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BC-IL--Illinois News Digest 1:30 pm, IL

March 28, 2019

Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in Illinois. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-Chicago bureau at 312-781-0500 or chifax@ap.org. Caryn Rousseau is on the desk, followed by Herbert McCann.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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.



CHICAGO _ The FBI was already investigating whether “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett mailed himself a threatening letter as part of a staged racist, anti-gay attack in Chicago before President Donald Trump tweeted federal authorities would review the case, which Trump called “outrageous” and an “embarrassment.” At least some former federal prosecutors say there are enough anomalies to justify a Department of Justice review of what led Chicago prosecutors to their surprise decision this week to drop all 16 felonies against Smollett. By AP Legal Affairs Writer Michael Tarm. SENT: 530 words, photos, videos. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos, videos.


—EMPIRE-CAST MEMBER ATTACK-THE LATEST: The Latest on the Jussie Smollett case. Will be updated as developments occur.


A Georgetown University sociologist says “nobody wins” in the Jussie Smollett case in Chicago. Michael Eric Dyson, who’s also an author and radio host, says, “It doesn’t help the police department. It doesn’t help black activism. It doesn’t help Mr. Smollett. Everybody loses.” All 16 felony counts were dropped against the “Empire” actor, but Chicago’s mayor and police superintendent have said they still believe that January’s racial and anti-gay attack against Smollett was a hoax. By Errin Haines Whack. SENT: 970 words, photos, video.


CHICAGO _ One of the four women whom R. Kelly is charged with sexually abusing _ and the only one who wasn’t underage when the alleged abuse occurred _ has publicly leveled her accusations against the R&B singer. Lanita Carter said during the interview that aired Thursday on “CBS This Morning” that on Feb. 18, 2003, when she was a 24-year-old hairdresser, she was expecting to style Kelly’s hair when he tried to force her to perform oral sex on him and spit on her. SENT: 430 words, photo.



CHICAGO _ A convicted murderer who is suspected of belonging to the notorious “Ripper Crew” that killed as many as 20 Chicago-area women in the 1980s is scheduled for release from prison this week. The Chicago Tribune reports that 58-year-old Thomas Kokoraleis was sentenced to life in prison for the 1982 slaying of 21-year-old Lorraine “Lorry” Ann Borowski. Prosecutors allowed him to plead guilty on appeal in exchange for a 70-year prison term. That deal allows for his release Friday. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 350 words, photo.


—MEASLES-COOK COUNTY: Public health officials have confirmed a case of measles in a northern Chicago suburb and say others may have been exposed.

—REAL ID-ILLINOIS: Illinois’ secretary of state is issuing driver’s licenses and state identification cards in compliance with federal mandates aimed at making such cards more secure.

—SIU PRESIDENT: Southern Illinois University is slowing its search for a new president while leaders work on a new mission, vision and strategic priorities for the two-university system.

—SPECIALTY CROP GRANTS: Illinois grants of more than $700,000 will be available over three years to specialty-crop growers to encourage fresh, locally grown produce.



ARLINGTON, Texas _ The Rangers, with new manager Chris Woodward, play their season opener at home against the Cubs. Chicago’s rotation includes two of the Rangers’ former aces, though Jon Lester starts the opener. By Stephen Hawkins. UPCOMING. 700 words, photos. Game starts 3:05 p.m. CT.


KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ The Kansas City Royals host the Chicago White Sox on Thursday for their home opener. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts at 3 p.m. CT.


SAN JOSE, Calif. _ The playoff-bound San Jose Sharks look to snap a six-game losing streak when they host the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. Game starts at 9:30 p.m. CT.


—BKC--UMKC-DONLON: Missouri-Kansas City hired Northwestern assistant Billy Donlon on Thursday to take over its men’s basketball program, which has never qualified for the NCAA Tournament at the Division I level.


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