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Harvey Weinstein: 1 sexual assault count dismissed, for now

Harvey Weinstein: 1 sexual assault count dismissed, for now

A Los Angeles judge has dismissed one of 11 sexual assault counts against Harvey Weinstein, giving the former movie mogul and convicted rapist a victory that could be temporaryBy ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment WriterJuly 29, 2021, 8:08 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles judge on Thursday dismissed one of 11 sexual assault counts against Harvey Weinstein, giving the former movie mogul and convicted rapist a minor and possibly temporary victory.At a hearing with the 69-year-old Weinstein in the courtroom, Judge Lisa B. Lench agreed with his defense attorneys that a count alleging sexual battery by restraint in May of 2010 was too old, and outside the statute of limitations.But she gave the prosecution permission to refile the charge in a way that may be allowable, setting up an ongoing fight.Weinstein pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts last week in his first court appearance in the California case. He was extradited from New York, where he is serving a 23-year sentence for convictions of rape and sexual assault.In Los Angeles, Weinstein was first charged with the now-dismissed count in January of 2020, before the statute of limitations had expired. Prosecutors then got an indictment from a grand jury on an identical count six months later, when the time had lapsed.Weinstein’s lawyers successfully argued at Thursday’s hearing that the grand jury indictment counted as a new case, making the charge “fatally flawed.”“No one forced the prosecution to go to the grand jury,” Weinstein attorney Alan Jackson said in court. “They chose to enter a new case.”Prosecutors argued that it was a continuation of the same case and should be considered what’s often called a superseding indictment.Other charges against Weinstein are for even older incidents, but different statutes apply to them.Outside court, the defense touted the ruling as a significant victory, pointing out that it removes one of the five women involved in the 11 counts.“Twenty percent of the district attorneys case has just been thrown out,” Weinstein attorney Mark Werksman said.None of the women have been identified.The judge sided with the prosecution on two other counts that she refused to dismiss, rejecting defense arguments those incidents were also too old.No trial date has been set for Weinstein. More technical fights are likely to come before it begins as his lawyers seek to erode the case against him. They have said the charges are all baseless, old and uncorroborated.Weinstein was brought into court in a wheelchair wearing brown county jail attire. A bailiff unshackled him from the chair and put him next to his attorneys.The lawyers argued that Weinstein should be allowed to change into a suit for this and similar proceedings, a move that’s standard for a jury trial but less common for pre-trial hearings.Werksman called the jail clothes a “mark of Cain” that branded his client a criminal in photos and video from the courtroom.The judge rejected the argument, suggesting the garb wasn’t so bad.“Mr. Weinstein is wearing a brown top,” Lench said. “You know it’s jail attire, but I’m not sure everybody knows it’s jail attire.”——Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Bob Odenkirk collapses on 'Better Call Saul' set

Bob Odenkirk collapses on 'Better Call Saul' set

“Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk has been hospitalized after collapsing on the show’s New Mexico setBy ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment WriterJuly 28, 2021, 5:09 AM• 2 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — “Better Call Saul” star Bob Odenkirk collapsed on the show’s New Mexico set on Tuesday and had to be hospitalized.Crew members called an ambulance that took the 58-year-old actor to a hospital, where he remained Tuesday night, a person close to Odenkirk who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Associated Press.It was not immediately clear what caused the collapse, or how long Odenkirk might be hospitalized.“Better Call Saul,” the spin-off prequel to “Breaking Bad,” has been shooting its sixth and final season, which is set to air on AMC next year.Like “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul” is set in and mostly shot in Albuquerque.An email sent to a representative of AMC seeking more information or comment was not immediately returned.Odenkirk has been nominated for four Emmys for playing the title character, a down-on-his-luck lawyer named Jimmy McGill who becomes increasingly corrupt and adopts the pseudonym Saul Goodman.Michael McKean, Odenkirk’s co-star who played his brother on the show, was among many wishing Odenkirk well on social media.“Sending huge love to our @mrbobodenkirk,” McKean tweeted. “You got this, brother.”Odenkirk’s hospitalization was first reported by TMZ.Before the “Saul” role, which he also played on “Breaking Bad,” Odenkirk was best known for “Mr. Show With Bob and David,” the sketch comedy series he co-created with David Cross that originally aired on HBO from 1995 to 1998.He has won two Emmys, for his writing on “The Ben Stiller Show” and on “Saturday Night Live.”He has also appeared on HBO’s “The Larry Sanders Show” and in the films “The Post,” “Little Women” and “Nobody.”———Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Britney Spears' new lawyer files to remove father's control

