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Chicago Mayor Says City Will Send Smollett Bill for Investigation

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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city plans to send a bill to “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett for the cost of the investigation into his report of an alleged hate crime attack earlier this year. 

Emanuel, who has bashed prosecutors’ decision to drop charges against Smollett in exchange for community service and his $10,000 bond, told reporters Thursday he expects to ask Smollett and his legal team to write a check.

“The police are assembling the cost [of the investigation],” Emanuel said. “They’ll do that and then the corporation counsel of the city of Chicago will communicate to Jussie Smollett and his legal team about recouping that cost in that effort. And, given that he doesn’t feel any sense of contrition and remorse, my recommendation is when he writes the check, in the memo section he can put the word, ‘I’m accountable’ for the hoax.”

“The finance is a piece of it and an acknowledgement that what he did at every level was wrong,” he added.

A representative for Smollett’s legal team said “it is the mayor and the police chief who owe Jussie – owe him an apology – for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough.” 

Emanuel also clapped back at President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier Thursday that the case “is an embarrassment to our Nation!” 

“My recommendation to the president is go to Opening Day baseball. Sit on the sideline,” he said. “Stay out of this.”

“[Trump] created an environment that people think, like – I’m not done, I’m just getting started – that Jussie Smollett thinks that that hate-filled environment that the president created, pinning one American against another because of their background, then creates an environment he thought he could take an advantage of and create a hoax around a hate crime,” he added. “It is a vicious, toxic environment and cycle. I want to break it.” 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice will review the case, Trump claimed in his tweet Thursday. Both the FBI and the Department of Justice declined to comment on the case Thursday morning, according to NBC News. 

Smollett’s attorney said Thursday the actor simply wants to “move on,” claiming the aftermath of the alleged beating was “much harsher” than the attack itself.

“What that attack was pales in comparison to the attack on him by the mayor, by the CPD, by the press, by the public,” one of Smollett’s lawyers Tina Glandian said in an appearance on TODAY.

All criminal charges against Smollett were dropped Tuesday, nearly two months after the actor was accused of orchestrating a hate crime attack on himself. The surprise decision to dismiss the charges was celebrated by Smollett and his legal team and blasted by Chicago’s mayor and police department, who raised questions about the circumstances of the deal. 

In an appearance on TODAY Thursday, Smollett’s attorney Tina Glandian said his legal team was “not at all” concerned about a potential FBI investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dismissal of charges.

“We have nothing to be concerned about because there was nothing on our end to request this, to do anything improper, and to my knowledge, nothing improper was done,” Glandian said.

The news that charges would be dismissed came during an “emergency court appearance” where prosecutors not only dropped the charges against Smollett but agreed to expunge the actor’s record. Prosecutors later said the charges were dismissed in exchange for Smollett’s forfeiture of his $10,000 bond and his performance of community service. 

Smollett pleaded not guilty to multiple disorderly conduct charges earlier this month. He was initially charged with one felony count of disorderly conduct in filing a false police report in February, with Chicago police alleging that he staged the attack the month before because he was “dissatisfied with his salary.” A Cook County grand jury then indicted Smollett on 16 felony counts.

All Charges Dropped Against ‘Empire’ Star Jussie Smollett

[NATL] All Charges Dropped Against 'Empire' Star Jussie Smollett

“Jussie was attacked by two people he was unable to identify on January 29th. He was a victim who was vilified and made to appear as a perpetrator as a result of false and inappropriate remarks made to the public causing an inappropriate rush to judgment,” Smollett’s attorneys Glandian and Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement. 

Smollett maintained his innocence, saying after court that he has been “truthful and consistent on every single level since day one.” 

Smollett reported the alleged attack to police on Jan. 29, claiming to have been beaten by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs, beat him, put a noose around his neck, and poured bleach on him, according to the indictment.

