CNN is trying to prop up one of Bill Cosby's key accusers with unethical, malicious tactics ... so claims Cosby's lawyer.
Marty Singer has written a scathing letter to CNN Prez Jeff Zucker, claiming his reporters are out to get Cosby in a special the network is doing with model/actress Beverly Johnson.
Johnson claims Cosby drugged her in the mid '80s at his NYC home. Singer says in his letter -- obtained by TMZ -- he contacted the CNN reporters and told them they should get in touch with Mark Burk, who was Johnson's live-in boyfriend from 2006-2009.
Singer says Burk told CNN reporters Beverly "never said a negative statement about Bill Cosby throughout their entire four year relationship." Singer goes on, "Burk told CNN that to the contrary, Ms. Johnson stated that she was an admirer of Bill Cosby and only said great things about Mr. Cosby."
According to Singer, the reporters tried to pressure and manipulate Burk to corroborate Johnson's claims. He says when Burk stuck to his guns, the reporters abruptly terminated the conversation.
Singer goes to town on Zucker, accusing the network of being "reckless and malicious." He says, "Accusers are being given a national platform by CNN without first exercising the most rudimentary journalistic investigation as to their claims and motivations."
We reached out to CNN ... so far no word back.
Footing the Bill
for Murderer's Funeral
12/20/2014 12:40 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Floyd Mayweather is putting aside some brutal facts and paying for the funeral of the rapper who gunned down his wife in the bathtub and then shot himself.
We're told Floyd thinks Earl Hayes' family deserves a proper funeral, despite the horrific thing he did.
TMZ broke the story ... Floyd was FaceTiming with Hayes earlier this month when the rapper snapped as they discussed how his wife, "Hit the Floor" star Stephanie Moseley was cheating on him. He went in the bathroom and pumped 10-12 shots as she lay in the tub. He then killed himself.
We don't know if Floyd foot the bill for Stephanie's funeral Friday in Canada. Floyd was urging Hayes to dump her just before he lost it.
Hayes' funeral is set for today.
Says She's Crushed Over Break-Up
In New Music Video
12/19/2014 7:31 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Nicki Minaj is releasing a new music video in which she explains why she dumped longtime BF Safaree Samuels.
TMZ got hold of the video, in which Nicki appears to accuse Safaree of cheating. She also says he broke her heart.
In a weird turn, she also seems to say in the song -- "Love Triangle" -- she is deeply missing him.
As we reported ... Safaree is so despondent over the breakup, he's talking to his friends about suicide.
'Bad Girls Club' Wannabe
Destroy the Boot
Go to Jail
12/20/2014 12:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The chick who left the "Bad Girls Club" audition with a Denver Boot attached to the car could end up in jail ... TMZ has learned.
It appears Chicquita Washington -- the registered owner of the car -- high-tailed it out of a Houston, TX parking lot with the boot on the back tire, then roared away, dislodging it and breaking it off.
Parking officials tell TMZ ... if she just drove off with the boot there'd be no crime, but she was gunning it toward a parking enforcement officer who booted the car, and we've learned the guy filed a police report, claiming she clipped him.
If cops and prosecutors buy his story, Chicquita could be charged with criminal assault.
Chicquita is bananas.
Kobe, Hit Me Up!
I Can Save Your Season
12/20/2014 12:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Master P has a sure fire plan to turnaround this painful Lakers season -- just give him a little run, and he'll do what Kobe Bryant hasn't been able to do ... not yet, anyway.
Mr. "Make Em' Say Uhh" told us he can provide something for the Lake show no one else can. Master P even called out the Mamba, saying ... "I played against Kobe. He knows what's up!"
It's true ... P did play in a couple of NBA preseasons with the Hornets and Raptors in the late '90s. We're guessing Kobe doesn't remember much about their match ups.
Still ... the Lakers season couldn't get worse, right? Check out P's plan -- and also his take on athletes repping the "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts. Solid perspective.
My Name is Mudd
In the Home Ownership Dept.
12/20/2014 12:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Wes Scantlin has gone after a neighbor with a buzz saw, and a cop was injured while responding to a flood at his home ... now the home of bad luck is going on the auction block.
The Puddle of Mudd singer -- whose group sold more than 7 million albums -- is behind on his mortgage and the bank is tired of sending him notices. So the bank foreclosed on the house and it plans on recovering the mortgage balance -- more than $375,000 when the property is sold.
Scantlin bought the house for $1.7 mil back in 2005.
The auction is set for next month.
My Boobs Are
Too Hot for Las Vegas
12/19/2014 2:25 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Much like Sony did with North Korea, Sharper Image has caved in its battle with the City of Las Vegas ... and in this scenario, Heidi Klum's boobs are "The Interview."
