Katarina Johnson-Thompson breaks British record to win heptathlon gold

first_imgSign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks. A few short months ago Katarina Johnson-Thompson made a startling confession: despite being one of the best athletes on the planet she suffered from impostor syndrome. Now even she must know that she is the real deal.It was staggering enough to see her go toe-to-toe – and then topple – an all-time great in Nafi Thiam to claim a heptathlon gold medal in Doha. But it was the way she did it that really seared into both skin and soul. Over the two days of competition Johnson-Thompson never gave off a slightest whiff of weakness as she set four individual personal bests to keep Thiam at bay. And then, when victory was in the bag, she continued to push her body through the pain barrier on the final event, the 800m, to score 6,981 points – a tally that surpassed Jessica Ennis‑Hill’s British record of 6,955, which had stood as tall and imposing as an obelisk since London 2012.As Johnson-Thompson burst into tears after crossing the line she said all the injuries, heartbreaks and self-eviscerations during the last few years were worth it. “It makes it more special and sweet for sure,” she said beaming. “This is crazy for me.”Of course, this being Johnson-Thompson it was natural to fear some calamity or other would arise in the 800m, even when she had a 137‑point lead. A trip or a fall, perhaps, or even a random act of God. After all, at the Commonwealth Games last year she injured her calf with just 300m to go and had to do an impromptu triple jump – hop, skipping and jumping her way to victory. But this time there were no travails or torments, just another personal best of 2:07:26 and elation. Katarina Johnson-Thompson threw a personal best in the javelin. Photograph: Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters Since you’re here… Katerina Johnson-Thompson gives everything down the home straight in the 800m. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters Twitter Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share on WhatsApp The question was whether Thiam could respond in the javelin. A heavily-strapped arm to protect an injured elbow suggested otherwise, and the Belgian could only throw out to 48.04m – more than 10 metres below her best. Johnson-Thompson’s response? Another personal best of 43.93m.It meant Thiam had to finish nine seconds ahead of her in the 800m – and given that the Belgian’s personal best was eight seconds slower it was never going to happen. “I was always worried,” Johnson-Thompson joked afterwards. “I thought I was going to run out of the line in the 800m and I was going to get disqualified. I didn’t take anything for granted until I saw my name on the scoreboard. Dina Asher-Smith sets sights on being all-time great after Doha 200m triumph “Nafi is a phenomenal athlete, she has set the standard, she is one of the greats like Carolina Klüft. I witnessed 7,000 points first through her. She has raised the bar. I am glad I have been able to step up and be competitive.”No wonder she was elated. It is a long time since she burst into the public’s consciousness at London 2012, an eager young apprentice learning at the feet of Ennis-Hill. Most expected a smooth succession, the flame passing from one Briton to another, but instead Johnson-Thompson had to suffer a seven-year itch before getting her due rewards.Earlier in her career she would constantly visualise herself standing on the podium, the national anthem striking up and a gold medal round her neck, thinking that if she only believed enough it would happen. Athletics Incredibly, she had beaten Thiam, who won silver, by 304 points – the biggest margin of victory in the heptathlon at the world championships since 1987 – with Austria’s Verena Preiner claiming bronze.Johnson-Thompson had laid the groundwork on the opening day, setting personal bests in the 100m hurdles and shot put to lead Thiam by 96 points overnight. If the Briton was nervous going into the second day she disguised it like a master. She started with a massive long jump of 6.77m – her best in a heptathlon and well ahead of the Belgian’s 6.40m – to extend her lead to 216 points and never looked back. Share on LinkedIn Topics Share on Twitter Share via Email Read more If only. There were European and world indoor gold medals, and a Commonwealth Games triumph but when it really mattered injuries and ill-fortune got in the way. At the 2015 world championships she fouled three times in a row in the long jump while favourite. At the 2016 Rio Olympics a quadriceps injury flared up. Then, in front of her home crowd at the London 2017 world championships, she fluffed her lines in the high jump.It did not help either that she was up against Thiam. But she accepted the challenge, and pushed herself to be even better.“The low moments have helped me come back, to make the move to France, to take care of myself,” she said. “I am so happy with this.”She also grew up. For years Johnson-Thompson was a self‑confessed “mummy’s girl” who had most things done for her. But moving to Montpellier in early 2017 to join a renowned group that included Kevin Mayer, the world decathlon record holder, changed everything.“Moving to France has paid off,” Johnson-Thompson said. “It has been such a long road, I am glad I am coming into my best in these next two years.”When she first arrived, her coaches would call her “droopy” because she used to drop her head in competitions, while her trainer, Bertrand Valcin, kept telling her to smile more. On a glorious night in Doha, she fulfilled those orders to the letter. Support The Guardian Read more World Athletics Championships Katarina Johnson-Thompson Share on Messenger news Share on Facebook Pinterest Facebook Facebook World Athletics Championships: Johnson-Thompson wins heptathlon gold – as it happened Twitter Share on Pinterest Reuse this contentlast_img read more

