Man accused duping Vikings for $70,000 in luxury suite scam

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A San Francisco man is accused of bilking the Minnesota Vikings out of about $70,000 in a luxury suite scam.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says 39-year-old Daniel Escamilla signed a contract to rent a suite for the Sept. 9 game against the San Francisco 49ers, which he attended. When his check for $37,000 bounced a few days later, Escamilla told the Vikings he would send checks for that game as well as for a Sept. 23 game against the Buffalo Bills. Those checks, for $35,000 and $190,000, also bounced.
The investigation found that Escamilla used a similar scheme to lease a Minneapolis luxury apartment, where he hosted a party before the 49ers game.
Escamilla is charged with four counts of theft. Authorities say his whereabouts are unknown and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Man pleads guilty to attack on 2 Minnesota college teachers

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A student accused of beating two teachers at Normandale Community College in Bloomington has pleaded guilty.
Twenty-one-year-old Gavin Hutson, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty to felony assault, two counts of misdemeanor assault and carrying a gun without a permit. Sentencing is scheduled for June 17.
Authorities say Hutson struck a 51-year-old female instructor several times and also assaulted a 47-year-old male faculty member who intervened in the Dec. 12 attack in a classroom.
The complaint says Hutson’s teacher asked him to stay after class to discuss a remark he made to another student. Hutson allegedly knocked her to the floor, where she lost consciousness.
Hutson was apprehended in the college’s parking ramp. Police say they found a handgun in his backpack.

Eden Prairie dad pleads guilty to whipping teenage daughter

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) — An Eden Prairie man accused of locking his teenage daughter in a bedroom and whipping her with a tree branch and a belt has pleaded guilty.
The Star Tribune reports that 38-year-old Craig Underwood II pleaded guilty to malicious punishment of a child for his November attack on the girl after she came home from school.
Authorities say Underwood whipped her roughly 30 times, leaving the teen with bloody and bruised wounds over much of her body. He allegedly was upset because she was late for class and brought home someone her family dislikes.
The complaint says when Underwood was arrested he told police he had “every right to whoop her.”
The plea in Hennepin County District Court calls for a sentence of no more than 45 days of incarceration.
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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

Fox News to host town hall meeting with Amy Klobuchar

NEW YORK (AP) — Sen. Amy Klobuchar agreed on Wednesday to become the second Democratic presidential candidate to hold a town hall meeting on Fox News Channel, and others are soon to follow.
Sen. Bernie Sanders was the first to venture onto Fox this week. His Monday town hall reached 2.55 million viewers, the biggest audience of any such event in the 2020 campaign cycle, despite not being aired in the prime time hours when most people are available.
One of Fox News’ most loyal viewers, President Donald Trump, indicated on Twitter that he wasn’t happy seeing Sanders on his screen.
Fox says it’s looking forward to hosting Klobuchar’s next town hall.
Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg’s campaign confirmed that it is in talks with Fox about a town hall. Jenn Fiore, an aide to Julian Castro, said that campaign is in the process of scheduling one. Sen. Cory Booker also said he’s considering one.
During an appearance in Fredericksburg, Virginia, on Wednesday, Beto O’Rourke said that while he disagrees with the practices of Fox News, he will appear on the network. He said he wasn’t sure whether it would be on a town hall or some other program.
“I don’t write anybody off in this country for their choice of cable programming,” O’Rourke said.
The Democrats have had to weigh possibly angering a liberal base that holds Fox News in contempt versus reaching a large audience, many of whom wouldn’t be likely to see them in action elsewhere.
Before the newfound interest, Fox News faced the prospect of watching the Democratic nomination process from the sidelines. The Democratic National Committee announced in February, and reaffirmed this week, that it would not hold any of its upcoming candidate debates on the network.
On Twitter, Trump has seemed like a spurned man. He tweeted Tuesday that it seemed “very strange” to see Sanders on Fox. Trump, who rarely complains about Fox, also said that many of his supporters couldn’t get into the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, event that was “stuffed” with Sanders fans.
Fox has said it reached out to various political and local groups in the Bethlehem area to help fill the audience for the Sanders town hall.
Besides the president, Fox News also has to wonder how the large number of his fans in its audience will take to the Democratic visits. The online activists Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who often appear as commentators on Fox under the name Diamond and Silk, tweeted that it was “sickening to see Bernie Sanders on a Fox News town hall disparaging our president.”
Fox did receive praise for its handling of the Sanders town hall from some unlikely sources, including panelists on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” which has been relentless in its criticism of Trump.
The Klobuchar town hall will be held May 8 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The hour-long event will have a similar blueprint to Sanders’ session: Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum will be the anchors, and it will start at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time.
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Associated Press writers Alexandra Jaffe in Des Moines, Iowa, and Will Weissert in Fredericksburg, Virginia, contributed to this report.

