FORMER GOVERNOR TRIAL
Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A key witness in the corruption trial of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell testified that he made a mistake when he bought a Rolex watch for the governor at the first lady's request.
Businessman Jonnie Williams said Thursday that he thought it was wrong to buy the watch and didn't want people to know.
The watch was passed to the jury, where each juror briefly handled and inspected it. Williams said the watch cost between $6,000 and $7,000.
The watch is an important piece of evidence because it represents a tangible chunk of the more than $165,000 in secret gifts prosecutors say the McDonnells received from Williams. Other monetary gifts and loans can't be presented in court for jurors to hold.
In exchange for the gifts, prosecutors say the McDonnells promoted Williams' products.
Eric Cantor steps down as House majority leader
WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Eric Cantor has used his farewell as House majority leader to lament what he calls a diminished U.S. role in a world that he says is rife with instability and terror.
The Virginia Republican spoke on the House floor Thursday. It was his final day as No. 2 House GOP leader.
Cantor was unexpectedly defeated by an underfunded, tea party backed opponent in his Republican primary in June. He immediately announced he would step down as majority leader at the end of July.
On Friday, Cantor said he's worried about the future if the U.S. doesn't steel its resolve and stand with its allies.
Cantor also says improving educational opportunity for low-income children is this era's civil rights issue.
Cantor has said he will serve out his House term.
ALPHA NATURAL RESOURCES-LAYOFFS
1,100 layoffs planned at Alpha coal mines in W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Alpha Natural Resources expects to lay off 1,100 workers at 11 West Virginia surface coal mines by mid-October, with the company citing dismal markets and federal regulation.
An Alpha news release says the company notified employees Thursday afternoon that it expects to idle mines and related facilities.
Alpha says the mines produce about 75 percent thermal coal for power generation, and 25 percent metallurgical coal for steel production.
The company cited weak domestic and international coal markets and federal limits on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.
In the past three years, the Bristol, Virginia-based company says it has laid off 4,000 employees and idled 60 mines and 35 million tons of production.
Alpha is one of the country's biggest coal suppliers. It also has mines in Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
MARION BARRY'S SON-ARREST
Marion Barry's son jailed after latest arrest
WASHINGTON (AP) - The only son of former District of Columbia mayor Marion Barry has been jailed after he was caught driving on a revoked license.
Thirty-four-year-old Christopher Barry has had several recent brushes with the law, including an arrest in May near the White House for driving under the influence of drugs. His license had already been revoked, and he was ordered not to drive until further notice. Court documents show he was caught driving again on Wednesday and arrested. The documents show he was also in possession of synthetic marijuana.
On Thursday, D.C. Superior Court Judge Karen Howze ordered Christopher Barry jailed until a hearing on Aug. 7.
Marion Barry struggled with addiction while serving as mayor and served six months in prison after he was videotaped smoking crack cocaine.
Va. man convicted on federal drug, firearm charges
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - A Newport News man faces prison time after being convicted for his participation in a decade-long drug conspiracy.
Federal prosecutors say 34-year-old Kelvin L. Brown was convicted by a federal jury on Wednesday on drug and firearms charges.
According to court records and evidence at trial, Brown was arrested by Newport News police in September 2013 in a barricaded apartment with a firearm, a scale and cocaine.
A news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office says that the evidence showed Brown and his co-conspirators distributed crack and powder cocaine in the area beginning in the early 2000s.
Prosecutors also say they possessed firearms in order to protect the drug conspiracy and its proceeds. They say Brown also made threats against a cooperating witness.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 8.
Former Army official guilty in bribery scheme
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A former Army contracting official has pleaded guilty to accepting cash and vacations in return for helping businesses get millions in federal contracts.
In Seon Lim pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Virginia to accepting more than $490,000 in benefits, including a Lexus and hotel stays in Las Vegas and Florida. The 48-year-old from Fairfax Station, Virginia, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery and honest services wire fraud, bribery and attempting to interfere with and impede tax laws.
Lim, who worked in South Korea and Virginia, faces up to 15 years in prison on the bribery charge, a maximum of 5 years in prison on the conspiracy charge and up to three years on the tax charge. Sentencing is set for Oct. 17.
Lim's attorney declined comment.
VIRGINIA CRAFT BEER MONTH
Virginia kicks off 3rd annual craft beer month
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is kicking off its third annual craft beer month.
Events are scheduled throughout the state during August at breweries, restaurants and hotels to celebrate Virginia's more than 80 craft breweries.
Among the events is the Virginia Craft Brewers Fest scheduled for Aug. 23 at Devils Backbone Brewery in Nelson County.
Tourism officials say craft breweries are a growing tourism attraction opportunity statewide with an estimated economic impact of more than $622 million.
A study by the Brewers Association found that the industry in Virginia employs more than 8,000 people with an average wage of $33,541 and total labor income of more than $273 million.
Tourism officials say many more communities are targeting brewery businesses to compliment other related tourism economic development efforts.
Memorial set for Va. Guard soldiers killed in 2004
WINCHESTER, Va. (AP) - The Virginia National Guard is holding a memorial ceremony for two soldiers killed in action 10 years ago.
Officials say a service is planned Friday night in Winchester in honor of 39-year-old Staff Sgt. Craig Cherry and 36-year-old Sgt. Bobby Beasley.
Cherry was a native of Winchester and Beasley was a native of Inwood, West Virginia. Both served in the Guard following years of U.S. military service.
They were members of Virginia National Guard's 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Beasley and Cherry were killed when an improvised explosive device destroyed their vehicle Aug. 7, 2004, during a patrol in eastern Afghanistan.
The deaths marked the first combat deaths of a mobilized Virginia Guards Soldiers since the end of World War II in 1945.
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