Today in History
Today is Monday, June 17, the 168th day of 2019. There are 197 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 17, 1994, after leading police on a slow-speed chase on Southern California freeways, O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman. (Simpson was later acquitted in a criminal trial, but held liable in a civil trial.)
On this date:
In 1579, Sir Francis Drake arrived in present-day northern California, naming it New Albion and claiming English sovereignty.
In 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill resulted in a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses.
In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to make the trip as a passenger.
In 1930, President Herbert Hoover signed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act, which boosted U.S. tariffs to historically high levels, prompting foreign retaliation.
In 1953, U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas stayed the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, originally set for the next day, the couple’s 14th wedding anniversary. (They were put to death June 19.)
In 1963, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Abington (Pa.) School District v. Schempp, struck down, 8-1, rules requiring the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.
In 1967, China successfully tested its first thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb.
In 1972, President Richard Nixon’s eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside the Democratic headquarters in Washington, D.C.’s Watergate complex.
In 2002, A judge in San Francisco tossed out the second-degree murder conviction of Marjorie Knoller for the dog-mauling death of neighbor Diane Whipple, but let stand Knoller’s conviction for involuntary manslaughter. (However, Knoller’s murder conviction was reinstated in 2008.)
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that states can’t demand proof of citizenship from people registering to vote in federal elections unless they get federal or court approval to do so.
In 2015, nine people were shot to death in a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina; suspect Dylann Roof was arrested the following morning. (Roof has since been convicted of federal hate crimes and sentenced to death; he later pleaded guilty to state murder charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.)
In 2017, the jury in Bill Cosby’s sexual assault case was declared hopelessly deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial for the 79-year-old TV star charged with drugging and groping a woman more than a decade earlier; prosecutors immediately announced they would pursue a second trial, which resulted in Cosby’s conviction. The Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald was damaged in a collision with a Philippine-flagged container ship off Japan that killed seven sailors.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama extended some benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Nevada Sen. John Ensign resigned from the GOP leadership a day after admitting an affair with a former campaign staffer.
Five years ago: The Obama administration announced that U.S. special forces had seized Ahmed Abu Khattala, described as a “key leader” in the deadly Benghazi, Libya, attack, and that he was on his way to face trial in the U.S. for the fiery assault that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. (Abu Khattala was convicted in 2017 of terrorism-related counts but acquitted of murder; he was sentenced to 22 years in prison.) Johann “Hans” Breyer, an 89-year-old retired toolmaker, was arrested in Philadelphia on a German arrest warrant charging him with aiding and abetting the killing of 216,000 Jewish men, women and children while serving as a guard at the Auschwitz death camp. (Breyer died just over a month later before he could be extradited.)
One year ago: Former first lady Laura Bush, writing in the Washington Post, said the policy of separating immigrant parents and children along the nation’s southern border was “cruel” and “immoral.” Conservative Ivan Duque was elected Colombia’s next president, after promising to change parts of a peace accord with leftist rebels. Brooks Koepka (KEHP’-kuh) won the U.S. Open for the second straight year, becoming the seventh golfer to win the event back-to-back.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Lupus is 87. Movie director Ken Loach is 83. Actor William Lucking is 78. Singer Barry Manilow is 76. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is 76. Comedian Joe Piscopo is 68. Actor Mark Linn-Baker is 65. Actor Jon Gries (gryz) is 62. Rock singer Jello Biafra is 61. Movie producer-director-writer Bobby Farrelly is 61. Actor Thomas Haden Church is 59. Actor Greg Kinnear is 56. Actress Kami Cotler is 54. Olympic gold medal speed skater Dan Jansen is 54. Actor Jason Patric is 53. Rhythm and blues singer Kevin Thornton is 50. Actor-comedian Will Forte is 49. Latin pop singer Paulina Rubio is 48. Tennis player Venus Williams is 39. Actor Arthur Darvill is 37. Actress Jodie Whittaker is 37. Actor Manish Dayal is 36. Country singer Mickey Guyton is 36. Actor-rapper Herculeez (AKA Jamal Mixon) is 36. Actress Marie Avgeropoulos is 33. Rapper Kendrick Lamar is 32. NHL forward Nikita Kucherov is 26. Actor Damani Roberts is 23. Actor KJ Apa is 22.
Thought for Today: “When all men think alike, no one thinks very much.” — Walter Lippmann, American journalist (1889-1974).
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