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Jury returns verdict in favor of Steve Harvey in breach of contract lawsuit
BLI Jan-26-2017 363 0


A Dallas jury reached a verdict in favor of Steve Harvey in a trial held in Dallas, Texas. More news to follow

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Chancellor Agard Sep-18-2017 70 0
Sterling K. Brown’s Emmys speech was cut short on Sunday after the This Is Us star became the first black actor to win the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series since 1998.

“To my fellow nominees, I’m a fan. I love you all,” said Brown, who plays Randall Pearson on the NBC drama, when he took the stage to accept his award.

“This one right here?” he continued, referring to his trophy before giving a shout out to the fictional characters played by Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Jon Hamm (Mad Men), and Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life on the Street), respectively. (Braugher was the last black actor to win the award before Brown.)

“When I think about it, Walter White held this joint. Dick Whitman held this joint. And 19 years ago, Detective Frank Pembleton held this joint. I just want to say, Mr. Braugher, whether it’s at Stanford University or on this Emmys stage, it is my supreme honor to follow in your footsteps,” Brown said.

“I wanna thank my cast. You are the best white TV family that a brother has ever had, better than the white folks who raised Webster,” Brown told his This is Us costars in the audience, not long before the music began to play and cut his time short. Though the actor remained on stage to continue the rest of his speech, the camera panned out and the sound was cut from the mic.

Created by Dan Fogelman, This Is Us follows the Pearson family across the decades. Via flashbacks, we learn about Jack and Rebecca’s (Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore) marriage and lives as young parents; and in the present day storyline, we see who their now 37-year-old kids Randall, Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Kevin (Justin Hartley) have grown up to be. In the first season, Brown brought audiences to tears multiple times as his character dealt with his anxiety problems and reconnected with his birth father, who was dying from cancer.

“When people who have gone through anxiety said, ‘I haven’t seen this on TV. Thank you for representing it as well as you did, and making me not feel as if something is wrong with me.’ You often have this feeling that it’s just me, and then you get a chance to see somebody else go through what it is that you go through, and then you feel like you’re not alone again. I am always really, really proud of an opportunity to tell people that they’re not alone,” Brown told EW.

Brown — who won the Emmy for best supporting actor in a limited series last year for his work on The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story – beat out fellow nominees Anthony Hopkins (Westworld), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Matthew Rhys (The Americans), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), and his This Is Us costar Milo Ventimiglia.

This Is Us returns September 26 at 9 p.m. on NBC.
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Variety Sep-04-2017 202 0
Rapper Lil Wayne has reportedly been hospitalized in Chicago after suffering an epileptic seizure. According to TMZ, Wayne (real name: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.) was found unconscious in his Westin Hotel room on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 3). He was taken to Northwestern Hospital where he experienced another seizure.

The New Orleans rapper has long suffered from the neurological disorder and has been hospitalized several times in recent years, including a six-day stay in 2013, and following an incident on a cross-country flight in 2016.

Wayne, who is currently on tour with Rae Sremmurd, was scheduled to perform at Drai’s Nightclub in Las Vegas on Sept. 3. It is unclear as of yet whether Wayne will be discharged.

Variety has reached out to a Wayne rep for comment.
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Caitlyn Hitt Aug-22-2017 105 0
Mystikal turned himself in to police on Monday.

The Louisiana rapper, born Michael Lawrence Tyler, was booked and charged by the Caddo Parish Sheriff's Office in his native Louisiana. He's been accused of first-degree rape.

According to TMZ, the 46-year-old surrendered after the Shreveport Police Department put out a warrant for his arrest.

The charges stem from an incident that reportedly took place in 2016 at a casino where Tyler had performed. TMZ was unable to uncover further details about the incident.

The outlet reports that a man by the name of Averweone Holman was also arrested on August 18, where he lives in Killeen, Texas, and charged in connection with this case.

A later report from TMZ suggests that police in the area are searching for a woman named Tenichia Wafford, whom they believe is an accomplice to the rape.

Reporters with the site were able to get in touch with Wafford to get her side of the story, which is vastly different than the one being projected by authorities.

According to the outlet, police are on the hunt for Wafford because they believe she pushed the victim to drop charges against Tyler and Holman.

She admitted to TMZ that she'd been in touch with the unidentified woman about the incident, but said she was simply checking up on her friend.

Additionally, she told the outlet she's certain "nobody did nothing to that girl."
"She said ain't nobody did nothing to her. This is some bulls--t though. If I would have known all that I wouldn't have called her," Wafford said.

"Now all of a sudden I got a charge."

Rapper Mystikal going back to jail for 90 days

Wafford alleged, during her conversation with TMZ, that the victim is trying to cover up for the fact that she "ditched" her boyfriend on the night in question.

According to the publication, she's still at large.

KTBS, an ABC News affiliate in Texas, reported that Wafford is facing one count of accessory after the fact to first degree rape.

