Afternoon briefing

Judge tosses devil worshipper’s claim

CHICAGO — The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin reported Wednesday that a federal judge in Chicago has tossed Kenneth Mayle’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the motto “In God We Trust” on American money. Mayle claimed the motto forces him to propagate a religious view he opposes, violating his constitutional rights.

But Judge Amy St. Eve rejected that. She cited a long-standing Supreme Court ruling that concluded a motto on currency isn’t something people display prominently and so it can’t be said they’re forced to publicly advertise views that clash with theirs.

Mayle intends to appeal.

Killer storm Nate lays aim at U.S.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Newly formed Tropical Storm Nate was blamed Thursday for at least 22 deaths in Central America as it dumped rain across the region on a path that would carry it toward a potential landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend.

Louisiana officials declared a state of emergency and ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands, and evacuations began at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm could cause dangerous flooding by dumping as much as 15 to 20 inches of rain as it moved over Honduras, with higher accumulations in a few places.

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and mobilized 1,300 National Guard troops, with 15 headed to New Orleans to monitor the fragile pumping system there.

With forecasts projecting landfall in southeast Louisiana Sunday morning, Edwards urged residents to ready for rainfall, storm surge and severe winds — and to be where they intend to hunker down by “dark on Saturday.”

Long sentence sought in girl’s stabbing

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Prosecutors asked a judge Thursday to sentence a girl to 40 years in a mental hospital for stabbing a classmate in an attack she said was done to please the fictional horror character Slender Man.

Morgan Geyser, now 15, broke down in sobs during her plea hearing as a judge asked her to recount the 2014 stabbing of a classmate in a Milwaukee-area park. A co-defendant, Anissa Weier, also admitted a role in the attack.

The victim, Payton Leutner, survived the attack by crawling out of woods, where she was found by a passing bicyclist. All three girls were 12 at the time.

Geyser will undergo a doctor’s evaluation by Nov. 13, and a hearing for sentencing was to be scheduled later. The defense made no request for length of sentence because the attorneys are waiting for the evaluation. A jury last month determined Weier was mentally ill at the time of the attack. She faces at least three years in a mental hospital when she is sentenced later.

U.S. commandos killed in Niger

WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say three U.S. Army special operations commandos were killed Wednesday and two others were wounded when they came under fire in southwest Niger.

The officials said the two wounded were taken to Niamey, the capital, and are in stable condition. The officials said the commandos, who were Green Berets, were likely attacked by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb militants. In a statement, U.S. Africa Command said the forces were with a joint U.S. and Nigerien patrol north of Niamey, near the Mali border, when they came under hostile fire.

Police officers struck by motorcycles

UNION CITY, N.J. — Three police officers in New Jersey were struck and injured when authorities say a pair of motorcycles barreled through an earlier accident scene.

Authorities say the officers were hit Wednesday night in Union City. It happened while they were investigating an earlier crash involving a teen who had been struck by a garbage truck and killed. Authorities say one of the motorcyclists fled, while the other crashed at the scene.

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