Both the Heat and the Pacers Have Time to Rebound

As they approach the playoffs, the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat should be worried about their recent slumps, but probably no more than if these rough patches had arrived earlier in the season.In their last February game, the Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks — their third consecutive win — to improve to 44-13. They were a game and a half in front of Miami in the East, after the Heat’s sixth straight win that same night over the New York Knicks. Since then, Miami is 12-11, which is mediocre but better than Indiana’s weak 10-12 run, which the Pacers reached after beating the Bucks, again, Wednesday night. Indiana coach Frank Vogel had benched his starters, and his reserves pulled out a two-point win over the team with the worst record in the NBA.Up next for Indiana and Miami: each other. They play Friday in a game that two months ago looked like a preview of the Eastern Conference finals. Now it must feel more like a reprieve, a chance to face a struggling opponent.How far the East’s titans have fallen. But the historical record suggests that bad play in March and April, the last two months of the season, hurts teams’ playoff chances no more than earlier slumps do.Using Basketball-Reference.com’s Play Index, I searched for playoff teams that played an 82-game schedule since 1983-84, when the postseason expanded to 16 teams. That left me with 446 teams. (That’s 16 teams for each of the 28 seasons with a full schedule, except for two teams last year — the Boston Celtics and the Pacers — that missed one game.)I broke down these playoff teams’ regular seasons into two parts: the games through February and those in March and April. Then I ran a linear regression, seeking the relationship between each team’s playoff results and two variables: its overall regular-season performance, and whether it improved or declined in the last two months of the season. The result: Teams’ regular-season winning percentage was a highly significant indicator of postseason success. Every increase of one percentage point in regular-season winning percentage boosted postseason winning percentage by 1.4 percentage points (p<10^-15).But the timing of teams’ regular-season wins didn’t matter. There was no statistically significant relationship between a team’s winning percentage before March subtracted from its winning percentage in March and April, and how the team did in the playoffs (p>0.8).In other words, while the slumps aren’t yet distant memories for Indiana and Miami fans, they’re no more damaging to the teams’ playoff hopes than if the slumps had occurred in the season’s first 22 or 23 games.The basketball stats site Hickory-High.com similarly found no particular importance for the playoffs for a team’s March performance relative to its results the rest of the season.This doesn’t mean the East leaders’ slumps are irrelevant. If either team had won more games, it would have a big lead for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and a better chance at home-court advantage in the finals.Their late slumps also are unusual for teams as good as they are. Miami and Indiana have 53 and 54 wins, respectively, with a handful of games remaining. Just one playoff team in our sample with more than 50 wins had a losing record in March and April: the 54-win Detroit Pistons in 1996-97, who lost in the first round of the postseason. And just two teams with more than 50 wins were outscored in March and April. (Each one, the 2003-04 Sacramento Kings and the 2004-05 Seattle SuperSonics, won one playoff series.)It’s also notable that Miami and Indiana have slumped differently. Miami has been unlucky, losing close games while otherwise winning by big margins: The Heat have outscored opponents by about four points per game in March and April, not far off their season mark of 5.45.But Indiana has been lucky to win 10 of its last 22 games: The Pacers have been outscored by nearly five points per game, thanks to offensive woes outlined by my Grantland colleague Zach Lowe last week. That’s by far the biggest scoring deficit this late in the season for a 50-win playoff team in our sample. Perhaps the encouraging results of prior playoff teams don’t apply as far down the charts as Indiana has fallen.The table below shows the 50-win teams in 82-game seasons with the worst winning percentages in March and April, and how they did in the regular season and the playoffs. read more

