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2023: Jussie Smollett Request To Toss Convictions, Illinois Appeals Court To Hear Arguments

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CHICAGO, Ill. — Jussie Smollett’s long legal saga resumes Tuesday when an Illinois appeals court hears oral arguments on whether the former “Empire” actor’s convictions for orchestrating a racist, homophobic attack on himself in 2019 and then lying about it to Chicago police should be overturned.

If Smollett’s appeal before the First District Appellate Court in Chicago fails, he will have to serve the 150-day sentence imposed by his trial court during his 2022 sentencing. Smollett was only imprisoned for six days before being released pending the outcome of his appeal. The decision is expected to take many weeks.

Jussie’s lawyers argue in a 76-page written appeal that his 2021 trial violated his Fifth Amendment rights against double jeopardy — being punished for the same conduct twice. According to the report, he previously completed community service and forfeited a $10,000 bond as part of a 2019 agreement with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to dismiss the initial allegations.

Smollett, who is Black and gay, was the victim of a racist court system and people playing politics, according to Nenye Uche, one of his lawyers, last year. Uche slammed special prosecutor Dan Webb’s plan to seek further charges in 2020. He also deemed the trial judge’s sentence for a low-level offense excessive.

In the appeal, Smollett’s legal team claims that Chief Prosecutor Kim Foxx’s office exercised legitimate discretion in dropping the original charges four years ago.

smollett

Jussie Smollett’s long legal saga resumes Tuesday when an Illinois appeals court hears oral arguments.

“If Mr. Smollett’s convictions are allowed to stand, this case will set a dangerous precedent by giving prosecutors a second bite at the apple any time there is dissatisfaction with another prosecutor’s exercise of discretion,” the appeal claims.

According to the special prosecutor’s 55-page letter, how the agreement with Foxx’s office was constructed left open the prospect of recharging Smollett without breaking double jeopardy safeguards.

“Smollett’s attacks on the validity of his prosecution are legally and factually unsupported,” it says.

Jussie stated to police in January 2019, on a bitterly cold day in Chicago, that he was the victim of a racial and homophobic attack by two individuals wearing ski masks. The pursuit of the perpetrators quickly devolved into a probe of Smollett himself, which led to his arrest on charges of masterminding the attack.

Jussie allegedly paid two individuals he knew from his work on the TV program “Empire” to arrange the attack. Prosecutors said he informed them what racist and homophobic obscenities to say, as well as that Smollett was in “MAGA Country,” a reference to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign slogan.

smollett

Jussie Smollett’s long legal saga resumes Tuesday when an Illinois appeals court hears oral arguments.

In 2021, a jury found Smollett guilty of five felony charges of disorderly conduct — the offense filed when someone lies to police. On the sixth count, he was acquitted.

Jussie was sentenced to 30 months of felony probation in 2022, with 150 days served in Cook County Jail, $120,106 in restitution to the city of Chicago and a $25,000 fine by Cook County Judge James Linn.

As he jailed Jussie, Judge Linn called him a narcissist and expressed surprise at the actor’s behavior, given his mixed family history and ties to social justice activities.

During sentencing, as Smollett was being carried to jail, he yelled that he was innocent, warning the judge that he was not suicidal and that if he died in custody, it would have been someone else’s fault.

SOURCE – (AP)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Jack Black Ends Tenacious D Tour After Bandmate’s Trump Shooting Comment

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Jack Black | AP news Image

Tenacious D, the comedic rock duo comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, has postponed the remainder of their tour following Gass’ remarks about the murder attempt on Donald Trump.

On Sunday, while onstage at a concert in Sydney, Black presented Gass with a birthday cake and urged him to “make a wish”. Gass responded, “Don’t miss Trump next time,” an apparent reference to the previous day’s rally shooting, which left the former president with a damaged ear. The footage of Gass was widely shared on social media.

Jack Black Ends Tenacious D Tour After Bandmate’s Trump Shooting Comment

“What was mentioned during the broadcast on Sunday caught me off guard. “I would never condone hate speech or encourage political violence in any way,” Black wrote in an Instagram post on Tuesday. “After much thought, I no longer believe it is right to continue the Tenacious D tour, and any future creative plans are paused. I appreciate the fans’ support and understanding.”

Following Black’s statement, Gass apologized on Instagram.

“The line I improvised Sunday night in Sydney was highly inappropriate, dangerous and a terrible mistake,” the comedian wrote Tuesday. “I condemn all forms of violence against anyone. What happened was a tragedy, and I sincerely apologize for my lack of judgment.”

The band recently finished touring in the United States and Europe. Their “Spicy Meatball Tour” is set to resume Tuesday night in Newcastle. This month, they will visit most major cities in Australia and New Zealand before returning to the United States for a few chosen dates in October.

Jack Black Ends Tenacious D Tour After Bandmate’s Trump Shooting Comment

“Frontier Touring regret to advise that Tenacious D’s concert tonight at Newcastle Entertainment Centre has been postponed,” their touring firm stated on Instagram Tuesday. “Ticket holders are asked to hold onto their tickets until further information is available.”

