WASHINGTON (AP) — An American citizen picked up on the Syrian battlefield and held by the U.S. military for nearly four months without a lawyer has told the American Civil Liberties Union that he wants to challenge his detention, a lawyer for the civil rights group said Friday.

ACLU attorney Jonathan Hafetz said he and two other ACLU lawyers went to the Pentagon on Wednesday and spoke via videoconference with the detainee, who is being held as an enemy combatant accused of fighting with the Islamic State.

“He spoke loud and clear that he wants a lawyer and wants to challenge his detention now,” Hafetz said, adding that the detainee also indicated that he wants the ACLU to represent him.

Hafetz said the detainee was born in the United States but would not identify him. He “expressed concerns about his name being released and asked that it not be made public,” Hafetz said.

The ACLU filed a court petition months ago, challenging the man’s detention and asking to act on his behalf to provide him access to legal counsel. Hafetz said that the detainee told the ACLU that he did not learn that the petition had been filed on his behalf until shortly before the video conference.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled that the U.S. military must provide legal counsel to the detainee. The U.S. government had acknowledged that it has detained him without fulfilling his request to see a lawyer. The judge ordered the military to let the ACLU have “immediate and unmonitored access to the detainee” to determine his wishes.

The judge also ordered the Defense Department not to transfer him to another country until the ACLU tells the court of the detainee’s wishes. On Friday, the ACLU asked the court to continue to direct the Pentagon not to transfer him.

Kathryn Wyer, an attorney in the Justice Department’s civil division, earlier told the court that the U.S. military was working “diligently” on the case, but had not yet decided what to do with the detainee. Wyer cited case law stating the executive branch should be given a reasonable period of time to determine a detained individual’s status.

But the ACLU protested his months of detention without access to a lawyer.

“The Trump administration illegally denied an American his rights to access a lawyer and a court for nearly four months, but those efforts have finally failed,” Hafetz said. “Now that our client has secured the judicial review that the government attempted to block.”

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Nino Niederreiter’s return made the Minnesota Wild whole again, just in time for the second half of the season.

He turned this into quite the celebration.

Niederreiter marked the end of his five-game injury absence with his second career hat trick, Mikko Koivu contributed a goal and two assists, and the finally fully healthy Wild beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 on Thursday night.

“I know we have the ability for every line to go out there and score,” Minnesota coach Bruce Boudreau said.

Daniel Winnik and Charlie Coyle also scored for the Wild, who improved to 11-1-1 in their last 13 home games. They’re 14-4-2 this season at Xcel Energy Center, with a 60-41 advantage in goals.

Niederreiter, who missed the previous five games because of a lower leg injury, needed less than 25 minutes of game time to get his third goal . His parents were even in attendance, visiting from his native Switzerland.

“It’s always great having them around here,” Niederreiter said.

The Wild essentially expressed the same sentiment about Niederreiter, who also missed six games in October due to a similar injury.

“Sometimes it takes a little bit for guys that come back from injuries to feel confident again,” Coyle said. “He’s probably feeling pretty confident right now.”

Devan Dubnyk took a shutout into the third period for the Wild, until Sam Reinhart scored early and Evander Kane got a goal late. Dubnyk is 11-2-1 in his last 15 starts since Nov. 9.

With Zach Parise skating for just the second time this season and Niederreiter back in action, the Wild finally had their full complement of forwards as they reached the midpoint of the schedule. With seven of their first nine games at home this month, this is the time for them to make their move back above the playoff cut in the Western Conference.

“Just makes the game a little bit easier. We have four good lines right now. It’s fun to play like that,” said Mikael Granlund, who had three assists.

The final stretch began to feel more like an exhibition, and given all the connections between these teams it almost could have been an alumni game.

Sabres right wing Jason Pominville and defenseman Marco Scandella, who were sent east by the Wild last summer in a salary-shedding trade for right wing Tyler Ennis and left wing Marcus Foligno, were honored with a highlight video before the opening faceoff.

Scandella is one of four former Wild draft picks and players on the Sabres roster, along with left wings Benoit Pouliot and Johan Larsson and defenseman Justin Falk. Larsson was dealt to Buffalo nearly five years ago in the first Pominville trade consummated by the two clubs. Another former Sabres player on the Wild, right wing Chris Stewart, was a healthy scratch.

Sabres coach Phil Housley and right wing Kyle Okposo each grew up just a few miles from the arena, albeit many years apart, and Okposo also played two seasons in college for Minnesota.