Will Nick Foles Be The Eagles Jeff Hostetler Or Their Connor Cook

Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 14Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 14 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. YEARTEAMQUARTERBACKWINSBACKUP QBTEAM PLAYOFF RECORD HOU76%HOU64%SF 26, HOU 16+13.9– 2016OaklandDerek Carr12Connor Cook0-1 CIN71CIN71CHI 33, CIN 7-1.2– DAL61DAL67DAL 30, NYG 10+1.9– DEN50NYJ55NYJ 0, DEN 23-7.9– TB50DET57DET 24, TB 21+4.2– Source: ELIAS Sports Bureau, Pro-Football-Reference.com BUF72BUF69IND 7, BUF 13-3.9– 2005ChicagoKyle Orton10Rex Grossman0-1 There’s some hope here for Foles and the Eagles in the form of Jeff Hostetler, who stepped in and led the 1990 Giants to a Super Bowl victory after New York lost starting quarterback Phil Simms to a fractured foot in Week 15. Granted, that New York team rested heavily on their defense to claw them to glory — and last time we checked, the Eagles don’t have Lawrence Taylor. The Giants gave up the fewest points in the league that year and succeeded by not asking Hostetler to do too much.With this in mind, Philly should probably channel any remaining optimism toward its defense, which ranks fifth in the league in points allowed this season. Since he took over the defensive playcalling in 2016, Jim Schwartz has quickly turned his unit into one of the top defenses in the NFL: The Eagles ranked 18th in defensive EPA the season before Schwartz took over and rank fourth in the league through 13 games this year. The D could be the team’s best hope of making a deep run in January.The 2017 season might be remembered as “the year of the injured quarterback,” and in Week 14, it was Philadelphia’s turn feel the bite. The Eagles will be fine with Wentz as their franchise quarterback of the future, but in the present, Philly fans can only hope their team mimics the 1990 Giants and their defense comes through for them.FiveThirtyEight vs. The ReadersWeek 14 in our NFL predictions game — in which we invite you to outsmart our Elo algorithm — saw the readers suffer three heavy defeats. The Chiefs rebounded from four straight losses to beat the Raiders, which gave the readers a net loss of 10.4 points. Miami shocked New England on Monday night and won at home 27-20 to give the readers a loss of 11.5 points. And on Thursday night, the readers incorrectly predicted that the Saints would beat the Falcons, handing them a net loss of 11.7 points. There was only one victory over our Elo algorithm in which the readers scored double-digit points: San Francisco beat Houston 26-16, and because the readers had less confidence in the Texans than Elo did, the readers netted 13.9 points.Make sure you get your Week 15 predictions in early, and thanks for playing! 2015CincinnatiAndy Dalton10A.J. McCarron0-1 LAR52PHI52PHI 43, LAR 35+2.1– TEN53TEN57TEN 7, ARI 12-6.0– 1990ChicagoJim Harbaugh10Mike Tomczak1-1 SEA53SEA55SEA 24, JAX 30-4.2– PIT71PIT70BAL 38, PIT 39-3.1– Will Nick Foles keep Philly flying?Quarterbacks that won at least 10 games in a season for their playoff-bound teams but didn’t make a playoff start, since 1970 MIN53MIN58MIN 24, CAR 31-8.1– LAC69LAC68WAS 13, LAC 30-2.5– 2012MinnesotaChristian Ponder10Joe Webb0-1 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION 1999BuffaloDoug Flutie10Rob Johnson0-1 KC67KC57OAK 15, KC 26-10.4– When Carson Wentz entered the blue sideline tent of doom on Sunday, he took close to 60 years of unfulfilled