Britney Spears' new lawyer files to remove father's control

Britney Spears’ new lawyer has petitioned to remove her father from the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years and replace him with a professional accountantBy ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment WriterJuly 27, 2021, 3:21 AM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — Britney Spears’ new attorney petitioned Monday to oust her father from the conservatorship that has controlled her life and money for 13 years and replace him with a professional accountant.Matthew Rosengart said in documents filed in Los Angeles Superior court that the current legal arrangement “has grown increasingly toxic and is simply no longer tenable.”He proposed that James Spears be replaced with CPA Jason Rubin as conservator of the pop star’s estate, which documents say equates to $2.7 million in cash and more than $57 million in assets.Rosengart said in the filing that before he sought to end the conservatorship, he was first addressing “the most pressing issue facing Ms. Spears: removing Mr. Spears as conservator of the estate.”“Any father who genuinely loves his daughter and has her best interests at heart should willingly step aside in favor of the highly respected professional fiduciary nominated here,” Rosengart said in the documents.Lynne Spears, Britney’s mother and James’ ex-wife, said in a declaration supporting Rosengart’s filing that his “microscopic control” over her health care and business decisions in a key period in 2018 and 2019 was especially damaging.“Such scrutiny is exhausting and terrifying, like living in custody,” Lynne Spears said.James Spears stepped down as the so-called conservator of the person for his daughter in 2019, ceding control of her life decisions and health care to court-appointed professional Jodie Montgomery while maintaining control of her finances.A message sent seeking comment from James Spears and his legal team was not immediately returned. But at a July 14 hearing, his attorney Vivian Thoreen said he would not be stepping down and he has only ever been motivated by his daughter’s best interests.Thoreen said Britney Spears had many inaccurate beliefs, among them that “her father is responsible for all the bad things that have happened to her.”Judge Brenda Penny gave Britney Spears permission to hire an attorney of her choice at that hearing, when for the second straight time the singer publicly assailed the conservatorship that has been in place since 2008, breaking into tears as she described the “cruelty” it subjected her to.“My dad needs to be removed today,” she said, adding that she would like to see him charged with abusing his position.Penny has not yet shown any inclination to remove James Spears, and it is not the first time an attorney for Britney Spears has sought her father’s ouster.Last year, Rosengart’s court-appointed predecessor, Samuel Ingham III, proposed that James Spears be replaced with estate-management firm The Bessemer Trust. Penny instead ruled that Jamie Spears and the firm should work in tandem, but Bessemer bowed out of the arrangement before it formally began.Ingham resigned after the dramatic June hearing when the pop star publicly decried the conservatorship for the first time, telling Penny: “I just want my life back.”A hearing to address Rosengart’s petition and other issues in the conservatorship is scheduled for Sept. 29.———Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Jolie-Pitt divorce judge disqualified by appeals court

Jolie-Pitt divorce judge disqualified by appeals court

A California appeals court on Friday disqualified a private judge being used by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in their divorce case, handing Jolie a major victoryBy ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment WriterJuly 23, 2021, 7:34 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — A California appeals court on Friday disqualified a private judge being used by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in their divorce case, handing Jolie a major victory.The 2nd District Court of Appeal agreed with Jolie that Judge John W. Ouderkirk didn’t sufficiently disclose business relationships with Pitt’s attorneys.“Judge Ouderkirk’s ethical breach, considered together with the information disclosed concerning his recent professional relationships with Pitt’s counsel, might cause an objective person, aware of all the facts, reasonably to entertain a doubt as to the judge’s ability to be impartial. Disqualification is required,” the court ruled.The decision means that the custody fight over the couple’s five minor children, which was nearing an end, could be starting over.The judge already ruled the pair divorced, but separated the child custody issues.Like many celebrity couples, Pitt and Jolie opted to hire their own judge to increase their privacy in the divorce proceedings.“The appeals court ruling was based on a technical procedural issue. The facts haven’t changed. There is an extraordinary amount of factual evidence which led the judge — and the many experts who testified — to reach their clear conclusion about what is in the children’s best interests,” a statement by Pitt’s representative said. “We will continue to do what’s necessary legally based on the detailed findings of what’s best for the children.”Details of the custody rulings have not been publicly released.Ouderkirk declined to disqualify himself when Jolie asked him to in a filing in August. A lower court judge ruled that Jolie’s request for disqualification came too late. Jolie’s attorneys then appealed.The July 9 oral arguments in front of the appeals court focused on exactly which ethical rules should apply to private judges, who, like Ouderkirk, are usually retired superior court judges.“If you’re going to play the role of a paid private judge you have to play by the rules and the rules are very clear, they require full transparency,” Jolie’s attorney Robert Olson said. “Matters that should have been disclosed were not disclosed.”The panel questioned whether such an arrangement should be allowed in California at all, but their ruling applies only to Ouderkirk.Attorneys for the two sides did not have an immediate comment on the ruling.Jolie, 46, and Pitt, 57, were among Hollywood’s most prominent couples for 12 years. They had been married for two years when Jolie filed for divorce in 2016. They were declared divorced in April 2019, after their lawyers asked for a judgment that allowed a married couple to be declared single while other issues remained, including finances and child custody.In May, Jolie and her attorneys criticized Ouderkirk for not allowing the couple’s children to testify in the proceedings.The actress also said the judge “has failed to adequately consider” a section of the California courts code, which says it is detrimental to the best interest of the child if custody is awarded to a person with a history of domestic violence. Her filing did not give details about what it was referring to, but her lawyers submitted a document under seal in March that purportedly offers additional information.The ruling does not address whether the children should be allowed to testify in the case.———Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexual assaults in California

Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexual assaults in California

LOS ANGELES — Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles courtroom Wednesday to four counts of rape and seven other sexual assault counts.Sheriff’s deputies brought the 69-year-old convicted rapist into court in a wheelchair. He was wearing a brown jail jumpsuit and face mask. Attorney Mark Werksman entered the plea for the disgraced movie mogul a day after Weinstein was extradited to California from New York, where he was serving a 23-year prison term.Weinstein spoke only to say “thank you” to Judge Sergio Tapia, who wished him good luck as the hearing ended.He now awaits a second trial on a second coast, and the possibility of another lengthy sentence.Weinstein’s indictment involves five women in incidents spanning from 2004 to 2013. Most are said to have taken place in the hotels in Beverly Hills and Los Angeles that the New York-based Weinstein would make his headquarters for Hollywood business. Some took place during Oscars week, when his films were perennial contenders before the #MeToo movement brought him down.He pleaded not guilty to four counts of rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force, charges that together could bring a sentence of 140 years.Werksman told the judge that he was filing documents requesting the dismissal of three of the counts, saying they were beyond the statute of limitations.“They’re baseless, they’re from long, long ago, they’re uncorroborated,” Werksman said of the charges after the hearing. “We are confident that if we have a fair trial he will be acquitted.”The women were not identified in the indictment.Attorney Gloria Allred, who represents two of them, said the age of the incidents was not a factor in their truth.“Allegations of sexual assault and rape do take a long time to report, so the idea that they may not have disclosed to a law enforcement officer for many years does not mean that those are not credible,” Allred said.The terms of Weinstein’s extradition require that his trial begin by November. Werksman said Weinstein had yet to waive that right. But it would be unusual for the trial to begin that quickly. Weinstein returns to court for a motions hearing next week.A New York jury found Weinstein guilty of raping an aspiring actress in 2013 in a Manhattan hotel room and forcibly performing oral sex on a TV and film production assistant in 2006 at his Manhattan apartment.He is appealing that conviction, seeking a new trial. Weinstein maintains his innocence and contends that any sexual activity was consensual.Los Angeles prosecutors first charged Weinstein in January 2020, just as jury selection was getting underway in the New York City case.More charges were added later in the year, and in March, he was indicted by an LA County grand jury. That indictment was unsealed by the judge on Wednesday, but the allegations in it are essentially identical to those already revealed in previous criminal complaints.The pandemic and procedural delays meant that Weinstein’s extradition took well over a year. His attorneys cited his declining health as they sought to keep him at a state prison near Buffalo, New York, until jury selection began in the Los Angeles trial.At Wednesday’s hearing, Werksman requested a health examination of Weinstein. He said outside court that he was especially concerned for Weinstein’s vision.“He’s going blind in one eye,” the attorney said.Once a major power in Hollywood along with his brother Bob and their movie companies Miramax and The Weinstein Co., Harvey Weinstein would be marked as the archvillain of the #MeToo movement starting late in 2017, when women’s accounts were published in the New York Times and the New Yorker. He would be arrested in New York seven months later.Rumors about Weinstein’s behavior swirled in film industry circles for decades, but he silenced many accusers with payoffs, nondisclosure agreements and the fear that he could crush their careers.”Anyone who abuses their power and influence to prey upon others will be brought to justice,” Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement Wednesday.The Los Angeles charges came from a task force established to tackle sexual misconduct in Hollywood as #MeToo gained momentum.Weinstein and porn performer Ron Jeremy are among the few charged by the team, which declined to prosecute more than 20 famous men because the allegations against them were too old or could not be corroborated.———Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Spears hearing to deal with turmoil from her dramatic speech

