HARVEY WEINSTEIN – LEGAL TEAM
NEW YORK (AP) – After being dealt a blow in his effort to get a sexual assault case thrown out, Harvey Weinstein is reshuffling his legal team. In a joint statement, Weinstein and his high-profile defense attorney Benjamin Brafman say that they “have agreed to part ways.” As for who will replace him – the statement said the new lawyers would be introduced next week. Whoever they are, they will have to hit the ground running. The disgraced movie mogul’s trial is tentatively set for May 6. He’s charged with raping an unidentified female acquaintance in 2013 – and performing a forcible sex act on a different woman in 2006. If convicted, Weinstein, who is 66, could spend the rest of his life in prison.
LES MOONVES FIGHTS LOSS OF SEVERANCE
NEW YORK (AP) – Les Moonves isn’t taking the loss of his huge severance package lying down. The former CEO of CBS is challenging the decision to deny him his golden parachute. He lost the payout when his bosses determined that he had been fired for cause – and therefore ineligible for the $120 million. Moonves wants the case decided by binding arbitration. Word of Moonves’ decision to appeal comes in a filing CBS made with the Security Exchange Commission. Moonves was ousted by CBS last September after a series of allegations from women who say he subjected to sexual mistreatment, including forced oral sex, groping – and retaliation if they resisted him. Last month, CBS’s board of directors denied Moonves his severance after concluding that he violated company policy and didn’t cooperate fully with the probe into his misconduct.
R. KELLY’S LAWYER TALKS ABOUT STUDIO SEARCH
CHICAGO (AP) – R. Kelly’s real estate lawyer says just because Chicago building inspectors turned up some code violations at the singer’s recording studio – it doesn’t mean he’s guilty of sexual misconduct. Melvin L. Sims says the investigation turned up no evidence the studio was used as a residence. Officials haven’t had their final say yet; the building department says the agency will list the violations at a court hearing next week. Kelly continues under fire for sexual misconduct allegations rehashed in a Lifetime documentary series earlier this month. Kelly denies any wrongdoing.
GLADYS KNIGHT TO SING NATIONAL ANTHEM AT SUPER BOWL
NEW YORK (AP) – Gladys Knight will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at this year’s Super Bowl. And she says she is proud to have been given the honor. The seven-time Grammy Award-winner says she hopes to use her voice to “unite and represent our country.” Knight hails from Atlanta, where this year’s Super Bowl will be played on Feb. 3.
MAN SENTENCED IN DEATH OF MORGAN FREEMAN’S STEP-GRANDDAUGHTER
NEW YORK (AP) – A man has been sentenced in the death of Morgan Freeman’s step-granddaughter. Prosecutors say Lamar Davenport, 33, stabbed his girlfriend E’Dena Hines multiple times while under the influence of alcohol and drugs in August, 2015. Davenport got 20 years in prison for the stabbing for which he was convicted in May. At his sentencing hearing yesterday, Davenport apologized and said he didn’t remember what happened. Hines was an aspiring actress and was in a movie with Freeman and Diane Keaton.
“BIRD BOX” CRITICIZED FOR FOOTAGE
NEW YORK (AP) – Netflix is drawing fire for some footage used in its survival film “Bird Box.” At issue is a clip from 2013 which shows a fiery train disaster in the Canadian province of Quebec. In that incident, an unattended train carrying crude oil rolled down an incline, came off the tracks and exploded into a fireball – killing 47 people. Netflix says it has no plans to remove the clip. It says it bought it from a stock image vendor and used it in a TV news montage to set up the series, which is set in a post-apocalyptic era.
MELISSA GILBERT, TIMOTHY BUSFIELD SELL OFF MEMORABILIA
GENOA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) – Quite the electronic yard sale by a couple of actors. Melissa Gilbert and her husband Timothy Busfield have moved more than 200 items in an online estate sale in Michigan. Among the items that went up for bids were a photo signed by the cast of “The Little House on the Prairie” – the show Gilbert used to star in. It went for $1,200. In all, the online auction drew about 58,000 views – and more than 300 bids. Gilbert and Busfield had been living in Livingston County Michigan since 2013 – but relocated this year to New York City.
by Oscar Wells Gabriel II
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