football dreams in Philadelphia with him. At that moment, the 10-2 Eagles had just taken a lead on the road against one of the NFC’s best teams. Shortly thereafter, the second-year quarterback limped down the tunnel at L.A. Memorial Coliseum, forcing backup quarterback Nick Foles to take over for the remainder of the game. In just a few minutes, the Eagles’ unexpected dream season was seemingly cut down by hard luck — something that comes with the territory in Philadelphia.We now know that Wentz tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season. It’s a huge blow to the Eagles’ Super Bowl hopes, and they’ll have to lean on someone other than Wentz and his MVP-caliber offense. The sophomore quarterback has been so good this season that the Eagles ranked third in the league in offensive expected points added — behind only the Patriots and Saints — and his 33 touchdown passes through 13 games are third-most in NFL history for quarterbacks in their first or second year, behind only future Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Kurt Warner.Fortunately for Doug Pederson’s men, the win over the Rams secured a playoff berth with three weeks to spare, and their remaining games against the Giants, Raiders and Cowboys should give Foles enough time to feel comfortable as the leader of a playoff team again. Foles is uniquely familiar with this position: In Week 5 of 2013, he was forced into action when starter Michael Vick suffered an injury. Foles became the unlikely savior that year, as he steered the Eagles to an 8-3 record for the remainder of the season and a wild-card berth. Along the way, he compiled an eye-popping passer rating of 119.2, the third best in NFL history, and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 13.5, the second-best of all time.While there’s little doubt over whether Philly will bypass the wild-card round — one more regular-season win will secure a first-round bye for the Eagles — let’s not kid ourselves about their overall playoff chances: History is not on Philadelphia’s side. No one is expecting Foles to repeat his 2013 performance and keep the team’s run going. We’ve seen this scenario unfold before. In fact, a backup being thrown into the fire of playoff football is quickly becoming an annual NFL tradition. Last year, Connor Cook, a third-stringer, started his first game ever for the Raiders, who lost star Derek Carr (then backup Matt McGloin) as their dream season turned into a nightmare. And two seasons ago, Alabama-star-turned-professional-clipboard-holder A.J. McCarron started a wild-card game for Cincinnati in the wake of the Bengals losing Andy Dalton in Week 14.As expected, this usually doesn’t go well. Cook and McCarron both lost in the playoffs, posting passer ratings of 30 and 68.3, respectively. Neither has started a game since. In total, Wentz will be one of only eight quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era to win 10 or more games for a future playoff team and not appear in the postseason, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Among the backups for these teams, only two won at least one playoff game. GB77GB76GB 27, CLE 21-3.2– 2017PhiladelphiaCarson Wentz11Nick Foles? Check out our latest NFL predictions. 1990N.Y. GiantsPhil Simms11Jeff Hostetler3-0 ATL56NO54NO 17, ATL 20-11.7– NE81NE87NE 20, MIA 27-11.5– PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.RESULTREADERS’ NET PTS read more

