The Justice Department has agreed to publicly release controversial memos providing legal justification for the 2011 fatal drone strike against U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, an al Qaeda leader living in Yemen. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli made the decision to release the memo, and Attorney General Eric Holder agreed, according to The Washington Post.
But the decision wasn't entirely voluntary: A federal appellate court had ordered the Obama administration to release a redacted version of the Awlaki memo in April, and the Justice Department is declining to appeal that decision. The memo should be released in a few weeks, pending the 2nd Circuit appellate court's ruling on which parts of the memo should be redacted (the court made its own redactions, and the Obama administration wants a bit more blacked out).
There's also politics involved: On Wednesday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the confirmation of Harvard law professor David J. Barron to the Boston-based U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, and a group of libertarian-leaning Democrats and Republicans were threatening to block his vote unless the Obama administration released the memo. Barron, as a DOJ lawyer, wrote one of the memos in question. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he will still vote against Barron, but the Democratic critics seem more amenable. Peter Weber
Rebekah Aversano's brother was struck by a minivan and killed three years ago, when he was 21. Aversano's Maryland family donated Joshua's face to Richard Norris, who received a transplant in 2012 for the teeth, jaw, tongue muscles, and nerves after being severely disfigured in a years-old shooting accident, The Guardian reports. The risky procedure took the University of Maryland team 36 hours.
When Aversano met Norris, a 39-year-old from Virginia, she asked permission to stroke his face.
"Wow, this is the face I grew up with," she said.
Police detained about 20 people during an unsanctioned LGBT rights rally in central Moscow on Saturday, Reuters reports, including demonstrators and anti-gay protestors. Authorities have now blocked demonstrators from holding a pride parade 10 years in a row. Police and anti-LGBT protestors attacked, beat, and pepper-sprayed activists.
Activists, who were outnumbered by cops at Tverskaya Square, held a rainbow flag reading "Make love not war" before police took it away. Julie Kliegman
Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond was convicted Friday of two misdemeanors related to a barroom stabbing last Christmas, the Associated Press reports. The Wisconsin jury cleared "Screech" of the felony charge, which was recklessly endangering public safety.
Diamond, 38, testified he had not intended to stab anybody. The victim said he hadn't known he was stabbed until he left the bar and talked to police, AP reports.
Carrying a concealed weapon carries a maximum sentence of nine months, and disorderly conduct a maximum of 90 days. Diamond's girlfriend, Amanda Schutz, was also convicted of disorderly conduct. A sentencing date has not been announced. Julie Kliegman
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said at a news conference Saturday he has no ties to the soccer governing body's corruption, which resulted in the arrests of several FIFA officials earlier this week, Mashable reports.
"Arrested for what? Next question," he told a reporter one day after easily winning re-election to his fifth term. He denied that the "high-ranking FIFA official" who wired $10 million in alleged bribes, as mentioned Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice, was him.
"Definitely that is not me," Blatter said. "I have no $10 million." Julie Kliegman
An Ohio prosecutor filed a motion Friday asking a state appeals court to correct "egregious" mistakes in clearing police officer Michael Brelo in the 2012 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man and woman, Reuters reports. Judge John O'Donnell ruled a week ago it was impossible to determine whether Brelo fired the shots that killed Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a high-speed car chase. The officer had been charged with voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. Julie Kliegman
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) formally launched his presidential candidacy Saturday in a Baltimore speech.
"I declare that I am a candidate for president of the United States and I am running for you," he told a crowd of supporters with his family by his side.
O'Malley spoke of striving to work toward economic, racial, marriage, and gender inequality. He'll face off against Hillary Clinton, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and likely former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee for the Democratic nomination. Julie Kliegman
The Tampa Bay Lightning bought a ticket to the Stanley Cup final with a 2-0 win over the New York Rangers in Game 7 on Friday night. After a scoreless 40 minutes in Madison Square Garden, Alex Killorn and Ondrej Palat each notched a goal.
The Lightning will face the winner of tonight's Game 7 matchup between the Anaheim Ducks and the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stanley Cup finals begin June 3. Julie Kliegman