5 Things to Know in Florida for April 7

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

Reversing course, Gov. Scott opposes Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Scott reversed course Monday, saying he no longer supports Medicaid expansion as talks break down over Florida’s request for the federal government to extend funds to hospitals that serve low-income patients. Scott wants the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to give Florida about $1 billion in hospital funds. The federal government has offered to pay the entire Medicaid expansion bill for the first few years and then phase down its funding to 95 percent, but Scott and House Republicans are concerned officials won’t make good on that promise.

High court rejects appeal from subcontractor freed in Cuba

The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a former government subcontractor seeking to sue the U.S. government for negligence over his five-year imprisonment in Cuba. The justices on Monday let stand a federal appeals court ruling that threw out Alan Gross’ $60 million lawsuit blaming the federal government for failing to prepare him for the risks of working in Cuba. Gross was freed in December as the U.S. announced it would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba. He was working as a U.S. Agency for International Development subcontractor in Cuba when he was arrested in 2009.

Florida officer facing charges for homeless man slapping

A Fort Lauderdale police officer is facing three misdemeanor charges after he was caught on video apparently slapping a homeless man. Broward County prosecutors said Monday that Officer Victor Ramirez is charged with two counts of battery and with falsifying a police report. He is scheduled to appear in court May 18. Ramirez, a nine-year veteran, has been on paid administrative leave since shortly after the Feb. 22 incident in which a bystander recorded him slapping the 58-year-old homeless man at Fort Lauderdale’s downtown bus terminal. Police said Monday that Ramirez is now suspended without pay.

State must pay $810,475 for Sansom’s corruption defense

The state of Florida must pay $810,475 for former House Speaker Ray Sansom’s legal fees defending against 2009 corruption charges. Leon County Circuit Judge Angela Dempsey ruled in February that taxpayers were liable for the fees because charges against Sansom were dismissed during a 2011 trial. She has now set the amount, $692,797 in fees plus $117,678 in interest. Sansom and his attorneys are also seeking reimbursement for the cost of fighting the case over the fees.

Prominent skin doctor Brandt found dead at Miami home

Pioneering dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt, an early proponent of Botox who was also an author, radio host and frequent television guest, has died. He was 65. Miami police spokeswoman Frederica Burden said Monday officers found Brandt’s body at his home in the Coconut Grove section of Miami about 9:15 a.m. Sunday. Burden said Brandt hanged himself. Brandt had offices in Coral Gables and New York and famous patients including Madonna.


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