R. Kelly Trial Defense Compares Him to MLK ... Dream On!!!

Martin Luther King Jr.'s name got dragged into R. Kelly's federal trial on multiple sex crimes in a pretty outrageous way -- his attorney says the singer should be acquitted because he's just like MLK.

Yeah, try to catch your breath. Closing arguments are going down Thursday in the federal court in Brooklyn, NY -- and defense attorney Deveraux Cannick drew the comparison by telling the jury Kelly is demanding prosecutors prove he's guilty beyond a reasonable doubt ... the same way Dr. King fought for Constitutional rights.

She went on to quote a part of MLK's "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech, declaring ... "Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech. Somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of the press."

Her point seemed to be that Dr. King wanted the government to uphold the Constitution, and Kelly's doing the same ... in his sex crimes trial.

Mind you, Kelly's attorneys only called a handful of witnesses to the stand during the trial -- most of whom merely stated they hadn't seen Kelly doing anything illegal. The singer himself chose not to testify, although that's not uncommon.

Cannick also claimed prosecutors encouraged witnesses to lie on the stand.

The jury will soon begin deliberations. Kelly faces 10 years to life if he's convicted.

Drake Rented Out Dave & Buster's For Party ... Fun, Games & Twerking!!!

(SKEE) BALLIN'
TMZ.com

Drake went all out for a shin dig down in Miami ... renting out an entire Dave & Buster's and partying the night away with tons of celebs and scores of twerking hotties.

The fun and games went down Wednesday night at the D&B in Miami's Dolphin Mall ... and other celebs in attendance included Future, Yella Beezy and Alexis Skyy.

Folks who were there told us everything was free, courtesy of Drake, and the rapper played his number one album, "Certified Lover Boy."

GETTIN' DOWN
TMZ.com

As you can see, Drake's party people were having a blast ... the tunes were bumping and there were about 1,000 ladies in the house, many of whom got up on the arcade games and started twerking!!!

Drake's making a habit of renting out big venues for special occasions ... as we reported, he had a date night this summer with Johanna Leia in an empty Dodger Stadium, and celebrated his Billboard Award win at SoFi Stadium.

Dana White On Nick Diaz's Future: IDK If He'll Fight Again After Lawler

A CLASSIC REMATCH
TMZSports.com

After 6.5 years away, Nick Diaz is about to make his return to the Octagon, taking on Robbie Lawler ... but Dana White admits he doesn't know if the star from Stockton will fight again after UFC 265.

TMZ Sports talked to the UFC prez on Wednesday, days before Diaz is scheduled to fight for the first time since January 2015 (a no contest vs. Anderson Silva) ... and we asked if the comeback meant Diaz was back now as a full-time fighter.

"I don't know. I never know that either. We'll take it one fight at a time," Dana told us.

FYI, it's not the first time the men have fought. Diaz beat Lawler via 2nd round knockout way back in 2004.

Despite the long layoff, Nick's one of the most accomplished MMA fighters of all time... with wins over everyone from B.J. Penn to Frank Shamrock.

But, with over 2,400 days between fights, will it take time for Nick to reacclimate himself to the Octagon?

"Ring rust is absolutely real and especially when you haven't been in here that long, but you never know what to expect from the Diaz brothers. You know what everybody does though? On Saturday, they show up and they fight -- that's it!"

Valentina Shevchenko is also on the card ... where she's a MASSIVE favorite over Lauren Murphy.

Last week we asked The Bullet if she was interested in a trilogy fight with Amanda Nunes ... and she said she was definitely down.

We asked White about making Nunes-Shevchenko 3 ... and he warned that no one should overlook Woods.

"Obviously, you can't look past Lauren Murphy and start looking at Amanda Nunes again. Lauren Murphy has a lot of knockdowns and submissions in her career. So, when you have women that are that size that can actually knock out other women, it's impressive."

But, with that said, Dana made it clear he isn't against pairing arguably the 2 best female MMA fighters in the world against each other.

