Apr 12, 2019 / 7:02 am | Story:
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Felicity Huffman will learn if she’ll face prison time in her college bribery case next month.
The actress has pleaded guilty to cheating the admissions system and fixing her teenage daughter’s test scores in an effort to secure her a place at an elite university, and now a hearing has been set for May 21.
Huffman expressed “shame” and “deep regret” for her actions in a statement released earlier this week, and now she will face U.S. District Judge Indira Talwani in Boston, Massachusetts in the hope of avoiding the maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
Reports suggest lawmakers in Massachusetts, who uncovered the college bribery scheme as part of the Operation Varsity Blues investigation, are pressing for all 33 parents involved to serve time behind bars.
Huffman’s hearing was originally set for May 4, but her lawyer Martin Murphy asked to reschedule as he couldn’t make that date, according to Deadline.
Full House star Lori Loughlin and her fashion designer husband, Massimo Giannulli, who are also among those charged with trying to bribe college officials, have not yet entered a plea.
The couple, along with Huffman, were arrested and arraigned last month. In total, 50 people have been charged in the multi-million nationwide scam, launched by William Singer, who promised to fast-track the kids of the wealthy to top schools with fake athletic credentials or test scores.
The elite schools caught up in the scandal include Los Angeles universities USC and UCLA, Yale, Georgetown, Stanford, the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University.
Huffman paid $15,000 to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of her eldest daughter.
She also paid an undisclosed sum to an individual who helped fix her daughter’s incorrect exam answers.
Apr 12, 2019 / 7:00 am | Story:
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One person was killed and another three injured in a shooting during Nipsey Hussle’s funeral procession in Los Angeles on Thursday evening.
The procession began after a Celebration of Life memorial service at nearby Staples Center, with fans lining the streets to catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying the body of the slain rapper.
But things took a violent turn when a shooting took place at 103rd Street and Main Street, with suspects in a grey Hyundai vehicle opening fire on three African-American men and one African-American woman between the ages of 30 and 50. It’s unclear at this point which of the victims died.
Los Angeles police Chief Michel Moore tweeted about the shooting, and added in his message: “We must stop this senseless violence.”
The shooting comes after numerous people were injured during a stampede at a vigil following Nipsey’s murder. There were also reports of shots being fired at the vigil, but these later turned out to be unfounded.
Nipsey was shot and killed on March 31 at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, near to his Marathon Clothing store. The funeral procession went past the site of Nipsey’s shooting en route to the Angelus Funeral Home.
As the cavalcade inched towards the late rapper’s store, his sister Samantha appeared through the open sunroof of a car behind the hearse carrying her brother’s remains.
She spoke to fans lining the route and shook hands as devotees tossed flowers on the roof of the funeral car.
Hundreds of thousands of people gathered around the mall outside Nipsey’s clothing store, which has become a makeshift memorial site since his death as fans place candles, flowers, photographs and notes honoring the rapper and community activist.
Apr 12, 2019 / 6:59 am | Story:
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Actress Ariel Winter wants to pack on a few pounds and gain her butt back after a change in medication caused her to slim down.
The Modern Family star has become known for her curvy figure, but fans have noticed the 21 year old sporting a more slender appearance in recent months, and one Instagram follower decided to ask her directly why she was starting to look “so thin”.
Ariel soon addressed the question in detail, claiming it wasn’t her intention to lose so much weight.
“For years I had been on antidepressants that caused me to gain weight that I couldn’t lose no matter what I did,” she explained.
“It was always frustrating for me because I wanted to be able to get fit and feel like the work I was doing was paying off, but it never felt that way. I had accepted it and moved on.”
Ariel revealed she was hesitant about the process of switching medications until last year, when she took the plunge – although she insists the decision had “nothing to do with weight.”
“The change in medication instantly made me drop all of the weight I couldn’t lose before by just giving me back a metabolism,” she shared. “That was very unexpected.”
The former child star admits there have been positive and negative aspects of the new prescription pills, and losing some of her curves is one of the less desirable affects.
“I feel better mentally with the change, and it’s nice to work out and have your body actually respond, but I want to gain a few pounds of muscle and get healthier,” Ariel wrote, adding, “Also want my butt back…”
Apr 12, 2019 / 6:54 am | Story:
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Amber Heard has accused her ex-husband Johnny Depp of beating, strangling and tormenting her during drug and alcohol-fuelled rages in new court papers.
Responding to his $50 million defamation case against her, the actress, who was married to the Pirates of the Caribbean star for 15 months before she filed for divorce in May, 2016, claims Depp repeatedly hit her, ripped out her hair, and almost suffocated her.