Police Officer Arrested and Sent Home

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppProvidenciales, 24 Sept 2014 — Wasting no time, the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force moments ago confirmed that the officer accused of brutality of a suspect in police custody, is arrested for suspicion of wounding. No identity is given on the officer charged for allegedly beating a 22 year old, reportedly handcuffed suspect about the head with a police radio, but he is out on bail and is on administrative leave.The release issued this evening by Press Liaison Officer, Audley Astwood will likely be welcomed news to the Blue Hills family, who yesterday were called to the Cheshire Hall Medical Center and who filed a complaint. Gashes about their son and brother’s head and face infuriating and frightening that family.Thousands of islanders have been following the shocking report and viewing photos of the alleged injuries online.The family exposed the news to media and has retained Ashwood Forbes as attorney. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp 47-year-old man makes fifth murder for TCI Historic Day: Hon. Dr. Rosita Butterfield with State Recognized Send off Nearly 100 Haitian migrants caught by TCI Police Marine division Recommended for you Related Items:police brutality, royal turks and caicos police forcelast_img read more

North Caicos Rake n Scrape festival back on

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#magneticmedianews, #NorthCaicosRakeNScrapeFestival Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, March 31, 2017 – North Caicos – FYI – the North Caicos Rake N Scrape Festival is back on… happening tomorrow.  It was postponed from last week due to the rainy weather.  #MagneticMediaNews#NorthCaicosRakeNScrapeFestivallast_img

Land Rovers new Defender was potentially leaked again

first_img Checking the tech in the 2020 Land Rover Range Rover… 2018 Range Rover Velar: Effortless SUV elegance on- and off-road Post a comment 2:21 34 Photos 2020 Land Rover Discovery Sport packs on the updates Now, we don’t know much in the way of details about the new Defender, but it looks to be a wildly different animal than the beloved off-roader that it’s replacing. For some people, namely the ones who couldn’t abide by the fix-on-a-fix crudeness of the original, that’s probably a good thing. For others, that rough charm was what made them fall in love with arguably Land Rover’s most iconic shape.When asked for confirmation as to whether this was indeed the new Defender, Land Rover’s representatives said only, “Land Rover is aware of an unofficial image in circulation. Through the development of any new vehicle many design options are considered. We will not comment any further at this time.”Land Rover is planning on giving the world its first real look at the new Defender at the Frankfurt motor show this September. Share your voice Now playing: Watch this: SUVs Car Industry Enlarge ImageThis photo was taken by a spy photographer and posted to Twitter by the LandRoverPhotoAlbum account. LandRoverPhotoAlbum via Twitter The way that new Land Rover Defender looks seems to be one of the worst-kept secrets around these days. First Land Rover drives it all over Africa in camo with game wardens, then Lego drops a Technic set and now, according to a report published Thursday by Automotive News, it’s got a dang picture of the thing in the instrument cluster of one of its test cars.The photo in question was snapped by a spy photographer and posted to the LandRoverPhotoAlbum Twitter account. 2019 Land Rover Range Rover P400e review: A hard hybrid to recommend 0 Land Rover More From Roadshow Tags The All-New Defender! Someone managed to sneakily photograph the display cluster of the New Defender.#AllNewDefender #landroverdefender #landroverphotoalbum #landroverevolved #Defender2020 pic.twitter.com/H2TOTCr7u3— landroverphotoalbum (@landroverpa) June 24, 2019 Land Rover 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque review: Style, now with more substancelast_img read more

