January 4, 2013

Dispatches

AUGUSTA

LePage speaks to Democrats through a video on YouTube

Gov. Paul LePage released a YouTube video Thursday in which he takes credit for tax cuts passed during the last legislative session and asks Democrats to support additional cuts this year.

In the five-minute video, the Republican governor is interviewed by his communications director, Adrienne Bennett, about tax cuts passed last session and says 70,000 Maine residents with the lowest incomes will not have to pay taxes in the new year.

"This represents the largest tax cut in Maine history," LePage said. "For Democrats to call this a tax cut for the rich is simply not true."

In the latest of several YouTube videos he has taped, LePage says giving targeted tax breaks to businesses can stimulate the economy by allowing them to invest that money on an expansion, new jobs or higher wages.

Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, issued a statement that said the video was distributed by the governor's 2014 re-election committee and distorts Democratic lawmakers' position on Maine tax policy.

Alfond said LePage refuses to meet with Democratic leaders.

"We hope in the days that follow that we can sit down with the governor and engage in a thoughtful conversation about how to move Maine forward," Alfond said.

AG: State trooper justified in shooting gun at vehicle

Attorney General William Schneider says a state trooper was legally justified in using his handgun to try to disable a motorist's car after a high-speed chase on the Maine Turnpike.

Investigators say Matthew Cole, 23, was driving an unregistered car with an expired inspection sticker when he fled from a trooper on Sept. 15 and crashed at Exit 42. Trooper Kyle Wells fired several shots after Cole, ignoring the trooper's instructions, began backing up toward him.

Neither Cole nor Wells was injured.

Schneider concluded Thursday that it was reasonable for Wells to believe he was being threatened with deadly force in the form of the moving car, and that deadly force was necessary to protect himself and to stop the vehicle from getting back onto the highway.

BANGOR

Man is given 33-month term for threatening to kill Obama

A Maine man who threatened to kill President Obama was sentenced Thursday to 33 months in prison.

Leroy Eugene Dunn, 30, appeared in U.S. District Court before Judge John A. Woodcock Jr., who also ordered three years of supervision after Dunn is released.

U.S. Attorney Thomas E. Delahanty II said Dunn pleaded guilty to the charge of threatening April 25.

Dunn's mother has said that her son, who is 7 feet 6 inches tall, is mentally disabled and suffers from Marfan syndrome, which can cause disproportionately long arms and legs. Philomena Gordon of Bingham said her son should be under supervised medical and psychiatric care.

According to court records, Dunn wrote a letter to Obama in April 2011 that said, "I hate you and will do anything I can to get rid of you ... you will die at my hands ... I will kill you Barack Obama."

At the time, Dunn was in the Piscataquis County Jail on drug trafficking charges. He asked a corrections officer to mail the letter for him. The officer got Dunn's permission to open the envelope, which contained a two-page letter outlining his threats.

Last year, Dunn was sentenced to 60 days in jail for threatening Gov. Paul LePage.

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