Initially investigating the incident as a possible hate crime, Chicago police said new information “shifted” their approach to the case, leading them to allege that Smollett orchestrated the assault by hiring two brothers who worked on “Empire” to execute it. 

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Supt. Eddie Johnson hammered the decision to dismiss charges against him, saying they were unaware it was happening.

“At the end of the day it’s Mr. Smollett who committed this hoax. Period. If he wanted to clear his name the way to do that was in a court of law so that everyone could see the evidence,” Johnson said. “I stand by the facts of what we produced. If they want to dispute those facts the place to do that is in court.” 

Visibly Angry Mayor on Smollett News: ‘Whitewash of Justice’

[CHI] Visibly Angry Mayor Calls Smollett News a 'Whitewash of Justice'

Emanuel called the decision a “whitewash of justice.”

“Where is the accountability in the system? You cannot have because of a person’s position, one set of rules apply to them and another set of rules apply to everybody else,” he said. 

In a statement, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office said the decision came “after reviewing all of the facts and circumstances of the case, including Mr. Smollet’s volunteer service in the community and agreement to forfeit his bond to the City of Chicago.”

“We believe this outcome is a just disposition and appropriate resolution to this case,” the statement read.

In an interview Wednesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office’s decision to drop charges and denied that she had any involvement after recusing herself from the case in February. 

“I did not want, as this investigation changed, for there to be any question about my impartiality so I removed myself,” she said, echoing earlier statements from her office that the decision to drop charges was not uncommon in disorderly conduct cases.

WATCH: Jussie Smollett Speaks After Charges Dropped

[NATL-CHI] WATCH: Jussie Smollett Speaks After Charges Dropped

“Over the course of the last two years, we’ve had 5,700 people go through our pretrial diversion process, people who have non-violent offenses and who have no violence in their background,” Foxx said. “And so I think when people see this one particular case it feels like an outlier where in fact, it’s consistent with how we treat people charged with similar offenses with the same background.”

Documents obtained earlier this month via Freedom of Information Act request showed that Foxx had asked Johnson to turn the investigation over to the FBI. The documents also showed correspondence between Foxx, an unknown person and Tina Tchen, a one-time assistant to former President Barack Obama and Chief of Staff to Michelle Obama.

“It was not unusual for me to talk to a victim in a case,” Foxx said. “At the time that I engaged with this family member, Mr. Smollett was a victim.”

Tchen said in a statement she knew members of the Smollett family from “prior work together” and that “as a family friend,” she contacted Foxx “to put the chief prosecutor in the case in touch with an alleged victim’s family who had concerns about how the investigation was being characterized in public.”

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Dwayne Johnson Mourns Death of Dad Rocky in Touching Tribute – NBC4 Washington

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is speaking out for the first time following the death of his dad, Rocky Johnson.

Earlier this week, the WWE shared the news that the former wrestling champion, ne Wayde Douglas Bowles, had passed away at the age of 75. Now, his son is sharing a touching tribute in honor of the WWE Hall of Famer.

“I love you. You broke color barriers, became a ring legend and trail blazed your way thru this world,” Dwayne wrote alongside a clip of his dad in the ring. “I was the boy sitting in the seats, watching and adoring you, my hero from afar.”

“The boy you raised to always be proud of our cultures and proud of who and what I am,” the star’s Instagram tribute continued. “The boy you raised with the toughest of love. The intense work. The hard hand. The adoring boy who wanted to know only your best qualities. Who then grew to become a man realizing you had other deep complex sides that needed to be held and understood.”

“Son to father. Man to man. That’s when my adoration turned to respect,” Dwayne went on to write. “And my empathy turned to gratitude.”

Dwayne said that he’s grateful that his father “gave me life” and “life’s invaluable lessons.”

Celebrity Deaths: 2020’s Fallen Stars

“Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side,” Dwayne continued his message. “But you were ripped away from me so fast without warning. Gone in an instant and no coming back.”