Like Wafford, Tyler has alleged that the charges against him are false. Members of his team told TMZ he intends to plead not guilty to the rape charges against him.

Until they have their day in court, Tyler and Holman remain behind bars. Both are being held on $2 million bond.
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reuters Aug-22-2017 82 0
Comedian Bill Cosby's retrial on sexual assault charges will be moved from November 2017 to March 2018, a Pennsylvania judge said on Tuesday.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas Judge Steven O'Neill said the additional time was necessary to give Cosby's new lawyers, who made their first appearance on Tuesday, time to prepare. The 80-year-old entertainer's first trial for allegedly assaulting a woman in 2004 ended in a mistrial in June when a jury could not reach a unanimous verdict.
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PETER SBLENDORIO Aug-22-2017 91 0
Another woman has come forward with explosive allegations against R. Kelly in the wake of claims that the Grammy-winning singer manipulates every aspect of life for several women who live with him.

Jerhonda Pace, now 24, told Buzzfeed she was only 16 when she began a sexual relationship with the singer, whom she first met in Chicago when she attended his child pornography trial in 2008 when she was only 15. She says Kelly did not ask her how old she was when she was first invited over to his house in 2009, but told private investigators later on that she had claimed she was 19.

Pace accused the R&B star of mentally and physically abusing her during their 8-month relationship. She says she told Kelly she was 16 in July 2009, after they'd already started their sexual relationship, and he allegedly told her to lie about her age and tell people she was 19.

Pace — whose last name was Johnson at the time (she’s since married) — told Buzzfeed that she followed a set of "rules" when she spent weekends with Kelly at the singer's Olympia Fields, Ill. home that required her to wear baggy clothes and ask for permission to use the bathroom, shower, and even eat.

She claims Kelly turned violent toward her in January 2010 after the singer saw her texting one of her friends.

"I was slapped and I was choked and I was spit on," she told Buzzfeed.

Pace says she stopped seeing Kelly from there, and reached out to Chicago attorney Susan E. Loggans, who had worked with woman who claimed to be wronged by Kelly in the past. Pace told Buzzfeed that Loggans reached a big settlement with Kelly within weeks.

Years later, Pace tells the outlet that she's currently worried about a friend who she brought into Kelly's group, who sources tell Buzzfeed still lives with the singer.

Pace's allegations come a month after Buzzfeed originally reported that the parents of an aspiring singer — since identified as Joycelyn Savage — believed their daughter was one of several women being manipulated by Kelly in what they've described as a "cult."

Three other women who were allegedly once part of Kelly's circle went on the record in that article to accuse Kelly of regulating everything that the six women who live with him do, from what they eat, to what they wear and what they do sexually.

Kelly's team has vehemently denied all allegations against him, and Savage has said she's fine, despite her parent's concerns. An attorney for Kelly did not immediately return a request for comment on the latest Buzzfeed story.

Pace says she broke a nondisclosure agreement by speaking to Buzzfeed, but decided to tell her story to try and help the women who are allegedly living with Kelly.

"If I can speak out and I can help them get out of that situation, that's what I will do," Pace said. "I didn't have anybody to speak up on my behalf when I was going through what I was going through with him. He's brainwashed them really bad, and it kind of reminds me of Charles Manson."
"I just really hope I can help these women out," she continued. "Kelly needs to be stopped."
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Dee Thompson Aug-17-2017 72 0
The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals at Dallas ruled that Erykah Badu’s comments on social media about former manager Paul Levatino were protected free speech, however the case is going back to the trial court for further rulings.

Paul Levatino worked for Erykah Badu (real name Erica Wright) for 8 years as the general manager of her business interests. His duties included merchandising, concert and event management, and marketing. He was paid through her company Apple Tree Cafe Touring.

On May 27, 2014, Badu terminated the employment of Levatino. She said on May 29, 2014, on social media that Levatino was never her manager and she had never had a manager, according to the court's opinion. She also alleged he had shut down her Facebook fan page.

In October 2014, Badu received a letter from Levatino’s lawyer Joseph H. Gillespie of Gillespie Sanford LLP stating she had defamed Levatino, and asking for a public retraction and compensation. 

On Oct. 31, 2014, Badu filed a petition seeking a declaratory judgment, saying that Levatino had never been her talent manager and was not owed any compensation. Badu next filed an amendment to the petition alleging fraud, conversion and theft by deception.

In response to the petition, Levatino filed a counterclaim “...asserting Badu’s Facebook and Twitter posts were defamatory and have caused Levatino to suffer actual damages in the form of lost compensation and earning capacity, and non-pecuniary damages.” Additionally, “Levatino asserts Apple Tree is liable for the statements and omissions made by Badu,” according to the court of appeals' Aug. 3 order.

Levatino moved for dismissal of Badu’s claims under the Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) and asserted that his pre-suit demand letters were protected activity under the TCPA. 
To be considered an exercise of the right of association under the TCPA, communication must happen “between individuals who join together to collectively express, promote, pursue or defend common interests,” according to the court's opinion.

