DEFENSE GIVES CLOSING ARGUMENTS IN WEINSTEIN RAPE CASE
NEW YORK (AP) – Harvey Weinstein has given his review of his defense team’s closing argument – and he’s raving about it. He told reporters as he left the courthouse in New York yesterday he “loved” the comments made by lawyer Donna Rotunno. He added, in a reference to one of his movies, “I made ‘The King’s Speech.’ It was the Queen’s speech.” In remarks to the jury, Rotunno told jurors that prosecutors were themselves acting like movie-makers. She says they created a scene in which “women had no free will.” She says prosecutors have painted Weinstein “as a monster” – while the women who testified made false accusations against “an innocent man.” Prosecutors present their closing arguments to the jury today.
WEINSTEIN ATTORNEY ATTACKS (hash)METOO MOVEMENT
NEW YORK (AP) – Harvey Weinstein’s defense team has asked jurors in his rape trial to ignore what it calls “outside forces” – and weigh the facts in the case. Donna Rotunno took aim at the (hash)MeToo movement, which broke out nationally when the disgraced Hollywood producer was accused of forcing himself sexually on women over the years. Two of those claims form the basis of the sexual assault charges Weinstein faces. But Rotunno implored jurors not to see the case as a referendum on (hash)MeToo, saying Weinstein is an innocent man caught up in a wave of accusations made by women against prominent men in Hollywood, politics and the business world.
LORI LOUGHLIN SEEKS DELAY IN COLLEGE-SCAM TRIAL
BOSTON (AP) – “Full House” actress Lori Loughlin and some of her fellow defendants are playing for time before heading to court. Lawyers for Loughlin, her fashion designer husband Mossimo Giannulli and other prominent parents charged in a college admissions bribery case say they won’t be ready to go to trial until next year. That’s at odds with the plans for federal prosecutors in Boston. They’ve said the first trial for parents still fighting the charges against them should begin in October – and they want Loughlin and Giannulli to be among the first tried. It’s up to the judge to ultimately decide when the case will be put on the calendar. Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California as crew recruits – even though neither was a rower.
GAYLE KING ACCEPTS SNOOP’S APOLOGY
NEW YORK (AP) – Apology made. Apology accepted. CBS TV host Gayle King says she accepts Snoop Dogg’s apology for comments he made about an interview she did after Kobe Bryant’s death. King has offered a mea culpa of her own, saying she regrets her interview added to the pain of those grieving over the death of the NBA legend in a helicopter crash. At issue was King’s interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie, in which she raised the 2003 rape case against Bryant. Snoop and others lambasted King for her question – but Snoop now says he is sorry for the tone of his remarks and for what were perceived as threats against the journalist.
JUSSIE SMOLLETT CASE RAISES POLITICAL STAKES IN CHICAGO
CHICAGO (AP) – As much as the Jussie Smollett case was about an alleged crime, it has also come with more than a whiff of politics. When the “Empire” actor reported being the victim of a hate crime last year, he suggested the perpetrators were supporters of President Donald Trump. And when it turned out the beating was staged and Smollett was charged, the case became even more polarizing, especially after charges against him were dropped. Now that the charges have been restored, politics are again in the mix. Chicago’s top law enforcement official, Kim Foxx, is seeking re-election. And the revival of the case will increase the scrutiny of her involvement in the matter. First, she recused herself from the investigation and later dropped the original charges against Smollett, angering police officials who investigated the actor.
“WIMPY KID” AUTHOR TAKES NEW PATH
NEW YORK (AP) – The “Wimpy Kid” and author Jeff Kinney are both embarking on new paths. Amulet Books says Kinney’s next novel is called “Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure” and is due out April 7. The book centers on Rowley Jefferson, the best friend of “Wimpy Kid” Greg Heffley. The new book serves as a follow up to last year’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” spinoff, “Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid.”
PRESIDENT TRUMP TO ATTEND DAYTONA 500
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Not only will President Donald Trump be attending tomorrow’s Daytona 500 – he will start the auto race. Daytona International Speedway officials have named Trump the grand marshal for NASCAR’s season opener, meaning he will deliver the most famous four words in auto racing: “Gentlemen, start your engines.” Trump will be the third sitting president to attend a race at Daytona – but only the second to attend the Daytona 500. George W. Bush went in 2004. Trump will also be the first to give the command for the race to start.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2