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Nick R. Martin

Nick Martin is an associate editor at TPM in New York City. He came to the site in 2011 as a reporter for TPMMuckraker. Previously, he worked in Arizona, first as a staff reporter for a local newspaper and later as a freelance journalist. He also ran the news blog Heat City. Contact him at nick@talkingpointsmemo.com

Articles by Nick

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday accused an Arizona lawmaker of bribery, fraud and attempted extortion for allegedly taking thousands of dollars in gifts in exchange for his help purchasing city property.

Ben Arredondo, 63 and a Democrat, was a councilman in the city of Tempe, Ariz. for 16 years before being elected to the state House of Representatives in 2010.

A statement from the Justice Department said undercover agents from the FBI posed as company bigwigs looking to buy city-owned property in Tempe and offering him about $6,000 in tickets to Major League Baseball games for his help. In exchange, prosecutors said he gave the agents inside information and tried to pursude other government officials to help.

This isn't the first time tickets to sporting events have landed Arredondo in hot water. He was one of about 30 lawmakers investigated but ultimately cleared last year for taking tickets from the Fiesta Bowl.

 

George Zimmerman had a broken nose, black eyes and cuts on the back of his head when he was examined by doctors following his killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, according to medical records disclosed late Tuesday by ABC News.

Zimmerman has been charged with second-degree murder in the killing, which prosecutors allege happened after he pursued and confronted the teen. Zimmerman has admitted to the shooting but maintained he acted in self defense.

Last month, Zimmerman's neighbors told Reuters they saw him with bandages on his nose and the back of his head the day after the shooting.

An anonymous tip led authorities late Monday to the arrest of a 12th member of the white supremacist group American Front, which was broken up last week in Florida as part of a domestic terrorism investigation.

According to the Florida Today newspaper, police arrested Dylan Rettenmaier without any problems at a gas station in Melbourne, Fla., after getting a tip he was there. Rettenmaier, 25, reportedly knew there was a warrant for his arrest and had been camping out near the gas station.

Members of the Florida chapter of American Front were accused of preparing for what they believed was a coming race war by stockpiling weapons, experimenting with the creation of the toxin known as ricin and plotting some sort of “disturbance” on Orlando City Hall.

Video captured on the night of the Trayvon Martin shooting was apparently among the evidence Florida prosecutors handed over to the defense on Monday.

While the video likely doesn't show the shooting itself, the Orlando Sentinel reported that prosecutors turned over security video from the nearby clubhouse in the gated community where defendant George Zimmerman said he called 911 from before shooting the teen.

Among loads of other evidence that included a witness list, prosecutors also handed over video of Martin buying candy and iced tea in a convenience store before the shooting.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the killing of the unarmed teen, which has drawn international attention. He has admitted to the shooting but said he was acting in self defense.

More than two years before white supremacist border vigilante JT Ready was involved in a deadly rampage in Arizona, the FBI was reportedly told he planned to lead deadly raids on Latino households in Phoenix.

According to the Phoenix New Times, a fellow border activist named David Heppler came forward in late 2009 when he became concerned about Ready's increasingly erratic behavior. He said the well known white supremacist planned to dress up like an agent from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and lead attacks on Latino house parties with the intent to kill those in attendance.

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Florida prosecutors are expected today to hand over evidence in the killing of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin to the defense team of the man charged in the death.

Orlando television station WKMG reported the evidence would normally be released to the public at the same time under Florida law. However, lawyers for defendant George Zimmerman said they may ask the judge to delay the public release.

Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder in the case that has drawn international attention.

Joe Arpaio has been here before. At another time, during another Democratic administration, the tough talking Arizona sheriff was hit with a federal civil rights lawsuit designed to end the abusive practices of his agency.

It was 1997 when the sheriff, then 65, took to a press conference in Phoenix to react to news that the U.S. Justice Department was suing him for what it alleged was a longstanding mistreatment of inmates in his jails.

According to news reports from the time, he promised he would not back down. Everything was going to stay the same. "Nothing changes," he said.

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At a big news conference in downtown Phoenix on Thursday, the Justice Department's top civil rights lawyer described Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office as an agency out of control.

"At its core, this is an abuse of power case," assistant attorney general Thomas Perez said while announcing a massive civil rights lawsuit against the Arizona lawman.

But despite the tough talk, the reality is that little in the sheriff's office is likely to change anytime soon because, as Perez acknowledged, the lawsuit could take years to resolve.

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In light of the federal government's lawsuit against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, civil rights groups in Arizona called on President Obama to continue evolving on immigrant issues the way he did on gay marriage the day before.

Pablo Alvardo, the executive director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, released the following statement:

We all owe a great deal of gratitude to the civil rights workers of Arizona who have raised their crisis to the fore. Sheriff Arpaio is the best argument against the immigration status quo. His continued stay in office is warning to all of us facing the Arizonification of our towns and an urgent call for federal action. The President's legacy on immigration thus far has been defined by DHS's criminalizing immigrants instead of legalizing them. We hope his stance evolves.

The race war, he believed, was coming. So Florida white supremacist leader Marcus Faella instructed his followers over the past two years to prepare for it.

The preparations, according to law enforcement documents made public this week, included stockpiling weapons, experimenting with the creation of ricin and plotting some sort of "disturbance" on Orlando City Hall.

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