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April 16, 2014

Nearly a year after Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault, a state attorney announced in December he would face no charges. Yet from the beginning, there were questions about whether police, either out of deference to the football team or through astounding incompetence, dropped the ball on the investigation.

A stunning deep dive by Walt Bogdanich in Wednesday's New York Times concludes the investigation wasn't just botched, but rather that "there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university."

A sampling of some of the most incredible investigative failures:

* Police didn't pull security camera footage from the local bar where Winston's accuser said she met him and two other men. The state attorney would do so 11 months later, after the tapes had been reused.

* Even after the accuser identified Winston in class, police waited two more weeks before contacting him — by phone. Winston said he had baseball practice and would call back later; his lawyer then called for him and said he wouldn't talk.

* The lead detective, Scott Angulo, was a booster for a $150 million nonprofit that funds FSU football. He waited two months to file his first report, and closed the case at the time without even getting a DNA sample from Winston.

The university, too, apparently failed to follow proper investigative procedures after the athletic department learned of the incident. And it failed to follow up on a witness' admission he'd filmed the sexual encounter. (Winston admits to the encounter, but claims it was consensual.)

Again, Winston has never been charged and must be presumed innocent. But the baffling failures by the police and university look terrible in light of quotes like this one, from Chief Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman: "I believe that Mr. Winston cannot be convicted. I don't necessarily believe that he's innocent."

Read the entire story here. Jon Terbush

8:10 a.m. ET

Clinton's historic nomination on Thursday night was somewhat bittersweet, as one can't help but wish that the thousands of women who fought to get America to this moment could have seen her on that stage. Luckily, Stephen Colbert owns a time machine and he used it to beam in Josephine Henley and Abitha Whitmore from the night of July 4, 1776.

Never mind the uncanny resemblance the female delegates have to Broad City's Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer — Henley and Whitmore are pretty excited to hear the good news about Hillary Clinton. Well, that is until they realize they misheard Colbert say the date by 200 years.

The two have a pretty big scolding for America taking its sweet time to nominate a woman, and you can get a hilarious earful, below. Jeva Lange

8:06 a.m. ET

One San Diego police officer was killed and another injured when a gunman opened fire on them late Thursday night. After the shooting, authorities urged people in the surrounding area to stay inside as police helicopters searched for a suspect. Police said they had one person in custody, although they did not immediately identify the suspect. Investigators also did not say what could have been the gunman's motive.

The city and others around the country have been on high alert since gunmen ambushed and killed police in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Harold Maass

7:40 a.m. ET

Photos of Hillary Clinton gazing out across the Democratic convention or noticing with childlike glee the fireworks at the end of her speech will be saved in the files of American history for many, many a decade to come as she became the first female presidential nominee selected by a major party since the founding of the nation. Naturally, it was important for her to look great:

But for women, the choice of what to wear has always been a political act, something that Clinton did not forget. Her white pantsuit — possibly selected with the help of Vogue editor Anna Wintour — was the perfect choice for the historic moment:

[The outfit] carried the symbolic weight of more than a century of American feminist history.

Women in the suffrage movement, which fought for decades to secure a woman's right to vote around the turn of the 20th century, were often encouraged to wear white during parades and demonstrations. Historians believe it likely represented purity and the movement's elevated ideals. [Quartz]

Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first woman to accept the vice presidential nomination of a major party, also wore white during her acceptance speech in 1984 as a conscious nod to the suffragettes. Jeva Lange

5:42 a.m. ET
JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, Pope Francis visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration camp where more than one million people died during the Holocaust. During his visit, Francis met with elderly survivors of the camp and placed a candle at the Death Wall, where prisoners were executed. He spent much of his time sitting in silence beneath a tree to reflect on the tragedy and to pray. He is the third pope to visit the camp, after both his immediate predecessors, John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

According to The Associated Press, Francis wrote in a guest book at Auschwitz: "Lord, have pity on your people. Lord, forgive so much cruelty."

The visit comes on the third day of his five-day trip through Poland. Earlier this week, Francis warned that "the world is at war" after French jihadists murdered a Catholic priest on Tuesday. "When I speak of war I speak of wars over interests, money, resources, not religion," Pope Francis said. "All religions want peace, it's the others who want war." Jessica Hullinger

2:06 a.m. ET
Rami al-Sayed/AFP/Getty Images

The Nusra Front, a branch of al Qaeda in Syria, announced Thursday it is leaving the group.

Nusra Front's leader, Mohamad al-Golani, said they will reorganize under a new name, Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, "with no ties with any foreign party." He said the move is being made "to remove the excuse used by the international community — spearheaded by America and Russia — to bombard and displace Muslims in the Levant: That they are targeting the Nusra Front, which is associated with al Qaeda."

Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's successor as the leader of al Qaeda, gave the Nusra Front permission to break away, Reuters reports. When asked about the news, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said, "We're gonna have to wait and see. We judge a group by what they do, not by what they call themselves." Catherine Garcia

1:39 a.m. ET

In 2008, when Barack Obama became the first African-American presidential nominee, his opponent, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), released an ad congratulating him on making history.

"Sen. Obama, this is truly a good day for America," McCain said. "Too often, the achievements of our opponents go unnoticed, so I wanted to stop and say congratulations. How perfect that your nomination would come on this historic day. Tomorrow we'll be back at it, but tonight, Senator, job well done."

On Thursday, when Hillary Clinton became the first woman to ever become the presidential nominee of a major party, that didn't happen — but this did. Catherine Garcia

12:59 a.m. ET

So many balloons fell from the ceiling at the end of her speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night that Hillary Clinton seemingly didn't know what to do with them all.

She pointed at some:

Grabbed others:

Stared in awe at a few:

Looked at some like they were Donald Trump:

Walked gingerly through a sea of many:

And finally just disappeared for awhile:

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton was playing it cool.

Catherine Garcia

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