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Correction: Government Critic-Trespassing story

October 16, 2018

NORTHPORT, Ala. (AP) — In a story Sept. 20 about a critic of an Alabama city being found guilty of trespassing, The Associated Press reported erroneously that a 2015 letter from a Northport city official to John Earl detailed past incidents between Earl and the city. The letter said Earl is not a Northport resident or business owner and warned him not to trespass on city-owned properties.

A corrected version of the story is below:

Critic banned from city property found guilty of trespassing

A critic of an Alabama city has been found guilty of trespassing to attend a city council meeting

NORTHPORT, Ala. (AP) — A critic of an Alabama city has been found guilty of trespassing to attend a city council meeting.

The Tuscaloosa News reports 71-year-old John Earl was found guilty Tuesday for attending a Northport City Council meeting in 2015 despite being banned from city property. Earl testified that his then-lawyer told him to attend.

A 2015 letter informing Earl of the ban and three encounters with city officials were discussed during the trial. They included Earl taking photos of vehicles at city hall, using a councilwoman’s passcode to enter a restricted area, and asking a police officer about the city’s concealed weapons policy. Earl says he took a photo of a car thought to be driven by a council member and was helping the councilwoman with research. He testified he was just asking about the weapons policy.

Earl’s attorney, Bill Dawson, says these aren’t “serious breaches of public safety.”

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