Antetokounmpo leads Bucks past Pistons

By Rich Rovito
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 13 of his 26 points in Milwaukee’s big third quarter and the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 120-99 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
Eric Bledsoe led the Bucks with 27 points, and Khris Middleton had 24. Milwaukee is trying win a series for the first time since 2001.
Luke Kennard had 19 points for Detroit. Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond each added 18, and Drummond had 16 rebounds. Detroit star Blake Griffin sat out again with a left knee injury, but received a technical for the second straight game for arguing from the bench.
Game 3 is Saturday night in Detroit.
After scoring 10 points and playing only 14 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first 7 points in the third quarter. The Bucks outscored Detroit 35-17 in the period to take a 93-76 lead into the fourth.
Detroit clawed within seven in the fourth before the Bucks put it away, capped by a hard drive by Antetokounmpo on a break. He banked in an awkward reverse-angle shot while crashing to the floor after being fouled by Drummond. He competed the three-point play it make it 105-87.
Detroit battled back in the second quarter, finally taking a 57-56 lead on Jackson’s jumper with 28 seconds left. Bledsoe briefly put the Bucks back in front, but Jackson closed the half with a layup to give Detroit a 59-58 lead.
TIP-INS
Pistons: Griffin took part in light drills at the morning’s shootaround while wearing a heavy brace on his leg. … Thon Maker, acquired from Milwaukee near the trading deadline, started in Griffin’s place for the second straight game. … Detroit committed two turnovers in the first half.
Bucks: G Tony Snell, who continues to deal with a left ankle sprain, was inactive. Snell has been sidelined since rolling his ankle March 24 against Cleveland. Sterling Brown started at shooting guard in place of Snell. … Pau Gasol (left foot soreness) and Malcolm Brogdon (right foot plantar fascia) also remained out. … F Nikola Mirotic, who played 15 minutes and scored four points Sunday, had two points in 11 minutes in Game 2. Mirotic missed the last 11 games of the regular season after fracturing his left thumb March 19.

Thielen deal shows Vikings’ commitment to keep core together

By Brian Hall
Associated Press

EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — Two years away from free agency, Adam Thielen was among the best bargains in the NFL.
Facing a tight salary cap situation, the Minnesota Vikings could have waited to reward Thielen, their two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who was tied for fourth in the league with 113 receptions last season.
Waiting, and creating potential tension with team cornerstones, hasn’t been their approach. So the Vikings and Thielen agreed to a four-year, $64 million contract extension last week.
“It shows what type of organization this is,” Thielen said this week as players began their first round of organized offseason workouts. “They’re not here to lowball people. They’re not here to take advantage of people. They want to reward the people that helped this football team win games and, ultimately, they want to win games. That’s probably one of the biggest reasons that I want to be here for a long time, because I want to win games. I guess it just shows what this organization is about and how they treat their players.”
Thielen, the famously undrafted player from Division II Minnesota State who had the third-most receptions in franchise history last year, signed for an annual average of $16 million on his new deal that is the sixth highest among NFL wide receivers. He can earn as much as $73 million with incentives over the life of the contract covering the 2021-24 seasons.
This was the latest move by Minnesota general manager Rick Spielman to maintain the foundation — mostly drafted-and-developed players — of a roster with a recharged Super Bowl aspiration. Thielen’s extension followed those given to wide receiver Stefon Diggs, defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Eric Kendricks in the past year.
The Vikings have thus created an environment, particularly on defense, built on remarkable continuity in a league that’s constantly turning over. The front office hasn’t shied away from extensions a year or more before free agency, and the players have shown a willingness to stay and forgo the chance to test an open market.
“I feel like we just love playing with each other,” Kendricks said. “We know what kind of group we have. We have each other’s backs. I take a lot of trips with these guys in the offseason, and we just enjoy being together, working together. We know what we’re all chasing. I feel like it says a lot about what we’ve got.”
Linebacker Anthony Barr was an outlier among recent high draft picks, in 2014, by the Vikings who hit free agency without an extension. He even agreed to join the New York Jets before reconsidering and staying where his heart was for a little less money.
“I sent him a text like, ‘Hey, it’s going to be weird not playing with you,’ and he was like, ‘Just wait a second,’” said Kendricks, who has been a teammate of Barr’s since college at UCLA. “I’m like, ‘Oh, I see.’ Everything kind of played out how it did. Couldn’t be happier.”
Barr’s decision even struck the typically stoic Harrison Smith. Speaking to reporters this week, the Pro Bowl safety choked up and acknowledged being surprised by the emotion he felt.
“He’s one of my best friends,” said Smith, another high draft pick, in 2012, who never hit free agency. “Honestly, I wanted him to go get as much money as he could make. Pro sports, it’s how things happen. I obviously wanted him here, as well. So, I wasn’t going to be upset one way or the other. It’s an emotional game, and you make friendships, and you make plays together, and you’re pumped for the guy next to you. It’s why I play.”
The feeling is mutual around the team’s facility.
Tight end Kyle Rudolph said this week he’d be willing to restructure his contract to help the team’s salary cap situation and thus avoid being released. Defensive end Everson Griffen, the longest-tenured member of the team as a 2010 draft pick, already did that last month. Taking a pay cut was not his preference, of course, but the support he received from the team while taking a leave for mental health issues sure made it easier to stay.
“They took care of me and they treated me like family,” Griffen said. “I’ve been here for 10 years. I’ve played good football for them, and I felt like they handled the situation that I was in perfectly. They took me under their wing. They made sure I had everything lined up, and it was a good thing. I just want to repay that. It’s always bigger than football.”