Depp filed his suit earlier this year, revealing he took offence to a piece Heard wrote for The Washington Post, in which she described being the victim of domestic abuse.
She did not mention her ex by name, but he claimed she insinuated he was the abuser, insisting Heard’s allegations were “a hoax.”
Heard, 32, has now responded by going into lengthy details about the former couple’s alleged fights in court papers exclusively obtained by the New York Post.
“About a year into our relationship, I began to witness Johnny abusing drugs and alcohol…,” she writes. “On some occasions, when Johnny simultaneously used both illegal narcotics and prescription medications I have had to get him medical attention.
“Whenever he was using, I worried for both of us. He would become a totally different person, often delusional and violent. We called that version of Johnny the monster.”
Heard went on to claim her ex would often “not remember his delusional and violent conduct after he came out of his drunk or medicated states,” adding, “Because I loved Johnny, I had believed his multiple promises that he could and would get better. I was wrong.”
Recalling a private jet flight from Boston to Los Angeles in May 2014, the actress claims Depp appeared to be drunk.
“On the flight, Johnny ordered the flight attendants to give him an oxygen tank, and drank heavily,” she writes. “Johnny’s handlers told me that he was upset that I was filming a movie with a romantic scene with James Franco the day before.
“Soon, Johnny began to throw objects at me. Instead of reacting to his behaviour, I simply moved seats. That didn’t stop him. He provocatively pushed a chair at me as I walked by, yelled at me, and taunted me by yelling out the name ‘James Franco’.
“At some point, I stood up, and Johnny kicked me in the back, causing me to fall over. Johnny threw his boot at me while I was on the ground. Johnny continued to scream obscenities until he went into the plane bathroom and passed out locked in the bathroom for the remainder of the flight.”
He allegedly apologized later via text, writing: “Once again, I find myself in a place of shame and regret. Of course, I am sorry. I really don’t know why or what happened. But I will never do it again.
“My illness somehow crept up and grabbed me… I must get better… Again, I am so sorry, so sorry… I love you and I feel so bad for letting you down.”
Heard goes on to claim she locked herself in a room a month into the marriage, during a heated argument with her husband over his alleged use of the drug ecstasy during a bender in Australia.
“The argument heated up, and Johnny pushed me, slapped me, and shoved me to the ground before I retreated to a locked bedroom,” she writes. “(The next morning) I went downstairs to find that Johnny was still awake, and that he had stayed up all night, having taken about eight MDMA pills. He was also drinking again. We got into a fight that Johnny made physical, and I barricaded myself in one of the rooms. That didn’t stop Johnny from busting through the door of the room I was in…”
Heard alleges the incident dragged on and left her completely terrified: “In one of the most horrific and scariest moments of this three-day ordeal, Johnny grabbed me by the neck and collarbone and slammed me against the countertop,” she states. “I struggled to stand up as he strangled me, but my arms and feet kept slipping and sliding on to the spilled alcohol and were dragged against the broken glass on the countertop and floor, which repeatedly slashed my feet and arms.
“Scared for my life, I told Johnny, ‘You are hurting me and cutting me.’ Johnny ignored me, continuing to hit me with the back of one closed hand, and slamming a hard plastic phone against a wall with his other until it was smashed into smithereens. While he was smashing the phone, Johnny severely injured his finger, cutting off the tip of it… Once I was able to get away, I barricaded myself in an upstairs bedroom.”
Depp, she claims, was hospitalised for his finger injury, while she states she was left with “a busted lip, a swollen nose, and cuts all over my body,” adding, “I still have scars on my arms and feet from this incident.”
In the new court filing, Heard also claims she lashed out at Depp in March, 2015 because she feared he was about to attack her sister, Whitney, and Johnny “picked a fight with me” during a trip to Thailand and Malaysia in August, 2015, adding, “While on the Eastern Oriental train… he started hitting and pushing me against a wall by grasping my throat and holding me there. I remember being afraid that Johnny might not know when to stop, and that he might kill me.”
Depp and his representatives have yet to respond to his ex-wife’s latest filing.
Apr 12, 2019 / 6:52 am | Story:
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Ben Affleck has called it quits once again with his on/off girlfriend Lindsay Shookus, according to multiple reports.
The Justice League star had reconciled with the Saturday Night Live producer in February, and made their reunion official by hitting the red carpet together last month at the New York premiere of his movie Triple Frontier.
However, it appears the couple has split for a second time after struggling to maintain the romance between Lindsay’s base in New York, where she shares custody of her daughter with ex-husband Kevin Miller, and Ben’s home in Los Angeles.
