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Friday
Apr122019

City of Chicago sues Jussie Smollett for $130K investigation cost of alleged hate crime attack

Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The City of Chicago has made good on its promise to sue Empire actor Jussie Smollett to recover the cost of their investigation into his claim that he was the victim of a hate crime attack earlier this year.

ABC News obtained a copy of the lawsuit Thursday, released by the Chicago Department of Law.

"The Law Department has filed a civil complaint against Mr. Smollett in the Circuit Court of Cook County that pursues the full measure of damages allowed under the false statements ordinance," said the accompanying statement by spokesperson Bill McCaffrey.  "This follows his refusal to reimburse the City of Chicago for the cost of police overtime spent investigating his false police report on January 29, 2019."

The suit presents a detailed timeline of the investigation and the evidence gathered, beginning with Smollett's initial friendship in 2017 with the Osundairo brothers, who claim they helped stage the attack at Smollett's instruction.  It ends with already reported statements Smollett made to investigators regarding the attack when they confronted him with evidence they say shows the attack was staged.

Smollett has continued to insist he didn't stage the attack and that he's been truthful in his statements to investigators.

"[T]he CPD expended significant resources investigating Defendant’s false report of a high-profile hate crime and physical assault," the suit declares. "Over two dozen CPD officers and detectives participated in the investigation, ultimately spending weeks investigating Defendant’s false statements. During the course of CPD’s investigation into Defendant’s false statements, CPD has incurred 1,836 overtime hours, which resulted in the City paying $130,106.15 in overtime pay as result of Defendant’s false statements."

March 28, the City of Chicago asked Smollett to reimburse them the $130,106.15, and threatened to sue if he didn't.  On April 4, the Law Department announced that Smollett had refused, and that their suit was being prepared.

In a letter to the Department of Law obtained by ABC News April 5, Smollett's attorney, Mark Geragos, wrote, “Your unprecedented attempt to file a civil lawsuit against Mr. Smollett charging him...for 'repayment of investigation costs' is unconstitutional.”  The letter also claimed the collection attempt was "part of a course of conduct intended to harass and irreparably injure Mr. Smollett...[he] will not be intimated into paying the demanded sum."

Cook County prosecutors announced March 26 that they had dropped all 16 felony charges against Smollett for allegedly staging the attack, in exchange for his forfeiting 10% of his $100,000 bond and for performing some already completed community service.  In a press conference that same day, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson voiced their objections to the deal, with Emanuel calling it a "whitewash of justice."

21st Century Fox, which produces Empire, is now a part of Disney, ABC’s parent company.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. 

Thursday
Apr112019

Regina Hall wants to go from 'Little' to serial killer onscreen

ABC/Paula Lobo(NEW YORK) -- Regina Hall is ready to show off her evil side.

In an interview with Essence, Hall, who'll be seen Friday opposite Marsai Martin and Issa Rae in the new comedy Little, says she's ready to take on a completely different type of role in her next movie. The Girls Trip star says she'd love to play a serial killer.

"It's so different from how I am," Hall told Essence. "I can’t even imagine. So things that I can’t even imagine doing, or being, or feeling would be fun to play."

According to Hall, her interest in playing serial killers and sociopaths bubbled up after she watched the long-running crime series, Forensic Files.

"It's amazing how duplicitous they are," Hall said of killers. "Sociopaths actually mimic behavior. Sometimes they don’t have the feelings and so if they see someone upset they’re like, ‘OK, that’s how you act upset,’ because they may not feel it."

Hall recently made history when she became the first black woman ever to win the New York Film Critics Circle’s Best Actress award for her role in 2018's Support the Girls.  She's played a variety of characters throughout her career, including a stripper with a heart of gold in The Best Man, a powerhouse author in Girls Trip and a tech boss with an attitude in Little.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr112019

They can't talk about 'Endgame', so Paul Rudd and Jeremy Renner "created" '50 Year-Old Virgins'

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Marvel movie stars Paul Rudd and Jeremy Renner have teamed up again. The big-screen's Ant-Man and Hawkeye have co-created a comedy called 50 Year-Old Virgins.

Sort of.

For celebrities on a big film, part of the bargain is traveling the world to do countless interviews to promote it. In the case of Avengers: Endgame, however, secrecy is so tight, there's not much they can say about the film, Renner told Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday night.

Wearing a shirt with his "Avenger friend Paul" on it, Renner explained, "Paul and I decided to make up a movie that we're in that we CAN talk about. So we're 50 year-old virgins, and we can talk about that movie all you want!" 

Even the haircut for Renner's Avengers character is considered too spoiler-y to touch, according to the actor.

While it's already been revealed that Hawkeye has been operating undercover as an assassin called Ronin when Endgame begins, Renner wouldn't confirm that -- or that his character's changed appearance had anything to do with it.

What he offered instead was, "50-Year-Old Virgins is now in theaters!"

