Doug Parker says his airline would be acting just like many other businesses when customers want to swap their ticket for a different flight or for another day. By Airlines Writer David Koenig. SENT: 620 words, photos. Moved on general, financial and travel news services.


— AMERICAN AIRLINES-CHECKED-BAG FEES — It’s official: It will cost you more to check a bag on any of the three biggest U.S. airlines. SENT: 130 words. Moved on general, financial and travel news services.


WASHINGTON — Fighting to defend its $81 billion takeover of Time Warner from a government challenge, Dallas-based AT&T is arguing the Trump Justice Department has failed to show that the merger will raise prices for pay-TV programming and for the consumers who watch it. The AT&T-Time Warner marriage was completed this spring soon after a federal judge approved it. But government antitrust regulators filed to have the judge’s ruling overturned, setting the stage for a landmark competition case in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 600 words, photos. Moved on general, financial and technology news services.


SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas — All federal lawsuits against the U.S. Air Force over a Texas church shooting last year that left more than two dozen worshippers dead will be consolidated into one case, a judge says. Senior U.S. District Judge David Ezra announced Wednesday that the lawsuits will be combined and handled by U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Four lawsuits have been filed so far by victims or their relatives. More are expected. The lawsuits allege the Air Force was negligent for failing to report the convictions of gunman and former serviceman Devin Kelley, who opened fire Nov. 5 at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Kelley later killed himself. SENT: 310 words, photos.


BISMARCK, N.D. — The Texas-based company that built the Dakota Access oil pipeline says the Greenpeace environmental group should be held legally accountable for violating federal racketeering laws in three different ways. By Blake Nicholson. SENT: 400 words. Moved on general and financial news services.


— DALLAS COUNTY-BAIL REFORM — A federal judge has ordered Dallas County to stop setting bail for felony and misdemeanor defendants solely according to a set schedule. SENT: 130 words.

— COLLEGE STUDENT-SLAIN — A Central Texas man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison for his role in the 2014 fatal shooting of a Blinn College student whose body was found on a street in Brenham. SENT: 110 words.

— TEXAS A&M FOUNDATION-IMPROPER EXPENCES — A foundation associated with the Texas A&M University System will pay $750,000 to settle federal claims that it overinflated expenses and overcharged the federal government to cover salaries. SENT: 130 words.

— POLICE CHIEF SUSPENDED — State records show a Texas police chief failed to discipline a sergeant accused of sexual misconduct and also helped the sergeant flush drugs down a toilet, potentially compromising criminal cases that relied on the drugs as evidence. SENT: 130 words.

— TV-POD SAVE AMERICA — The popular political podcast “Pod Save America” is coming to HBO for a series of four specials. The series will debut Oct. 12 at 11 p.m. Eastern. The four episodes will be taped in front of live audiences in Miami; Austin, Texas; Philadelphia; and Irvine, California. SENT: 90 words, photos.


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