DEVELOPING NOW: R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse!

DEVELOPING NOW: R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse!
R&B star R. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse Friday in Chicago. Each count carries 3-7 years in prison.
Some of the charges stem from a newly discovered video found by attorney Michael Avenatti that allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, according to a copy of the indictment.

A no-bail arrest warrant for Kelly has been issued by a Chicago judge, The Associated Press reported. No-bail arrest warrants don't necessarily mean the defendant won't eventually be offered bail once appearing in court to answer the charges.
Kelly is to appear in court Saturday for a bond hearing, said Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx at a press conference in Chicago to announce the charges.
She said the indictment lists four victims, identified by initials, and multiple alleged criminal acts of sexual assault dating back to 1998. Court documents show three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 17. At the time of the alleged crimes, she said, Kelly was at least five years old than the victims.
Avenatti is holding a news conference at 4 p.m. ET, he said on Twitter.

Avenatti, who remained quiet throughout his 10-month "investigation" of Kelly on behalf of multiple clients, responded to the indictment on Twitter, proclaiming, "After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived."
Gerald Griggs, an Atlanta lawyer who represents the parents of a woman they believe is being held against her will as a member of Kelly's alleged "sex cult," celebrated the indictment and predicted more would be forthcoming soon from "multiple jurisdictions" around the country.
"This is just the beginning of the charges," Griggs said. Kelly also is under investigation in Fulton County, Ga., and by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of New York, he said.

"Hopefully, with the swift arrest of Kelly, our clients will be able to make unfettered contact with (their daughter) and get her home and the counseling and the help she needs," Griggs said. 
Attorney Gloria Allred, who says she represents multiple women who have accused Kelly of sexual misconduct, introduced two new accusers at a New York press conference Thursday. The women said they were teens when Kelly plied them with alcohol and marijuana during a mid-'90s Baltimore hotel room encounter that they say ended with the statutory rape of one of them.
"As I predicted yesterday, the wheels of justice are turning," Allred said in a statement emailed on Friday. "This may not be the only prosecution of Mr. Kelly, because we are aware of other open investigations in other jurisdictions, but I am very glad that he has been indicated in Cook County and that this day has finally come for Mr. Kelly."

When Avenatti announced the existence of the new video two weeks ago, he said in an interview: "This is a bombshell of epic proportions. It’s over, after nearly two decades of abuse by R. Kelly. He will not survive this."
The indictment of Kelly, 52, culminates nearly two decades of allegations, one failed criminal trial, a surging #MuteRKelly campaign, a breakup with his recording label, and the airing of a Kelly-damning film series, "Surviving R. Kelly," in January.

That six-part film on Lifetime examined the long-standing allegations of sexual misconduct against Kelly, including sex with underage girls and accusations that he trapped scores of female fans in a "sex cult" that cut them off from their families and subjected them to degrading abuse.
A previously planned encore broadcast of the “Surviving R. Kelly” will air on Lifetime Monday, Feb. 25, at 7 p.m. EST/PST, followed by a special, related “Red Table Talk” with Jada Pinkett Smith, Lifetime announced.
“We are proud that Lifetime was able to provide a platform for survivors to be heard,” said Kannie Yu LaPack, a spokeswoman for Lifetime.

Despite the years of hints and allegations, Kelly has been charged with a crime only once: He was tried on multiple counts of child pornography – stemming from a different video involving a different underage girl – in Chicago in 2008, six years after he was indicted in that case.
However, the video in that case was not clear and the alleged teenage victim in the video refused to testify against Kelly at the trial. Within hours of getting the case, the jury acquitted him on all counts and Kelly walked free, back to his life as a rich and famous singer-songwriter and R&B superstar.

Now he's being prosecuted almost 11 years later amidst a sea change in attitudes among law enforcement and in society about sexual abuse, sex-crimes prosecutions, defendants and accusers.

Jussie Smollett's Character Removed From Final Episodes Of 'Empire' Season! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

Jussie Smollett's Character Removed From Final Episodes Of 'Empire' Season!
Empire actor Jussie Smollett leaves the Cook County Jail in Chicago Thursday after posting bond. On Friday, the show's producers announced that they would be removing his character from the final episodes of this season.

