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Demonstrators march through Minneapolis to protest Trump’s bid to stop ballot counting

Plus:  only nine ICU beds available in the Twin Cities; Minneapolis Charter Commission formally rejects proposal to overhaul police; attorney for Mohamed Noor asks Minnesota Court of Appeals to overturn conviction; and more.

Demonstrators being escorted by police off I-94 on Wednesday night.
Demonstrators being escorted by police off I-94 on Wednesday night.
REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

MPR’s Matt Sepic says, “Hundreds of demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis and onto Interstate-94 Wednesday evening to demand that President Donald Trump halt any legal action over ballot counting in key swing states.  The Trump campaign said it was filing lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to stop the counts in those states on grounds that staff was not allowed to observe. One group started at Government Plaza and met up with another that marched into downtown from the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood. Protest organizer Rod Adams said Trump is trying to use the courts to subvert the will of voters.”

At MPR, Tom Scheck and Geoffrey Hing write: “President Donald Trump says he’ll seek a recount of the ballots cast in Wisconsin after unofficial results on Wednesday showed former Vice President Joe Biden winning the state by less than 1 percentage point. Wisconsin’s uncertified count shows Biden winning by a little more than 20,000 votes, flipping a state Trump won four years ago by nearly 23,000 votes. Wisconsin Elections Director Meagan Wolfe welcomed the prospect of a recount and expressed confidence in the state’s vote counting. ‘We’ve had a recount before and it showed that we have a really good process,’ she said. ‘We have a really good system and our local elections officials are doing a phenomenal job.’”

An AP story by Bernard Condon says, “Here’s a snapshot of who voted and what matters to them, based on preliminary results from AP VoteCast, a nationwide survey of about 133,000 voters and nonvoters — including 3,613 voters and 449 nonvoters in Minnesota — conducted for The Associated Press by NORC at the University of Chicago. … The coronavirus pandemic was top of mind for many Minnesota voters. For four in 10 it is the most important issue facing the country today. Voters also considered the economy a major issue, with about one quarter of them saying it ranked at the top. One in 10 named health care, and less than 1 in 10 named racism and less than 1 in 10 named climate change.”

Says Jeremy Olson in the Strib, “Only nine intensive care beds were available in the Twin Cities on Wednesday morning amid a surge in COVID-19 that is sending more Minnesotans into hospitals. … COVID-19 ICU admissions have doubled since late September but still make up only 18% of ICU usage. Most of the 1,140 patients in Minnesota ICU beds are recovering from surgeries or being treated for unrelated issues such as strokes and traumatic injuries.”

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For MPR, Brandt Williams writes: “After stalling the Minneapolis City Council’s bid to possibly overhaul the Police Department via changing the city’s constitution three months ago, the charter commission voted Wednesday to formally reject that proposal. Since August, a commission subgroup had continued to study the finer points of the council’s proposal, which if passed by voters would have cleared the way for the council to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new community safety and violence prevention department. On Monday, that working group voted unanimously to reject the proposal. The full commission concurred with that decision.”

The Star Tribune’s Christopher Snowbeck writes, “A federal judge has ordered UnitedHealth Group to reprocess tens of thousands of claims from behavioral health patients to remedy its past usage of overly restrictive coverage guidelines — a ‘fundamentally flawed’ approach, the judge ruled last year, that was ‘tainted’ by the health insurer’s financial interests. … The division used the guidelines ‘to protect its bottom line’, Spero wrote in his order this week. United Behavioral Health (UBH) ‘lied to state regulators’ to conceal misconduct, the judge wrote, and executives responsible for the guidelines ‘deliberately attempted to mislead the court at trial in this matter.’”

In the Pioneer Press, Josh Verges writes: “A Minnetonka attorney who worked with chiropractors to rip off auto insurance companies was sentenced Wednesday to 16 months in prison. William Kyle Sutor, 38, pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy to commit health care fraud. Federal prosecutors said Sutor hired ‘runners’ to recruit clients who were supposedly injured in car crashes. The same runners would work with chiropractors who would fraudulently bill auto insurance companies for those clients’ care, taking advantage of the state’s no-fault insurance law, which requires insurers to pay their clients’ medical bills, whether the crash was their fault or not. Numerous chiropractors have been prosecuted in the scheme, some going to prison for several years, but Sutor is the only lawyer charged so far.”

Also or MPR, Jon Collins writes: “An attorney for former police officer Mohamed Noor argued before the Minnesota Court of Appeals Wednesday that Noor’s convictions should be reversed or that he should be given a new trial. Noor is serving prison time after he was convicted last year of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the shooting death of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk in Minneapolis in July 2017. Defense attorney Thomas Plunkett told the three-judge appeals panel that the charges against Noor were not appropriate.”