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NEW YORK (AP)  The corruption conviction of former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was overturned Thursday by a federal appeals court that cited a recent Supreme Court ruling that narrowed the definition of what it takes to convict a public official. 

The three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan said it could not conclude that a rational jury would have convicted the Democrat if it had been properly instructed on what constitutes an ``official act.'' 

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man whom federal investigators have questioned about the disappearance of a Chili teen eight years ago pleaded guilty Wednesday to unrelated federal robbery charges.

Timothy Taylor, 26, of McClellanville submitted his plea as prosecutors told a judge he failed a lie detector test while being questioned about the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel. 

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's approval ratings are slipping amid transit problems in New York City. 

Forty-six percent of those surveyed in a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday say they approve of Cuomo's performance, the lowest rating for the governor in the Connecticut college's polls since September 2015. 

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NY State Police

A friend of a young mother slain along with a state trooper in northern New York says she was devoted to her son and always willing to help people. 

Jerry Mikels says he was shocked when he heard Army Staff Sgt. Justin Walters was charged in the shooting death Sunday night of his 27-year-old wife Nichole and New York State Trooper Joel Davis. Mikels said he didn't think Justin Walters would be capable of killing his wife. 

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NY State Police

(AP & WXXI News) Theresa, N.Y.— A U.S. Army soldier is accused of shooting and killing a New York State Police trooper who was responding to a domestic dispute.

The suspect, identified as Justin Walters, 32, surrendered without incident after the trooper and Walters' wife were killed Sunday night at a home in the town of Theresa, in Jefferson County, near the Canadian border, New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York is taking aim at the invasive species threatening local ecosystems statewide.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state will award $1.7 million to 35 local governments, colleges and non-profit organizations to support their work to detect and eliminate invading plant and animal species.

The individual projects target several invasive terrestrial and aquatic plant and animal species, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer and the aquatic water chestnut.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York State police issued over 10,000 tickets during their annual Fourth of July crackdown on drunk driving.

Overall, troopers issued 10,435 tickets statewide during the 96-hour campaign, which began July 1 and continued until midnight Tuesday. DWI arrests totaled 240, and crashes killed three people.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York's attorney general considers Secretary of State Rex Tillerson a central figure in his expanding investigation into whether ExxonMobil misled investors about the impact of climate change.

It's unclear if Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will ultimately choose to force Tillerson to answer questions under oath. But Schneideman tells The Associated Press that he has the legal authority to depose the nation's chief diplomat, who served as Exxon's CEO until joining the Trump administration.

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ROME, N.Y. (AP) Events celebrating the 200th anniversary of the start of the construction of the Erie Canal are kicking off this weekend.

A seven-day bicentennial event with the Albany Symphony begins Sunday night in the city's waterfront Corning Preserve. Over the next six days there will be "Water Music NY" concert performances along the canal corridor in Schenectady, Amsterdam, Little Falls, Baldwinsville, Brockport and Lockport. The Brockport stop is expected to be sometime on Friday, July 7.

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NY State Police

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — State Police and local law enforcement agencies are increasing patrols over the holiday weekend to crack down on drunken driving and other traffic infractions.

Troopers will conduct sobriety checkpoints along with speeding and seat-belt enforcement details from Saturday through Tuesday.

Last year, State Police issued nearly 11,000 vehicle and traffic tickets during the Fourth of July weekend. Troopers arrested 206 people for DWI and responded to 756 crashes resulting in three deaths.

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