A band representative referred the Associated Press to Black’s remark when approached for further comment. Details about reimbursements for the remaining tour dates were not immediately available.

SOURC | AP

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James Sikking, Star Of ‘Hill Street Blues’ And ‘Doogie Howser, MD,’ Dies At 90

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James Sikking | Hollywood Reporter Image

James Sikking, who played a harsh police officer on “Hill Street Blues” and the main character’s kindhearted father on “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” died at 90.

Sikking died of dementia complications, according to his spokeswoman, Cynthia Snyder, who released a statement Sunday evening.

Born the youngest of five children in Los Angeles on March 5, 1934, his early acting career included an uncredited performance in Roger Corman’s “Five Guns West” and a cameo appearance in an episode of “Perry Mason.” He also appeared in a slew of iconic 1970s television shows, including the action-packed “Mission: Impossible,” “M.A.S.H.,” “The F.B.I.,” “The Rockford Files,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “Charlie’s Angels,” as well as “Eight is Enough” and “Little House on the Prairie.”

James Sikking, Star Of ‘Hill Street Blues’ And ‘Doogie Howser, MD,’ Dies At 90

In 1981, “Hill Street Blues” made its premiere as a novel spin on the classic police procedural. Sikking played Lieutenant Howard Hunter, a clean-cut Vietnam War veteran who led the Metropolitan Police Department’s Emergency Action Team in an unnamed city.

The famous show was a drama, but Sikking’s strict personality and eccentricities were frequently employed to hilarious effect. Sikking modeled his performance after a drill instructor he had at basic training when military service interrupted his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, from which he graduated in 1959.

“The drill instructor looked like he had steel for hair, and his uniform had so much starch in it, you knew it would sit in the corner when he took it off in the barracks,” he told The Fresno Bee in 2014, as part of a series of interviews honoring the debut of the box set.

When it debuted on the heels of a Hollywood dual strike, the NBC show had dismal ratings and little attention. However, the struggling network kept it on the air. “Up popped this word ‘demographic,'” Sikking told the Star Tribune in 2014. “We were reaching out to folks with a specific education and income level. “They called it the ‘Esquire audience.'”

The show continued until 1987. However, it was unclear whether Sikking would make it that far. A December 1983 episode concluded with his character considering death. The cliffhanger prompted comparisons to the “Who shot J.R.?” mystery from “Dallas” not long ago — but it was immediately answered when TV supplements unintentionally printed a teaser description revealing Hunter’s survival.

“I remember when Howard attempted suicide. My brother called and inquired, ‘You still got a job?’ “I said, ‘Yeah,’ and he said, ‘Oh good,’ before hanging up,” Sikking told The Fresno Bee.

Sikking received an Emmy nomination for outstanding supporting actor in a drama in 1984. The style and format of “Hill Street Blues” were unfamiliar to Sikking and many in the audience, from the dirty look of the set to the various storylines that frequently kept performers working in the background even when they didn’t have lines in the scene.

“It was a lot of hard work, but everyone enjoyed it, and it shows. When you have people participating in the production, manufacturing, or whatever you want to call it, who are truly into it and enjoy doing it, you’re going to get a wonderful product,” he told Parade.com back in 2014. “We always had three different stories running through (each episode), which means you had to listen and you had to pay attention because everything was important.”

Aside from “Hill Street Blues,” Sikking portrayed Captain Styles in 1984’s “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.” He wasn’t excited about the position but was enticed by the prospect of spending only one day on set.

“It was not my cup of tea.” I was not interested in the outer space business. Back then, I had an arrogant attitude. I wanted to perform in a real theater. I wanted to develop real shows, not ones based on people’s imaginations of what outer space might be like,” Sikking told startrek.com in 2014. “So I had a silly prejudice against it, which is bizarre because I’ve probably and happily signed more this, that or the other thing of ‘Star Trek’ than I have anything of all the other work I’ve done.”

Following the conclusion of “Hill Street Blues,” he appeared in approximately 100 episodes of “Dougie Howser, M.D.,” reuniting with Steven Bochco, who co-created both “Hill Street Blues” and the sitcom starring Neil Patrick Harris.

He married Florine Caplan, and they had two children and four grandkids.

James Sikking, Star Of ‘Hill Street Blues’ And ‘Doogie Howser, MD,’ Dies At 90

Sikking had all but retired when the “Hill Street Blues” box set was released. He had fewer but notable parts after the millennium, guest-starring on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and appearing in the rom-com films “Fever Pitch” and “Made of Honor.” His final appearances were as a guest star on a 2012 episode of “The Closer” and in the film “Just an American.”

Sikking continued to host charitable activities. He frequently participated in celebrity golf tournaments and once attended the ribbon-cutting for a health center in an Iowa hamlet of only 7,200 inhabitants. “Actually, I came to get something from you—air I can’t see,” Sikking told the 100-person crowd. “Where we come from, if it isn’t brown, we don’t know how to breathe it,” The Associated Press reported in 1982.

“I’d probably do anything if it got me motivated. Acting is a license to conduct one’s investigation. “Being an actor is a great ego trip,” he told startrek.com in 2014. “I must say that, in the past few years in which I haven’t worked, the obscurity has been quite attractive.”