“She has a kid and an ex-husband and a job in New York and Ben has his family and a job in L.A., and while they love and respect each other, they just realised it wasn’t going to work,” a source tells People.com. “They really gave it another solid try.”
And it seems they remain on good terms following the break-up: “They will always have love for each other,” the insider adds.
Ben, 46, and Lindsay, 38, first began dating in the summer of 2017, in the actor’s first serious romance since ending his marriage with Jennifer Garner, the mother of his three children.
They were together for a year until August, 2018, shortly before Ben checked into a rehabilitation facility to address his alcohol issues.
He went on to enjoy a fling with Playboy model Shauna Sexton, even whisking her off to Montana for a weekend getaway in early October, although they ended up splitting days later as the actor/director continued to work on his sobriety.
Apr 12, 2019 / 6:51 am | Story:
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Mariah Carey is to be honoured with the Icon Award at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.
The superstar is one of the best-selling artists of all time, having won 14 Billboard Music Awards, 10 American Music Awards, and five Grammy Awards.
Now, Carey is to be feted for her achievements at the Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 1.
“The true definition of an icon, Carey has been smashing records since she debuted on the music scene in 1990 with her self-titled album,” a spokesperson said. “Over the next three decades, she continued to rule the charts, creating anthems, and snapshots of pop culture history along the way.”
Carey will take to the stage during the three-hour event to accept the Icon Award and perform a medley of her greatest hits.
The Hero singer last performed at the Billboard Music Awards in 2015, and over the years, has landed six number one albums on the Billboard 200. In December, her fifteenth studio album Caution became her eighth number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.
Carey will join a handful of previous recipients of the Icon Award, with other stars to receive the prestigious prize including Janet Jackson, Cher, Neil Diamond, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez, Prince and Stevie Wonder.
The 2019 Billboard Music Awards will be hosted by Kelly Clarkson, with it previously announced that Lauren Daigle, Khalid, Panic! at the Disco, Sam Smith, and Normani would be among the performers.
Apr 12, 2019 / 6:48 am | Story:
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Charlie Sheen has admitted he finds it surreal to look back on his past bizarre behaviour.
The actor went from being the highest paid man on TV, commanding $1.8 million per episode during Two and a Half Men’s final season, to becoming known for his incoherent ramblings.
Talking about that time, which came after his 2011 firing from the show, Charlie admitted on British daytime show Loose Women that it’s hard to look back on.
“It feels awful,” he stated. “Some of it is very surreal. To this day, I’m not sure how I created such chaos and wound up in that head space. It’s as if there was some alien or demonic possession going on.
“I wish I could make a lot of it go away, but they wouldn’t call it the past if it wasn’t.”
He added that although it’s tough to be reminded of the past, he gets tired of apologizing for things he can’t even remember doing.
“I didn’t go to prison, I didn’t kill anybody. This guy took the brunt of it,” he sighed.
Charlie, who went public with his HIV positive status in 2015, has previously blamed his meltdown on using too much testosterone cream.
In recent years the 53-year-old has also turned his back on alcohol, and told the Loose Women panel why he decided to clean up once and for all.
“I’ve had times in the past, every other time I was led there through intervention. The last time, I couldn’t get my daughter to an appointment she had,” he recalled.
“I never drink and drive. I called my buddy Tony, we got to the thing. That night I was like ‘I’m not even responsible enough for my children’s needs.’ I woke up and was like ‘today’s the day’.”
Charlie has children Sam, 15, and Lola, 13, with ex-wife Denise Richards, 10-year-old twins Bob and Max with third wife Brooke Mueller, and adult daughter Cassandra, 34, with his high school girlfriend Paula Profit.
The Canadian Press –
Apr 11, 2019 / 3:05 pm | Story:
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Fans wait in line to attend public memorial at Staples Center on Thursday.
Nipsey Hussle’s legacy as a community activist, uniter, a doting father and a loving son were underscored at his public memorial service on Thursday, with deeply personal testimonies from those closest to the rapper, including his mother, who said she was at peace with the death of her son, whom she hailed as a “superhero.”
“He had such beautiful energy,” said Angelique Smith, dressed in all white, remembering her 33-year-old son, whose given name was Ermias Asghedom. Standing on stage with Hussle’s father, Dawit Asghedom, in front of a capacity crowd of 21,000 at the Staples Center, Smith declared: “Ermias was a legacy.”
Hussle’s children and fiance, actress Lauren London, also appeared onstage to pay tribute to Hussle. London was with another woman and Kross, her 2-year-old son with Hussle; Hussle’s daughter Emani Asghedom; another child and London’s son with rapper Lil Wayne, Cameron Carter.