BNP candidates struggle with cases of harassment

first_img.A number of leaders of significant opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have entered the electoral race for the 11th national polls, with over hundred cases against them, most of which are ‘fictitious’.BNP leaders claimed that these cases were aimed to harass political opponents. Police declared the accused in criminal cases would be arrested. Several candidates have already been arrested.Despite a large number of cases, the party leaders are prepared to contest the election. However, their arrests would make the situation worse, commented a number of BNP leaders.The nominations of several others including the party’s chairperson Khaleda Zia were rejected due to be convictions. The Prothom Alo correspondent learned from the declarations submitted by 60 BNP candidates from Dhaka, Khulna, Rajshahi, Chattogram, Rangpur and Sylhet.Three candidates face 200 cases each and two others face more than a hundred each. Another four candidates face over 50 cases each.Most of the cases have been filed for sabotage, obstruction of government work, attacks on police and so on under the special powers act, anti-terrorism act and explosive act as well as various sections of the penal code. Several senior leaders have been accused in the case filed by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC). There are also allegations of murder, money laundering and murder.There are 46 cases of explosions, vandalising, sabotage, violence and arson against the party’s secretary general Fakhrul Islam Alamgir. Among the cases, 16 are under trial while the court suspended 20 of them.Jubo Dal’s president Saiful Alam Nirob tops in the list of candidates having the highest number of cases. Saiful Alam is contesting for national election in Dhaka-12 constituency.There are 267 cased filed against him since 2010 in various police station including Shahbagh, Tejgaon, Ramna, Mirpur, Shahjahanpur and so on under different acts.Although the proceedings of some cases have been postponed, most cases are under trial or investigation.“All the cases are political. I believe, AL has special affection for me. That’s why there are so many cases in my name. No worries, I will hold ground,” the Jubo Dal leader said.“I know about 267 cases so far. There are a few others I don’t know about,” Saiful added.Dhaka metropolitan DB police claimed that Saiful Alam is the person behind violence, burning cars and cocktail bomb blasts in Dhaka. He provided funds and explosives to the miscreants, himself remaining behind the scenes, according to DB police.However, BNP said that the police filed those cases against Saiful as the Jubo Dal president.Saiful became the accused for anything that happened anywhere in Dhaka. He was accused in many cases during the blockade called by BNP in 2013 and 2014.There are 221 cases against Nabi Ullah, a BNP candidate in Dhaka-5.Jubo Dal general secretary Sultan Salahuddin Tuku is in jail. There are 212 cases filed against him in several police stations. He is a candidate for Tangail-2.Also, there are 164 cases against Jubo Dal organising secretary and 138 cases against Dhaka Mohanagar (North) Jubo Dal president.Jubo Dal former general secretary Habibur Rashid, also candidate in Dhaka-9, is accused in 80 cases in different police station.BNP standing committee member Mirza Abbas is accused in 42 cases so far. He is a candidate in Dhaka-8.Mirza Abbas was accused in three cases last on 14 November in connection with the clashes during the selling of nomination papers at the BNP office in Naya Paltan of the capital.BNP candidate in Chattogram-9 Shahadat Hossain, also president of Chattogram metropolitan BNP, is accused in 40 cases.Two candidates in Rajshahi-1 and Rajshahi-5 have 19 and 18 cases respectively against their names.last_img read more