“The condiment of my life is good fortune,” he concluded.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Shannen Doherty, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Star, Dies At 53

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Shannen Doherty | AP News Image

Los Angeles — Shannen Doherty, the “Beverly Hills, 90210” star whose life and career were roiled by sickness and tabloid rumors, died at 53.

Leslie Sloane, Doherty’s spokesperson, confirmed that she died Saturday. She had breast cancer for several years.

“The beloved daughter, sister, aunt, and friend was surrounded by her loved ones, including her dog, Bowie. “The family requests privacy at this time so they can grieve in peace,” Sloane said. The news was initially published by People magazine.

Her sickness was made public in a lawsuit filed in 2015 against her former business managers, in which she claimed they mismanaged her money and let her health insurance lapse. She later disclosed detailed information about her treatment after a single mastectomy. In December 2016, she shared a snapshot of her first day of radiation, describing the therapy as “frightening” for her.

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Shannen Doherty | AP news Image

Shannen Doherty, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Star, Dies At 53

Doherty disclosed in February 2020 that her cancer had returned, and she was in stage four. She stated that she came out so that her medical conditions may be revealed in court. In 2018, the star filed a lawsuit against insurance company State Farm after her California home was damaged in a fire.

Doherty was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and relocated to Los Angeles with her family when she was seven. Within a few years, she became an actor.

“It was completely my decision,” she told The Associated Press in a 1994 interview. “My parents never forced me into anything. They support me. It wouldn’t matter if I were a professional soccer player; they’d be just as supportive and loving.”

She worked continuously as a child star on TV shows such as “Little House on the Prairie,” where she played Jenny Wilder. As a teenager, she detoured to the big screen with “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (1985) and “Heathers.”

In 1990, the doe-eyed, dark-haired actress scored her breakout role as Brenda Walsh in producer Aaron Spelling’s blockbuster teenage melodrama set in wealthy Beverly Hills. She and Brenda’s twin brother, Jason Priestley’s Brandon, were out of their element in the Midwest.

However, Doherty’s celebrity came with media scrutiny and allegations of outbursts, drunkenness, and impulsiveness, the last most notably following a brief marriage to George Hamilton’s son.

She quit “90210” at the end of its fourth season in 1994 (the show ran until 2000), allegedly due to problems with her costars and frequent tardiness.

However, in a 1994 Associated Press interview, Doherty portrayed her life as calm.

“It must be, if you pick up the Enquirer and find the only thing they can write about me is that I installed a pay phone next to my house and was seen at Stroud’s (a discount bed-and-bath chain) buying $1,400 worth of bed linens and wouldn’t go to an expensive store,” according to her. “It must be calm if they’re pulling that stuff out of their heads.”

Three years later, in 1997, a Beverly Hills Municipal Court judge sentenced Doherty to anger-management training after she allegedly smashed a beer bottle against a man’s window during a fight. In another legal fight, she pled no contest to a 2001 drunken driving charge and was sentenced to five days in a work-release program.

Doherty reconnected with Spelling in 1998 when he cast her as Prue Halliwell in “Charmed.” In an AP interview that year, the actress professed regret for her past.

“I did bring a lot of it on myself,” Doherty admitted. “I don’t believe I can point fingers and say, ‘Oh, you’re to blame.'” I don’t do this with myself, either. “Because I was still growing up.”

Doherty also stated that the media had “grotesquely misconstrued” her personality.

Spelling stated that their relationship was never as bad as others made it appear.

“We had a few bumps along the road, but golly, who doesn’t?” recalled Spelling, who died in 2006. “Everything Shannen did was blown out of proportion by the rag sheets.”

From 1998 until 2001, Doherty starred in “Charmed” alongside Holly Marie Combs and Alyssa Milano, after which Rose McGowan replaced her character. Seven years later, she starred in the “90210” sequel series alongside original series star Jennie Garth and competed in “Dancing with the Stars” in 2010. She also worked on the third “Beverly Hills, 90210” revival, “BH90210,” a meta take on the program that ran for one season in 2019.

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Shannen Doherty | AP News Image

Shannen Doherty, ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ Star, Dies At 53

Doherty struggled to regain her “Beverly Hills, 90210” star status, although she did work in big-screen pictures like “Mallrats” and “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back,” as well as TV movies like “A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story,” in which she played the author of “Gone with the Wind.” The nadir was “Blindfold: Acts of Obsession,” an erotic thriller starring Judd Nelson.

Doherty’s case against her former business managers was settled in 2016. She was honest about the toll cancer was taking on her. In an August 2016 interview with “Entertainment Tonight,” she discussed her anxieties and provided photographs of her baldness after treatment.

“The unknown is always the scariest part,” she told me. “Will the chemo work? “Is the radiation going to work?” she asked. “Pain is manageable, you know, living without a breast is manageable; it’s the worry of your future and how your future is going to affect the people that you love.”

Doherty married Rick Salomon in 2002 after the latter was involved in a sex tape issue with Paris Hilton. The marriage was annulled within a year. In 2011, Doherty married photographer Kurt Iswarienko. She filed for divorce in April 2023.

SOURCE | AP

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