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Louisiana inmate with case before Supreme Court freed after 30 years

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A Louisiana inmate whose case for leniency is before the U.S. Supreme Court was freed from prison on Thursday after 30 years behind bars in a deal with prosecutors that cancels his life sentence handed down when he was a teenager, his lawyers said.

In exchange for his release from prison and having his second-degree murder conviction vacated, George Toca entered a “best interest” plea to the killing and pleaded guilty to attempted armed robbery, his attorneys said.

Toca has long maintained his innocence, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charges in order to secure his release, his attorneys said.

A “best interest” plea admits no guilt while acknowledging the prosecution would likely secure a conviction.

“George Toca is innocent of the crime for which he was convicted and those to which he pled guilty today,” his attorneys at Innocence Project New Orleans said in a statement. “It is understandable and appropriate that he chose certain release from Angola prison over the uncertainty of continuing his legal fight.”

The Supreme Court had taken Toca’s case to determine whether an earlier ruling striking down mandatory life sentences for juveniles also applied to older cases.

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Toca was arrested at age 17 and convicted in 1985 of killing his friend, Eric Batiste. Batiste’s family has long sought Toca’s freedom, Toca’s attorneys said.

Representatives of the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, which struck the deal with Toca’s attorneys, did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Virginia Democrats are so fired up that the party chair had to scold them: ‘Sit down — be quiet’

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Democrats in Virginia are fired up as they gathered in Richmond for their annual gala dinner.

Political analysts believe the Democratic Party of Virginia has a good chance to win control of the state legislature in 2019's election, before setting their sights on the Commonwealth continuing its recent trend of voting Democratic in presidential elections.

Patrick Wilson, a political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, attended the event.

He reported that Democrats were so "noisy" that it was hard to hear the speakers, which include presidential candidates Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

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‘Everyone knows what to expect’ at Trump’s Amway Center re-election kickoff

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Donald Trump considers himself a legendary salesman, but can he really sell America on giving him four more drama-filled years at the White House?

Tuesday, he'll make his big pitch.

The 2020 reelection kickoff rally is being held in Orlando, Florida and campaign operations chief Michael Glassner says the "historic" event "has already generated tens of thousands of ticketing requests."

There's little mystery about how the night will go down.

Expect Trump, the self-promoting hero of his ghost-written book "The Art of the Deal," to claim the US economy is richer, the military stronger, and the country more respected than ever in history.

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Florida man’s own family blasts him after he was arrested for racist threats: ‘This isn’t how we were raised’

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After a Florida man was arrested for trying to start a race war, a member of his own family slammed his values.

"A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond," the Miami Herald reported Saturday. "And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge."

Joshua Leff, 40, is being held in the Lee County Jail.

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