Morning Rundown: Ray Smith in Georgia pleads innocent and Hurricane Idalia is the latest.

Idalia strengthens to a hurricane as Florida braces for a potentially life-threatening storm surge.

Idalia intensifies to a hurricane, as Florida prepares for a storm surge that could be life-threatening. In the Georgia election case, a defendant enters a guilty plea and waives his arrest. How a Marine veteran mother of three, who was also a mother of 3, won $40 million out of a $377-million settlement.

What you need to know today.

Tropical Storm Idalia targets Florida

Idalia became a hurricane on Tuesday morning with sustained maximum winds of 75mph. National Hurricane Center: The system will “rapidly” intensify and could reach Category 3 strength before making landfall in Florida on Wednesday.

In some parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, hurricane warnings and watches have been issued.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Idalia could bring “life-threatening flooding” to parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Flash and urban flooding is also possible.

Florida Gov. FEMA reported that Ron DeSantis activated the National Guard, and Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration.

For the latest news, follow our live blog. Follow Idalia’s track using our storm tracker.

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UNC Chapel Hill: Fatal shooting

After a shooting that left a professor dead, classes at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill have been canceled for today. The campus is mourning the “tragic” beginning to the school year. After the shooting on yesterday afternoon, campus was put into lockdown mode for two hours while police sought and captured the suspect. As of last evening, neither the victim nor the suspect were named. What else do we know?

Georgia Election Case: First Not Guilty plea entered

Ray Smith , an attorney in Georgia, was the first to plead not-guilty. Smith, who acted as a lawyer for former President Donald Trump when he was charged in Georgia with cases related to 2020 elections, faces 12 counts.

A Fulton County Superior Court Judge announced hours before Smith’s guilty plea that Trump, along with the remaining 17 co-defendants, will be arraigned on Fulton County, next Wednesday. The former president is scheduled to appear first at 9:30 am Eastern.

Mark Meadows, the former White House chief-of-staff , took to the witness stand during five hours to try to get the case moved to federal court. Meadows, who was the White House chief at the time of the incident, testified that the actions he took in 2020 were related to his duties as a federal employee. U.S. district judge Steve C. Jones is yet to issue a ruling.

What we know of the Jacksonville shooting victims

Anolt “A.J.” Laguerre Jr., a 19 year old recent high school graduate, took a job in a Dollar General to “have some change in his pocket”, his father told NBC News. His life was cut short by a gunman who opened fire at the Jacksonville Dollar General store where he had worked over the weekend. Anolt Sr. stated, “I shouldn’t have to bury him.” “He’s just too young.”

Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr. (left), Angela Carr, and Jarrald de’Shaun Galllion. Courtesy Anolt Laguerre; Courtesy Ashley Carr, Courtesy Gallion family

Angela Michelle Carr (56), who was dropping an Uber passenger off at the store, and Jerrald de’Shaun Galllion (29), were the two other victims of the shooting. Carr’s daughter cried as she remembered that her mother was a “hardworking” woman who had dedicated herself to helping others. Gallion was called “the best dad ever” by his daughter’s family. Learn more about the victims.

Jacksonville Shooting: More information

  • At a vigil held over the weekend, the Black community’s anger towards Ron DeSantis could be felt. The Florida governor’s policies – from education to redistricting – also came under scrutiny.
  • Buffalo, New York residents said their community was still shaken by the racist shooting that took place at a supermarket and killed 10.
  • A group of Edward Waters University students, an historically Black institution, alerted campus officer Lt. Antonio Bailey to a suspicious individual on campus. The man who was spotted on campus later turned out to be gunman Ryan Palmeter. Bailey’s confrontation of Palmeter prevented students from becoming victims, , but he insists that “I am no hero.”
  • Sources in law enforcement said that Palmeter was wearing a Rhodesian Army patch on his vest. This is a symbol for white supremacy , they added.

Today’s Talker – An ethnic studies professor is accused of falsely claiming Cherokee heritage…

She can continue to claim Cherokee heritage if asked. According to Andrea Smith’s contract with the university, she will be able to continue teaching until next August, and keep her retirement benefits , among other things. This agreement is the result of years in which Smith’s heritage was questioned on and off, beginning in 2008.

Political Brief

Election 2024: Vivek Ramaswamy , after his attention-grabbing appearance in the first GOP Presidential debate, faces a challenge which has plagued previous presidential candidates.

Trial Date Set: U.S. district judge Tanya Chutkan has set March 4, 2024 as the trial date for Donald Trump’s case of election interference in federal court. The trial date could be crucial for the race to the White House in 2024.

Funding Deadline: As the Sept. 30 deadline for funding looms over Congress, Republicans look for ways to include provisions in legislation that will hinder federal and states cases against Donald Trump. Criminal proceedings won’t be stopped by a shutdown.

“Joe the plumber”: Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher has died at age 49.

Sarah Feinberg served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq during 2010. Courtesy Sarah Feinberg

Staff Pick: $40 Million for doing the right thing

Sarah Feinberg, a Marine veteran, was working at Booz Allen Hamilton when she received a task to improve the tracking and analysis of financial data. She made a discovery that changed her life. Feinberg spoke with our investigations team about the difficulties she faced in getting someone to listen.

This story reminds us that standing up for your beliefs can sometimes pay off. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

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