The “Jumanji” actor shared the he’s “in pain,” but told his father “we both know it’s just pain and it’ll pass.”

“Now I’ll carry your mana and work ethic with me, as it’s time to move on because I have my family to feed and work to accomplish. Finally, I want you to rest your trailblazing soul, Soulman,” Dwayne wrote, referencing his dad’s nickname. “Pain free, regret free, satisfied and at ease.”

“You lived a very full, very hard, barrier breaking life and left it all in the ring,” Dwayne concluded his post. “I love you dad and I’ll always be your proud and grateful son. Go rest high. #ripsoulman [goat emoji].”

 

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Original Member of The Wiggles Recovering in Hospital – NBC4 Washington

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One of the original members of the popular Australian children’s band The Wiggles has been hospitalized after collapsing during a wildfire relief concert.

Greg Page, the 48-year-old original Yellow Wiggle, fell as he left a stage in New South Wales and went into cardiac arrest. He had been performing with the other original band mates to raise money for the Red Cross and the wildlife rescue group WIRE.

“Our friend Greg Page suffered a cardiac arrest at the end of the bush fire relief performance and was taken to hospital,” The Wiggles’ official Twitter account said Saturday. “He has had a procedure and is now recovering in hospital.”

With their peppy dancing, waggling fingers, exaggerated facial expressions and maniacally catchy songs like “Hot Potato” and “Fruit Salad,” The Wiggles have sold more than 23 million DVDs and videos, 7 million CDs and 8 million books. They have been broadcast in more than 100 countries.

In 2006, Page left the group because of a rare nervous system disorder. He rejoined in 2012, but soon he and fellow original Wiggles Jeff Fatt and Murray Cook retired. The part of the Yellow Wiggle was given to Emma Watkins.

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Betty White is 98! Here Are 5 of our Favorite Things She’s Ever Said – NBC4 Washington

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Happy birthday, Betty White!

The actress and American icon turns 98 on Friday. What can we say about this Emmy winner that hasn’t already been said? Well, probably nothing, which is why we’re going to let her say some things she’s already said.

That’s right — we’re honoring the “Golden Girls” star by taking a look at some of her most memorable quotes from over the years.

A healthy diet

While speaking to Parade magazine in 2018, she admitted she loves vodka and hot dogs. “Probably in that order,” she confessed.

She also shared her secret for enduring. “Enjoy life,” she said. “Accentuate the positive, not the negative. It sounds so trite, but a lot of people will pick out something to complain about, rather than say, ‘Hey, that was great!’ It’s not hard to find great stuff if you look.”

As luck would have it

In 2018, White was honored at the Emmy Awards. She used the opportunity to not only crack a few jokes at her expense, but also to marvel at how fortunate she was to have lasted as long as she has in TV.

“All I can say is it’s such a blessed business to be in, and how lucky can I be?” she said.

Age ain’t nothing but a number

In a 1991 interview with TODAY, White talked about the appeal of “The Golden Girls,” which centered on a quartet of senior citizens living in Miami.

“You don’t fall off the planet once you pass a given age,” she said. “You don’t lose any of your sense of humor. You don’t lose any of your zest for life, or your lust for life, if you will.”

“If you were a dull young person, you’re going to be a dull old person. But I don’t think just because the years go by that you have to be that way,” she added.

Missing her husband

As funny as she can be, White can also be poignant. In 2011, she told Anderson Cooper that she had no desire to walk down the aisle again after husband Allen Ludden died from stomach cancer in 1981.

“I had the love of my life,” she said. “If you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”

In 2016, she was a little more self-deprecating about her love life while talking to TODAY’s Al Roker.

“Nobody asks me!” she said. “Who’s gonna want to ask out a 94-year-old woman? It just doesn’t happen.”

Even she gets nervous

As seasoned a performer as White is — she’s now been performing professionally for nine decades! — she still gets butterflies in her stomach, but has found that stage fright can be a blessing in disguise.