Just a day after Jussie Smollett found himself formally in legal jeopardy, arrested in Chicago for filing a false police report, the Empire actor's job appears to be in jeopardy as well. Executive producers of the Fox program announced Friday that his character, Jamal, would not appear in the final episodes of the current season.

"The events of the past few weeks have been incredibly emotional for all of us. Jussie has been an important member of our EMPIRE family for the past five years and we care about him deeply. While these allegations are very disturbing, we are placing our trust in the legal system as the process plays out," said a statement signed by Lee Daniels, Danny Strong and five other producers.

"We are also aware of the effects of this process on the cast and crew members who work on our show," they continued, "and to avoid further disruption on set, we have decided to remove the role of 'Jamal' from the final two episodes of the season."
The announcement follows a Thursday news conference in which Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said that Smollett had staged the apparent hate crime he reported last month. The incident — which Smollett allegedly faked with the help of two brothers whom he paid $3,500 — was orchestrated "because he was dissatisfied with his salary," Johnson explained.

The police superintendent said Smollett carried out the "stunt" after a racist and homophobic letter he received a week earlier, which he allegedly also faked, had failed to get the attention he desired. "So," Johnson concluded, "he concocted a story about being attacked."
Smollett's legal team, meanwhile, has pushed back against the allegations, for which he faces up to three years in prison. And they chalked them up to politics.

"Today we witnessed an organized law enforcement spectacle that has no place in the American legal system. The presumption of innocence, a bedrock in the search for justice, was trampled upon at the expense of Mr. Smollett and notably, on the eve of a Mayoral election," his lawyers said in a statement Thursday.

"Mr. Smollett is a young man of impeccable character and integrity who fiercely and solemnly maintains his innocence and feels betrayed by a system that apparently wants to skip due process and proceed directly to sentencing."

Looks like this is really 'THE END' for Jamal Lyon!


The Daily Buzz For Feb 22 ☕๐Ÿ“ฐ☕

Miley Cyrus for Vanity Fair US - March 2019
Miley Cyrus on the cover of the March 2019 issue of Vanity Fair.

Miley Cyrus is still trying to come to terms with the whirlwind of emotions kicked up in late 2018, which saw her home in Malibu -- which she shared with longtime partner Liam Hemsworth and a huge menagerie of animals -- burn to the ground in a deadly wildfire. That was followed a month later by her private Christmas wedding to the actor, a ray of sunshine in an otherwise very difficult time.

Cyrus opens up about the turbulent past few months in a new Vanity Fair cover story, which traces her route back to living in Nashville in a home not far from the one she grew up and her struggle to turn the pain of loss into something positive. The interview was conducted at the old Gianni Versace mansion in Miami, for which Cyrus arrived dressed head-to-toe in vintage Versace, a vape pen at the ready as she tried to figure out who she is, something she admits even she's not sure of.

"I surprise my own self with my choices,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll even think: Why the fuck did I do that? Or, What got me there? What? Why?” Her "Nothing Breaks Like a Heart" collborator, Mark Ronson, doubles down on her enigmatic ways, describing the time Miley tried to explain her intricate system for keeping track of her clothes. It involves filing them by "mood, color and designer," an arcane method Ronson said gave him a migraine trying to understand.
Her process in the studio is even more complicated, according to friend and frequent collborator Flaming Lips singer Wayne Coyne. “If my brain worked that fast or could take in that much stuff and process it at the same time, I’d be constantly on the verge of an anxiety attack, I think, because it’s a lot," Coyne says, describing a mind-blowing car ride they once took. "She would get stoned and have answers to every riddle there’s ever been. There was a building that was a jail in Nashville that she and Liam were going to buy and transform into a homeless shelter and a venue. And -- this was all in one conversation -- she was going to buy an airline, that people could put their pets on, so you could fly with your pets, and her line was going to be For Pets Only...she just gets excited. And all these things are possibilities.”

