Friday News: Hail Mary pass

LINDBERG WANTS BRIBERY CHARGES DROPPED ON TECHNICALITY: Businessman Greg Lindberg is asking a federal court to throw out his indictment on bribery charges in a case that also ensnared the then-chairman of North Carolina’s Republican Party. Lindberg filed the motion Wednesday in the Charlotte-based court’s Western District. Lindberg and two associates, along with then-GOP Chairman Robin Hayes, were indicted last spring on charges of conspiracy and bribery for their alleged attempts to influence state Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, a Republican. In their motion to dismiss, Lindberg’s lawyers rely in part on a 2016 case in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the bribery conviction of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and established higher standards for proving corruption. The court said the definition of “official acts” was too broad.

BERNIE BEGINS NC TOUR AT UNC-CHAPEL HILL: The 2020 presidential election was on the top of the minds for thousands Thursday as they rallied at the University of North Carolina's campus for Sen. Bernie Sanders. Thursday's visit was part of the presidential candidate’s tour of college campuses. He'll be at Bennett College in Greensboro on Friday afternoon. He'll also spend time at three South Carolina schools heading into the weekend. Sanders' campaign estimates there were about 2,500 people in attendance for Thursday's rally. He wasted little time digging into his platform. After a brief ovation, Bernie Sanders made a plea to the crowd. “No president, not Bernie Sanders, can do it alone," Sanders told the crowd. "We can’t bring about the changes this country needs just through a president.”

ANOTHER NORTH CAROLINA WOMAN BRUTALLY MURDERED BY HER ABUSER: Authorities in North Carolina have charged a man with killing a woman who'd taken out a restraining order against him two months before her slaying. News outlets report Orange County sheriff's deputies charged Timothy Wade Parnell with murder on Thursday in the death of Anne Kirkpatrick, whose body was found Sept. 8 strewn across her front yard in Hurdle Mills. Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in a news release that neighbors told officers they'd heard shots that morning, but no one called 911 at the time. Kirkpatrick had a domestic violence protective order against Parnell, requiring him to stay 1,000 feet (305 meters) from her. In the July order, she stated Parnell had grabbed her by the neck after he reportedly got angry at her for looking at another man.

GEORGE HOLDING PUSHES TRUMP ADMIN TO DEFUND UNC/DUKE MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES: The letter accused the consortium of failing to provide a “balance of perspectives” on religion. It said there is “a considerable emphasis” placed on “understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.” It added that there are few offerings on discrimination faced by religious minorities in the Middle East, “including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze and others.” Department officials said the grant’s rules require programs to provide a “full understanding” of the regions they study. Jay Smith, a history professor at UNC and vice president of its chapter of the American Association of University Professors, said the letter amounts to “ideologically driven harassment.” He said the Education Department official who signed the letter, Robert King, “should stay in his lane and allow the experts to determine what constitutes a ‘full understanding’ of the Middle East.” But Holding, the Republican who sparked the investigation, said it’s clear the consortium stepped outside the bounds of the grant. The Education Department has an obligation to ensure its funding is used as intended, he said, adding that other schools should make sure they’re following the rules.

TRUMP PLANS TO ROB MILITARY FUNDS AGAIN FOR HIS BORDER WALL, CONTRACTS GOING TO A TOP DONOR: The White House also has requested $5 billion for barrier funding in 2020 through the Department of Homeland Security budget, but if that money is not approved, the administration plans to dip into the Pentagon’s construction budget for the second consecutive year to get another $3.6 billion, said the officials familiar with the plan. Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.) said lawmakers also were troubled by revelations in The Post that President Trump had urged the Corps of Engineers to steer contracts to North Dakota-based Fisher Industries, a company whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News. The Corps of Engineers also has been directed to hand over information about border construction bids to Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), who has promoted Fisher Industries to Trump. Cramer has said he has been “deputized” by the president to ensure that barrier construction remains on track. The administration’s financial maneuvers have drawn significant criticism from lawmakers who accuse the White House of undermining military readiness to fund a project closely tied to the president’s reelection campaign.