Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Controller Alan Butkovitz have defeated their Republican challengers in a sign of the power of incumbency and a nearly 7-1 Democratic edge in citywide voter registration.
Williams beat GOP challenger Daniel Alvarez, a former assistant district attorney, while Butkovitz won against Republican Terry Tracy, a retail business manager.
Williams, who was unopposed for the Demoratic nomination, got a second four-year term as the chief prosecutor in Pennsylvania's largest city.
Butkovitz, who won a three-way primary contest, was re-elected to his third term. -- (AP)
LOS ANGELES — The doctor convicted of killing Michael Jackson was released from jail Monday after serving nearly two years of a four-year sentence.
Conrad Murray was released from a downtown Los Angeles jail at 12:01 a.m., according to the sheriff's office. A change in California law allowed his incarceration time to be significantly cut down.
"He was elated to be out of there," Murray's attorney Valerie Wass said. She said the former physician plans to spend time with his girlfriend and children and to readjust to his life outside jail.
The former cardiologist was convicted in 2011 of causing Jackson's death in June 2009 by providing the superstar with an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. Jackson was in the midst of preparations for a series of comeback concerts and Murray was serving as his personal physician.
Murray's prospects are uncertain: At age 60 his license to practice medicine has been suspended or revoked in three states and his face and name are well known due to his association with Jackson and his highly publicized involuntary manslaughter trial.
Wass said Murray did a lot of writing while incarcerated, but she didn't know if he had plans for a book or any other projects that would allow him to earn a living.
The former doctor is appealing his conviction, although an appeals court has questioned whether it needs to hear the case. His attorney has argued that the court should not dismiss the appeal because it could alter his overall sentence and reduce some of the stigma his conviction has caused.
Despite being jailed, Murray hasn't been entirely silent. Audio recordings of his calls have been posted on celebrity website TMZ and the ex-doctor told the Today show that he cried tears of joy after a civil jury recently determined that the promoters of Jackson's comeback shows did not negligently hire Murray.
He did not, however, testify in the civil case or take the stand during his criminal trial.
Murray previously maintained clinics in Houston and Las Vegas and frequently complained about conditions in jail after his conviction. He was allowed to serve his entire sentence in a Los Angeles jail rather than a state prison due to a law aimed at easing overcrowding by shifting nonviolent offenders to local lockups.
"Dr. Murray has not received any special treatment in jail and in fact has many less privileges than most inmates because of his notoriety," Wass said in a statement earlier this year.
Jurors in a lawsuit filed by Jackson's mother against concert giant AEG Live LLC determined that the doctor was not unfit or incompetent to serve as Jackson's tour doctor earlier this month. The panel heard testimony about Jackson and Murray's relationship throughout the five-month trial, but the panel said it did not condone the physician's conduct.
"That doesn't mean we felt he was ethical," jury foreman Gregg Barden said of Murray after the AEG Live verdict.
No doctor or medical expert has condoned Murray's treatments of Jackson during either the ex-doctor's criminal case or the civil litigation. The former cardiologist told police he gave the superstar nightly doses of propofol to help him sleep but lacked the proper medical or monitoring equipment that's required to administer anesthesia.
Although widely used, propofol is intended only for surgical settings and experts have noted that its effects are not actually sleep. -- (AP)
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick went through a second consecutive practice with no setbacks Wednesday.
But the injured veteran said he still needs to test out his injured hamstring and won't know more until Friday, as Philadelphia (3-4) continues preparations for the New York Giants (1-6) on Sunday.
Vick, who has missed the Eagles' last two games after injuring his hamstring in the first half of an Oct. 6 game against the Giants, practiced with the first team.
"I'm still limited," he said.
Vick, the NFL's all-time rushing leader among quarterbacks with 5,858 yards, said the biggest test he faces is whether he can run full-speed without pain. He said if he can run without aggravating the injury, he'll play.
That test will come in two days.
"Friday's a big day for me," Vick said.
But on Tuesday and Wednesday, he went through all the drills and — if nothing else — is showing signs of bouncing back.
"He looks like he's progressing," coach Chip Kelly said.
Nick Foles, who started a win over the Buccaneers and a loss to the Cowboys in place of Vick, suffered a concussion against Dallas and hasn't practiced since.
The only fully healthy quarterback on the roster is rookie Matt Barkley, who threw three fourth-quarter interceptions against the Cowboys. Barkley was also scheduled to take snaps with the first team on Wednesday.
