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BC-NJ--New Jersey News Digest, NJ

March 26, 2019

Good afternoon! Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up today in New Jersey. Questions about today’s coverage plans are welcome, and should be directed to the AP’s New Jersey bureau at 609-392-3622. News editor Larry Rosenthal can be reached at 609-392-3622 or lrosenthal@ap.org.

A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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, digests and digest advisories will keep you up to date.

Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

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

TOP STORIES:

SEX MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATION-COST

TRENTON _ New Jersey taxpayers will foot a roughly $1.6 million bill from legal costs in the probes from Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration and lawmakers into the hiring an ex-official who was accused of sexual assault. Prosecutors ultimately did not charge former Schools Development Authority official Albert Alvarez after Katie Brennan accused him of sexually assaulting her in 2017 while they worked to elect Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy. By Mike Catalini. SENT: 403 words.

MARIJUANA-LEGALIZATION LANDSCAPE

NEW YORK _ To anyone who figured the path of legalizing recreational marijuana use ran along blue state-red state lines, a sudden setback for pot advocates in New Jersey may show the issue isn’t so black-and-white. Leaders in solidly-blue New Jersey are vowing it will still become the 11th state to legalize the drug. But when a state Senate vote was abruptly put off Monday because it didn’t have enough support, the delay was a reminder that the politics of pot legalization aren’t purely partisan. The key question instead can be whether voters or legislators are making the decision, experts say. By Jennifer Peltz. SENT: 851 words, photos.

MILITARY CONSTRUCTION CUTS

WASHINGTON _ House lawmakers on Tuesday denounced Defense Department plans to use military funds to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall, telling Pentagon leaders the “unbelievably irresponsible” maneuver will threaten the agency’s future ability to shift money around when needed. Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee said there is little support for tapping military construction projects for the wall, about a week after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan sent a list of vulnerable projects to Capitol Hill. By Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns. SENT: 765 words, photos

PATERSON OFFICERS ARRESTED

PATERSON _ Another officer with a northern New Jersey police department has been accused of stopping vehicles, detaining the occupants and searching the autos without justification, sometimes also taking cash and other items. Daniel Pent is the fourth Paterson officer charged in the ongoing probe. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING 250 words by 5 p.m.

Eds: Will be updated following Pent’s court appearance, scheduled for 2 p.m.

AROUND THE STATE:

_ TURNPIKE-DRIVER FATALLY STRUCK _ A motorist who got out of his disabled vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike was struck and killed by two tractor-trailers and a car.

_ SUPERSTORM SANDY-CONTRACTOR CHARGED _ A home contractor who stole nearly a quarter-million dollars from eight Superstorm Sandy victims has been sentenced to five years in state prison.

_ DIRT BIKE CRASHG-SPECTATOR HURT _ State police say a dirt bike rider crashed during a race in southern New Jersey, striking and seriously injuring a spectator.

_ DOGFISH SHARK DEATHS _ Authorities say dozens of spiny dogfish sharks washed up on beaches across southern New Jersey last weekend.

_ ELECTION 2020-CORY BOOKER-COMMENCEMENT _ New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will be one of four commencement speakers at Southern New Hampshire University’s graduation ceremonies in May.

_ IMMIGRATION-LIBERIA _ Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is helping lead a coalition of attorneys general in supporting Liberians fighting to stay in the U.S.

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