Back to the Malibu house. Hemworth bought it several years ago, but in an only-in-Mileyland coincidence, it was also the place where she recorded her first post-Hannah Montana record. Hemsworth -- who began dating Cyrus after they co-starred in 2010's The Last Song before the couple temporarily split that same year -- bought the house from the producer of Miley's album and was shocked when he moved in. "He shows up, ready to move in. And the old owners are cleaning out the garage and getting out all these plaques and shit with my face on it. Liam showed up and was like, ‘What the fuck?’ ” she says.

They would, of course, eventually reconcile and move in together and fill the house with art as well as laptops, hard drives and scraps of paper with handwritten lyrics comprising all the music Cyrus has made or written since 2013's Bangerz. And then the Woolsey Fire ripped through the area in November while Cyrus was in South Africa filming an episode of Black Mirror, leaving Hemsworth to save the animals as everything else turned to dust.
"Losing my home, losing that peace, was very unsettling. I didn’t go back. I felt like my roots got ripped from under me," she says, describing the BM scene she was filming that day. "The day I heard we lost our home, my scene was set at my house in Malibu. My character was having a panic attack, so needless to say the inspiration was there. Anne Sewitzky, the director, and I became very close, since going through all of this so far from home, she was really the only mother figure I had. Experiencing that together and in the realness of it all, we created something I think is magical. It’s hard for me to be proud of my work, I rarely walk away satisfied but I’m very proud of what we made. It really tells my story in some dark and funny way, as that show does, and as life is." 

Among the material things she lost in the fire: her own art, as well as personal letters and drawings from Heath Ledger, Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi, Joan Jett, Murakami, David LaChapelle, Ryan McGinley and may other artists and friends she respects.
Cyrus says she did what she often does in those situations, she wrote her thoughts and feelings down in order to deal with the trauma of being thousands of miles away from what was left of the couple's life together. “I got the journal that was next to me and just started writing out what I was feeling. Some of the feelings did not add up with the others. Some of them were super-angry; some of them were relieved in a way, which feels really fucking weird," she says. "It feels like there were weights tied to my ankles and I was in the ocean, and someone just cut those ties, and I was able to float and be free ‘cause I didn’t have all this shit attached to me. Anger, relief, sadness. A feeling of: I’m never going to get over it, this is never going to end. But, we heal up and our brain gets used to imagining a worst-case scenario happening over and over again.”

For the singer/actress/activist who has been a star half her life, the pressure of a constant media glare has been difficult to navigate at times. "Where I am in life right now is very complex, even to myself," says Cyrus, 26, who had planned to hunker down in Malibu to work on her new album and hang out with Hemsworth before the fire upended their lives and their sneak wedding further expanded the singer's already huge social media following. "So I wrote something that, in my mind, could mabye come before our conversation." 

What she wrote came to her in the middle of the night recently, a long string of words she typed out on her phone and which she read aloud for the VF writer: "I try to be true to myself in every state of being. When I can, I will stand still, work through, sit in, observe, and get to know exactly 'who that is' privately. My creative process comes from feeling inspired by life experiences, not pressured by industry standards. I will never put my own plan before nature’s, or jeopardize personal growth for professional advantage. That said, if it’s a time in my life like now where I am publicly sharing my stories, my music, my art, 'who I am' unfolds in front of everyone and we go through all of this together. When people hear my music they hear a fragment of time, something I feel or felt right then. By the time it gets to your ears I may have grown past it, but I am truest to who I am at that very second. That can be five thousand different colors and shades at the same time."
"The weight of a million eyeballs on your who will never have to deal with the criticism or the magnifying glass that we deal with ever in their lives," offers friend and fellow former child star Ariana Grande in the piece. And while Cyrus welcomes the glare at times, for now, she and Hemsworth are enjoying newlywed status and the comfort that comes with finding a center when your life has suddenly been thrown off its axis.

The couple eventually plan to rebuild in Malibu and, despite the losses, the experience has strangely left Cyrus feel "more connected to being human again...when you experience what we experienced together with someone, it is like glue. You're the only two people in the world who can understand...to lose 'everything' at that time -- materially, because no lives of people I know and love were lost -- Liam and I have also found a new bond underneath all that rubble. Going through a natural disaster, the grief you experience is really unlike any other loss. No more, just different. In our position it feels or looks like everything is replaceable and you can start again, but you can’t buy spirit." 