Sharper Image's new ad campaign features a scantily clad Klum alongside suggestive copy designed to get you to buy the gadgets Sharper Image sells that you never knew you needed.
But Klum's cleavage did not meet Clark County code and the ads were barred from being displayed at McCarran Airport. The crux of the problem ... "the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering or any portion thereof below the nipple" -- aka underboob.
So Sharper Image submitted toned downed pics, which were approved, and will soon be displayed for all to see.
Who knew Las Vegas was run by prudes?
Robbed at Gunpoint
12/19/2014 12:47 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The restaurant was packed with celebs Thursday night. Just after closing at around 2 AM, as the managers were counting the receipts, 2 men came through the backdoor, pulled a gun and pointed it at a manager's head. The thieves grabbed the waitstaff's cash tips, and raided the restaurant's safe.
We're told they took off with somewhere between $6,000 and $8,000.
The gunmen are still on the loose.
There Ain't Nothing Wrong
with a Little Manscaping
12/19/2014 12:14 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The 1980s are long over and Milwaukee Bucks forward Jared Dudley says NBA players have evolved ... and now they shave their armpits.
Jared apparently solved a life-long mystery for our photog when he left 1Oak Thursday night ... because our guy was just DYING to know if the NBA made players shave ... or if it was a choice.
Dudley said that shaving was the thing to do these days ... unlike the Patrick Ewing days of yore.
To each their own.
Crisis Guru Judy Smith
In Sony Scandal
12/19/2014 10:42 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Judy Smith -- the inspiration behind the Olivia Pope character on "Scandal" -- is on the case ... the Sony case, TMZ has learned.
Sources connected with the studio tell us ... Smith has been quietly advising Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal. We're told her focus is dealing with the torrent of criticism over the studio dropping "The Interview."
Smith runs Smith & Company, one of the premiere crisis management firms in the country.
Our sources tell us Smith has been especially helpful to Sony because of her deep contacts with the government, and she has been involved on both the D.C. and Hollywood fronts.
We're told Smith and other members of the Sony crisis team have been behind some of the recent messaging ... that this is not just a Sony issue but an industry issue ... which takes some of the heat off Sony.
We're also told the crisis team is actually pleased with George Clooney's attack as it relates to creative and powerful people in the entire industry -- not just Sony -- taking a stand.
And we're told the crisis team is also pushing the message ... Sony's decision was in large part to protect the safety and welfare of its employees.
We're told the ultimate mission is to somehow contain the PR fallout and navigate a way forward.
It's not handled for sure, at least not yet, but Smith knows what's up.
Christmas Is Gonna Be Sooo Icy ...
Bling For Everyone!!!
12/19/2014 10:16 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Floyd Mayweather is giving Santa Claus a run for his money -- he dropped more than $250,000 in New York City this week on platinum, gold, and diamond encrusted gifts for his family and friends.
TMZ Sports spoke with AVI, Ofir, and Richie -- the guys at Pristine Jewelers and Leon Diamond in NYC -- who tell us Floyd came in after hours Wednesday night ... right after his infamous Saks Fifth Avenue bathroom incident.
Among the gifts: a diamond tennis necklace with 70 carats of diamonds and a matching tennis bracelet, a diamond encrusted watch with over 40 carats of diamonds, and a diamond pendant -- just to name a few.
We're told each piece Floyd picked out ran between $5,000-$10,000.
Merry freakin' Christmas.
Kylie Jenner & Tyga
at Bev Hills Date Night
12/19/2014 7:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Kylie Jenner and her bf Tyga tried to make a quick exit during their first date night in front of the paparazzi -- but the valet ... and Tyga's fancy car had other plans.
Tylie (yeah, we said it) have been all over Instagram together, but have never been out together at a big L.A. hot spot ... until Thursday night.
Kylie tried to bolt for the passenger door, while covering her face ... but unfortunately for her ... the valet could not figure out how to open the doors on Tyga's Lambo.
They do eventually make their getaway -- but you gotta see the keystone cops routine while they try to figure out how to get in their ride.
Oh, and she's still 17 and he's still 25. Just for the record.
I Want to be a Trojan Shrink
12/19/2014 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Amanda Bynes has her sights set on USC and the psychology department ... but this time not as a patient.
Amanda took a VIP tour of the campus Wednesday and we're told she told the folks with whom she interacted she wanted to enroll in the school as a psych major.
It makes sense ... Amanda has had more than her share of interactions with shrinks over the last two years. A staffer from the admissions department told TMZ ... the school does not hold mental illness against any applicant ... if they're qualified and able to engage in studies, that's all that matters.
As for her tour ... several students saw her on the golf cart tooling around campus with headphones, singing "Roar" by Katy Perry.
A USC staffer tells us the earliest she could be admitted is next Fall.