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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

Continuing coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Plus, the latest on Mideast tensions.

Continuing coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. Plus, the latest on Mideast tensions.

politics lead

June 26th, 2013
06:43 PM ET

Polls: Weiner gaining ground in NYC mayoral battle

(CNN) – Politics is full of second chances.

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, now Rep. Sanford, is living proof.

Two new polls suggest that former Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York may follow in Sanford's footsteps in winning political redemption.

Weiner was in his seventh term in Congress representing parts of Brooklyn and Queens when he resigned in 2011 after being caught and admitting to sending lewd messages to women via social media.

But last month Weiner returned to campaign politics, announcing a bid for New York City mayor. And two surveys of New York City voters released in the past 24 hours indicate Weiner basically tied in the battle for the Democratic mayoral nomination.

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Gay, married congressman still seeks state recognition

politics lead

June 26th, 2013
06:39 PM ET

Gay, married congressman still seeks state recognition

As he heard Wednesday’s rulings from the steps of the Supreme Court, the sole married, gay member of Congress thought about how his own marriage remains unrecognized by his home state.

“We have to be thinking about Wisconsin and the other states where same-sex couples can’t make end-of-life decisions, can't visit hospitalized spouses [in medical emergencies],” Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin told CNN.

Pocan, who was married in Canada in 2006, made history in early May when he secured a congressional spouse ID for husband Philip Frank.
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national lead

June 26th, 2013
06:18 PM ET

California Lt. Gov.: Gay marriage ruling 'was about human beings, human dignity'

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal over same-sex marriage on jurisdictional grounds, ruling Wednesday that private parties do not have "standing" to defend California's voter-approved ballot measure (known as Proposition 8) barring gay and lesbian couples from state-sanctioned wedlock.

The ruling clears the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.

"This is not about a legal brief. This was not about some abstract. This was about human beings, human dignity. It was the narrative and the story of their lives and their denials, but also their perseverance and their triumph that we're all celebrating here today," California's Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom told CNN.
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Filed under: National Lead

national lead

June 26th, 2013
06:12 PM ET

Credibility of key witness against Zimmerman in question

Rachel Jeantel is a key witness in the murder trial of George Zimmerman – her phone conversation with Trayvon Martin was one of his last before he was shot to death last year.

But will the jury believe her testimony, which began Wednesday and will continue Thursday but is overshadowed by prosecutors’ assertions that she has lied under oath?
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sports lead

June 26th, 2013
06:09 PM ET

What is the evidence against Aaron Hernandez?

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was a rising star in the NFL, who just last year signed a five-year contract worth $40 million. Now, he is out of a job and facing murder charges.

Hernandez was led out of his house in handcuffs Wednesday morning.

He is charged in the death of Odin Lloyd, whose body was found last week not far from Hernandez's home. Within hours after the arrest, the Patriots announced that they were dropping Hernandez from the team.

This all comes after days of police searches at Hernandez's home. Hernandez has never commented on the investigation but his lawyer says the evidence against him is circumstantial.

"There's a lot of surveillance video that ties Mr. Hernandez to the scene of the murder," Mike Bello, a reporter with The Boston Globe, told CNN.
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