As it turns out, marriage, however, has made her feel "zero percent different," since the couple have worn rings "forever" and making it official is, frankly, a bit out of character for Cyrus. For her, the fire changed things much more than their small, private ceremony. "Because a lot of people use marriage I think maybe for a cure. But like my favorite woman in the world, Hillary Clinton, says: We’re stronger together," she says. "That’ll make me get emotional. That’s what she meant by it. Like, who gives a fuck if he’s a guy, if I’m a girl, or if he was a woman -- who gives a fuck? We really are stronger together. One is the loneliest number."

Most importantly, Cyrus is busy working on her follow-up to 2017's twangy Younger Now album, with new music due out this summer. She describes it as having "psychedelic elements...pop elements...more hip-hop-leaning records...a mosaic of all the things I've been before." In other words, a perfectly Miley mix.

#RHoA:  Are Y’all ready to see NeNe in her new show ‘Ride or Die’?
Get ready to see even more of Nene Leakes on the small screen. The Real Housewives of Atlanta pal has confirmed she's set to star in a new series, Ride or Die. "She done, done it again! Another scripted series! I was really trying to move in silence on this because I know the people that try to stop my greatness is watching me," Nene wrote on Twitter about the project.

Deadline reports that the series will also star Marley Shelton, Molly Sims, Jennifer Landon, and Tawny Newsome. According to the site, the show's plot is described as: "When an elite spin studio is rocked by a strange murder, down-on-her-luck outsider Shauna (Shelton) teams up with true-crime buff Glo (Leakes) to find the killer. Sims plays Jamie, a cunning housewife, resident mean girl and frenemy from Shauna’s past life. Landon is Ali, who is wildly ambitious and threatened by Shauna’s rising popularity. Newsome plays Lindy, the awkward front-desk staffer who is Shauna’s only true ally at work."

In addition to bringing the shade, sass, laughs and drama to The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Nene has also previously appeared on Glee and The New Normal (in the video above she talks about her working relationship with Ryan Murphy).

So are you thrilled to see NeNe’s show?

#Empire: Jussie Smollett’s bail is set at $100K
A Chicago judge set bail for Jussie Smollett at $100,000 on Thursday, rejecting a defense request that the “Empire” actor be released on his own recognizance as “totally inappropriate.”
Smollett must post $10,000 to be freed pending another court appearance on March 14.

Also during the hearing, a defense lawyer said Smollett “vehemently” denies allegations he staged a Jan. 29 hate attack against himself and lied to the cops about it.
A prosecutor said Abimbola Osundairo, one of two brothers who told cops they helped pull off the hoax, was Smollett’s drug dealer and provided him with “molly,” a slang term for MDMA, during all of 2018.

#NewMusic from ‘Sammie’ ‘Playlist’
R&B Great Sammie has unleashed a sexy new track titled “Playlist.” On the seductive track, Sammie warns his woman that he will give her enough pleasure in the bedroom to make her “legs shake” with his tongue between her legs. “I’m giving you this sex song for your playlist / You’re tryna set the mood right, baby, play this,” he sings.


“Playlist” is the second song that Sammie has shared from his upcoming album, Everlasting, which is set to arrive on March 1 via Star Camp Music/EMPIRE. The 13-track album will include his Lil Baby-assisted single “Times 10,” which premiered in January.

#HipHopNews: Offset Reveals Solo Album Title!
Offset has been dangling his solo album in front of his fans for months, but now it’s only a few hours away from coming to fruition.
As the magical hour inches closer, the Migos rap star has unveiled the title of the project in a new teaser. According to the Instagram post, the album is titled Father Of 4 and arrives on Friday (February 22) at the stroke of midnight.
Father Of 4 follows Quavo’s solo project Quavo Huncho and Takeoff’s The Last Rocket, which were both released last year.
Offset has released one single from the project called “Red Room” along with a music video for the track. Aside from that, not much is known about what to expect from the album.