This was the back-to-normal game for Buffalo, coming off an overtime loss to the New York Rangers in the Winter Classic outside at Citi Field on New Year’s Day. The Sabres, who have the fewest wins and most goals allowed in the Eastern Conference, were probably glad this one didn’t have the same media coverage.

Niederreiter scored just 69 seconds into the contest , snapping a behind-the-net pass from Granlund beneath the pads of Sabres goalie Robin Lehner.

Rasmus Ristolainen was ejected for a five-minute major penalty for interference after delivering a bloody blow to Koivu’s face midway through the first period. With 1:23 remaining on the extended power play, Niederreiter knocked a ricochet past sliding defenseman Zach Bogosian that Lehner was too slow to stop.

“I think there should have been a call on the play, but I don’t agree with five minutes,” Housley said.

Koivu returned with stitches and a puffy upper lip in the second period and exacted his revenge, going low for a one-timer off Granlund’s pass to give the Wild a 5-0 lead. Granlund, who had a hat trick himself last week, has eight points in the last five games.

The Wild are 10-3-2 in their last 15 matchups with the Sabres, outscoring them 54-31, since March 9, 2007. That includes a 7-0 victory at Buffalo on Jan. 15, 2015, which was Dubnyk’s debut with the team and the largest margin of victory in franchise history.

In the Wild’s 5-4 win at Buffalo on Nov. 22, Niederreiter scored twice as Chad Johnson was pulled after giving up three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Lehner made 17 saves in relief to help keep the Sabres close.

“He’s been playing really well, and then we didn’t help him enough tonight,” Ristolainen said.

NOTES: Niederreiter’s previous hat trick also came against the Sabres on Nov. 13, 2014. … Dubnyk moved past Manny Fernandez into second place on the Wild’s career list with 114 wins. Niklas Backstrom is first with 194. … This was just Lehner’s second regulation loss in his last eight road appearances.


Sabres: Play at Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon.

Wild: Play at Colorado on Saturday night.


For more NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Longtime “Jeopardy” host Alex Trebek had surgery for blood clots on the brain, but assured fans he’d be back reading clues to contestants soon.

Trebek appeared in a video on the “Jeopardy” Facebook page Thursday to announce that he’d had the surgery during the show’s holiday break.

Wearing a “Jeopardy” baseball cap and using the same tone he employs to explain difficult subjects on the show, Trebek says “I had a slight medical problem, subdural hematoma, blood clots on the brain caused by a fall I endured about two months ago.”

“Surgery was performed,” he continues, “after two days in the hospital I came home and started recovery. The prognosis is excellent, and I expect to be back in the studio taping more ‘Jeopardy’ programs very, very soon.”

He gave no specific timetable for when he might return.

The 77-year-old Canadian has become an American institution in the decades since he started hosting “Jeopardy” in 1984, beloved for the way he calmly delivers tough trivia to the cognoscenti that make up the show’s contestants.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Creators of a popular immersive art entertainment project in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday announced a push into a major metropolitan market with plans for an interactive exhibit and music venue in downtown Denver.

The for-profit arts company Meow Wolf said it will launch the new business venture to build a kaleidoscopic walk- and crawl-through exhibit for all ages, under a 20-year lease in partnership with Denver-based commercial real estate developer Revesco Properties. It operates a nearby urban amusement park.

A new five-story building, spanning an area larger than a football field, is scheduled for completion in an industrial neighborhood by early 2020, offering the offbeat public attraction near stadiums for Denver’s major league sports teams, the Children’s Museum of Denver and the city’s Downtown Aquarium.

The Denver venture will provide a major financial and creative test for Meow Wolf and its growing staff of about 200 artists, technicians and project developers. CEO Vince Kadlubek describes them as the “corporate version of an art collective.”

He estimated overall investment will reach $30 million or more and compared it to the budget of a major motion picture.

Meow Wolf plans to seek additional investors later this year in an offering that could involve equity in the company or debt obligations or both.

The company last year raised nearly $1 million by selling off-exchange shares to employees and small-scale internet investors to fuel its expansion and equip a manufacturing and video production facility in Santa Fe.

In Santa Fe, the company invented a new brand of family entertainment that combines eye-popping psychedelic design work that lends itself to shared images on social media with narrative storytelling.

Ben Davis, a national art critic for artnet News, said Meow Wolf has succeeded in creating a new model for big, fun visual entertainment that borrows from science fantasy and thriller films and rewards visitors as they explore labyrinthine exhibits.

Scaling up high-tech exhibits for larger audiences will likely put the business in competition with museums and theme parks that have major financial resources, he said.

Artistic details of the Denver exhibit remained largely a mystery because the company did not disclose specifics. The attraction will be three times larger than the Santa Fe project.