Pastrnak scores twice, Bruins beat Maple Leafs to tie series

TORONTO (AP) — David Pastrnak scored twice in quick succession, Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists and the Boston Bruins held off the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-4 on Wednesday night to tie the first-round series 2-2.
Charlie McAvoy had a goal and an assist, Zdeno Chara and Joakim Nordstrom also scored and Tuukka Rask made 38 saves.
Auston Matthews scored twice for Toronto. Zach Hyman and Travis Dermott also scored and Frederik Andersen stopped 25 shots.
Game 5 is Friday night in Boston.
After the Maple Leafs overcame a 2-0 deficit to tie it early in the second period, Pastrnak put Boston back in front at 3:16 when he redirected a pass from Marchand on a 2-on-1. The Bruins then got a power play when Matthews went off for roughing, and Marchand whipped a backhand pass to a wide-open Pastrnak, who snapped the puck short-side on Andersen for his second goal in 1:35.
Chara made it 5-2 at 5:39 of the third. At 42 years, 30 days, the Boston captain became the second-oldest player in NHL history to score a playoff goal. Chris Chelios holds the record at 45 years, 86 days.
Matthews scored on the power play with 8:08 left, and Dermott made it 5-4 through traffic with 6:33 remaining. Nordstrom scored into an empty net with two seconds to go.
NOTES: Boston was 2 for 2 on the power play. Toronto went 1 for 3. … Boston: 2-2; Toronto: 1-3. … Canadian hip hop artist Drake and Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse attended the game.