Michael Jackson’s Estate Sues HBO for $100 Million Over ‘Leaving Neverland’ Doc
Michael Jackson’s estate is suing HBO for $100 million over its controversial Leaving Neverland documentary, according to legal documents. “The Jackson Estate will seek all damages proximately caused by HBO’s reprehensible disparagement of Michael Jackson, which could exceed $100 million should HBO succeed in the damage it is intending to cause to the legacy of Michael Jackson,” reads the complaint, which was filed on Thursday, January 21.

The lawsuit claims that the “documentary is “posthumous character assassination” of the late musician because it only shows one side of the story. “Michael Jackson is innocent. Period,” the complaint begins.
Attorney Howard Weitzman told Us in a statement: “HBO breached its agreement not to disparage Michael Jackson by producing and selling to the public a one-sided marathon of unvetted propaganda to shamelessly exploit an innocent man no longer here to defend himself. HBO could have and should have ensured that Leaving Neverland was properly sourced, fact-checked and a fair and balanced representation. Instead they chose to fund and produce a film where they knew the two subjects had for many years testified under oath and told family, friends and law enforcement that Mr. Jackson did nothing inappropriate to either of them.”

HBO responded to the suit in a statement to Deadline on Thursday. “Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of Leaving Neverland, the two-part documentary, on March 3rd and 4th. This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves

“Nearly four years after Michael died they suddenly changed their recollections, sued the Estate of Michael Jackson for hundreds of millions of dollars and had all of their lawsuits dismissed, yet they are still seeking money, having appealed,” Weitzman continued. “HBO and the director were well aware of their financial motives and that ample opposing facts are available from numerous sources, but made the unconscionable decision to bury any evidence casting doubt on their chosen narrative.”
He added: “Had they made an objective film it would have allowed viewers to make up their own minds about these allegations, instead of having a television network dictate to them that they must accept these false claims about Michael Jackson.”

Leaving Neverland premiered in late January at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The documentary features two accusers — Wade Robson and James Safechuck — who claim they were sexually abused by the “Man in the Mirror” singer as children in the mid-to-late 1980s.

Wendy Williams To Return To The ‘Wendy Show’ In March
Debar-Mercury has announced Wendy Williams will return to her daytime talk show on Monday, March 4.
The announcement was made on Thursday morning via the official Instagram page for the “Wendy Show.”

It reads:Wendy Williams is an incredible talent with the most unique voice in daytime. We can’t wait to welcome her back to her iconic purple chair on the set of her show on Monday, March 4th.
We so appreciate all of the guest hosts and panelists who filled in for Wendy during this time. These people are, and always will be, true family to the show. And we want to thank all of the loyal and supportive fans who have been with us for 10 years now.
And of course, we thank our station and business partners, who stepped up in such a supportive way.

Note from Debmar-Mercury: Wendy Williams is an incredible talent with the most unique voice in daytime. We can’t wait to welcome her back to her iconic purple chair on the set of her show on Monday, March 4th. We so appreciate all of the guest hosts and panelists who filled in for Wendy during this time. These people are, and always will be, true family to the show. And we want to thank all of the loyal and supportive fans who have been with us for 10 years now. And of course, we thank our station and business partners, who stepped up in such a supportive way. Note from Wendy Williams: Salute to Debmar-Mercury for believing from the start and thanks to my staff for tirelessly holding it down for me. The Wendy Williams show will air repeat episodes the week of February 25th and will return with original episodes starting on Monday, March 4th. Go to wendyshow.com to check your local listings.
A post shared by Wendy Williams (@wendyshow) on

Wendy Williams added: Salute to Debmar-Mercury for believing from the start and thanks to my staff for tirelessly holding it down for me.

Reruns of the “Wendy Show” will air the week of February 25 and original episodes with the Queen back on her throne will begin on March 4.

