2 DEAD, 68 INFECTED AFTER CHARLOTTE CHURCH EVENTS: A COVID-19 outbreak linked to a multi-day church event in North Carolina has left at least two people dead, health officials said Wednesday. Mecklenburg County authorities said there are now 68 cases since the local health department initially reported the outbreak on Saturday, The Charlotte Observer reported. That was one week after the conclusion of the Oct. 4-11 event at the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte. The county said at least four people have been hospitalized. Officials said the county will host a no-cost, drive-thru testing event at a health department site on Thursday and Friday near the church. United House of Prayer leaders have not agreed to conduct testing on site, Mecklenburg health officials told county commissioners Tuesday.
GOVERNOR COOPER EXTENDS PHASE 3 RESTRICTIONS THROUGH NOV. 13: North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said on Wednesday that the state will extend Phase 3 of the coronavirus reopening plan for three more weeks. The state moved into Phase 3 on Oct. 2. Phase 3 allowed bars, amusement parks and movie theaters to reopen, but with limits on capacity and rules about social distancing and face coverings. Halloween is not canceled, but the NC Department of Health and Human Services has recommended that people take precautions such as not sending kids out door-to-door to solicit candy. The state also notes that having kids reach into a bowl for candy is a high-risk activity that should be discouraged. Large indoor Halloween or costume parties are also a bad idea. Some moderate-risk alternatives include handing out individual goodie bags, tossing candy to children from six feet away, and attending outdoor costume parties with masks and social distancing.
MAN WHO THREATENED SEXUAL ASSAULT OF KAMALA HARRIS IN CUSTODY: A Maryland man is facing a federal charge for allegedly threatening Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, authorities announced Wednesday. James Dale Reed, 42, of Frederick, Maryland, admitted to authorities that he made the threats in a handwritten letter he left at the doorstep of a home in the city on October 4, according to the criminal complaint, which included a photograph of the letter. "This is a warning to anyone reading this letter if you are a Biden/Harris supporter you will be targeted. We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs. We are the ones with those scary guns, We are the ones your children have nightmares about," the letter read in part. Reed went on to allegedly describe in graphic detail violent threats against Biden and Harris, including a threat of sexual violence aimed at the senator from California. The complaint says Reed told investigators that he had written the letter "because he was upset at the political situation." He then drove to the street the house is on and "took the letter to the first house he saw with multiple Democratic political signs." Reed told investigators he did not know the residents of the home and that he had not "surveilled it previously."
DEMOCRATIC SENATORS WILL BOYCOTT COMMITTEE VOTE ON AMY CONEY BARRETT: “We will not grant this process any further legitimacy by participating in a committee markup of this nomination just 12 days before the culmination of an election that is already underway,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement Wednesday. The 22-member committee is slated to vote on Barrett’s nomination Thursday afternoon, and she was widely expected to win support on a party-line vote. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said Wednesday night that the panel will proceed as planned. “The political system is broken. I get that [there is] plenty of blame to go around, but she’s one of the best people anybody could ever nominate to the court, and she deserves a vote and she’s going to get one,” Graham told reporters. In announcing that the committee’s 10 Democrats will boycott, Schumer highlighted McConnell’s actions in 2016 when he refused to consider Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, the choice of President Barack Obama to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. McConnell and Senate Republicans, including Graham, insisted that the president chosen in November of that year, eight months after Obama’s nomination, should fill the seat.
ERIK PRINCE (BLACKWATER) HIRED FORMER SPIES TO TRAIN PROJECT VERITAS OPERATIVES: A British former spy recruited by Erik Prince, the security contractor close to the Trump administration, played a central role in a secretive effort to hire dozens of operatives for the conservative group Project Veritas, deposition testimony shows. Job applicants traveled to Wyoming in 2017 for interviews with the former intelligence officer, Richard Seddon, as Project Veritas sought to expand its operations early in the Trump administration, according to a lawsuit deposition reviewed by The New York Times. The interviews conducted by Mr. Seddon and his colleagues took place near the airport in the small town of Cody, not far from Mr. Prince’s family ranch. The new details about Project Veritas show the extent of the group’s ambitions to build an intelligence-gathering apparatus to infiltrate Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations, news media and other groups. Project Veritas is known for its sting operations aimed at such groups, which have prompted allegations that it has published deceptively edited videos. Mr. Seddon did not immediately return an email seeking comment. James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, did not respond to specific questions about Mr. Seddon or his role with the group. But he wrote in an email, “The NYT has engaged in a coordinated malice-fueled disinformation campaign against Project Veritas.” The union, AFT Michigan, sued Project Veritas in federal court last year, alleging trespassing, eavesdropping and other offenses. The group accused Project Veritas of using an undercover operative in 2017 to gather information that could be made public to damage the organization.