Spears hearing to deal with turmoil from her dramatic speech

Three weeks after Britney Spears’ dramatic comments in court condemning the conservatorship that has controlled her life for 13 years, a Los Angeles judge and others with power over the pop star will convene for a hearing to deal with the aftermathBy ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment WriterJuly 14, 2021, 6:32 AM• 4 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — Three weeks after Britney Spears ‘ dramatic comments in court condemning the conservatorship that has controlled her life for 13 years, a Los Angeles judge and others with legal power over the pop star will convene for a hearing Wednesday to deal with the aftermath.Spears’ remarks led to the resignation of her court-appointed lawyer, the withdrawal of an estate-management company that was supposed to oversee her finances, and a volley of accusations between her father and a professional conservator over who’s to blame for the legal circumstances Spears said are “abusive” and need to end.Spears is not expected to speak again at the afternoon hearing, in which all the parties are expected to take part remotely, but she may weigh in as she seeks to hire a lawyer of her choice.At the June 23 hearing, her first public words in court on the matter, Spears said she was being forced to take medication and use an intrauterine device for birth control, said she was not allowed to marry her boyfriend, and said she wanted to own her own money.“I just want my life back,” Spears said.She was harshly critical of her father, who serves as conservator of her finances, and had more measured criticism for Jodi Montgomery, the court-appointed professional who serves as conservator of her person, overseeing her life choices.James Spears said in a legal filing that the court needs to investigate the allegations and Montgomery’s role, pointing out that his daughter’s personal life has been beyond his control since he resigned as conservator of her person in 2019, a role he played for 11 years. He opposed Montgomery’s request for money to hire security because of recent death threats, saying he has been subjected to similar threats for years.Montgomery denied that Britney Spears was prevented from marrying or forced to use birth control. She lashed back at James Spears, saying that Britney Spears has expressed no desire to oust her as she has with her father.Montgomery said she is committed to staying on the job and is putting a care plan in place to help end the conservatorship, something she said James Spears has expressed no desire to do.“Mr. Spears, as the Conservator of the Estate, and Ms. Montgomery, as the Conservator of the Person, should be working as a team to ensure that Ms. Spears’ best interest are being met, that she is on a path to recovery and termination of her conservatorship, and that she is living her best life possible,” Montgomery said in a court filing. “Instead, Mr. Spears has decided it is time to start the finger-pointing and media attacks … The mud-slinging by Mr. Spears and his new ‘It wasn’t me!’ strategy — after being her sole or co-conservator for more than 13 years — leaves Ms. Montgomery no other choice but to defend herself.”Despite nearly two years on the job, Montgomery’s status is still technically temporary. She appeared to be on track for permanent appointment before recent events.Britney Spears will still be represented at Wednesday’s hearing by her longtime court-appointed lawyer, Samuel Ingham III, who filed documents last week saying he resigned, effective as soon as she got a new attorney, which at the June hearing she said she wanted.The Bessemer Trust, a financial company that Spears had sought as a replacement for her father last year but was instead appointed to work alongside him, also withdrew from the conservatorship last week, saying it no longer wanted to take part in a legal arrangement that she didn’t want.———Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Diversity, firsts and more facts from the Emmy nominations