In his petition, Levantino claimed “Attorney-client communications that culminate in a demand letter to opposing counsel expressing the common interests of the attorney and client are protected under the right of association and it was error to hold otherwise.” 

His petition also stated, “The court of appeals decision also contravenes the broadly written and liberally construed purpose of the act because instead of limiting frivolous anti-SLAPP suits, it instead incentivizes such suits by protecting parties that rush to the courthouse to file strategic retaliatory suits in response to pre-suit demand letters.”

The trial court, appellate court and Texas Supreme Court all denied his petition for review.
In its Aug. 3, ruling, the Court of Appeals Fifth District of Texas ruled that the issue of attorney’s fees was remanded back to the trial court to decide. It also ruled that Badu’s comments on social media were exercises of her right of association. 

Additionally, the Court of Appeals 5th District of Texas ruled that because Badu’s comments on social media were damaging to his reputation, and it was commonly known in the music industry that he was her manager, that Levatino presented a prima facie case of defamation. According to the Wex Legal Dictionary, a "prima facie case is a cause of action or defense that is sufficiently established by a party's evidence to justify a verdict in his or her favor, provided such evidence is not rebutted by the other party."

The Court of Appeals Fifth District of Texas concluded that “We reverse, in part, that portion of the trial court’s order awarding Levatino attorney’s fees and cost, and remand the attorney’s fees and cost issue to the trial court to determine whether appellants’ motion was frivolous or solely intended to delay. We otherwise affirm the trial court’s order.”
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NICOLE BITETTE Aug-13-2017 97 0
A woman is suing rappers Drake and Future after she was raped at one of their concerts.

The unnamed woman claims a man associated with the Nashville venue, Bridgestone Arena, told her he would take her backstage to meet with the stars, but instead violently attacked her and raped her, according to The Tennessean.

The 28-year-old woman is now suing the stars for $25 million, alleging they should have known better when employing the man, Leavy Johnson, who had outstanding warrants for previous assaults at the time of the attack, TMZ reported.

She claims the music artists and venue employees put people in danger by having Johnson work during the show, according to the gossip site. He was working as an employee for Delaware North, a concession stand company contracted out by the venue.

Johnson, 38, was arrested and charged with rape in April for the Aug. 14, 2016 incident, The Tennessean reported.

He had previously fled Tennessee after the incident and was arrested in Florida. Johnson was flown back to Nashville to face the rape charges in May, with the assistance of U.S. Marshals' fugitive task force and a Nashville police supervisor from the fugitive unit.
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Peter Sblendorio Aug-08-2017 65 0
An Atlanta rapper who called himself "bulletproof" after he was shot 10 times and survived was killed by an unidentified gunman Sunday evening in DeKalb County, Ga., according to officials.

Yung Mazi — who had collaborated with big-name artists such as Rich Homie Quan and Yung Thug — was gunned down in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta, the DeKalb County Medical Examiner’s office said.

The shooting occurred at around 8:55 p.m. when the rapper, 31, appeared to be leaving the Urban Pie pizza restaurant.

Atlanta Police did not disclose his identity in their police report, but confirmed a 31-year-old male died in the area after sustaining multiple gun wounds. Authorities responded to the scene after hearing gunshots outside the the department's Zone 6 precinct, which is located nearby.

Officials said no suspects are in custody, and the investigation for the rapper's shooter is ongoing.

Yung Mazi, whose real name was Jabril Abdur-Rahman, claimed in a video last year that he had survived 10 gunshots during his lifetime. He tweeted last December that "God made me bulletproof" following a shooting at a Waffle House in Buckhead, Ga.

The rapper's brother, Luqman Abdur-Rahman, asked for privacy in a short phone conversation with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"We're praying for him and all involved," he told the newspaper.

Yung Mazi's colleague Rich Homie Quan, meanwhile, paid tribute to the artist by sharing an Instagram photo of his late collaborator counting money.

"Rest easy Mazi," he captioned the picture.
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JD Knapp Jul-09-2017 172 0
Nelsan Ellis — famous for his role as Lafayette Reynolds on HBO’s “True Blood” — has passed away at age 39, Variety can confirm.

The actor died after complications from heart failure.

“We were extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Nelsan Ellis,” HBO said in a statement. “Nelsan was a long-time member of the HBO family whose groundbreaking portrayal of Lafayette will be remembered fondly within the overall legacy of ‘True Blood.’ Nelsan will be dearly missed by his fans and all of us at HBO.”

“True Blood” creator and executive producer Alan Ball echoed HBO’s epitaph in a statement of his own. “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me,” said Ball. “Working with him was a privilege.”

Ellis’ “The Help” costar Octavia Spencer broke the news on Instagram Saturday morning, saying, “Just got word that we lost (Nelsan). My heart breaks for his kids and family.”
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