In opening act, Trump's light side on display with lawmakers

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump turned on the charm with congressional leaders as they witnessed him nominating his Cabinet.

"Where's the health care bill?" Trump joked during his first official act as president.

Trump signs first bill and actions as president

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump on Friday quickly claimed the mantle of the White House, signing legislation allowing retired Gen. James Mattis to serve as his defense secretary, as well as the nomination papers for his Cabinet choices.

Less than an hour after wrapping up his inaugural address, Trump sat in an ornate room steps from the Senate floor and signed a series of papers formally launching his administration. Flanked by Vice President Mike Pence and congressional leaders, he praised each of his nominees as he signed the papers and handed out the pens he was using, exchanges that allowed him to banter with his new congressional rivals, including Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

'Miracle underway': Rescuers pull out avalanche survivors

FARINDOLA, Italy -- With cheers of joy, rescue crews pulled survivors from the debris of an avalanche-crushed hotel in central Italy on Friday, boosting spirits two days after the massive snow slide buried some 30 people at the resort. At least two children were among the 10 people found alive.

The news sent relatives of the missing rushing from the rescue operations center in the mountains to the hospital on the coast in hopes that their loved ones were among the lucky few to be found.

Promises, pomp and protests as Trump sworn in

WASHINGTON -- Pledging to empower America's "forgotten men and women," Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking command of a deeply divided nation and ushering in an unpredictable era in Washington. His victory gives Republicans control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

Looking out over the crowd sprawled across the National Mall, Trump painted a bleak picture of the nation he now leads, lamenting "American carnage," shuttered factories and depleted U.S. leadership. President Barack Obama, the man he replaced, sat behind him stoically.

Trump takes charge: Sworn in as nation's 45th president

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States Friday, taking the helm of a deeply divided nation and putting Republicans in control of the White House for the first time in eight years.

The billionaire businessman and former reality television star has pledged an era of profound change, energizing his supporters with promises to wipe away predecessor Barack Obama's signature achievements and to restore America to a lost position of strength. But Trump's call for restrictive immigration measures and his caustic campaign rhetoric about women and minorities have infuriated other millions of Americans. He assumes office as one of the most unpopular incoming presidents in modern history.

Seven indicted for Moss Bluff burglary, shooting

A grand jury indicted seven people Thursday in connection with a November shooting and burglary in Moss Bluff.

Authorities said two Moss Bluff men, Austin Jones and Deante J. Shuffer, along with Christopher W. Jones II of Lake Charles, forced their way into a home in the 2600 block of North Perkins Ferry Road on Nov. 30, shot the victim in the arm and leg, and fled with cash and items to a nearby getaway car.

Shuffer and Austin Jones were arrested just hours after the incident; Christopher Jones II was arrested Dec. 2.

22-year-old arrested for fatal shooting in November

A 22-year-old Lake Charles man was arrested Wednesday for a November fatal shooting on Opelousas Street, authorities said.

Lake Charles police said the victim, Phillip Babineaux, was found shot and unconscious at 3046 Opelousas St. on Nov. 30. Sgt. Jeffrey Keenum said Babineaux was taken to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.

Keenum said Aaron Joseph Stevens, of 2015 Legion St., was charged with second-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and attempted armed robbery with a firearm. Bond was set at $1.4 million by Judge Clayton Davis.

State Supreme Court set to hear arguments in LC pastor slaying

Oral arguments in the Woodrow Karey, Jr. case are expected to be heard before the state Supreme Court on Jan. 23 — one day earlier than when it had been initially scheduled.

The hearing, which concerns Karey’s 2014 indictment for second-degree murder, will be held at the Louisiana State University Law School in Baton Rouge.

Karey, 57, was set to go to trial Sept. 12. But the high court granted a stay on Aug. 31 and on Oct. 28 agreed to hear arguments regarding his case. He is accused of walking into Tabernacle of Praise during a revival service on Sept. 27, 2013, and shooting pastor Ronald Harris, 51, twice with a shotgun.

LC man found not guilty of rape charge

A 42-year-old Lake Charles man was found not guilty in state district court Saturday of aggravated rape.

Jeremy George was accused of raping a woman in February 2015 after authorities said he dragged her by the hair and struck her several times with a shoe and a leather belt. The victim also said George waived a gun at her, threatening her, and held her against her will for hours.

“I think that the not guilty verdict is a complete vindication for my client. He is a good man,” said defense attorney Todd S. Clemons. “He was adamant that he had not raped her. I was adamant that he had not raped her. And, obviously, the jury didn’t believe he had raped her.”

Man sentenced for sexually assaulting Fort Polk soldier

A Tallahassee, Fla., man convicted of sexually assaulting a female soldier stationed at Fort Polk was sentenced to 10 years in prison Thursday in federal court, said U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley.

Maurice Antuan Speights, 32, was also sentenced to five years of supervised release, and he must pay $3,570 in restitution and register as a sex offender. He was found guilty of sexual abuse in September.

Finley said Speights, a civilian, was an acquaintance of the victim and was temporarily residing at a relative’s home in Leesville. She said Speights, the victim and a female friend went out for a night of drinking on Oct. 20, 2013.