Acquittal of Zimmerman is Fla.'s top story

Published: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 05:28 PM.

After deliberating over two days, the jury found him not guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter. In the weeks following the verdict, protests were held around the nation. Protests in Oakland and Los Angeles turned mildly violent, but the response to the Zimmerman verdict was nothing like the massive 1992 Los Angeles uprising that killed 53 people after police officers were acquitted in the Rodney King beating.

These news items rounded out the top 10 stories of the year:

2. The Florida Legislature rejected a plan to expand the state's Medicaid program, turning down a promised $50 billion in federal funding. The decision left 1.1 million Floridians uninsured for now. Gov. Rick Scott originally had opposed the expansion but made a dramatic about-face when he announced his support for Medicaid expansion under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law.

3. The Miami New Times obtained records that linked the anti-aging clinic Biogenesis to the distribution of performance enhancing drugs to major league baseball players, including New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez. He denied the claim and later fought a lengthy suspension. Also mentioned in the leaked documents were 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz.

4. Florida election officials revived plans that they say will remove non-U.S. citizens from the state's voter rolls without also purging eligible citizens, despite criticism that minority voters are being targeted. To promote the plan, Secretary of State Ken Detzner held five meetings with county election officials around the state. Some election supervisors say there remains scant evidence of widespread voter fraud conducted by non-U.S. citizens.

5. Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist announced that he will run for governor next year as a Democrat against Scott, the GOP incumbent. Crist is now considered the Democratic front-runner in the contest to challenge Scott, one of the most unpopular governors in the country.

6. The arrest of 57 defendants on charges they were running a $300 million gambling operation out of Internet cafes around the state led to the resignation of Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and caused the Legislature to ban the storefront Internet centers. Carroll had worked as a consultant for Allied Veterans, the charity group operating the Internet cafes, though she was never accused of wrongdoing. The first of the defendants, an attorney for the veterans' group, went on trial and was convicted on 103 counts in October.

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