Diversity, firsts and more facts from the Emmy nominations

It’s a year of diversity and firsts in the nominations for the 73rd Emmy AwardsBy ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment WriterJuly 13, 2021, 10:03 PM• 5 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleLOS ANGELES — Assorted facts and figures drawn from the nominations for the 73rd Emmy Awards:FENNELL FINDS HONORS ACROSS FIELDSFresh off an Oscar win for best original screenplay for “Promising Young Woman,” which she also directed, Renaissance woman Emerald Fennell has earned an Emmy nomination for acting. She’s up for best supporting actress in a drama for playing Camilla Parker Bowles in “The Crown.” Fennell previously earned two nominations for her writing and producing of “Killing Eve” in 2019.DIVERSITY FIRSTS:Mj Rodriguez of “ Pose,” nominated for best actress in a drama, breaks ground as the first trans woman to be nominated in a lead acting category. She’s the third trans person overall to be nominated, after Laverne Cox’s 2014 guest drama actress nod for “Orange is the New Black” and Rain Valdez’s 2020 nomination for short form comedy or drama actress for “Razor Tongue.” And Jonathan Majors and Jurnee Smollett, of the canceled HBO sci-fi drama “Lovecraft Country” are the first Black actors to be nominated in the lead acting category for the same drama series. They’re among 46 people of color nominated across all acting categories.TIMING IS KIND TO RASHADPhylicia Rashad landed her third straight Emmy nomination for “This Is Us” after getting harsh criticism for her celebration of the freeing of her former co-star Bill Cosby. The voting that led to Rashad’s nod for best guest actress in a drama series ended on June 28, two days before the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed Cosby’s sexual assault conviction and allowed him to be released from prison. Rashad celebrated the move by tweeting “FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted- a miscarriage of justice is corrected!” Her critics included Howard University, where she had just been made dean of the College of Fine Arts. Rashad later tweeted that “I fully support survivors of sexual assault coming forward.” Rashad’s first two Emmy nominations in 1985 and 1986 came for playing Cosby’s wife Clair Huxtable on “The Cosby Show.”APOLLO 73At age 73, Carl Weathers has earned his first nomination for a major acting award with a nod for best guest actor in a drama series for “The Mandalorian.” Best known for playing Apollo Creed in four “Rocky” films, the former NFL player has been acting since the mid-1970s in movies including “Predator,” “Action Jackson” and “Happy Gilmore.”NOMS BY THE NUMBERS:306: Emmy nominations through the years for “Saturday Night Live.” With 21 new nods in 2021, the sketch institution extends a record that is unlikely ever to be broken. It has nearly double the total of the closest contender, “Game of Thrones” which earned 161.24: Nods for the queen and the bounty hunter. “The Crown” and “The Mandalorian” are the year’s top nominees with two dozen nods apiece.23: Nominations for fake TV. “ WandaVision ” with its synthesized faux-shows in the style of “I Love Lucy” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Malcolm In The Middle,” has a shot at a whole bunch of very real Emmys.20: Nominations for the coach. The total for “Ted Lasso” tops the 19 earned by “Glee” in 2010 to make it the most nominated first-season comedy ever. It fell just short of the record for a comedy series, 22, set by “30 Rock” in 2009.6: First-time nominations for cast members of “Ted Lasso.” Most of the half-dozen performers were virtually unknown in the U.S. before the upstart soccer comedy. They include star Jason Sudeikis along with Brett Goldstein, Nick Mohammed, Hannah Waddingham, Jeremy Swift and Juno Temple.5: First-time nominations for cast members of “Hamilton.” There are few things “Hamilton” hasn’t done, few awards it hasn’t won, but the Broadway show’s television version on Disney+ brought the first career Emmy nods to Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Anthony Ramos, Phillipa Soo and Daveed Diggs.4: Men from “Ted Lasso” nominated in the same category. Goldstein, Mohammed, Swift and Brendan Hunt make up half the nominees for best supporting actor in a comedy series.3: Actors nominated for two different shows. Jean Smart is up for best actress in a comedy series for “Hacks” and best supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie for “Mare of Easttown.” Aidy Bryant was nominated for best actress in a comedy for “Shrill” and best supporting actress in a comedy for “Saturday Night Live.” Her “SNL” castmate Kenan Thompson was nominated for best supporting actor in a comedy for that show and best actor in a comedy for “Kenan.”2: Nominees for best variety sketch series. The category will be a game of one-on-one between “Saturday Night Live” and “A Black Lady Sketch Show” in a year of slim sketch pickings. The relatively new category had just three nominees last year, but has included either five or six in every year since 2015.1: Acting nomination for Rosie Perez, who scored her first this year, for best supporting actress in a comedy series in “The Flight Attendant.” Her Emmy noms resume is deep and diversified, though. She was nominated three times for her choreography on “In Living Color” and once as a host on “The View.”0: The number of times Netflix has won the Emmys top prize, best drama series, despite a dominant performance in the sheer number of nominations in recent years. It has a very strong chance this year to finally win best drama series with top nominee “The Crown.”———Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

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