NEBRASKA: GOP senator stepping down

Sen. Mike Johanns announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2014, saying he wants a "quieter time" to focus on his family following a busy political career that included stints as governor and President George W. Bush's agriculture secretary. The Republican announced he was retiring after one term. Johanns, 62, said he and his wife, Stephanie, had decided the time had come to end a public career that has spanned more than half of his life. Johanns said he and his wife, a former state lawmaker, had endured a combined 16 primary and general-election campaigns together and held eight different offices over the course of 32 years. He joined the U.S. Senate in 2009 and did not appear to face any re-election threat. He was governor from 1999 to 2005.

MINNESOTA: Loses job for slapping toddler

A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job, his former employer said. Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an executive employed by AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group. Al Haase, chief executive, issued a statement that, while not referring to Hundley by name, called reports of behavior by one of its executives on recent personal travel "offensive and disturbing." Hundley was charged last week in federal court in Atlanta with simple assault for allegedly slapping the 2-year-old boy during the Feb. 8 flight and referring to him with the N-word. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

ILLINOIS: Retrial bid for Drew Peterson

Drew Peterson's limelight-hogging lawyers faced the media horde every day of the former suburban Chicago police officer's 2012 trial, one that ended with a murder conviction and a falling out among the erstwhile colleagues. The war of words in public between lead trial counsel Joel Brodsky and former partner Steve Greenberg that began within hours of the trial's end comes to a head Tuesday at a hearing at which the defense will argue Peterson deserves a new trial because Brodsky did a shoddy job. The former Bolingbrook police sergeant, 59, faces a maximum 60- year prison term for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

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