Spoiler alert: it's not.

However, on April 26, Avengers: Endgame will be.

Marvel Studios is owned by Disney, the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr112019

Personal tragedy led 'Walking Dead' & 'Prison Break' star Sarah Wayne Callies to 'Unspeakable'

Jeff Weddell/SundanceTV (NEW YORK) -- Sarah Wayne Callies is a veteran of beloved escapist series like Walking Dead, Prison Break, and USA Network's alien invasion show Colony -- but her new show Unspeakable hits much closer to home.

The SundanceTV series chronicles one of the largest medical disasters in history: the accidental HIV and Hepatitis C infection of thousands of people in Canada via tainted donated blood.

Callies stars as a tireless whistle-blower mom of an infected hemophiliac son, who is based on show creator Robert C. Cooper.  Her character exposes the tragedy and those responsible.

In real life, Cooper was infected with Hep C., but many of his fellow victims were essentially handed a death sentence when they were infected with HIV in the early '80s, before there were treatments for the disease.

The subject matter hit home for Callies, as she tells ABC Radio.

"The first person I ever watched die, died of AIDS," she says. "And the only thing that was worse than watching what that disease did to his body was hearing sectors of our culture say, 'You deserve it because you're gay.'"

The person Callies lost was a literary scholar who was "like an uncle" to her.  As she explains, "My parents' marriage was a war. And Joe and his partner Clifford were the ones who taught me what love was." 

She explains, "The reason that I have...a cogent marriage, is because the two of them modeled for me what it means to be in a relationship with a sense of humor...where you 'ride or die' for each other." 

His death came when the stigma surrounding AIDS -- and anyone infected with it -- was in full swing, Callies noted. That reaction, she says "broke my heart in a thousand pieces."

Unspeakable airs tonight at midnight on Sundance TV.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr112019

ABC's summer schedule features fun and games, captivating drama and 'The Bachelor' franchise all season long

ABC/John Fleenor(LOS ANGELES) -- ABC has announced its summer lineup, and it's full of fun & games, drama and roses.

Highlights include three nights of game shows, starting with the return of ABC's popular 1970s-80s game shows Card Sharks and Press Your Luck, airing Wednesdays at 8:00 and 9:00 p.m ET, respectively, ahead of Match Game, returning June 12.

The network will also launch two new alternative shows.  Holey Moley, a mini-golf competition featuring NBA superstar Stephen Curry as its resident golf pro, bows June 20 at 8:00 p.m. ET, and the cooking competition Family Food Fight, hosted by restaurateur and best-selling cookbook author Ayesha Curry, debuts June 20 at 8:00 p.m.

Celebrity Family Feud, The $100,000 Pyramid and To Tell the Truth all return June 9.

Grand Hotel, a provocative new series from executive producer Eva Longoria described as "a contemporary fresh take on an upstairs/downstairs story," premieres June 17 at 10:00 p.m. ET. The drama heats up on Thursdays starting June 20 with Reef Break, an action-packed thriller starring Poppy Montgomery as a governor's "thief-turned-fixer" with a nose for crime and criminals.

Bachelor fans will have a full date card this summer, beginning with Bachelorette Reunion: The Biggest Bachelorette Reunion in Bachelor History Ever! airing May 6, and The Bachelorette debuting a week later on May 13. Then, it's the return of Bachelor in Paradise July 29.

Other dates set for summer include a new season of ABC News’ What Would You Do? on May 10 and the 2019 ESPYS on July 10.

Finally, a two-hour block of fan-favorite episodes of ABC comedies will kick off on May 28 and expand to three hours starting Tuesday, June 4. Shows and times are TBA.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr112019

Emmy winner Henry Winkler is "in the presence of greatness" on HBO's 'Barry'

Isabella Vosmikova/HBO(NEW YORK) -- HBO's has given the green light to a third season of its dark comedy Barry -- just two episodes into its second season. SNL vet Bill Hader plays the title character, a hitman who accidentally catches the acting bug. The show, which also stars Stephen Root and Sarah Goldberg led Henry Winkler to his first-ever Emmy win.

The beloved Happy Days star, who plays Barry's clueless-but-confident drama teacher, Gene Cousineau, gives all the praise to the "innately funny" Hader, and his show co-creator, Alec Berg. Berg is a veteran of classic comedies like Seinfeld and The Simpsons, and the HBO hits, Silicon Valley and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Winkler tells ABC Radio, "[T]ogether they are really brilliant. They co-write, they co-direct, they co-produce, and then of course Bill stars. And I," Winkler adds, "I am in the presence of greatness."

Winkler explains that the teacher he plays -- who knows nothing about Barry's day job -- is "an amalgam" of teachers he's heard about in his years on stage and screen, though there's one thing they had in common: his character's pretentious-yet-silly-looking wardrobe. "Do you know what? All of the teachers I've had, all of the teachers I've heard about, and those I've researched, most of them wear what I wear in the show," he says, affecting a snotty voice, "some kind of safari jacket, you know."