Darren Criss & Mia Swier's Share pics from their New Orleans Wedding!
Darren Criss and Mia Swier are sharing pictures and details from their magical wedding!
The 32-year-old The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story actor and the 33-year-old director, producer and musician got married on Saturday (February 16) in New Orleans, La.
The event was a four-day celebration, including an ’80s prom night at One Eyed Jacks on Valentine’s Day (February 14), followed by a swamp tour on Friday (February 15).
“It just kept going and nobody wanted it to end. It was less a celebration of us specifically and more a celebration of the life we’ve built together. The whole thing was a dream,” Darren told Vogue.

Mia wore a Vera Wang strapless crepe gown with white Dr. Martens, while Darren wore an off-white Giorgio Armani tuxedo.
Guests enjoyed an outdoor ceremony in the sculpture garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Darren sang a song with his guitar to accompany his and Mia‘s families down the aisle before he walked Mia down the aisle together. The also officiated their own wedding with their loved ones.
At around 10 p.m., guests moved into the museum for live music – and Darren and Mia performed “The Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet to start the party for their “first dance”! The rest of the night consisted of an almost 3-hour concert featuring friends and family as performers, as well as a silent disco with headphones featuring a personalized playlist of their favorite songs.

“The whole goal of our wedding was to take traditions and turn them on their heads with our own flair,” Darren told Vogue.

Mary J. Blige has vowed that Won’t Be Taking Care of Her Next Man
Mary J. Blige has certainly made a lot of bread over her 30-year career, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be the breadwinner in a relationship.
It’s something she communicated to DJ Ace of BBC Radio 1Xtra in an interview that hit the Internet on Tuesday. And it definitely seemed like she was referring to her ex-husband Kendu Isaacs, whom she divorced last year after 12 years of marriage.

Mary J. Blige said she doesn't want to take care of anymore men.

That’s because in June 2017 the “No More Drama” singer was ordered to pay Isaacs $30,000 a month in temporary spousal support.
Isaacs initially asked the court for $129,319 each month, and while it was determined he was due some money to maintain a certain lifestyle, the court said he was asking for too much.

So when DJ Ace asked Blige what it would take for a man to have a real shot with her, she was ready with at least one firm criterion. “Well, he has to have more money than me, that’s for sure, because I’m not taking care of any more men,” Blige responded.
In another part of the interview, the 48-year-old talked about other men she dealt with before Isaacs and how badly she treated them. Blige stated she was happy there was no social media in the 1990s, because it could’ve ruined her career.
“I was horrible,” she admitted. “I was bad back then. I was a savage. I was living savage behavior. I was treating men like they treated me.”

Blige never named any of those men specifically and didn’t give details about her divorce from Isaacs. But in 2016 court documents connected with her initial filing for divorce, the R&B star said she was being forced to pay off a $12 million debt incurred during their marriage.

By the following year, according to People, Isaacs stated that he was unable to work because he “experienced physical manifestations of stress” from the stress of the divorce process and had to be hospitalized.

#FASHION: Fendi pays homage to Karl Lagerfeld at Milan Fashion Week
Fendi paid poignant tribute to its longtime creative director Karl Lagerfeld at the show Thursday in Milan, just two days after his death at age 85 from pancreatic cancer. It was the legendary designer’s last collection for the Italian house and his inestimable contribution was celebrated from start to finish.
Guests at the showroom at Via A. Solari, where the presentation is always held, were greeted with a step-and-repeat wall featuring a large black F and red heart with Lagerfeld’s signature. Many stopped to photograph it. A small card with the same graphic and the date he passed printed on the back (19.02.2019) was found on each seat, on top of a folder of show notes and copies of five of his signed sketches of the collection.
After the models, who included Kaia Gerber and Gigi and Bella Hadid, made their way down the runway, a video of the designer sketching his first day at Fendi was screened. It was a fitting end to his five-decade collaboration with the Roman fur specialist.
The prolific fashion icon, who also designed the Chanel haute couture and ready-to-wear lines in addition to his signature collection, was named to the Fendi team in 1965. He turned the Roman fur specialist into a global status brand by lightening the weight of the coats and using different colored pelts to create patterns. Outside the show, a large group of anti-fur protesters held up signs and chanted animal rights slogans.
While the collection showcased signature Fendi fur coats and double-F monogram clothing, some of the most memorable pieces were high collar shirts — an undeniable nod to Lagerfeld, as stated in the show notes. He was famous the world over for wearing a powdered ponytail, dark glasses and a starched high-collar white button-down.

