Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.
Report: Trump campaign worker says he kissed her without consent before Tampa rally
A former staff member on President Donald Trump's campaign alleges in a new lawsuit that then-candidate Trump kissed her without her consent before a 2016 rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds. Alva Johnson told the Washington Post that Trump grabbed her hand to thank her for her work and then leaned in to kiss her on the lips in an RV before the Aug. 24, 2016 Tampa campaign event. She turned her head and he kissed the side of her mouth. Johnson said former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi saw the encounter and "Bondi gave her a smile as she walked out of the RV," according to the Post.
Medical marijuana is legal. Can Florida cops still search your car if they smell pot?
If the pungent aroma of weed is wafting from your ride, South Florida cops usually have a green light to search your car. But with medical marijuana now allowed in Florida, along with some production of the similar-smelling hemp plant, a Miami man is challenging whether cops had the legal right to search his truck based on odor alone. The novel defense is being employed by Victor Chavez, who was found with a stash of marijuana hidden his truck in Southwest Miami-Dade last year. His lawyer says cops violated his constitutional right against an unlawful search and seizure.
Latest spat about St. Pete Pier is over signs
In a city that holds its downtown waterfront sacrosanct, it takes little to provoke intense passion. That's meant protests against demolishing the former inverted pyramid pier. That was followed by a citizen-led referendum against the Lens, the Pier project that was supposed to replace the simultaneously beloved and derided upside-down pyramid. Then there was resistance to plans to put a billowing net sculpture by international artist Janet Echelman at Spa Beach. It had to be relocated. Now the quarrel is about the signs that will sprout throughout the 26-acre Pier District.
Tampa Bay's office market faces a 'pivotal' year in 2019
Tampa's central business district had the lowest office vacancy rate of any office market in the bay area as of the end of 2018. A new report by JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) showed the vacancy rate at 9 percent, compared to 11.6 percent in downtown St. Petersburg and a high of 24.6 percent in outlying areas of Pinellas County. With only one new office project breaking ground in 2018 — the MetWest Three building in Tampa's Westshore area — this could be "a year of realization given the 1.5 million square feet of planned development that was scheduled or has been pushed back in2019,'' the report said.
Every NHL team wants to add something at trade deadline
As today's NHL trade deadline approaches, everyone wants something. Fans, players, coaches, management of every team. The question: What that something is, and is it feasible? The Lightning isn't looking to blow things up (like last-place Ottawa, which traded Matt Duchene on Friday) or even add a major piece (like Columbus, one point out of the wild card, which added Duchene). For Tampa Bay, that want is likely a small piece. Leading the NHL by 13 points and the division by 17, however, means the Lightning is in the position to be picky.