Barry airs at 10 p.m. on Sunday nights on HBO.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Apr112019

Felicity Huffman's plea hearing set for May 21 

Felicity Huffman outside of federal court in Boston, MA, April 3, 2019; Paul Marotta/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- Former Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman will return to court May 21 to officially enter her guilty plea in the "Varsity Blues" college admissions scam that rocked elite schools this spring.

The Boston Herald reports Huffman was initially to have appeared in court on May 24, but the date was moved to accommodate her lead attorney's schedule.

Huffman, 56, is among 14 defendants who agreed Monday to plead guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to a charge of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.  She faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years probation and a $250,000 fine, based on the prosecutors' recommendation.  

The Boston Herald reports prosecutors will likely recommend an incarceration of months for Huffman, rather than years.

The actress released a statement Monday saying in part that she's "ashamed of the pain" she has caused her family.

"I am in full acceptance of my guilt, and with deep regret and shame over what I have done, I accept full responsibility for my actions and will accept the consequences that stem from those action," said Huffman's statement.

The actress, who was Oscar-nominated for her role in the 2005 film Transamerica, allegedly gave $15,000 to William "Rick" Singer, whom prosecutors identified as the ringleader of the nationwide scam, "to participate in the college entrance exam cheating scheme on behalf of their oldest daughter," court documents allege.

Huffman and her husband, fellow actor William H. Macy, later made arrangements to pursue the scheme a second time for her younger daughter before deciding not to do so, court documents allege. Macy wasn't charged in the admissions scam.

Former Full House actress Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, were also indicted as part of the scam.  They were hit Tuesday with additional charges, including a count of conspiracy to commit money laundering.  They remain free on one million dollars bail each.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr102019

Bill Murray zombie movie 'The Dead Don't Die' to open Cannes Film Festival

Focus Features(LOS ANGELES) -- The Dead Don't Die, a zombie film starring big names like Bill Murray, Danny Glover, Rosie Perez, Selena Gomez, Chloe Sevigny, Adam Driver and Tilda Swinton, will open this year's Cannes Film Festival on May 14, according to Variety.

The movie, from acclaimed director Jim Jarmusch, is about zombies attacking the peaceful, tiny town of Centerville. Murray, Sevigny and Driver play sheriff's deputies who have to fight the undead as they rise from their graves.

Selena plays a character named Zoe, and she's not the only musician in the film: Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Iggy Pop and Tom Waits also appear, as does Wu-Tang Clan founder, actor, and The Man with the Iron Fists director RZA.

The dark comedy will compete for the festival's top prize, the Palme d'Or.

The Dead Don't Die opens in U.S. theaters June 14.  A trailer, in which Selena briefly appears, is out now.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr102019

Kim Kardashian reveals she’s studying to become a lawyer

Mikael Jansson(LOS ANGELES) -- Kim Kardashian: coming to a courtroom near you?

In a new Vogue cover story, the reality star reveals that she is studying to become a lawyer, following in the footsteps of her late father Robert Kardashian. Kim says she began a four-year apprenticeship with a law firm in San Francisco last summer and plans to take the bar in 2022.

“I had to think long and hard about this,” she says of her decision.

She explains she ultimately decided to go for it after successfully petitioning President Donald Trump to commute the life sentence of nonviolent drug offender Alice Marie Johnson.  She was then inspired to do even more for criminal justice reform, but realized that in order to do more, she had to know more.

“First year of law school, you have to cover three subjects: criminal law, torts, and contracts,” Kim explains. “To me, torts is the most confusing, contracts the most boring, and crim law I can do in my sleep. Took my first test, I got a 100. Super easy for me.”

She adds, “The reading is what really gets me. It’s so time-consuming. The concepts I grasp in two seconds.”

This summer, she’ll take what’s known as the “baby bar.” If she passes, she’ll be allowed to continue for three more years of study. In California, you don’t need a college degree to study law; you can instead apprentice with a practicing lawyer or judge.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Apr102019

Jeremy Renner takes aim at 'Hawkeye' series for Disney+ service 

Marvel Studios(NEW YORK) -- Following news that Disney's upcoming streaming service Disney+ would feature limited series based on Marvel Cinematic Universe characters like Loki, a team-up with Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Scarlet Witch, comes the news that Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye will also get his own series.

Variety says the series, like the others, is envisioned as a six-to-eight-episode adventure, overseen by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. The show will reportedly center on Renner's Clint Barton as seen in the comic series where he passes off his trademark bow and arrow -- and Hawkeye mantle -- to a character called Kate Bishop.

Two-time Oscar nominee Renner, who has already played Barton four times on the big screen -- including a cameo in 2011's Thor -- will be seen onscreen again in Avengers: Endgame, on April 26.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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