Nebraska Attorney General: State can't loan money to county

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- The Nebraska Attorney General's Office has issued an opinion saying the state cannot loan money to Gage County so it can pay off a $28 million civil judgment for the wrongful conviction of six people for a 1985 murder.

The attorney general said Friday that because the damages were awarded under federal law, the Nebraska State Treasurer could not loan the county money.

State Treasurer Don Stenberg had sought the legal opinion in the case of the so-called Beatrice Six. The six sued Gage County for violating their civil rights. Together, they spent a combined 77 years in prison in the rape and killing of Helen Wilson before they were exonerated by DNA evidence.

A jury awarded $28.1 million, plus attorneys' fees, to the six people in July.