Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MDT

Aug 1, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined by a 5-4 vote to halt the Trump administration's construction of portions of the border wall with Mexico following a recent lower court ruling that the administration improperly diverted money to the project. The court's four liberal justices dissented, saying they would have prohibited construction while a court challenge continues,  after a federal appeals court ruled in June that the administration had illegally sidestepped Congress in transferring the Defense Department funds. Friday's order means the court is not likely even to consider the substance of the issue until after the November election, while work on the wall continues.


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — The leader of Cowboys for Trump says the reelection campaign for President Donald Trump is distancing itself from the group after the leader posted a video saying some Black athletes should "go back to Africa." Cowboys for Trump founder Couy Griffin told The Associated Press on Friday that the Trump campaign contacted him and said it would distance itself from the group's activities. Griffin faced criticism this week after he posted the Facebook live "go back to Africa" video. Griffin says he chose his words poorly. Griffin also is facing a recall petition to remove him from his Otero County Commissioner's seat. 


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A Republican U.S. Senate hopeful is blasting New Mexico's health orders, which ban public political fundraisers and door-to-door campaigning. Mark Ronchetti said Friday the Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham's restrictions are violating free and are "tilting the playing field" toward Democrats, including his opponent, U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján. The Democratic governor said Thursday the health orders aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 allows for peaceful protests but not public "political organizing" by candidates. Lujan Grisham spokeswoman Nora Sackett called Ronchetti's criticism "nonsense" and said candidates can find other creative ways to reach voters.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Tribes have another month to apply for a band of wireless spectrum to establish or expand internet on their lands. The Federal Communications Commission had opened a priority filing window for tribes to access a mid-band spectrum that largely is unassigned across the western United States. The commission on Friday extended the deadline to Sept. 2. Tribes had sought more time because of the coronavirus pandemic. They said tribes have struggled to gather the information needed to apply for the licenses once reserved for educational institutions. The FCC says setting the deadline further out would delay the granting of licenses to those who already have applied.


FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the death of a northern Arizona inmate who refused medical attention and reportedly had a strange cut on his finger. The Coconino County Sheriff's Office said Friday it is looking into the death of the inmate from the Coconino County Detention Facility. Officials said he died at Flagstaff Medical Center. According to investigators, the arrestee refused to answer any medical-related questions during his booking on Wednesday. Officers reported seeing a laceration on the arrestee's finger that "appeared red, swollen, and hot to the touch." His cause of death remains unknown. His name has not been released.


ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A Black man alleges in a lawsuit against New Mexico State Police that he was arrested without justification after shooting video of a police raid at a neighbor's home in Albuquerque and declining requests from officers to identify himself. The lawsuit said D'Andre Ravenel was jailed for four days on a charge of resisting an officer, though it was dismissed days after his April 2019 arrest. The American Civil Liberties Union said Ravenel was engaging in constitutionally protected conduct when he recorded the video from a safe distance on a public sidewalk. A State Police spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The administration of New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is defending its decision to ban indoor restaurant service as a reasonable precaution against the coronavirus. A challenge of the indoor dining prohibition by the restaurant industry reached the hands of the state Supreme Court on Friday after a flurry of written briefings were filed by the governor's office. State health officials on Friday announced 216 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections and seven additional virus-related deaths. The pandemic has claimed 642 lives in New Mexico.


LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — A former sheriff's deputy in southern New Mexico has been arrested on accusations of tampering with evidence after detectives say a cleaning crew found boxes of guns and case files at his foreclosed home. The Las Cruces Sun-News reports former Doña Ana County sheriff's deputy Vincent Lopez was taken into custody Thursday following an investigation that began in May. Police say bags of evidence, firearms, ammunition, and case files were found at the foreclosed home. The 54-year-old Lopez told Las Cruces detectives the evidence was related to a multiple-rape case and a hostile working environment at the sheriff's office. Online records don't list an attorney for Lopez.