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First parent pleads not guilty in biggest U.S. college admissions scandal

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First parent pleads not guilty in biggest U.S. college admissions scandal

BOSTON (Reuters) – The temporarily ousted chief executive of Advantage Lithium Corp pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges of participating in the largest college admissions fraud scheme in U.S. history.

A plaque is pictured at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

David Sidoo became the first of the 33 parents charged in the scam to plead not guilty. Prosecutors said he paid $200,000 to the scheme’s accused mastermind, William “Rick” Singer, to arrange for people to take the SAT admissions test for his two sons.

Some 50 people including prominent executives, Hollywood actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman and college sports coaches have been charged in the scheme. Prosecutors say Singer made about $25 million over eight years by bribing coaches and arranging for phony test-takers to secure clients’ children spots at elite universities including Yale, Georgetown and Stanford.

Sidoo, who was temporarily replaced by Advantage Lithium’s board of directors on Thursday, declined to speak to a reporter as he entered the courtroom in Boston federal court. During a hearing that followed Sidoo said little except to acknowledge his rights and to say “not guilty” when asked how he would plead.

“He looks forward to fully contesting the charges,” Sidoo’s attorneys said in a statement emailed to Reuters by a publicist. “He will be returning to his home in Canada and asks people not rush to judgment.”

Singer on Tuesday pleaded guilty to masterminding the scheme, which highlighted the lengths that wealthy and powerful Americans would go to cheat the high-stakes and high-pressure college admissions system.

One of the schools involved, the University of Southern California, already has rescinded admissions offers to six students involved in the scheme and said it will review what actions to take against students already admitted who took part.

Advantage Lithium is in the process of developing a potential Argentine lithium mine. Lithium is a critically important ingredient used in manufacturing batteries for electric cars.

Others prominent executives accused in the scheme include Douglas Hodge, former executive of investment firm PIMCO; Manuel Henriquez, who resigned as CEO of specialty finance company Hercules Capital Inc; Gordon Caplan, who has been placed on leave from his post as co-chairman of the global law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher; and TPG Capital private equity partner William McGlashan Jr., who was fired by the firm on Thursday.

Loughlin was dropped by the company that owns the Hallmark cable channel and LVMH’s Sephora beauty chain ended a sponsorship deal with her daughter, Olivia, as a result of the charge. Loughlin’s husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, also has been charged.

Singer and the parents alleged to have paid into the scheme could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Reporting by Ross Kerber and Nate Raymond, writing by Scott Malone; editing by Steve Orlofsky, Bill Trott and Bill Berkrot

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‘Ray Donovan’ star Pooch Hall dodges jail in DUI, child endangerment case

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'Ray Donovan' star Pooch Hall dodges jail in DUI, child endangerment case

Ray Donovan” star Marion “Pooch” Hall won’t be going to prison after striking a plea deal with prosecutors regarding his DUI and child endangerment charges.

Hall, 42, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of driving with a blood alcohol content over .08 percent and child endangerment, the Los Angeles County District Attorney told ET on Tuesday.

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Hall was sentenced to three years of probation and was ordered to complete a three-month residential alcohol treatment program and to attend one year of parenting classes, under the terms of a negotiated plea agreement, the D.A.’s office explained. Additionally, his driver’s license has been suspended for six months.

Hall was arrested by police officers in Burbank, California, back in October for driving under the influence of alcohol and getting into a collision while his 2-year-old son, Djulian, was riding in the car unrestrained.

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A spokesperson for the Burbank Police Department told ET at the time of the collision that witnesses reported seeing Hall weaving in and out of traffic with a small child seated on his lap. One witness reported seeing the child’s hands on the steering wheel.

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Hall ultimately collided with a parked vehicle and was detained at the scene. Authorities said there were no injuries as a result of the collision and Djulian was released to the care of his mother, Linda Hall, with whom the actor shares three other children — daughters Djanai, 22, and Djaeda, 15, and son Djordan, 12.

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Bhad Bhabie shows off $42G diamond-encrusted Rolex on 16th birthday

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Bhad Bhabie shows off $42G diamond-encrusted Rolex on 16th birthday

Bhad Bhabie just got some serious bling for her 16th birthday.

Danielle Bregoli, of “Cash me outside” fame, celebrated her milestone birthday a little early in New York City on Tuesday with a very pricey gift from her managers Adam Kluger and Dan Roof: a $42,000 diamond-encrusted Rolex watch.

“THANK YOU to my managers since day one,” the fledgling rapper wrote on Instagram, posting a close-up video of her luxe new accessory.

According to TMZ, her custom mother-of-pearl Rolex features a baby pink face, 15.38 carats of VS diamonds over the entire band and 1.5 carats of VS diamonds in the Roman numerals that encircle the face dial. All in all, the Rolex has a reported value of $42,000 and was commissioned from Joel the Jeweler in LA.

The new Rolex should pair nicely with the $45,000 gold grill covered in flawless diamonds and the 14k yellow gold choker-length chain Bregoli scooped up this summer from Houston-based celebrity jeweler Johnny Dang.

The article originally appeared in the New York Post

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Jessica Simpson’s baby bags are packed

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Jessica Simpson's baby bags are packed

Jessica Simpson is primed and ready to give birth!

A source speaking with ET has noted that Simpson’s “hospital bags are packed” amid the singer’s tumultuous pregnancy.

The famous singer is currently expecting her third child, Birdie, with former football player Eric Johnson.

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Simpson recently uploaded an Instagram pic of her baby bump, letting her followers know that she is ready to pop. The picture, which features the pregnant Simpson with an artsy background, was simply captioned “Jess-tation.”

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According to ET, a source for Johnson told the site that “Jessica is definitely uncomfortable.” The source continued, stating, “This has been a tough pregnancy but she knows it will all be worth it when she’s holding that little baby. Her hospital bags are packed. Everyone is trying to be patient, but the family is so excited and counting the minutes until the baby is here.”

Throughout this pregnancy, Simpson has experienced a multitude of health issues, including swollen feet and bronchitis. Simpson has been hospitalized for bronchitis four times throughout her pregnancy — noting how “crazy painful” it was to cough so much during pregnancy.

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Simpson also recently made headlines for breaking a toilet seat during her pregnancy. She made light of the situation by posting an Instagram photo captioned, “Warning..Don’t lean back on the toilet when pregnant.”

The couple currently are parents to Maxwell, 6, and Ace, 5.

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