Sen Nathaniel Oaks Sentenced to 3 12 Years in Federal Prison

first_imgBy Stephen Janis and J.K. Schmid, Special to the AFROStorm clouds descended on Baltimore, Tuesday around 2 p.m. A black haze reached down to obscure the topmost floors of the World Trade Center. Lightning flashed and thunder louder than the trucks lumbering down Pratt Street. But the rain hadn’t come yet.A political career that spanned nearly four decades came to an ignominious end July 17 when former State Sen. Nathaniel “Nat” Oaks was sentenced to three and half years in federal prison for accepting bribes and obstructing justice. Upon his release, Oaks must also submit to three years of state supervision. It’s a grim forecast that will shadow Oaks, 71, almost into his 80s.Sentenced to 3 ½ years in prison for bribery, former Sen. Nat Oaks went to Luna Del Sea Steak & Bistro for a meal with supporters. (Photo by J.K. Schmid)Oaks was also ordered to pay a $30,000 fine and to perform 80 hours of community service.Oaks has 60 days to report to Federal Correctional Institution-a prison of his own choosing. Before the worst comes, Oaks took shelter at Luna Del Sea Steak & Bistro, 300 Pratt St. on July 17.Tucked in the back, past the bar and the restaurant’s booths, in Luna’s banquet hall, Oaks broke bread with around 40 friends and supporters after his defeat in court.“Good people make mistakes,” said Anthony McCarthy, former media representative for Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and former AFRO editor, told the AFRO. “Nathaniel Oaks still has a lot to contribute to the community. Those people who truly know him have already forgiven him and are ready to join him for the next chapter in his life.”The sentence comes after Oaks pleaded guilty to a series of federal charges, the result of an investigation that included wiretaps, business owners working as FBI informants and efforts by Oaks to tip off a target of the probe which resulted in additional charges.Charges from federal prosecutors depicted Oaks as a politician who was willing to sell influence in exchange for cash, and who attempted to stymie the investigation after he agreed to cooperate.In a series of meetings with a lobbyist, Oaks negotiated cash payments of $10,300 to assist a business working with the FBI to obtain a contract with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Oaks eventually wrote a letter on the company’s behalf and later introduced a bill that would have authorized a $250,000 bond to fund the project which netted him an additional $5,000 payment.After Oaks was indicted, he agreed to cooperate with the FBI and wear a wire. But, investigators caught the West Baltimore politician tipping off the intended target, which resulted in a superseding indictment and additional charges of obstructing justice. Oaks also reversed on his agreement to cooperate with the investigation.During sentencing WBAL-TV reported that Judge Richard Bennett said Oaks’ efforts to obstruct an ongoing investigation factored into his decision to impose a lengthier sentence.“To obstruct an FBI investigation is as serious as the underlying case,” Bennett said before handing down the sentence.The statutory minimum in these kinds of cases is 8-10 years. The defense asked for 18 months.“[Bennett] was still stuck on the one thing,” Larry Young, former Maryland State Senator and host of WOLB’s The Larry Young Morning Show, told the AFRO. “This judge wanted to send a signal to Nat Oaks: He should not have told the federal FBI he was going to cooperate and reverse himself. And he hung to that.”Rather than resign, Larry Young was expelled from the Maryland State Senate over ethics allegations in 1998. He was acquitted at trial.“To anyone in that courtroom, it was very clear that he was looking at that 18 months, but he put on the additional years because of that,” Young said.Young was one of 40 character witnesses to write a letter to Judge Bennett on behalf of Oaks.The sentence marks the end of a career that was forged in the Edmondson Village community of West Baltimore. Even early in his career Oaks was no stranger to controversy.First elected to the state legislator as a delegate to the 41st district in 1983, Oaks lost his seat in 1989 after he was accused of double billing the state for personal expenses.But, Oaks won the seat back in 1994, and served as a delegate until 2017 when Governor Larry Hogan appointed him to replace retiring State Sen. Lisa Gladden.Still, even facing charges, Oaks managed to weigh in on the most recent election.After a group of 41st district constituents won a court order to have him removed from the 2018 primary ballot, Atty. Gen. Brian Frosh successfully persuaded the Maryland Court of Appeals to keep him on it.The move prompted criticism that keeping Oaks on the ballot was an attempt to split Black votes in a contentious Senate race between former Del. Jill Carter and newcomer JD Merrill, who has ties to the former Gov. Martin O’Malley through marriage to his daughter Grace who also works for the Attorney General’s office.Carter ultimately prevailed, but Oaks still garnered roughly 1,000 votes in a race decided by roughly 2,000 votes.Young, the first Black chair of a standing committee, Environmental Matters, worked with Oaks in the Senate.“I tend to be a consensus builder, and moderate, Nat’s gung-ho, ‘let’s get it done now,’ and so, it was like, if you don’t want Nat Oaks on your ass, you’ve gotta talk to LY,” Young said. “The caucus is gonna miss him, because not everyone in that caucus has the ability to stand and tell the other folks this is wrong, this is unfair, and you’re gonna respect us. And that was him, Joan Carter Conway were two of the few that had kind of discipline and character about them, and that’s going to be missed, in that caucus.”Oaks came to the front of the restaurant to greet the AFRO but declined interview or comment.“The AFRO never writes anything good about me, so no thank you,” Oaks said.The rain came shortly thereafter.last_img read more