Jan 17, 2019 - U.S. News

3 Chicago officers acquitted of covering up Laquan McDonald's killing

Still image taken from a Chicago Police Department dash-cam video of the October 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. Photo: Chicago Police Department via Getty Images

A judge acquitted three Chicago police officers on charges of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald, which sparked nationwide protests, the AP reports.

Details: Judge Domenica Stephenson ruled that the evidence prosecutors presented, including a now-infamous police dashcam video of the shooting, was weak and that witnesses did not provide sufficient proof that officers Thomas Gaffney, Joseph Walsh and David March attempted to cover up the killing. The ruling comes more than three months after Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot McDonald 16 times, was found guilty of second-degree murder. He will be sentenced on Friday.

What's next

Honoring Kobe Bryant: Sports stars, politicians and celebrities mourn NBA great

Kobe Bryant on court for the Los Angeles Lakers during the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday Night, part of 2010 NBA All-Star Weekend at American Airlines Center in Dallas in February 2010. Photo: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Sports stars, politicians and celebrities paid tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a California helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others on Saturday. He was 41.

What they're saying: Lakers great Shaquille O'Neal said in an Instagram post of his former teammate, "There's no words to express the pain I'm going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed."

Bolton alleges in book that Trump tied Ukraine aid to investigations

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton alleges in his forthcoming book that the president explicitly told him "he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens," the New York Times first reported.

Why this matters: The revelations present a dramatic 11th hour turn in Trump's Senate impeachment trial. They directly contradict Trump's claim that he never tied the hold-up of Ukrainian aid to his demands for investigations into his political opponent Joe Biden.

Impeachment: Then & now

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We are living in a measurably different political and media landscape than when the Senate acquitted President Bill Clinton of impeachment charges in 1999.

The big picture: These dynamics are setting the pace as President Trump’s legal team speeds through arguments to seek a fast acquittal.