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Jussie Smollett’s Chaotic Arraignment, Scheduled to Return to Court Mar 18




1:52 PM PT — TMZ has obtained a copy of Jussie Smollett’s motion to dismiss his new criminal case in Chicago, and he’s basically arguing with a judge that he can’t be tried again … because he’s already been penalized once before, which he thinks triggers double jeopardy.

In the docs, Jussie says when he forfeited his $10k bond as restitution to the city of Chicago a year ago when the OG charges were initially dropped … that served as his official punishment. And, because it was recorded as his penalty, he believes he can’t be tried again for the same alleged offenses.

A judge still needs to rule on his request.

9:11 AM PT — The Osundairo brothers’ attorney, Gloria Schmidt, just spoke to reporters apologizing for the brothers’ involvement in the whole ordeal. She added the brothers are also willing to testify in the case.

8:40 AM PT — Jussie pled not guilty and his legal team filed a motion for the case to be dismissed. He’s scheduled to be back in court March 18.

CHICAGO (TMZ) — Jussie Smollett is back in a Chicago courtroom, and you’ve gotta see the ruckus his arrival created outside … as his supporters made sure they were heard.

Jussie was flanked Monday morning by an entourage of about 10 people — some of them family members — as he made his way into his arraignment on 6 new felony counts of lying to cops. At least one photog went down in a heap at Jussie’s feet while he tried to get into the courthouse.

In the video, you can hear Jussie’s backers chanting, “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!!!”

We’re expecting the ex-“Empire” star to enter not guilty pleas to all 6 charges in the new indictment, which calls the 6 charges “disorderly conduct,” but all involve allegations of lying to cops.

Interestingly, Abel and Ola Osundairo also showed up at court this morning. There’s no reason for them to be at his arraignment — we know they’ll be testifying against Jussie, but that’s weeks down the road.

As we reported … the special prosecutor, Dan Webb, said Jussie “planned and participated in a staged hate crime attack, and thereafter made numerous false statements to Chicago Police Dept. officers.”

You’ll recall, Jussie claimed he was attacked in Chicago by 2 white men … alleging the men put a rope around his neck and doused him with bleach. He claimed they also yelled racial and homophobic slurs. As the investigation unfolded, 2 black men — brothers Abel and Ola Osundario — were detained and they told police Jussie paid them to stage the attack.

The special prosecutor effectively re-opened the controversial case nearly a year after Cook County prosecutors dropped all 16 felony counts against Smollett in March 2019. At the time, they called it a “just disposition and appropriate resolution,” but not an exoneration.

Jussie’s attorney, Tina Glandian, questioned the timing of the indictment. State Attorney Kim Foxx also questioned the timing. Jussie maintains he’s innocent. If convicted, he faces up to 3 years in state prison.

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Celebrity News

Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest ‘Rona Rate



Joe Exotic Prison Has 2nd Highest 'Rona Rate

FORT WORTH (TMZ) — The prison Joe Exotic is currently being held at is the second leading hotbed for coronavirus in the entire federal prison system — but not to worry … Uncle Sam’s got a plan.

The ‘Tiger King’ star has been locked up at FMC Forth Worth in Texas, and as of Tuesday … there was a total of 298 confirmed COVID-19 cases among inmates, making it number 2 behind a federal CA facility at 570 inmate cases.

If that sounds troubling, it should … we’ve seen jails and prisons across the U.S. getting besieged with the virus — and some of the inmates are suffering. The Federal Bureau of Prisons has assured us they’re going above and beyond for their prisoners, staff and visitors alike at Joe’s facility to keep them safe and healthy.

As for Joe … his people have repeatedly told us … he’s virus-free.

The agency tells TMZ there’s a comprehensive action plan in place at all of their institutions — which includes reducing inmate transfers, increasing screening and testing, minimizing unnecessary movement on the inside and temporarily canceling social and legal visits, not to mention training for BOP employees. They will also do regular temperature checks.

The trick is … as little congregating as possible. BOP says it’s trying to keep guards at one post for as long as possible to avoid unnecessary interaction.

BOP also tells us they’ve made sure everyone — prisoners and staffers — have received surgical masks. BOP says it has things under control — so far fewer than 5 deaths at the Fort Worth facility … but with nearly 300 cases, it’s gotta be viewed as a full-fledged outbreak.

So … guess that means Joe’s in good hands??? Here’s hoping so.

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Celebrity News

Anderson Cooper Reveals He’s a Dad, Welcomes New Baby Boy



Anderson Cooper Reveals He's a Dad, Welcomes New Baby Boy

NEW YORK CITY (TMZ) — Anderson Cooper is the proud new father of a baby boy … revealing Wyatt Morgan Cooper to the world.

The CNN anchor took to Instagram Thursday night to reveal earlier this week Wyatt was born via surrogate. Cooper said, “As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I’m grateful for all those who have paved the way, and for the doctors and nurses and everyone involved in my son’s birth.”

As for Wyatt’s name, 52-year-old says it’s in honor of his dad, who passed away when he was just 10, saying, “I hope I can be as good a dad as he was.”

Anderson also shared a sweet message about his surrogate, saying, “Most of all, I am grateful to a remarkable surrogate who carried Wyatt, and watched over him lovingly, and tenderly, and gave birth to him. It is an extraordinary blessing – what she, and all surrogates give to families who cant have children.”

Finally, Anderson says, “I do wish my mom and dad and my brother, Carter, were alive to meet Wyatt, but I like to believe they can see him. I imagine them all together, arms around each other, smiling and laughing, happy to know that their love is alive in me and in Wyatt, and that our family continues.” His mother, Gloria Vanderbilt died last year.

Wyatt is Anderson’s first child … Congrats!!

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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Celebrity News

Madonna: I Have Antibodies … Gonna Breathe in COVID-19 Air



Madonna: I Have Antibodies ... Gonna Breathe in COVID-19 Air

Madonna has revealed — via her “Quarantine Diary” — that she’s tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, and already has a bizarre plan for using them.

The Material Girl’s known for posting some eccentric material on her Instagram, but she’s kicked things up a notch during lockdown … the latest being heading outside to “breathe in the COVID-19 air.”

Yep, Madge says now that she knows she has the antibodies, she’s going out for a drive and rolling down the windows. She included the hashtags #staysafe #staysane with her video post.

It’s unclear exactly what M hopes to accomplish by sucking in virus air on her drive, but if she truly has antibodies it means she likely already had the coronavirus. Most scientists agree she should have some COVID-19 immunity, but it’s unclear for how long.

Madonna’s been doing her part in coronavirus relief efforts — both by donating a million dollars and joining the REFORM Alliance in sending 100,000 surgical masks to jails and prisons.

She’s throwing caution to the wind, though, with her own health.

Hey, she’s got a pocket full o’ antibodies and she’s gonna spend ’em!!!

Tune in to TMZ on TV weekdays Monday through Friday (check syndicated/local listings)

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