Top 5 Live-WURD Friday April 24
1. Loretta Lynch makes history
The highly politicized five-month battle to choose President Barack Obama’s next attorney general came to a close Thursday when the Senate finally voted to confirm Loretta Lynch. The 56-43 vote makes Lynch the first African-American female attorney general in U.S. history.
But the delay of her nomination neared record-breaking proportions. Republicans leading the Senate refused to bring her nomination up for a vote until Democrats cut a deal on abortion language in an unrelated bill. That legislation passed Wednesday, setting up Thursday’s vote and ending the latest partisan Washington standoff.
Ten Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Democrats. Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz was the only senator not to vote.
2. Petraeus sentenced: 2 years probation; $100K fine
Gen. David Petraeus, once a widely celebrated military leader who oversaw operations in Afghanistan and Iraq and was touted as a potential presidential candidate, was sentenced to serve two years on probation and to pay an $100,000 fine on Thursday for sharing classified information with his biographer and lover, Paula Broadwell.
“Today marks the end of a two-and-a-half-year ordeal,” Petraeus said outside the Charlotte federal courthouse following his sentencing. “I now look forward to moving on with the next phase of my life.”
Prosecutors agreed to not send Petraeus to jail because the classified information was never released to the public or published in the biography of him that Broadwell wrote.
3. U.S. drone strike accidentally killed 2 hostages
President Barack Obama announced Thursday that a U.S. counterterrorism operation targeting an al Qaeda compound in January accidentally killed two innocent hostages, including one American.
Multiple U.S. officials told CNN the hostages, Warren Weinstein, an American, and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto, were killed by a U.S. military drone that targeted the al Qaeda compound.
“As president and as commander in chief, I take full responsibility for all our counterterrorism operations including the one that inadvertently took the lives of Warren and Giovanni,” Obama said Thursday morning in the White House briefing room, where he apologized on behalf of the U.S. government.
The White House also disclosed Thursday that two Americans, both al Qaeda operatives, were also killed in U.S. counterterrorism operations in the same region.
4. Protesters’ day in court sparks more protests, confrontation
Protesters, police and lawyers packed a tiny courtroom on Thursday for the trial of 10 people accused of disorderly conduct stemming from their arrests at a March incident during which protesters stormed a Lawncrest community meeting.
Extra security was on hand as the crowd overflowed into the hallway. Then the group moved outside to 13th and Filbert streets holding signs and chanting.
Assistant District Attorney Pam Conner told Municipal Court Judge Joyce O. Eubanks, “This is more complicated than our typical disorderly conduct case,” and said prosecutors needed more time to prepare.
Nonetheless, Eubanks continued the case until June.
5. Freddie Gray death: Protesters, police clash in Baltimore
At least two people were taken into custody as protesters upset over the death of Freddie Gray clashed Thursday evening with police on the streets of Baltimore.
Tensions rose as demonstrators confronted police, several of whom shouted: “Back up!”
The Baltimore Police Department said the two were detained for disorderly conduct and destruction of property.
Protesters rallied at City Hall before marching to a police station. Some walked through traffic. In one instance, they surrounded a police car.
Gray died Sunday, one week after he was arrested by Baltimore police.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon