5 Things to Know in Florida for June 19

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

JUDGE TO HEAR ARGUMENTS IN ZIMMERMAN-NBC CASE

5 Things to Know in FloridaA judge is listening to arguments over whether George Zimmerman’s defamation lawsuit against NBC Universal should be thrown out. Attorneys for NBC are arguing Thursday that the case should be dismissed since Zimmerman failed to follow Florida’s retraction statute, and he wasn’t harmed by the reports. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder in Trayvon Martin’s death.

COLOMBIAN DRUG TRAFFICKER GETS 19+ YEARS PRISON

A Colombian cocaine trafficker who U.S. authorities say used submarine-like vessels to move major drug loads has been sentenced to more than 19 years in federal prison. Prosecutors said Wednesday a Tampa federal judge imposed the sentence on 39-year-old Alex Gonzalez-Arango. He pleaded guilty to U.S. drug charges in March.

$82M AUTHORIZED FOR RESEARCH ON TOXIC ALGAE BLOOMS

Congress has authorized $82 million for new research aimed at controlling toxic algae outbreaks. U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sponsored the bill. The Senate agreed Tuesday to a House amendment to the bill, which next goes to President Barack Obama for approval. The legislation streamlines existing national efforts to study and fight harmful algae blooms nationwide.

MAN GETS 15 YEARS FOR FATAL HIT-AND-RUN

A Tampa Bay area man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run crash. A Pinellas County judge sentenced 29-year-old Lenoris Leaks on Tuesday. He had pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a crash involving death, fleeing and eluding, vehicular homicide, possession of cocaine, driving with a suspended or revoked license and battery on a law enforcement officer.

MEN SENTENCED FOR LURING, JUMPING ON MANATEES

Two men have been sentenced over an online video that shows one man jumping on two manatees. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Orlando reports that 22-year-old Taylor Blake Martin was ordered Wednesday to pay a $3,000 fine, while 22-year-old Seth Andrew Stephenson must pay $2,000. Both men must serve 175 hours of community service. The men pleaded guilty in March to taking or harassing an endangered species.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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