R. KELLY TRIAL: WITNESS SAYS HE THREATENED HER WITH GUN
NEW YORK (AP) – A witness at R. Kelly’s sex-trafficking trial in New York says he kept her in line by keeping a gun at his side. The woman, who used only her first name to protect her privacy, testified yesterday that Kelly used the gun to force her into sex. She also said Kelly instructed her to act “excited like a puppy” whenever she saw him. She said after she contracted herpes from Kelly, she went to police and sued him for failing to disclose an STD. She testified that Kelly and his supporters threatened to leak nude photos of her if she persisted. Kelly has denied doing anything wrong. His lawyers say his accusers are groupies who are lying about their relationships.
MARILYN MANSON PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO ASSAULTING VIDEOGRAPHER
LACONIA, N.H. (AP) – Marilyn Manson’s attorney has entered a plea of not guilty to an assault charge involving a videographer at his 2019 concert in Gilford, New Hampshire. Manson is charged with two misdemeanor counts of simple assault. Videographer Susan Fountain says she was in the stage pit area filming the concert when Manson spit at her. She says he returned a second time and blew mucus from his nose at her. If convicted, Manson faces a jail sentence of less than a year and a $2,000 fine on each charge. He has a status hearing on Dec. 27.
BRITNEY SPEARS CLEARED IN ASSAULT ALLEGATION
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) – Britney Spears will face no charges after an allegation from her housekeeper that Spears slapped a phone out of her hand. The district attorney in Ventura County says a possible misdemeanor battery charge was declined based on insufficient evidence a crime had occurred, a lack of injury to the housekeeper or of significant damage to the phone. Spears attorney Mathew Rosen previously said the case was overblown – and never should have been investigated.
ELTON JOHN COMES FULL CIRLE ON “THE LOCKDOWN SESSIONS”
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Elton John says there was something “weirdly familiar” about working on his new album, “The Lockdown Sessions.” He collaborated with musicians like Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Stevie Nicks and Stevie Wonder. John says in a statement that working with many artists during the pandemic lockdown reminded him of being a session musician in the 1960s, “and it was still a blast.” Some sessions were done remotely, while others were in person with safety precautions. John also worked with Brandi Carlile, Dua Lipa, Eddie Vedder and the late Glen Campbell. “The Lockdown Sessions” comes out Oct. 22.
LIL NAS X GETS TREVOR PROJECT AWARD
NEW YORK (AP) – The Trevor Project has given its first Suicide Prevention Advocate of the Year Award to Lil Nas X. The nonprofit group that advocates for suicide prevention in LGBTQ young people credits Lil Nas X for being open about his struggles with sexuality and suicidal thoughts, his advocacy for mental health issues and his celebration of his identity. Among the things that Lil Nas X has done that got The Trevor Project’s attention was releasing TikTok videos in February talking about his struggles. He released a video in May in which he uplifts a younger version of himself who was contemplating suicide.
DIRE STRAITS BASSIST WRITES AUTOBIOGRAPHY
NEW YORK (AP) – Dire Straits bassist John Illsley is writing his life story and the story of the band. Illsley describes “My Life in Dire Straits” as a story about “passion and pursuing your dreams.” He says it was a chance encounter with Mark Knopfler in 1976 that led to a musical partnership lasting 20 years. Knopfler writes the foreword to the book. “My Life in Dire Straits” is out Nov. 9.
BLUEGRASS HOF WILL PRODUCE “MY BLUEGRASS STORY” TV SHOW
OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) – The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum is creating a series to highlight bluegrass musicians. The episodes of “My Bluegrass Story” will be filmed at the museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. Among the artists featured in the first 13 episodes are Del McCoury and Doyle Lawson. The show will premiere on RFD-TV this year.
“TOP GUN: MAVERICK” POSTPONED
NEW YORK (AP) – Remember last year – when top movies set for release during the fall and winter had to be pushed back because of the spread of COVID-19? It’s happening again, this time because of the spike in coronavirus cases caused by the rapid spread of the delta variant of the virus. Paramount Pictures has postponed the release of “Top Gun: Maverick,” pushing it from Nov. 19 to the Memorial Day weekend next May. Meanwhile, “Mission: Impossible 7” is also getting pushed back. It’s been bumped from May 27 next year to Sept. 30.
NENE LEAKES’ HUSBAND, GREGG LEAKES, DIES OF CANCER
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Gregg Leakes has died. He was married to NeNe Leakes, a cast member on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” A family rep says Gregg Leakes lost his “long battle with cancer” yesterday, dying peacefully with his wife and children at his side. Gregg Leakes often appeared with his wife on the Bravo reality TV series. In 2018, NeNe Leakes told her Instagram followers her husband had been diagnosed with colon cancer.
R. KELLY BRANDISHED A GUN ON WOMEN
NEW YORK (AP) – Sex at gunpoint? One of R. Kelly’s accusers says that’s how the singer set the stage for one of their sexual encounters. The woman testified that after she spotted Kelly with a gun at a Los Angeles music studio, he berated her – then forced her to give him oral sex. She also said he told her he wanted her to act “excited like a puppy” whenever she saw him. The testimony yesterday is aimed at supporting prosecution claims that R. Kelly used intimidation tactics to keep women in his inner circle – and available for sex with him.
INSTAGRAM INFLUENCER DEAD IN WHAT APPEARS TO BE MURDER-SUICIDE
HOUSTON (AP) – An Instagram influencer from Texas has been found dead in her apartment. And, authorities say, the Florida man investigators believe killed her – stabbed himself to death. The body of 33-year-old Jenae Gagnier was found in her apartment in Richmond, Texas, on Sunday. She was known online as Miss Mercedes Morr and had 2.6 million Instagram followers. Police haven’t yet fixed a motive in the killing – but say Gagnier’s parents believe the man who killed their daughter was a crazed online follower.
BRITNEY SPEARS CLEARED IN POTENTIAL ASSAULT CASE
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) – Britney Spears won’t face charges in connection with a dust-up with her housekeeper. The housekeeper complained to police that Spears slapped a phone out of her hand last month. Authorities in Thousand Oaks, California say they investigated and found there wasn’t significant injury to the housekeeper – or damage to the phone – to justify going forward. Attorneys for Spears said at the time that the matter wasn’t even worth investigating.