Saturday News: Federal bullies

200 ARRESTED BY ICE IN RETALIATION FOR SHERIFFS NOT COOPERATING: After North Carolina’s largest counties cut ties with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency said it’s been forced to adopt a “new normal”: one that resulted in the arrest of hundreds of immigrants living here illegally this week. “This is the direct conclusion of dangerous policies of not cooperating with ICE,” said Sean Gallagher, who oversees the agency’s operation in the Carolinas and Georgia. “This forces my officers to go out onto the street to conduct more enforcement.” Sheriffs in Mecklenburg, Wake and Durham counties — all of whom emphasized severing ties with ICE in their campaign platforms last year — defended this shift, rejecting the notion that it had made their jurisdictions more dangerous. And immigrant rights groups blasted ICE for stoking fear and using the decisions of local law enforcement to justify heightened ICE enforcement.

FORMER WAKE POLL WORKER GETS PRISON FOR HELPING UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT TO VOTE: A North Carolina woman who helped her immigrant boyfriend register and vote is going to prison for helping the non-citizen vote. U.S. District Judge Louise Wood Flanagan this week sentenced 66-year-old Denslo Allen Paige to two months in prison and a $250 fine. Paige advised Guadalupe Espinosa-Pena to register and vote in the November 2016 elections though he was ineligible as a Mexican citizen. Espinosa-Pena was among 19 foreign nationals charged with illegal voting in August by federal prosecutors in eastern North Carolina. Paige was a seasonal poll worker in Wake County, but she said she was never taught legal residents holding green cards like Espinosa-Pena weren't allowed to vote. Paige said she thought workers at a help desk at the polling site would know if he could vote.

NO SHERIFF IN COLUMBUS COUNTY UNTIL ELECTIONS BOARD INVESTIGATES: Two men battling over the Columbus County sheriff’s seat have agreed that neither will occupy the office until state officials can sort out who officially won November’s election. Under the terms of a settlement agreement reached Wednesday night, the Republican candidate, Jody Greene, will step aside, letting Capt. Jason Soles serve temporarily as the county’s top law enforcement official. The Democratic candidate and incumbent, Lewis Hatcher, agreed to dismiss a lawsuit he filed last month seeking to establish that he was the sheriff at least until elections disputes were resolved, according to a statement released by the candidates’ attorneys. Other terms of the deal were not disclosed. Greene led Hatcher by fewer than 40 votes in unofficial results. But several voters appealed to the state Board of Elections, primarily citing difficulties voting in Tabor City and questions about whether Greene fulfilled residency requirements.

VA GOVERNOR NORTHAM TELLS STAFF HE WILL NOT RESIGN OVER YEARBOOK PHOTOS: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told his top staff Friday that he is not going to resign over a racist photo that has roiled state politics despite intense pressure to step down, according to a top administration official. Northam called a Cabinet meeting Friday afternoon to announce his intention to stay, the official said. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The announcement comes at the end of an unprecedented week in Virginia history that has seen the state’s three top Democrats embroiled in potentially career-ending scandals. “I believe this moment can be the first small step to open a discussion about these difficult issues,” Northam said. But the governor left his long-term plans open, saying he would reassess his decision not to resign if it became clear he had no viable path forward.

TRUMP-LOVING NATIONAL ENQUIRER IN HOT WATER OVER EXTORTING JEFF BEZOS: Federal prosecutors are reviewing Mr. Bezos’ claim that he has been extorted, according to two people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to discuss it publicly. And those prosecutors have planned a meeting with Mr. Bezos’ representatives, one of those people said. If American Media is found to have broken a law — any law — it would be in violation of a deal with federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York. The agreement was struck in September after American Media admitted paying hush money during the 2016 presidential campaign to protect Donald J. Trump from allegations of an affair. Under the deal, the company would not be prosecuted for its Trump-related efforts as long as it stayed out of legal trouble for the next three years. In an article late last month, The Daily Beast quoted Mr. de Becker as confirming that his team was looking into Michael Sanchez, the brother of Ms. Sanchez, as the potential leaker of private text messages The Enquirer published in its exposé. Mr. Sanchez denied it. As the piece noted, he is close with the Trump adviser and longtime provocateur Roger Stone, who has been indicted by the special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.