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The Nation in Brief

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | February 23, 2021 at 3:00 a.m.

Wife of Mexican drug lord jailed in U.S.

WASHINGTON -- The wife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman was arrested Monday at an airport in Virginia on an international drug trafficking charge, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Emma Coronel Aispuro, 31, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Mexico, was arrested at Dulles International Airport and is expected to appear in federal court in Washington today.

She is charged in a single-count criminal complaint with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana in the U.S. The Justice Department also accuses her of helping her husband escape from a Mexican prison in 2015 and of participating in the planning of a second prison escape before Guzman was extradited to the U.S. in January 2017.

Guzman, Mexico's most powerful drug lord, made his 2015 escape through an entry under the shower in his cell to a mile-long lighted tunnel with a motorcycle on rails.

Court papers allege that Coronel Aispuro worked with Guzman's sons and a witness, who is now cooperating with the U.S. government, to organize the construction of the underground tunnel that Guzman used to escape, preventing him from being extradited to the U.S.

Guzman was sentenced to life behind bars in 2019. His Sinaloa cartel was responsible for smuggling large amounts of cocaine and other drugs into the United States.

Voting-machine firm sues MyPillow CEO

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sued Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow, accusing him of defaming Dominion with baseless claims of election fraud involving its voting machines.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also named MyPillow. The lawsuit alleges that Lindell "exploited" false claims about election fraud to support his company's sales.

The suit is seeking compensation for damage.

"Lindell -- a talented salesman and former professional card counter -- sells the lie to this day because the lie sells pillows," Dominion said in the filing. It said that MyPillow's "defamatory marketing campaign" -- with promo codes such as "FightforTrump" and "QAnon" -- increased the company's sales by 30% to 40%.

In a phone interview Monday, Lindell said: "I'm ready to go to court. I have all the evidence that anyone would ever want to see."

Lindell is an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump and promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud. The claims prompted a backlash against Lindell and MyPillow. A number of retailers cut ties with the company, and Twitter permanently suspended Lindell's account.

Dominion also filed defamation suits last month against two of the former president's lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell.

Impeachment weighed for S.D. official

PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota lawmakers are considering impeaching the state's attorney general as he faces misdemeanor charges after fatally striking a man with his car, Republican legislative leaders said Monday.

Jason Ravnsborg, the state's top law enforcement officer, indicated he will not step down while he waits for the case against him to proceed. Prosecutors have charged him with three misdemeanors but no felonies in the September death of 55-year-old Joseph Boever.

Rep. Tim Goodwin, a Republican whip whose job is to gain support from his fellow lawmakers, said Ravnsborg should resign and that lawmakers are considering impeachment if he doesn't.

South Dakota law allows officials like the attorney general to be impeached for conduct including a "misdemeanor in office."

Republican House Speaker Spencer Gosch acknowledged that impeachment was being weighed by lawmakers, but he said the legislative resolution that would start such proceedings has not been filed.

The Republican attorney general, who was elected to his first term in 2018, initially told authorities that he thought he had struck a deer or another large animal as he drove home to Pierre from a party fundraiser late on Sept. 12. He said he didn't realize he had killed a man until the next day when he returned to the accident scene. He was charged with careless driving, driving out of his lane and operating a motor vehicle while on his phone.

Porn star loses bid to revive Trump suit

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from porn star Stormy Daniels, who sought to revive a defamation lawsuit she filed against former President Donald Trump.

The justices did not comment in leaving in place a lower-court ruling dismissing the case.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, alleges she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and was paid $130,000 as part of a nondisclosure agreement days before the 2016 presidential election. Trump has denied the affair. She sued him over defamation after he dismissed her allegations of being threatened to keep quiet about the tryst as a "total con job."

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit in 2018 and ordered Daniels to pay nearly $300,000 in attorneys' fees.

-- Compiled by Democrat-Gazette staff from wire reports

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