Kim Potter trial, key Supreme Court case, Meadows on the clock: 5 things to know Wednesday

·4 min read

Jury to hear opening statements in Kim Potter trial

Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, who shot Daunte Wright while yelling "Taser" in a Minneapolis suburb earlier this year. Prosecutors say Potter, 48, who was a veteran Brooklyn Center police officer, committed first- and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Wright, a 20-year-old Black man. According to the complaint, Potter recklessly handled her firearm and caused Wright's death by her "culpable negligence" – a conscious disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. Defense attorneys say the shooting was an innocent mistake and that Potter immediately expressed "remorse."

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Supreme Court case could expand school voucher programs nationwide

The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a closely watched case about whether parents may use state education money to pay for sectarian schools. While the central question in the Maine case deals with religious freedom versus separation of church and state, the outcome could have a significant impact on the issue of school choice, including voucher programs. Some experts see potential impact far beyond Maine if the court ultimately requires states to fund religious schools in programs where they currently do not. The case comes at a time when the court's 6-3 conservative majority has looked favorably on religious freedom claims.

Trump chief of staff Meadows could face contempt charge if he no-shows Jan. 6 committee

Mark Meadows could become the latest official from former President Donald Trump's administration to face criminal contempt charges from the Jan. 6 committee. The panel said it would pursue the charges if the former White House chief of staff fails to attend a scheduled deposition after his attorney said Tuesday that Meadows would not cooperate. Several former administration officials and campaign advisers have also refused to cooperate. The committee's subpoena seeks communications between Meadows and Trump on Jan. 6 and between Meadows and the organizers of a rally where the then-president spoke before the attack on the Capitol. Trump is also locking horns with the committee as he fights a subpoena seeking records he opposes turning over to lawmakers. So far, only former Trump political strategist Steve Bannon has faced criminal charges over his refusal to cooperate.

Scott Peterson, spared from death penalty, to be sentenced for 2002 murders

A California judge plans to sentence Scott Peterson to life in prison in the 2002 murders of his pregnant wife and unborn son after the state Supreme Court last year threw out his death sentence. Peterson had contended his trial was flawed. While the court upheld his murder conviction, the justices said the trial judge “made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.” They agreed with his argument that potential jurors were improperly dismissed from the jury pool after saying they personally disagreed with the death penalty but would be willing to follow the law and impose it.

Olaf Scholz succeeds Angela Merkel as German chancellor, opening new era

Angela Merkel's tenure as Germany's first female chancellor came to an end after more than 16 years Wednesday. Center-left leader Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor by the nation's Parliament and sworn in after a three-party deal to form a new German coalition government cleared its final hurdle earlier this week. Merkel, a former scientist who grew up in communist East Germany, bowed out about a week short of the record for longevity held by her one-time mentor, Helmut Kohl, who reunited Germany during his 1982-1998 tenure. While Merkel may lack a spectacular signature achievement, the center-right Christian Democrat has been credited with raising Germany's profile and influence, working to hold a fractious European Union together, managing a string of crises and being a role model for women.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Kim Potter trial, key Supreme Court case: 5 things to know Wednesday

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