“It’s a lifesaver because the panic that sets in, you have to (counteract) and you have to get a handle on it in order to do what you’re doing,” she told PBS in 2018. So the stage fright is what puts the edge, I think, on a performance.”

This story first appeared on Today.com

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Jury Selected for Harvey Weinstein’s Rape Trial – NBC4 Washington

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Jury selection in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial concluded Friday after an arduous two-week process, setting the stage for testimony to begin in the next week.

The lawyers and judge halted the selection process after 12 jurors and three alternates had been seated. Of the total, eight were men, seven were women.

The final tally mostly erased a gender imbalance that, just hours earlier in the day, led to complaints by prosecutors that the defense was deliberately trying to keep young women off the panel.

“They are systematically eliminating a class of people from this jury,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said.

The defense said it wasn’t specifically targeting young women, but didn’t want jurors who were too young to understand the way men and women interacted in the early 1990s.

“That was a different time in New York and on planet Earth,” Weinstein attorney Arthur Aidala said.

Weinstein, 67, is charged with raping a woman in a Manhattan hotel room in 2013 and sexually assaulting another woman in 2006. He has pleaded not guilty and said any sexual activity was consensual. If convicted, he could face life in prison.

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Barack Obama Shares Playful, Never-Before-Seen Photos for Michelle Obama’s Birthday – NBC4 Washington

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Barack Obama just wished Michelle Obama a happy birthday in the cutest way possible!

The former first lady turns 56 today and her husband celebrated his wife of 27 years with a series of adorable, photobooth-style snapshots.

“In every scene, you are my star, @MichelleObama!” the former president captioned the playful, black-and-white pictures. “Happy birthday, baby!”

The president and former first lady are just goofing around in the fun, candid photos. They strike silly poses together and in one of the shots, the former president kisses his wife’s cheek.

Barack Obama has a long history of celebrating Michelle Obama’s birthday on social media. He wrote a sweet message to her last year, too, along with an undated throwback photo of them as a young couple.

“I knew it way back then and I’m absolutely convinced of it today — you’re one of a kind, @MichelleObama. Happy Birthday!” he wrote in the caption.

The year before, his birthday message for his wife was just as heartfelt.

“You’re not only my wife and the mother of my children, you’re my best friend,” he wrote on Instagram alongside a more recent photo. “I love your strength, your grace, and your determination. And I love you more each day. Happy Birthday, @MichelleObama.”

Back in 2017, he thanked his wife for embracing her role as first lady during his two terms in office.

“To the girl from the South Side who took on a role she didn’t ask for and made it her own: Happy Birthday, Michelle. I love you,” he wrote on Twitter.

These two are clearly more in love than ever. Happy birthday to the former FLOTUS!

This story first appeared on Today.com.
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Olympic Rings Arrive in Host City on Barge Into Tokyo Bay – NBC4 Washington

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The Olympic rings have arrived in Tokyo.

They sailed into Tokyo Bay on Friday on a barge and will stay there until the Olympics open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9.

The blue, black, red, yellow, and green rings will be replaced after that by the symbol for the Paralympics Games, which open on Aug. 25.

The symbol for the Paralympics is called “agitos,”which resembles three brush strokes in red, blue, and green. The word in Latin means “I move.”

The five Olympic rings are gigantic. They stand 15.3 meters high — about 50 feet tall — and are 32.6 meters from end to end — about 100 feet in length.

“We decided to install the Olympic rings at this time because we wanted to do it first thing in the Olympic year,” said Kenichi Kimura, an Olympic official with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

The location of the rings in Tokyo Bay is the Odaiba Marine Park, which is the venue for triathlon and distance swimming. The venue is a made-for television location, with a view across the water of the Tokyo skyline and the Tokyo’s Rainbow bridge.

Many of Tokyo’s venues are located around the bay.

The rings will be the center of attention on Jan. 24 when Tokyo will note its six-months-to-go milestone with a fireworks display.

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