Irving scores 37, Celtics rally past Pacers

By Kyle Hightower
AP Sports Writer

BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving scored 37 points and the Boston Celtics rallied late in the fourth quarter to beat the Indiana Pacers 99-91 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven, first-round series.
Coming out of a timeout and with a chance to tie, the Pacers’ Wesley Matthews threw an inbounds pass into the bench on the other side of the court with 12.1 seconds left. On the ensuing play, the Celtics’ Al Horford passed to Jayson Tatum, who was fouled on a two-handed dunk. He completed the 3-point play to make it 97-91 with 8.8 seconds left.
The Pacers turned it over again and the Celtics were able to close out the game at the free-throw line.
Tatum scored 26 points, including a thunderous dunk down the stretch to help punctuate a 10-0 run by Boston over the final five minutes.
After scoring only 8 points in the third quarter of Game 1, the Pacers scored only 12 points in the fourth quarter of Game 2.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Indiana with 23 points. Thaddeus Young added 15 points.
Game 3 is Friday in Indiana.
Darren Collison scored 7 points during a 10-0 run that gave the Pacers a 70-58 lead in the third quarter as turnovers began to pile up for the Celtics.
Indiana led 79-68 entering the fourth. Horford opened the final period scoring on a hook shot in the lane and Tyreke Evans responded with a 3-pointer on Indiana’s first possession.
But then Boston caught fire, using a 16-0 run, including eight straight by Irving, to take an 86-82 lead with 5:04 to play. Indiana missed 10 straight shots during the run, finally breaking a nearly eight-minute scoring drought with a 3-pointer by Matthews in front of the Celtics’ bench.
Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer from virtually the same spot as Matthews to put the Pacers back in front. Gordon Hayward responded with a jumper, before Bogdanovic hit another 3 over Horford that made it 91-89 Pacers with 2:16 remaining.
Following an Indiana miss, Tatum connected on a 3-pointer from the corner. And after Horford blocked Bogdanovic at the rim, Tatum found a cutting Hayward for a layup and the Pacers were undone by their late turnovers.
Horford was a game-time decision with an illness, but was able to remain in the Celtics’ starting lineup. He was noticeably a step slower at the outset and didn’t’ take his first shot until late in the second quarter. He didn’t score his first points until the fourth, finishing with 4 points, 10 rebounds and four assists for the game.
After both teams struggled from the field in Game 1, they combined to hit 10 straight shots to open Game 2.
The Pacers shot 65 percent in the first quarter, but were just 7 for 20 from the field and 0 for 7 from beyond the 3-point arc in the second. The Celtics seized on it, outscoring them 23-17 in the quarter and taking a 52-50 halftime lead.
TIP-INS
Pacers: Were outrebounded for the second straight game 41-32.
Celtics: Coach Brad Stevens received a technical foul in the third quarter. It marked just was just third of the season.
PATRIOT SUPPORT
Several New England Patriots were in attendance for Game 2. Among those in attendance were coach Bill Belichick, reigning Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, Devin and Jason McCourty, Sony Michel and Duron Harmon.

Wacha, Cardinals cool off Yelich, beat Brewers 6-3

By Joe Totoraitis
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Michael Wacha cooled off NL MVP Christian Yelich, Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna each went deep, and the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Wednesday to avoid being swept.
Yelich came in batting .556 with four home runs and 10 RBIs in the series, but he was 0 for 2 with a strikeout and a walk against Wacha. Yelich did single in a run in the eighth off Andrew Miller.
Wacha (1-0) bounced back after a tough start Thursday against the Dodgers. He struck out seven over six innings, allowing two runs and five hits to improve to 6-0 career against the Brewers.
Relief pitcher Aaron Wilkerson spoiled Wacha’s bid for a shutout in the fifth with a two-run homer, his first major league hit.
Jordan Hicks pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Milwaukee starter Corbin Burnes (0-2) got beat by the long ball again. He surrendered three home runs in each of his first three starts, then coughed up two more against St. Louis. He’s allowed a major league-most 11 on the season.
Ozuna went deep in the second and Carpenter in the fourth. It was Ozuna’s fourth consecutive game with a homer and eighth overall.
The Brewers had won nine of 10 against St. Louis, including four in a row, but two RBI singles by Matt Weiters and one apiece by Paul DeJong and Kolten Wong helped snap that streak. DeJong went 4 for 5.
Burnes struggled through 3 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits, walked two and struck out three.
TRAINER’S ROOM
Cardinals: The Cardinals placed OF Harrison Bader (right hamstring strain) on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 14, and recalled rookie OF Lane Thomas. He came in as a defensive replacement for Jose Martinez in the eighth. … C Yadier Molina got the day off.
Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain got the day off and Ben Gamel started in his place. … RHP Jeremy Jeffress, reinstated from the 10-day IL (right shoulder injury) on Tuesday, made his first 2019 appearance in the eighth.
UP NEXT
Cardinals: RHP Adam Wainwright (1-1, 3.94 ERA) starts against the New York Mets on Friday.
Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-0, 1.53 ERA) pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. He beat them 4-1 at Dodger Stadium on Saturday, allowing one run over seven innings.

Alliance officially out of business, files for bankruptcy

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Alliance of American Football is officially out of business.
The eight-team league that folded after eight games of its initial season ceased all business operations and filed for bankruptcy Wednesday.
“The AAF is committed to ensuring that our bankruptcy proceeds in an efficient and orderly manner,” the league said in a statement. “Pursuant to the bankruptcy laws, a trustee will be empowered to resolve all matters related to the AAF’s remaining assets and liabilities, including ongoing matters related to player contracts.”
Founded by Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian and TV/film producer Charlie Ebersol, the AAF was hoping to become a developmental league.
However, a few weeks after Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon became the Alliance’s majority owner, he shut it down, citing an inability to reach agreement with the NFL players’ union on the availability of players.