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Friday, October 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane man indicted on wire fraud charges

A Spokane man who claimed to have invented a computer chip that could capture energy from lightning pleaded not guilty this week to federal charges that he defrauded investors of more than $2.5 million. Robert B. Hiatt, 65, presented himself to investors for a decade as a successful inventor and businessman, according to the indictment on three counts of wire fraud returned Wednesday by a grand jury. Hiatt pleaded not guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno on Thursday afternoon.

A shared civics lesson

As Shaw Middle School’s choir and band performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” Tuesday morning, Scotland-born Norman Lewis sang along with pride, moments before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. The middle school is the first in Spokane to host a U.S. District Court naturalization ceremony, and the first local school since 1998. Shaw’s principal agreed to host the event earlier this year, immediately recognizing it as an opportunity for a civics lesson and an opening for her students to share the pride of participating in a federal custom.

Man says brother victim of setup

The man who boasted online about taking part in racist protests of taco trucks in Coeur d’Alene and now faces an illegal weapons charge was the victim of government entrapment, his brother says. Jeremiah Daniel “J.D.” Hop, 29, was set up earlier this month by an FBI informant who suggested the two of them go shooting and even supplied the shotgun that federal authorities now accuse him of illegally possessing, said Michael Hop, the suspect’s younger brother. The elder sibling has a previous felony conviction, which prohibits him from possessing firearms.

Taco truck protester was set up, brother says

The man who boasted online about taking part in racist protests of taco-trucks in Coeur d’Alene and now faces an illegal weapons charge was the victim of government entrapment, his brother says.

Suspect in bomb plot pleads not guilty to new charges

Domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham faces a minimum of 30 years in prison if convicted of two new charges added last week in what prosecutors have called a thwarted attempt to bomb the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in downtown Spokane. Harpham, 36, appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno, where he pleaded not guilty to the new federal grand jury indictment on charges of committing a hate crime and using a firearm in relation to a crime of violence. A trial has already been set for May 31 on the previous charges of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and possession of an unregistered destructive device in connection with a bomb found along the planned route of the march on Jan. 17.

Least potential prison term grows for MLK bomb suspect

Domestic terrorism suspect Kevin W. Harpham now faces a minimum of 30 years in prison if convicted of two new charges added last week in what prosecutors have called a thwarted attempt to bomb the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Unity March in downtown Spokane.

Judge lets drug dealer out of jail for Thanksgiving

A Spokane-area drug dealer who has failed to show up for court 75 times and is awaiting sentencing on his latest cocaine conviction will be allowed to leave the Spokane County Jail next week to spend Thanksgiving with his family.

U.S. to pay cop’s counsel in federal Zehm case

A federal magistrate ruled Thursday that the federal government should pay for the defense of Spokane police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. as he faces felony charges stemming from the fatal confrontation with Otto Zehm. Also Thursday, Thompson appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to violating Zehm’s rights by using unreasonable force and to lying to investigators about the struggle.