Cameron said days after Hussle died, he had a dream he saw the rapper.
“I realized Ermias told me what heaven was like. He told me it was paradise,” Cameron said.
Cameron then told the audience that Hussle would look at him through the window at times and say “respect.” Cameron then asked the crowd to say “respect” in unison, and they complied.
At the memorial, Father Thomas Uwal read a scripture in Tigrinya — the native language in Eritrea, the African country where Hussle’s father was from. He also spoke in English, saying: “Ermias was full of hope. Ermias full of life. Ermias was full of dreams.”
Father Uwal spoke of Hussle being a “proud to be an Eritrean-American,” later saying to the late rapper’s family: “On behalf of all Eritreans … we say our condolences to you.”
The public memorial service kicked off by paying respect to Hussle the rapper, as songs from his latest Grammy-nominated album, “Victory Lap,” filled the arena.
“Everybody put your hands in the air,” the DJ said as one of Hussle’s songs played. “It’s a celebration.”
Indeed, his mother, dressed in all white, danced in the aisle as R&B singer Marsha Ambrosius sang the Mariah Carey song “Fly Like a Bird” while fighting back tears. “This is for Nipsey, y’all” Ambrosius said before she started as she tried to gain her composure, sighing heavily.
But soon the focus was squarely on the person behind the persona. A montage of photos featuring the rapper from infancy, childhood and adulthood, with fellow rappers, his family and London, were shown to the crowd, set to Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”
Hussle was slain last month in front of a store that he tried to use to empower his South Central neighbourhood. Most who filed in for the public memorial at arena Thursday were young adults, but ages ranged from small children to the elderly.
Books with an image of Hussle on the cover were handed out to service attendees. The book of nearly 100 pages contained numerous photos of Hussle with London, his children, and friends like Russell Westbrook and Snoop Dogg. It also had heartfelt messages from Rick Ross, The Game and LeBron James.
“I’ve never cried myself to sleep over any public figure before, but Nipsey’s presence meant so much for our community,” actress Issa Rae said in her message inside the book.
The memorial was being livestreamed on BET and BET News’ Facebook page, among other outlets.
The hearse carrying Hussle’s coffin was scheduled to after the funeral to go on a 25-mile lap through the city, including past the property where Hussle had planned to turn an aging strip mall into new businesses and affordable homes. Finally, it will arrive at a funeral home in the city’s hard-scrabble Crenshaw district, where the rapper was born on Aug. 15, 1985.
Hussle was shot to death March 31 while standing outside The Marathon, his South Los Angeles clothing store, not far from where the rapper grew up. The store will be one of the places where Hussle’s casket passes during the procession through South Los Angeles.
Eric R. Holder Jr., who has been charged with killing Hussle, has pleaded not guilty. Police have said Holder and Hussle had several interactions the day of the shooting and have described it as being the result of a personal dispute.
Apr 11, 2019 / 6:40 am | Story:
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Mel B has reportedly settled her defamation case with former nanny Lorraine Gilles out of court for $2.3 million after a bitter legal battle.
During her messy divorce battle with husband Stephen Belafonte, the Spice Girls singer claimed he impregnated Gilles, who she called a “prostitute” and urged her to get an abortion after Mel refused to let her and her child live with them.
She also claimed Gilles was her secret lover for many years, and that she was extorting her with sex tape footage of the duo with Belafonte. Mel filed restraining orders against them both to stop them from distributing the tapes, but this order was later dissolved.
Following her divorce, Gilles sued the mother-of-three for defamation, with Mel facing a potential legal bill of $6.5 million if she had lost the case. The singer would also have had to call on her celebrity pals, such as Simon Cowell and Heidi Klum, as witnesses at LA Superior Court if the case had gone to court, with intimate details of her sex life being discussed in the court.
Mel is said to be relieved after settling the case for almost $2.6 million – with the deal also meaning she doesn’t have to face ex Belafonte in court.
“Mel was just happy to clear this mess up once and for all,” a source told the Daily Mirror. “Things were said in court papers in the heat of a divorce, which exploded into this lawsuit. But in recent weeks their frost has thawed, with them even meeting in the same room to work out their differences.”
The source added that the recent headlines about Mel’s sex with bandmate Geri Halliwell had shown her just how much public interest there was in her personal life.
“After the Geri controversy, the last thing she wanted was the rest of the band on the stand being probed all about her sex life,” the insider concluded.
Apr 11, 2019 / 6:38 am | Story:
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Geoffrey Rush has won his defamation case against a newspaper publisher after being accused of inappropriate behaviour towards a co-star.
