In our news wrap Friday, Former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old girl, a scandal that spilled into the presidential race as part of an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails. Also, Swedish prosecutors dropped their long-running rape investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
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In the day’s other news: Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner pleaded guilty today to sending sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old girl. The scandal spilled into the presidential race when the FBI found some of Hillary Clinton’s e-mails on Weiner’s computer. She had sent them to her personal aide, Huma Abedin, who was then married to Weiner.
The FBI director James Comey, at the time reopened the Clinton e-mail investigation. That was days before the election. She has since blamed her loss partly on that decision.
Prosecutors in Sweden today dropped their long-running rape investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Paul Davies of Independent Television News reports from London, where Assange is holed up in embassy of Ecuador.
Looking pale after so many years without sunshine, Julian Assange emerged briefly from the embassy that’s been his home and prison. There was a gesture that reflected the fact that one investigation into him had been dropped, but, rather than celebratory, his words were bitter.
Julian Assange, Founder, WikiLeaks:
Seven years without charge, while my children grew up without me, that is not something that I can forgive. It is not something that I can forget.
His mood not helped by the metropolitan police saying he still faces arrest if he leaves his refuge. The saga began in 2010 when WikiLeaks released vast amounts of American secrets. In November, a Swedish international arrest warrant was issued, following allegations that he’d committed sex offenses there.
He was detained in London and jailed, but later bailed when he fought a series of court cases, before eventually losing his extradition battle two years later. Fearing deportation to America from Sweden, he quickly fled to the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he’s been ever since.
Tonight, he is still there, back out of sight, while his legal team try to negotiate a deal that will allow him to travel to the airport and on to Ecuador.
This balcony is just six foot above street level, but Julian Assange fears if he steps down here where I am, he will be arrested very quickly and put on a plane to America.
For now, no sign of a breakthrough in the impasse. The world’s cameras still wait for a departure that’s not looking imminent.
A U.N. report, meantime, is shedding new light on atrocities committed in South Sudan. It says that government forces killed 114 people in a single village last year. Others were raped and brutalized.
Meanwhile, the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, will skip an Islamic summit in Saudi Arabia this weekend that includes President Trump. Sudan is one of six Muslim nations included in the Trump administration’s travel ban.
Back in this country, a New York City man has been charged with murder and attempted murder after driving his car into pedestrians in Times Square. One person was killed, and 22 hurt. Prosecutors say Richard Rojas deliberately drove onto a busy sidewalk on Thursday. He allegedly told police that he wanted to — quote — “kill them all.” Investigators are waiting for lab tests on whether he was using drugs.
President Trump has nominated Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford to stay on as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Pentagon made the official announcement today. Dunford will continue to serve as a top military adviser to the president and to the defense secretary. Dunford was first tapped for the job by President Obama, and has served in the post since 2015.
A federal appeals court says that owners of recreational drones will not have to register their devices. The court today struck down a Federal Aviation Administration rule. Drone owners said it was too burdensome, while the FAA said it was to improve safety. The three-judge panel said it is ultimately up to Congress to change the law.
There is word that Goldman Sachs banker James Donovan has withdrawn as the nominee to be deputy treasury secretary. He told the Treasury Department he wants to focus on his family.
And on Wall Street, stocks ended this week on a high note. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 142 points to close above 20804. The Nasdaq rose 28, and the S&P 500 added 16. For the week, all three indexes were down a fraction of 1 percent.