Peipert reported from Denver.

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — Of all the people glued to their TVs rooting for the Buffalo Bills to finally — and mercifully — end their 17-season playoff drought last weekend, one curiously stood out: former Tennessee Titans tight end Frank Wycheck.

Wycheck is forever remembered in Buffalo for throwing a lateral on a kickoff return to give Tennessee a 22-16 playoff win over the Bills in a play dubbed the “Music City Miracle,” one of the wildest finishes ever to an NFL postseason game. The much-debated play in the January 2000 wild-card playoff propelled the Titans to the Super Bowl.

It’s a memory that still stings in Buffalo 18 years later, enveloped in the lingering pain from what grew into the longest playoff drought in North America’s four major professional sports.

“People were kind of bringing it up that that’s the reason why they haven’t made the playoffs because of that play,” Wycheck told The Associated Press by phone from Nashville, Tennessee.

“I don’t want to put the responsibility on me,” said Wycheck, who now serves as a radio host and is taking a one-season break as a Titans broadcast analyst. “But it was so long ago, too. I’m just glad they made it and I was happy for them.”

He doesn’t feel directly responsible for the Bills’ woes in the bungling years that followed. Still, Wycheck said if there was some kind of curse on the Bills sparked by the “Music City Miracle,” it’s time it was lifted.

Add another member to the Bills bandwagon as Buffalo travels to play AFC South champion Jacksonville in a wild-card playoff on Sunday.

The sentiments surprised key players from Buffalo’s storied past, and even some fans didn’t quite know how to react when Wycheck tweeted his congrats to the Bills for making the playoffs.

“Are you kidding?” said Rob Johnson, the Bills quarterback at the time who started the game over Doug Flutie. “Does he feel bad?”

“Wow. Really?” said Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas. “Oh, that’s freaking awesome, man. That you could still in a way, even though it hurt us, that you could root for us, that’s great.”

Wycheck’s name has been dragged through the mud — and worse — across western New York long enough for a play most refer to as “The Home Run Throwback .” Everywhere that is, except Buffalo — where it’s always been called “The Home Run Throw Forward,” and “The Immaculate Deception.”

Johnson, minus a shoe no less, completed a 9-yard pass to Peerless Price to set up Steve Christie hitting a 41-yard field goal to put Buffalo ahead 16-15 with 16 seconds remaining.

What followed was pure and utter disappointment for the Bills.

Tennessee’s Lorenzo Neal caught the ensuing kickoff and handed the ball to Wycheck, who ran to his right. He then spun around at his own 25 and threw the ball across the field to Kevin Dyson, who sprinted up the left sideline to score with 3 seconds left.

The 75-yard touchdown stood up after a lengthy video review, and the stunning loss spawned what became a playoff drought that tied for fifth-longest in NFL history.

Just like its start, the Bills’ drought ended in dramatic fashion last weekend.

Buffalo did its part with a 22-16 win at Miami . The Bills then clinched the AFC’s sixth and final playoff berth when Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton converted a fourth-and-12 in the final minute to hit Tyler Boyd for a touchdown, beating Baltimore 31-27.

Thomas noted that Buffalo’s win over the Dolphins matched the same score as the 2000 loss to Tennessee — the running back’s last game in a Bills uniform.

“It’s been a long, long time,” said Thomas, who wept in joy after the Bills clinched their playoff berth.

After spending many of these last 17 years answering questions about the drought, and wondering if the Bills might in fact be cursed, Thomas is relieved everyone can finally put it behind them.

“The fans are living it now. Enjoy,” said Thomas, who was on the Bills teams that reached and lost four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s. “It’s time to create some other memories.”

Even former Bills players who never earned a chance to enjoy a playoff appearance in Buffalo celebrated.

“I’m trying to live vicariously through them because I didn’t get to live it,” said punter Brian Moorman, who played for the Bills from 2001-13. “I always said that place would go nuts if we got in the playoffs. I would’ve loved to have experienced that.”

Johnson, who eventually won a Super Bowl as a backup in Tampa Bay in 2003, was excited for the Bills and yet still carries some lingering resentment for what happened against Tennessee.

“They do all that scientific stuff now, I wonder if they ever proved that was a lateral,” he wondered. (Don’t try to convince some Bills fans, but it was studied thoroughly, including with rendered animations that showed the pass was almost perfectly horizontal but going ever so slightly backward.)

When reminded that it was ultimately the officials who made the call on Wycheck’s throw being legal, Johnson snorted.

“It wasn’t his fault, heh, it wasn’t his fault,” he said.

