HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Bozeman businessman Greg Gianforte has now spent more than $5.1 million of his own money to fuel his campaign against Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock.
According to the latest campaign finance reports filed Monday, the Republican cut his campaign two $1 million checks over the last month. Individual donors contributed another $238,000 to him between Sept. 27 and Oct. 17.
Bullock took in more than $313,000 during the same period. His biggest donations topped $10,000 apiece from four union political-action committees and a lawyers’ PAC.
Bullock’s campaign says it has received more than $3 million in contributions in total.
The Democratic Governors Association is the largest outside group spending money to influence the governor’s race. It has now funneled $3.35 million into the race through the Good Jobs Montana PAC.
Another woman says a police officer sexually assaulted her
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A second woman is accusing a former Helena police officer of sexually assaulting her while she worked as a confidential informant.
A new lawsuit alleges Lloyd Matthew Thompson began grooming the girl when she was still in high school and assaulted her after she became an informant for the Missouri River Drug Task Force in 2012.
The woman alleges Thompson falsely informed her she was facing at least 10 years in prison for two felony charges and that she could help herself by becoming an informant.
Another lawsuit filed in June alleges Thompson repeatedly sexually assaulted another female informant. Neither complaint has been served on the officer, the city of Helena or Lewis and Clark County.
Helena City Attorney Thomas Jodoin said Monday the alleged conduct is outside the scope of Thompson’s duties as a police officer.
Washington shot, killed in Montana after 700-mile journey
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Wildlife officials say a gray wolf that left its pack in northeastern Washington trekked 700 miles across Idaho and Canada before being shot in central Montana last month.
The Spokesman-Review reports the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department captured the male wolf in February and fitted it with a GPS tracking collar.
The wolf, which originated in the Huckleberry Pack, started wandering into Idaho in June. It then headed into British Columbia, where it crossed Lake Koocanusa before traveling southeast into Montana in July.
The wolf’s journey came to an end in Judith Gap, Montana on Sept. 29 after it was killed by a federal wildlife officer, who had responded to a report of a wolf attacking sheep.
Wolves are protected by state endangered species rules in eastern Washington but can be hunted and trapped in Montana and Idaho.
Amber Alert canceled for 6-year-old Spokane Valley girl
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities have canceled an Amber Alert for a 6-year-old girl in Spokane Valley.
Multiple news outlets reported Monday afternoon that Danika Packard was found safe in Spokane.
The Spokane Valley Sheriff’s Office says Danika was believed to be with her mother, 35-year-old Tracy Packard.
Tracy was last seen driving a maroon 4-door, 2002 Buick LeSabre on Interstate 90 East at noon Monday.
The incident was reported to deputies Monday after Danika’s school called her father and informed him Tracy pulled Danika out of school.
He was told Tracy was acting odd and stated she was pulling Danika from school to “go be with the Lord.”
Libby man denies killing estranged girlfriend
KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — A 42-year-old Libby man charged with killing his estranged girlfriend has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide.
The Flathead Beacon reports Trevor Joseph Mercier entered his plea Monday in District Court. Prosecutors allege Mercier killed 30-year-old Sheena Devine something during the night of Oct. 5 at her residence in Libby.
Charging documents say Mercier told investigators he went to Devine’s house to throw rocks at her car windows, but she came out to confront him. He said he put her in a “sleeper hold,” causing her to lose consciousness. He said she was breathing and snoring when he left the house.
The Western News reports investigators found a petition for an order of protection against Mercier on Devine’s kitchen table. Mercier had been convicted of partner or family member assault against Devine in February.
Missoula man denies sex trafficking charges
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A 34-year-old Missoula man with a previous state conviction for promoting prostitution has denied federal charges that allege he forced two women into sex trafficking.
The Billings Gazette reports Terrance Tyrell Edwards pleaded not guilty Monday to two counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion; three counts of transportation of a minor with intent to engage in prostitution and one count of obstructing a sex trafficking investigation. He remains jailed without bond.
Edwards was arrested in Billings on Sept. 21 after a woman called police with the phone Edwards had apparently given her for customer calls.
Prosecutors allege Edwards had lured two women into sex trafficking and had just returned to Billings with three teenage girls from the Midwest when he was arrested.