The Latest From Sanford, Fla.: Reuters: "A witness in the murder trial of neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman testified on Friday that he saw Trayvon Martin on top of Zimmerman during a struggle that led to the unarmed black teenager's shooting death in a central Florida gated community last year. But Jonathan Good, a former resident at the townhouse complex, told the jury in Seminole County criminal court that he never saw Martin slam Zimmerman's head into the concrete sidewalk, undermining a key element in Zimmerman's defense."
More from Good: USA Today: "Good, who lives in the same townhouse complex as Zimmerman, said after hearing a noise behind his townhome, he saw what looked like a fight. When he stepped outside, he said he yelled, 'What's going on? Stop it.' 'It looked like there were strikes being thrown, punches being thrown,' said Good. Good said he could only see one person at first. Seconds later, he saw two people laying flat, one on top of the another in the grass. A person in dark clothing was on top of a person with 'lighter complexion' wearing red or white clothing, Good said. The description of the person on the bottom, Good said, matched Zimmerman that night. … Good's version of that night contradicts those of another neighbor who testified Thursday. Selma Mora, who lived a couple of houses down from Good, said a person on top and straddling another person told her to call police. Minutes later, the same person who was on top, Zimmerman, was on his feet after a gunshot, Mora said."
The Rest of the Day's Action: Associated Press: "The first police officer and the first paramedic to respond to the shooting also testified Friday. Officer Tim Smith testified that when he saw Zimmerman after the shooting, the neighborhood watch volunteer's backside was covered in grass and wetter than his front side, bolstering defense attorneys' contention that Martin was on top of Zimmerman. Smith said Zimmerman described himself as "lightheaded" during the drive to Sanford Police Station but declined an offer to take him to a hospital. Paramedic Stacy Livingston said Zimmerman had a swollen, bleeding nose and two cuts on the back of his head an inch long."
The Top Talker of the Trial So Far: New Yorker: "As much as anything else in the saga of race, fear, and firearms that is the death of Trayvon Martin and the murder trial of George Zimmerman, the testimony of Rachel Jeantel, a nineteen-year-old rising high-school senior sometimes described as Martin’s girlfriend, served as a kind of Rorschach test. When you look at the prosecution’s star witness, a young woman, dark-skinned and overweight, her eyes signaling exasperation, what do you see? ... The two days that Jeantel spent on the stand—she began testifying Wednesday afternoon and finished Thursday afternoon—were often difficult to watch, and only partly because of the details she gave about the final moments of Martin’s life. Her appearance, diction, size, and intelligence were an unspoken but all-encompassing part of the proceedings." More.
Slatest Flashback: Zimmerman's Legal Team Kicked Off Its Defense With a Knock-Knock Joke
We made it – it’s Friday! Welcome to The Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up today’s top stories and finalizing our weekend plans. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.
Record-Breaking Heat: Associated Press: “Today could be one of the hottest days ever recorded on Earth, as the western U.S. falls into the grips of a dangerous heat wave. A strong high-pressure system settling over the region on Friday and through the weekend will bring extreme temperatures. The mercury may hit 130 degrees F. in Death Valley, Calif. (The all-time high is 134 degrees.)”
Outing Bert and Ernie: Washington Post: "The New Yorker’s latest cover is causing a stir. The cover focuses on the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings this week and features a photo that suggests a romantic relationship between Sesame Street’s Bert and Ernie."
White House Mandates Free Contraceptives: New York Times: "The Obama administration on Friday issued a final rule requiring many employers and health insurance plans to provide free coverage of contraceptives for women, a policy that has been challenged in numerous lawsuits around the country. The rule, which is unlikely to placate critics, adopts a simplified version of an approach proposed earlier this year to balance the interests of women with the concerns of the Roman Catholic Church and certain other employers that have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptives."
Winning Over the House on Immigration: New York Times: "Even as they were popping corks on Thursday night after a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate to pass an immigration bill, supporters of the overhaul were laying plans for the far more difficult task of moving something similar through the Republican-controlled House... While supporters are hardly confident, they say House Republicans will soon discover a crucial difference this year from failed immigration efforts of the past. They say their coalition is broader and far more energized and committed than in 2007, when an immigration overhaul by President George W. Bush did not even reach a vote in the Senate."
Obama in South Africa: CNN: “U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in South Africa on Friday for the second leg of a trip overshadowed by the deteriorating health of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela. Obama did not appear to rule out a visit to see the ailing former president, but said he will leave it up to the family. ‘We'll see what the situation is when we land,' he said en route to Johannesburg. 'I don't need a photo op, and the last thing I want to do is to be in any way obtrusive at a time when the family is concerned with Nelson Mandela's condition.’”
Violence Breaks Out in Egypt: CNN: “Four members of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood were killed in violence over the past day, a spokesman for the group said. The deaths came as President Mohamed Morsy, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood, completes his first year in office. The most recent act of violence happened Friday, when the office of the ruling Freedom and Justice Party in Alexandria was attacked.”
One American Dead: Reuters: "A U.S. citizen was stabbed to death in the Egyptian city of Alexandria on Friday during clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohamed Mursi, a doctor and three security officials said. ... The man died from a stab wound to the chest, said General Amin Ezzeddin, a senior Alexandria security official. He said that the young American was using a mobile phone camera near an office of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood when it was being attacked by protesters. He was rushed to a military hospital, where he died."
U.S. Park Police Lost Guns: Washington Post: “The U.S. Park Police has lost track of thousands of handguns, rifles and machine guns in what a government watchdog agency concluded is the latest example of mismanagement on a police force trusted to protect millions of visitors to the city’s iconic monuments. There is no indication that police guns got into the hands of criminals, but the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Interior warned that the Park Police might not know if they had. In a scathing report, the authors said there is ‘credible evidence of conditions that would allow for theft and misuse of firearms, and the ability to conceal the fact if weapons were missing.’”
Jimmy Carter Defends Paula Deen: CNN: “Former President Jimmy Carter said embattled celebrity chef Paula Deen should be forgiven, arguing that while there's no condoning the racial slurs she uttered, the well-known personality has been candid and apologetic. ‘She was maybe excessively honest in saying that she had in the past, 30 years ago, used this terrible word,’ Carter told CNN's Suzanne Malveaux in an interview Friday. ‘I think she has been punished, perhaps overly severely, for her honesty in admitting it and for the use of the word in the distant past. She's apologized profusely.’”
A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:
- MoneyBox: In Defense of Small Plates
- XX Factor: Reuters Study Claims the Gender Gap Has Been "Muted" Around the World. Nope.
- Technology: How to Survive the Google Reader Apocalypse
- TNC: Mystery of the Devastating Russian “Tunguska Event” Finally Solved (VIDEO)
- XX Factor: What If Your Mother Had Aborted You?
- Weigel: 26 Senators vs. Secret National Security Law
- FutureTense: Drones, 3-D Printing, and Our Distorted Views of New Technologies
That’s all for today. See you back here on Monday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or forward on the newsletter and let them decide for themselves.