The Pirates of the Caribbean star took legal action against Nationwide News, a subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and journalist Jonathon Moran, over two Sydney Daily Telegraph articles based on a complaint from actress Eryn Jean Norvill about his behavior during a 2015 Sydney Theatre Company production of King Lear.
Giving evidence during the trial in Sydney earlier this year, Norvill, who was playing Cordelia, the daughter of Rush’s Lear, claimed the Australian actor “deliberately” drew his right hand across part of her right breast while she was playing dead during the play’s final scene.
However, on Thursday, Judge Michael Wigney ruled he was “not satisfied” that the incidents described in Norvill’s testimony had actually taken place, adding that her evidence was “inconsistent” and that she was “prone to exaggeration and embellishment.”
Judge Wigney also reprimanded the newspaper for publishing “recklessly irresponsible pieces of sensationalist journalism of the very worst kind.”
He also ruled that Rush, 67, should receive $608,680 in damages, and would be awarded more compensation at a later date – the amount of which has yet to be decided.
Court papers previously revealed Rush was seeking more than $18 million in damages, with his lawyers claiming that his career had been irreparably damaged by the Daily Telegraph’s allegations and adding the screen star he may never have the “spirit or confidence” to work again.
As he left court after the ruling, Rush brushed off messages of congratulations on the victory from onlookers, and told waiting reporters: “There are no winners in this case… It’s been extremely distressing for everyone involved.”
He added: “I want to thank my wife Jane and our children for their support during this harrowing time.”
Apr 11, 2019 / 6:34 am | Story:
Chris Hemsworth feared his photos from brother Liam’s secret wedding to Miley Cyrus would be leaked online after the snaps were accidentally sent to a stranger.
The Thor star was among the close family and friends who attended the intimate Christmas ceremony at Liam and Miley’s home in Nashville, Tennessee, and took hundreds of shots of the happy couple.
But when he had the snaps developed back home at a store in Australia they were sent to a 21-year-old tourist, named Elvira Nordstrom in error.
She took to Instagram and revealed she had accidentally received Hemsworth’s snaps and he tracked her down.
“I got a phone call with her number and I contacted her,” the movie star said during an appearance on British breakfast show This Morning on Wednesday. “She couldn’t be kinder. They’re safe… It could have gone the other way.”
Chris was relieved because all guests at the wedding had been told not to take photos and keep the nuptials as private as possible by Miley’s sister Brandi – and he was only allowed to snap away because he was using a traditional camera.
Meanwhile, Nordstrom, who recently moved to Australia from Sweden, tells MailOnline she was thrilled to get a call from Chris.
“He was so grateful,” she recalls. “He said several times how grateful he was that I hadn’t posted the pictures on social media or sold them to anyone. It was completely unreal to hear his voice when I picked up, and you could really hear that he meant what he said.”
Apr 11, 2019 / 6:30 am | Story:
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Kim Kardashian’s advocacy work for released criminals has inspired her to pursue a legal career.
The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star has shocked fans by revealing she is currently enrolled in a four-year apprenticeship with a San Francisco law firm, and is studying for the bar exam, which anyone attempting to practise law must pass, in 2022.
The spark for Kardashian’s career change came as she personally petitioned President Donald Trump for the release of Alice Marie Johnson, a grandmother serving a life sentence for a non-violent drug offence. Kim helped the U.S. leader see sense and he granted Johnson an immediate release.
Following her victory, the FIRST STEP Act, geared towards social justice reform, was passed by Congress and signed by Trump.
“I had to think long and hard about this,” she tells Vogue magazine of her plans to become a lawyer, noting “seeing a really good result” with her efforts to land Johnson a release from prison motivated her.
“I never in a million years thought we would get to the point of getting laws passed,” she says. “That was really a turning point for me.”
Working to get the bill passed proved eye-opening for Kardashian, who saw first hand the impact a team of law professionals can make.
“It’s never one person who gets things done; it’s always a collective of people, and I’ve always known my role, but I just felt like I wanted to be able to fight for people who have paid their dues to society,” she adds. “I just felt like the system could be so different, and I wanted to fight to fix it, and if I knew more, I could do more.”
The mother-of-three was also impacted by the work of her late father, attorney Robert Kardashian, who famously worked on the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1994, alongside lawyers Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro.
“On the weekends they used our home as an office…,” Kim recalls. “My dad had a library, and when you pushed on this wall there was this whole hidden closet room with all of his O.J. evidence books. On weekends I would always snoop and look through. I was really nosy about the forensics.”