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In brief: Politician unaware documents altered

DETROIT – Michigan’s top law enforcement official said Thursday that former Michigan U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter was “asleep at the switch” when four ex-campaign staffers forged or falsified signatures on nominating petitions, leading to criminal charges a month after the congressman’s resignation.

No direct evidence points to McCotter’s involvement and he isn’t charged, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said at a morning news conference. But Schuette said his fellow Republican provided “no supervision whatsoever” to the employees.

“They copied petitions, submitted petitions falsely signed by circulators and did cut-and-paste jobs that would make an elementary art teacher cringe,” Schuette said. “The buck stops at the top, but in this case Thad was asleep at the switch.”

McCotter’s former deputy district director Don Yowchuang, district director Paul Seewald, district representative Mary Melissa Turnbull and staffer Lorianne O’Brady face charges ranging from forgery and conspiracy to falsely signing election documents. Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout said Yowchuang and Seewald were scheduled to be arraigned today. She did not have information about court appearances for Turnbull or O’Brady.

CDC urges greater use of AIDS pill

ATLANTA – U.S. health officials said Thursday that doctors should consider giving an AIDS prevention pill to women and heterosexual men who are at high risk for getting the virus.

The government previously advised doctors to give the once-a-day pill Truvada to high-risk gay and bisexual men only. However, more than a quarter of new HIV cases each year are heterosexuals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration formally approved the sale of Truvada as a preventive measure for healthy people at high risk of getting HIV.

The CDC is not recommending the pill for all sexually active heterosexuals. And even among couples where one person has HIV, regular condom use generally is effective protection. There are an estimated 140,000 heterosexual couples in which one person is infected with the AIDS virus. But the pill would be a good option for a couple that wanted to have a baby, Smith said, describing one possible scenario.

When used as a preventive, the pill is taken once a day. It costs between $6,000 and $12,000 a year.

Charge against soldier dismissed

A criminal charge was dismissed Thursday against U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Walter Taylor, who had faced potential imprisonment for negligent homicide in the 2011 death of a civilian doctor in Afghanistan.

Col. Darren L. Werner, commander of the 16th Sustainment Brigade in Bamberg, Germany, released a charge sheet dismissing the case after an investigating officer found that there was insufficient evidence to support the charge.

Taylor, 31, has said he had only seconds to decide whether an unidentified figure emerging from a car near a shootout with insurgents was about to detonate another bomb. The shootout had erupted after a roadside bomb seriously injured five other soldiers.


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