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Chicago sues Jussie Smollett over costs of investigating alleged attack



Chicago sues Jussie Smollett over costs of investigating alleged attack

(Reuters) – The city of Chicago filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Jussie Smollett seeking three times the damages it said it incurred in the investigation of a hate crime that authorities allege the “Empire” actor staged.

FILE PHOTO: Actor Jussie Smollett leaves court after charges against him were dropped by state prosecutors in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

The lawsuit, which did not specify the amount of damages, was filed in Cook County Circuit Court over two weeks after prosecutors dismissed the criminal charges against Smollett alleging he fabricated the Jan. 29 attack.

Chicago officials previously said they would sue Smollett after he refused a demand by the city for $130,000 to cover police overtime costs to investigate the actor’s claims.

The lawsuit said Chicago would seek “three times the amount of the damages the city sustained.”

The actor’s criminal defense attorney, Mark Geragos, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Geragos, who in the past has represented celebrities such as Michael Jackson, previously said Smollett “will not be intimidated into paying the demanded sum.”

Smollett, 36, who is black and gay, ignited a firestorm on social media by telling police on Jan. 29 that two apparent supporters of President Donald Trump struck him, put a noose around his neck and poured bleach over him while yelling racist and homophobic slurs on a Chicago street.


After weeks of investigation, Chicago police determined that Smollett cooked up the scheme — in which they allege he hired two brothers to pose as his attackers — because he was dissatisfied with his salary on “Empire.”

Smollett, best known for his role on the Twentieth Century Fox Television hip-hop drama, has said he has always been truthful about the incident.

He was charged in February with staging the incident and filing a false police report, but Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office prosecutors dropped all charges against him in March.

Outgoing Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel described the decision as “a whitewash of justice.”

Smollett admitted no wrongdoing, but agreed to do community service and give up $10,000 in bond money.

It remains to be seen whether Chicago’s mayor-elect, Lori Lightfoot, will pursue the legal case when she takes office on May 20.

She said the State’s Attorney’s Office had to better explain why it dropped charges and there should not be the perception there was one set of justice for the “rich or famous” and another for everyone else.

Reporting by Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Additional reporting by Karen Pierog in Chicago; Editing by Peter Cooney

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Adam Carolla says he finds freedom ‘in not caring’ what people think of him




Adam Carolla says he finds freedom 'in not caring' what people think of him

Podcast host and comedian Adam Carolla appeared on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday night and talked about how he deals with personal attacks and other criticism in the era of ‘wokeness.’

“I know what’s in my heart, and I hate that statement, but I know who I am.” Carolla said.


“You can’t convince me that I hate a sexual proclivity, hate a person, you couldn’t convince me I hated a neighbor or a friend or Hispanic, blacks, gays, whatever. You can’t bestow that up on me. That is something that is inside me, and I’m aware of it and I know I don’t. So you can’t convince me of that.”

Carolla, 54 — who from 1999 to 2003 co-hosted “The Man Show” on Comedy Central with Jimmy Kimmel — also talked about the “freedom in not caring” and why he believes more people are unable to grasp that ability.

“There is a real freedom in not caring,” Carolla said.

“Why don’t more people feel like that?” Carlson asked.

“I think there is vanity. And I think that everybody is wired to be a little bit narcissistic and no one wants to go online and read bad things about themselves. Nobody wants to read untruths or inaccurate things about themselves,” Carolla responded.

The popular podcaster criticized modern critics, calling them a “media gratification group,” and discussed how he deals with attacks.


“They are in the business of mowing you down and moving onto the next subject. You know what I mean? They are an immediate gratification group. Let’s remember these are kids who got everything they wanted immediately. If you don’t give them immediate gratification, they’re off you in two days,” Carolla said.

“This is not a long slog over months and years. This is ‘You give me what I want right now’ which is an apology or you can get fired from your job or whatever that is. You could be humiliated. You could be contrite. If you don’t give in almost immediately, they immediately move on to the next victim.”

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CNN’s Anderson Cooper mocks Trump for speaking in third person: He’s ‘not supposed to talk like Elmo’




CNN's Anderson Cooper mocks Trump for speaking in third person: He's 'not supposed to talk like Elmo'

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper closed his show on Wednesday night by mocking President Trump for his “unusual tic” of speaking in the third person, comparing him to the “Sesame Street” character Elmo.

President Trump spoke to reporters earlier in the day and attacked the Mueller probe as a “witch hunt.”

“We just went through the Mueller witch hunt, where you had, really, 18 angry Democrats that hate President Trump. They hate him with a passion,” Trump said.

Cooper cried foul on numerous fronts.

“Him! He is him! Why is he doing this?” Cooper asked. “Also, grammar aside for a moment, if he says ‘witch hunt’ one more frickin’ time, Glinda is gonna float down from Oz and tell Lee Greenwood to hit the yellow brick road because Dorothy has arrived with the Lion, the Tin Man, and the Scarecrow. Of course, the Scarecrow doesn’t have a brain, but even if he did, the third-person-in-chief wouldn’t be worried.”

The CNN anchor then played a clip of Trump boasting about China’s respect of “Donald Trump and for Donald Trump’s very, very large brain” during a 2018 news conference.


“The president of the United States is not supposed to talk like Elmo… Speaking in the third person, it was a habit for President Trump long before he moved to 1600 Sesame Street,” Cooper continued.

He then invoked a 2012 tweet in which Trump congratulated himself for high ratings when he starred on “The Apprentice.”

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Chris Pratt ‘refused to audition’ for ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ in the beginning, casting director says




Chris Pratt 'refused to audition' for 'Guardians of the Galaxy’ in the beginning, casting director says

Chris Pratt almost wasn’t Peter Quill aka Star-Lord.

Sarah Finn, the casting director behind 22 Marvel movies, revealed the shocking news while attending the “Avengers: Endgame” premiere in Los Angeles on Monday.

“[Director] James Gunn has been very generous about this in saying that I, to the point of annoying him, kept insisting that Chris Pratt was the guy for the part,” Finn explained to Variety before admitting that “Chris didn’t want to play the part and refused to audition.”


Chris Pratt, pictured here at the "Avengers: Endgame" premiere on April 22, 2019, initially "refused to audition" as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in the 2014 film "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Chris Pratt, pictured here at the “Avengers: Endgame” premiere on April 22, 2019, initially “refused to audition” as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in the 2014 film “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
(Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

“I finally got him to audition and James Gunn said he didn’t want to see him, and that was really a challenge,” she continued.

Luckily, Finn was able to bring the two together and it all worked out perfectly.

“It was honestly one of those eureka moments that we talk about in casting when it absolutely feels right and you know it’s right. James turned to me within 10 seconds and said, ‘He’s the guy,'” she recalled.

Pratt first-appeared as Quill in the 2014 film “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Of the 39-year-old actor accepting the role, Finn said that “it was great when he decided that he was interested.”

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Chris Pratt as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord in “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
(Marvel Studios)


“Now it’s legend. He’s the perfect person,” she noted. “But at the time we were embarking on a movie that had a raccoon and a talking tree, and a property that people weren’t familiar with.”

On Monday, Pratt stepped out with fiancée Katherine Schwarzenegger for the “Avengers: Endgame” premiere, marking their first red carpet appearance as a couple.

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