"We're going to wait till how (Vick) progresses and how he goes. A lot of that comes from the feedback from Mike in terms of where he is," Kelly said. "I know he's progressed. But to put a number on it, I'm not going to put a number on it."
Foles, meanwhile, is running through the NFL's protocol for concussions. He has not been ruled out yet officially, but is unlikely to play.
NFL rules prohibit players who have suffered concussions from returning to practice before meeting a series of requirements, including passing the ImPACT test, completing five increasingly demanding levels of exercise without suffering symptoms, and being approved by an independent, league-approved neurologist.
"Nick's doing better," Kelly said. "He'll have to see an independent (physician) before he's allowed back. But in talking to him, he said he feels like he's doing better."
Vick, a four-time Pro Bowl standout, has missed 13 games since becoming the Eagles' full-time starting quarterback early in 2010. He hasn't played 16 games in a season since 2006, his final year with the Falcons. -- (AP)
NEWARK, N.J. — Rising Democratic star Cory Booker, the high-profile mayor of New Jersey's biggest city, will become just the second African-American in the Senate after winning a special election.
Booker said he was able to help turn around the long-struggling city of Newark and could help channel Americans' frustration with Washington into something positive after a long, bitter fiscal feud.
"I think everybody feels there's fatigue and frustration with how things are, which creates a great climate for change," Booker said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." ''Often before you have great victory, you have to have great frustration."
Wednesday's agreement in Washington to re-open the federal government and avert a default overshadowed Booker's victory over conservative Republican Steven Lonegan in New Jersey.
The 44-year-old Booker has long been touted as a member of a new generation of Black politicians like Barack Obama and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick who can win statewide elections. Booker was a prominent supporter of Obama during the president's 2012 re-election campaign.
Booker was elected to complete the 15 months remaining on the term of Frank Lautenberg, whose death in June at age 89 gave rise to an unusual and abbreviated campaign. If Booker wants to keep the seat for a full six-year term — and all indications are that he does — he will be on the ballot again in November 2014.
Booker heads to Washington with an unusual political resume. He was raised in the suburbs as the son of two of the first Black IBM executives, and graduated from Stanford and law school at Yale with a stint in between as a Rhodes Scholar before moving to one of Newark's toughest neighborhoods.
He's been an unconventional politician, a former college football player and a vegetarian with a Twitter following of 1.4 million — or five times the population of Newark. With dwindling state funding, he has used private fundraising, including a $100 million pledge from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, to run programs in Newark, a strategy that has brought his city resources and him both fame and criticism.
Throughout the campaign, Lonegan was aggressive, criticizing Booker during a string of homicides in Newark, holding a red carpet event in rally to mock the time Booker spent fundraising in California and declaring that "New Jersey needs a leader, not a tweeter."
Lonegan also criticized Booker when a Portland, Oregon, stripper revealed a series of not-so-salacious Twitter messages she'd exchanged with Booker, who is single. The topic resurfaced last week when Lonegan fired a key adviser after a profane interview in which the adviser suggested Booker's words were "like what a gay guy would say to a stripper."
Lonegan had called it "strange" that Booker won't say whether he's gay. Booker, for his part, has said his sexuality should not matter to voters and has been elusive on the subject.
At a debate this month, Lonegan responded to Booker's comments about the need for environmental regulations to clean a river through Newark. "You may not be able to swim in that river," he said. "But it's probably, I think, because of all the bodies floating around of shooting victims in your city."
Booker seemed stunned at the remark, and his campaign has criticized Lonegan for it.
Both candidates drew on some big names for support — Oprah Winfrey helped raise funds for Booker, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin campaigned for Lonegan.
Booker will join Republican Tim Scott of South Carolina as the only Black members of the 100-seat U.S. Senate. Scott was appointed by the state's governor to fill a vacancy, meaning Booker is the first African-American to win a Senate seat since Obama did in 2004. -- (AP)
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Corbett says he's releasing $45 million for the Philadelphia schools that his administration had held up as the state's largest school district goes through its worst financial crisis in memory.
Corbett said Wednesday that a letter received the day before from the Philadelphia school superintendent had convinced him that district officials were meeting his goals for improvements.
Corbett also says he and his wife are sending their sympathies to the family of Laporshia Massey. The school district is investigating the circumstances of the 12-year-old Philadelphia student's death.
A spokesman for Corbett says Massey's death and the release of the money aren't connected. Corbett's budget secretary, Charles Zogby, says the district's shown enough steps toward improving the financial health and academic performance of the district to release the money. -- (AP)