Wycheck insists his toss didn’t go forward and said the most disappointing development was learning of the Bills decision to fire special teams coach Bruce DeHaven following the season. He called it unfair to lay the blame on one person.

That didn’t stop Wycheck from extending an olive branch to Buffalo fans on Sunday.

“Congrats to @buffalobills !! Well played today,” Wycheck wrote , before noting the Titans are also in the playoffs. “Hope to see you in Nashville in a couple of weeks.”


(This story has been updated to show Wycheck taking a one-season break as Titans’ broadcast analyst.


AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker in Nashville and AP sports writer Greg Beacham in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


For more NFL coverage: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP—NFL

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran’s most fervent regional foes, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are both eagerly looking for signs of vulnerability and imminent change in their nemesis amid the past week of protests across the country. But they’ve taken vastly different approaches of how to engage with the upheaval.

Saudi officials have not officially made any statements yet about the wave of unrest, perhaps wary of being seen to meddle. Israel, in contrast, has taken a much bolder approach, diving in with an attempt to speak directly to Iranian protesters.

In a video released online Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised what he called the bravery of the Iranian protesters seeking freedom and lambasted Iran’s “cruel regime” for spending billions of dollars “spreading hate.”

“This regime tries desperately to sow hate between us,” he said. “But they won’t succeed.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, accused Iran’s enemies of stoking the protests that erupted a week ago over a rise in food prices and have spread to dozens of smaller cities and towns around Iran. Those he was apparently referring to —Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia — have long been opposed to Iran’s theocratic, cleric-led rule and are eager to see, even stoke, dramatic change. But the protests appear to have caught Iranians at home, nations in the region, the U.S. and European countries off guard.

President Donald Trump has proclaimed his support for those in the streets, saying it is “time for change,” while the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said Washington wants to amplify the voices of the protesters.

But it’s not clear what influence foreign statements of support have in swaying anyone on the ground in Iran.

Saudi Arabia and Israel view Iran as a threat in the region and are suspicious of its nuclear program and concerned about its long-range missile program. The Saudis have tried with little success to stem Iran’s spreading influence and accuse it of backing Shiite rebels in Yemen, including supplying them with missiles fired at the kingdom. Israel has fought a series of wars against Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas, both backed by Iran, and has carried out strikes against suspected Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah.

Officially, Saudi Arabia appears to be playing a wait-and-see game, careful not to issue statements of support for protesters that would give credence to Khameni’s claims. While the U.S. may have appeal to some sectors of Iranian society, there’s little love among Iranians for Saudi Arabia or its dominant ultraconservative Sunni Muslim interpretation that vilifies Shiites. The kingdom may be looking to the Trump administration to take the lead, whether through increasing sanctions or action at the United Nations.

Saudi commentators in pro-government media offer the most telling look into state-sanctioned opinions about the protests. A column in the Al-Riyadh newspaper on Wednesday said Iranians “want the end of a regime… and a new regime that gives them their rights to live a dignified life, which they deserve.” A column in Okaz newspaper said Iran’s attempt to export its revolution abroad after 1979 is now coming back to haunt the Shiite clerics who rule the country.

Abdulrahman al-Rashed, a prominent Saudi media figure with close ties to the royal court, was more cautious, warning that the region cannot afford more chaos in a column published in English and Arabic on pro-Saudi media websites.

“For countries in the region, especially Arab countries, the ideal scenario would be that the regime does not collapse but that it changes its foreign policy and stops its aggressive approach,” he wrote.

Anti-U.S., Saudi and Israeli chants are a staple of Iranian protests. “Death to the U.S.,” ”Death to Israel,” and “Death to the Al Saud” in reference to Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are all common chants at demonstrations.

Nevertheless, Israel’s Netanyahu has sought to portray his country and Iran’s people as natural allies, kept apart only by the ruling clerics in the Islamic Republic. He has made a series of videos the past year addressing the Iranian public.

“When this regime finally falls, and one day it will, Iranians and Israelis will be great friends once again. I wish the Iranian people success in their noble quest for freedom,” he said in the latest video. It was broadcast in English with Farsi subtitles and shared on Israeli-government social media channels directed at Iran.

Netanyahu’s spokesman, David Keyes, claimed that “many Iranians” watch the prime minister’s Farsi videos. He said the heavy usage figures on the prime minister’s various social media sites indicate a “much deeper trend.”

But Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born lecturer on Iranian affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center, an Israeli college, said he thought the impact is minimal.

“The majority of the people of Iran won’t care,” he said.


Federman reported from Jerusalem.