case closed
June 16, 2019

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, admitted to misusing state funds, and on Sunday was ordered to pay a $15,000 fine.

Netanyahu took a plea deal, with the charges reduced from fraud to intentionally exploiting another person's error. She will have a criminal record. Her lawyer, Yossi Cohen, claims that his client is innocent, and this was an attempt to bring down her husband.

The case was in court for four years, with Netanyahu accused of spending $100,000 on catering between 2010 and 2013, despite having her own personal chef provided by the state, The Guardian reports. Benjamin Netanyahu is also the focus of several corruption investigations, and Israel's attorney general announced earlier this year that he plans on indicting him. Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2017

Hobby Lobby is settling federal antiquities smuggling charges by paying $3 million and returning thousands of clay artifacts from Iraq. The company said it purchased the items because of a "passion for the Bible," and Hobby Lobby President Steve Green admitted they "should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled."

In 2009, Green and a consultant went to the United Arab Emirates, where they looked at engraved seals, clay impressions, and thousand-year-old cuneiform tablets. The criminal complaint says Hobby Lobby's lawyer was warned that the items might be looted, and stressed the importance of making sure their country of origin was marked on customs forms. Instead, prosecutors said, 5,500 artifacts from Iraq were shipped without proper documentation, with labels calling them "ceramic tiles" or "samples" from Turkey and Israel. Hobby Lobby also didn't pay the dealer who sold the items, but wired $1.6 million to seven different people. Green said moving forward, Hobby Lobby will further investigate such purchases. Catherine Garcia

September 10, 2015

Now that the dust has settled two months out from the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage, state officials who defended same-sex marriage bans are receiving invoices from the attorneys who defeated them — and the price tags aren't pretty.

In some states' cases, legal fees are upwards of a million dollars. Kentucky, for instance, owes $2.1 million for services rendered. Michigan is facing a $1.9 million demand from attorneys in one of the four cases that went to the Supreme Court, and Florida has a tab of about $700,000.

The payment requests come as part of a federal law that says that the court "in its discretion, may allow the prevailing party... a reasonable attorney's fee as part of the costs," Al Jazeera reports. Most private attorneys who took on these cases did so pro bono. Stephan Rosenthal, an attorney who fought Florida's marriage ban, explains the law and the hefty tabs this way: "It's recognition that people need lawyers to fight the government, which has lots of lawyers, when they feel their civil rights are being violated. To encourage lawyers to take these cases, you need to provide the potential to get paid in the end."

Read the full story at Al Jazeera. Becca Stanek

March 28, 2015

Speaking from her Seattle home on Friday night, 27-year-old Amanda Knox said she was "tremendously relieved and grateful," following the decision earlier that day by Italy's highest court to overturn the 2009 murder convictions of Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito.

"The knowledge of my innocence has given me strength in the darkest times of this ordeal," Knox added in her short statement reported by USA Today. "I'm so grateful to have my life back."

The controversial case has captivated people across the U.S. and Europe. Knox and Sollecito were convicted in 2009 of the 2007 murder of Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher, who was found stabbed to death in the apartment she shared with Knox. In 2011, a lower Italian court reversed Knox's and Sollecito's convictions and set them free. But a Florence appeals court reversed that decision in 2013, overturning their acquittals.

Friday's ruling from the Court of Cassation officially brings the eight-year saga to a close. Sarah Eberspacher

September 15, 2014

After 13 years of searching, all it took was a retweet from country singer Blake Shelton to finally reunite a man with a photo found in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

Every Sept. 11, Elizabeth Keefe attempted to track down the owner of a photo her friend found in the debris showing people at a wedding. This Sept. 11, as she has before, Keefe tweeted the picture out. Once it was retweeted by Shelton, it went viral and finally someone recognized a man in the snapshot: Fred Mahe. Mahe, who worked on the 77th floor of Tower 2 as a sales account director for Thomson Financial, was also the photo's owner.

"My happiness is not that I get the picture back," Mahe told Mashable. "What I'm so psyched about is that she accomplished her task. She is the one who persisted over 13 years every 9/11 saying, 'Who are these people?'"

Mahe was exiting the subway when the first plane hit, and never made it into his office. He later moved to Denver, and was surprised this week to hear from a former co-worker who saw the tweet and recognized him. Before long, Mahe and Keefe connected.

"I felt it was such a powerful photo, and it spoke to me," Keefe told Mashable. "A wedding photo is not just an average photo. And connected to 9/11, whatever the story was, it gave me a sense of purpose to get it back to its owner."

Mahe told Keefe that the photo was taken at Christian and Christine Loredo's wedding on March 31, 2001, in Aspen. "It's pretty magic considering the tragedy of 9/11 that, knock on wood, everybody is alive and well," Christian Loredo told Mashable. Having never seen the photo before, he thought at first it was "some sort of hoax," but after talking to Mahe, Loredo realized "it's really a silver lining." Catherine Garcia

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