“The bond between Karl Lagerfeld and Fendi is fashion’s longest love story, one that will continue to touch our lives for years to come,” said Silvia Venturini Fendi, the creative director of men’s wear, accessories and kidswear, in the show notes. Fendi will fill his role until a successor is named.

Beyoncรฉ & JAY-Z Give Meghan Markle A Surprise Shoutout In Acceptance Speech
The Carters made sure to show respect to U.K.'s newest royal when accepting an award at the 2019 Brit Awards.

While Beyoncรฉ & JAY-Z did not attend Wednesday's (February 20) award show in London, the couple shouted out Duchess Meghan Markle when accepting their award for Best International Group via video message. For their acceptance speech, Jay and Bey recreated the final scene of their "APESH*T" music video where they're shown standing in from of Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa." However, this time the two stood in front of a similar portrait, but of Meghan waring a crown and a pearl necklaces. "Thank you so much to the Brit awards for this incredible honor," Beyoncรฉ begins the video. "You guys have always been so supportive. Everything is love. Thank you." Jay then replies, "You’re welcome," before the duo turns to look at Meghan's portrait.
The "Shining" singer later shared the video and photos of her and Jay standing in front of the painting to Instagram, along with an explanation of their reason for including the Meghan portrait. "Thank you to the Brits for the award for Best International Group. I won this award back in 2002 with my besties, Kelly and Michelle. How lucky am I to have been in a group with my other best friend, the GOAT Hova. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿพ," Bey wrote. "In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas. Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy."

The artist of the illustration, Tim O'Brien, later tweeted his surprise to see his work in Bey and Jay's video, writing, "Interesting to see my painting of Megan Markel behind @Beyonce and JZ for their Brit award. Congratulations to them both."

#POLITICS:  A New Election Has Been Called In North Carolina House Race of Mark Harris/Dan McCready
After months of insisting he knew of no illegal activity being done on behalf of his campaign, Republican Mark Harris, who leads the race for North Carolina's 9th Congressional District, called Thursday for the State Board of Elections to hold a new election.
Shortly afterwards, the bipartisan state board voted unanimously to redo the only congressional race left from the 2018 midterms that remains undecided.

"Through the testimony I've listened to over the past three days I believe a new election should be called. It's become clear to me that the public's confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted," said Harris.

It was a dramatic and humbling reversal for Harris, a pastor who until now had insisted that the elections board should certify his 905 vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready in the unofficial tally so that he could take a seat in Congress.

Four days of hearings had left that position increasingly untenable as witnesses detailed how an operative hired by Harris illegally handled absentee ballots, a felony in North Carolina. One witness said she filled in unmarked sections of ballots. Harris' own son testified on Wednesday that he had warned his father that the operative's tactics were likely illegal.
An email first released to the public on Thursday shows that Harris requested a meeting with the operative, McRae Dowless, in March 2017 after losing a primary election in which one of his opponents had hired Dowless.

The disclosure by the Harris campaign frustrated investigators, who were presented with the evidence only on Wednesday, despite a subpoena from the North Carolina State Board of Elections for the relevant documents months ago.
In December, the board declined to certify the results of the election. Instead it voted to open an investigation into an absentee ballot scheme that investigators have now been unspooling for months. Election board staff said that the investigation will continue even as preparations are made for a new race.

The investigation focuses on McCrae Dowless, who was hired by Harris to run get-out-the-vote efforts in Bladen and Robeson counties. Dowless was also investigated in 2016 for his tactics, which a number of witnesses have testified included illegally collecting absentee ballots and filling out some of those ballots.
As Election Fraud Probe Centers On N.C.'s 9th District, A Cynical Cloud Settles In
Harris has said publicly since the investigation began in December that he was unaware of any illegal acts that may have been done on behalf of his campaign. He reiterated that in his testimony Thursday.

