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Happening Today: Aaron Hernandez, Comey, Life Expectancy, Steve McQueen

What to Know

  • A judge has thrown out the 2013 murder conviction of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez because he died before his appeal could be heard
  • Americans' life expectancy varies by nearly a generation across counties in the United States, according to a new study
  • Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen is set to direct a documentary about Tupac Shakur

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Trump, Tillerson Meeting With Russian Foreign Minister at White House

President Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are expected to meet with Vladimir Putin’s top diplomat at the White House in what will be the highest level, face-to-face contact with Russia of the American leader’s young presidency, NBC News reported. The meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was announced last week, but it comes during a time when U.S.-Russia relations are, Tillerson said, "at a low point." And tensions surrounding Russia's involvement in the U.S. election remain high. Tuesday evening, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, ostensibly for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But many question whether the dismissal had anything to do with Comey being in charge of the investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. The State Department says Tillerson and Lavrov are expected to discuss ongoing violence in Syria and Ukraine.

Judge Throws Out Aaron Hernandez Murder Conviction

A judge has thrown out the 2013 murder conviction of ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez because he died before his appeal could be heard. The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his prison cell on April 19 while serving a life sentence in the killing of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. His suicide came just five days after he was acquitted in a separate double slaying in 2012. Judge E. Susan Garsh said a legal doctrine that calls for vacating convictions when a defendant dies before an appeal can be heard was binding precedent. She said she was compelled to follow it. Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn said his office will appeal the decision to Supreme Judicial Court.

Chris Christie, David Clarke Possible Replacements for Comey

With James Comey ousted as FBI director, President Trump will have an opportunity to select a replacement for a new 10-year term. The FBI in the interim will be led by Comey's top deputy, Andrew McCabe. But Trump is likely to reach outside the bureau to find someone to run the storied law enforcement agency. "The FBI is one of our nation's most cherished and respected institutions, and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement," Trump said in a statement issued by the White House. Ray Kelly, Chris Christie, David Clarke and Trey Gowdy are all possibilities.

County-by-County, Life Expectancy Varies by 20 Years Across US, Study Shows

Americans' life expectancy varies by nearly a generation across counties in the United States, according to a new study, from a high of 87 years in Colorado's ski country to a low of 66 years in southwest South Dakota, with other parts of the Dakotas, Appalachia and the Mississippi river basin close behind. NBC News reported that obesity and diabetes could explain a big chunk of that 20-year difference, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association's JAMA Internal Medicine. Many studies have shown that where Americans live has a big effect on how long they live. But Dr. Christopher Murray's team at the University of Washington found that the disparity has increased by five years since 1980, when they looked at life expectancy and risk of death for each county across the U.S. from then until 2014. "The magnitude of these disparities demands action, all the more urgently because inequalities will only increase further if recent trends are allowed to continue uncontested," the team wrote.

Side Effects Emerge After Approval for Many US Drugs, Analysis Finds

Almost one-third of new drugs approved by U.S. regulators over a decade ended up years later with warnings about unexpected, sometimes life-threatening side effects or complications, a new analysis found. The results covered all 222 prescription drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2001 through 2010. The researchers looked at potential problems that cropped up during routine monitoring that's done once a medicine is on the market. The 71 flagged drugs included top-sellers for treating depression, arthritis, infections and blood clots. Safety issues included risks for serious skin reactions, liver damage, cancer and even death. "The large percentage of problems was a surprise," and they included side effects not seen during the review process, said Dr. Joseph Ross, the study's lead author and an associate professor of medicine and public health at Yale University. While most safety concerns were not serious enough to prompt recalls, the findings raise questions about how thoroughly drugs are tested before approval, said drug safety expert Thomas Moore. But Ross said the results suggest that the FDA "is kind of doing a great job" at scrutinizing drugs after approval. New drugs are generally tested first in hundreds or even thousands of people for safety and effectiveness.

“Rob & Big” Star Christopher 'Big Black' Boykin Dies at 45

"Rob & Big" star Christopher "Big Black" Boykin has passed away, E! News has learned. TMZ, who was first to break the news, reports the MTV personality died at the age of 45. No other information was readily available. Boykin rose to fame as professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek's bodyguard on the wildly popular series, which ran for three seasons from 2006-2008. Their onscreen antics, which included breaking multiple Guinness world records, captivated viewers and led to the spin-off series, "Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory." Co-star and fellow MTV personality Chanel West Coast confirmed the news on Twitter: "RIP @BigBlack. My heart is crushed. I'll remember all the times you made me laugh and my prayers go out to your family." Boykin would go on to make multiple appearance on "Fantasy Factory" as well as other MTV programs including "Ridiculousness," "Guy Code" and "Snack Off." He also launched a plus-sized clothing lines called Big Man Network and Big Dime Pieces.

Steve McQueen to Direct Authorized Tupac Shakur Documentary

Academy Award-winner Steve McQueen is set to direct a documentary about Tupac Shakur. Shakur Estate trustee Tom Whalley and Amaru Entertainment said that the film is fully sanctioned by the late hip-hop artist's estate. McQueen is best known for directing "12 Years a Slave," which won the best picture Oscar in 2014 and earned him a best director nomination. The director said in a statement that he looks forward to working with Shakur's family to bring his unvarnished story to life. Shakur's aunt and late mother's sister Gloria Cox will serve as an executive producer. "Few, if any shined brighter than Tupac Shakur," said McQueen, who hinted there was some overlap between himself and Shakur during his time at NYU film school in 1993. Whalley hopes that the documentary will help take Shakur's legacy beyond "the refraction of the headlines, the controversy, and the tragic way his life ended." Shakur died in a still-unsolved drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996, at age 25.

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