"He said we do not take the ballot," Harris said, describing what Dowless told him. " 'I don't care if it's a 95-year-old woman in a wheelchair, we do not take the ballots.' "

The email produced by the attorney representing Harris' campaign showed Harris reaching out to Judge Marion Warren about procuring Dowless' help. Dowless worked for another candidate, Todd Johnson, who nearly swept Bladen County's absentee ballot totals in 2016, and Harris refers to that victory in his email.
"On the other issue of your gracious offer to meet me in Bladen County and spend a day connecting me to the 'key people' that can help me carry that part of the county in a future US House NC-9 race," Harris wrote to Warren on March 8, 2017. "You know the political and financial connections better than anyone else I would know, including the guy whose absentee ballot project for Johnson could have put me in the US House this term, had I known, and he had been helping us."

But Harris' son, John Harris, testified Wednesday that he warned his father that he thought Dowless was a "shady character" who likely engaged in illegal practices as part of his operation.
John Harris says he reviewed the absentee ballot results of the 2016 race and concluded Dowless was using illegal tactics to help Johnson. During Wednesday's hearing, John Harris said he warned his father about this, but that Mark Harris still hired Dowless.

Mark Harris was pressed about those warnings Thursday.
"It was painfully clear that he was saying, 'Daddy don't mess with this guy,' " said State Board member Jeff Carmon. "That was your son, with no ax to grind, that wanted to make sure you were protected."
Harris said he never raised his son's concerns with Dowless.

He also said that he disregarded the warnings because his son was only 27 years old and had never been to Bladen County, whereas he had sat down with Dowless and heard his guarantees that he wasn't mishandling ballots.

The elections board will hold a public hearing soon to decide the timing of the new election.
McCready, the Democrat who ran against Harris, said the decision Thursday was "a great step forward for democracy in North Carolina."

"From the moment the first vote was stolen in North Carolina, from the moment the first voice was silenced by election fraud, the people have deserved justice," McCready tweeted.
The new race won't be a rerun of last November's contest. There will be primary elections to determine each parties' candidates and then a new general election, in accordance with North Carolina law.

A spokesperson for the State Board of Elections said the board will likely schedule the election to coincide with the special election needed to fill the vacancy of Rep. Walter Jones, who died earlier this month.
North Carolina's governor, Democrat Roy Cooper, praised the board's decision to call a new election.

"People must have confidence that their vote matters and this action sends a strong message that election fraud must not be tolerated," said Cooper.

White Nationalist Coast Guard Planned Terrorist Attack On Democrats And Journalists, Wanted To “Kill Almost Every Last Person”
A white U.S. Coast Guard lieutenant and self-described white nationalist was found with numerous automatic weapons and semi-automatic weapons that he planned to use in a terrorist attack targeting politicians and journalists, federal prosecutors say in court papers.

Last week, police found 49-year-old Christopher Paul Hasson of Silver Spring, Maryland with 15 guns and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition in Hasson’s apartment. Reports say he intended “to murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” according to court documents filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Maryland. Hasson was initially charged on gun and drug charges.

USA Today reports Hasson has been stockpiling weapons since 2017 and made a list of targets that included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. His other targets were prominent Democratic congressional leaders and MSNBC and CNN media personalities. Court documents identified some targets as Democratic Sens. Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris, as well as Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Maxine Waters and Ilhan Omar. That same day, Hasson Google searched “best place in dc to see congresspeople,” “where do most senators live in dc” and “civil war if trump impeached,” court documents said.

Other evidence shows Hasson regularly read pro-Russian, neo-fascist, and neo-Nazi literature thousands of times between January 2017 and 2019. He once wrote, “I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth” in an email draft, court documents said. He also would often read the manifesto by far-right domestic terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 Norwegian citizens in 2011. In a letter Hasson sent to himself, he called for “focused violence” and said he is a “long-time White nationalist.” “We need a white homeland as Europe seems lost,” the letter included in court documents reads.

Hasson’s arrest comes after a lengthy investigation led by the Coast Guard. More details to come. Prosecutors say the drug and gun charges are only the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.”

Let’s get physical, physical. I wanna get physical.

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