"Listen, Valentina Shevchenko is a savage. I mean, her and Amanda Nunes are two of the greatest female fighters to ever walk the face of the Earth and if she gets through Lauren Murphy on Saturday, maybe there is a fight for them down the road."

DOIN' HIS OWN THING
TMZSports.com

We couldn't let Dana go without asking about Conor McGregor's (terrible) 1st pitch at the Cubs game earlier this week ... the epitome of the reason White says he ALWAYS says no when he's asked to throw the ceremonial pitch.

UFC 266 goes down Saturday night!

Mama June's Ex-BF Geno's Wanted in Alabama ... Doing Rehab in S. Carolina

Mama June's ex-boyfriend isn't getting any breaks from the judge -- even though he's in rehab, he's in rehab in the wrong state ... which is why he's now a wanted man.

According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ ... a bench warrant's been issued for Geno Doak in Macon County, Alabama for failing to comply with the terms of his sentencing in his crack cocaine case.

The warrant says Geno's to be taken into custody by any Alabama law enforcement officer and held without bail until he can have a hearing.

The thing is -- as we first told you -- Geno's in South Carolina after checking into a recovery center there earlier this week, and the facility said he made a 120-day commitment to inpatient treatment.

Doak filed docs to loop in the judge from his crack cocaine case about his whereabouts, but unfortunately for him ... he was supposed to be in Alabama as part of his sentence, and failed to relocate there as required.

So, rules are rules, and rehab or not ... the judge has made Geno a wanted man in 'Bama.

Brian Laundrie Parents Stay Silent ... As Search For Gabby's Fiance Continues

NOTHING TO SAY
Splashnews.com / momandpaparazzi.com

Brian Laundrie's been missing for nearly 6 days now, and his parents are still not talking as the search for him continues as a person of interest in Gabby Petito's death.

Laundrie's mother and father were leaving their home in North Port, FL Thursday morning when they were asked if they have any info on his whereabouts ... and they had nothing useful to say.

This has been par for the course ever since their son showed up at their doorstep September 1 without Gabby, his fiancee, even though they were on a long trip across the country.

Brian's family has not been forthcoming with many details, other than letting authorities know he went missing last Friday after he was named a "person of interest" in Gabby's case. They said he took his backpack and went for a hike, but never came back.

8/12/2021
INTERACTION WITH MOAB POLICE
Moab Police Department

As we reported ... Gabby's body was found 2 days later at a state park in Wyoming, a spot she and Brian are believed to have visited in the days after they had a domestic dispute in Utah.

The coroner ruled Gabby's manner of death homicide, and while the obvious suspect is Brian ... he's not officially been named one by police, at least not until they find out where he's at.

NOT MINCING WORDS
TMZ.com

If Geraldo gets his wish ... it won't even come to that.

Debra Messing Can't Fathom Kim K as 'SNL' Host ... 'Am I Missing Something?' Yes You Are!!!

Debra Messing became a huge TV star in the late '90s, and apparently, she thinks "Saturday Night Live" operates the same as it did back then ... because she doesn't have a clue why Kim Kardashian's hosting it.

The "Will & Grace" star took the bait after it was revealed the reality star would become the first Kardashian to host 'SNL' next month by airing her grievances on Twitter.

Debra questioned the choice, then added a back-handed compliment by saying ... "I know she is a cultural icon, but SNL has hosts, generally, who are performers who are there to promote a film, TV show, or album launch."

She added, "Am I missing something?"

Yep, she's missing something. The world changed, and reality stars are at the center of pop culture and Lorne Michaels is not only a great producer but a businessman who's in the business of getting ratings ... and that's exactly what's gonna happen when Kim hosts.  Remember a decade ago, when actors groused that reality stars like the Kardashians were famous for doing nothing? Debra clearly hasn't let it go.

What's more, the Kardashians have a massive project coming to Hulu, a leading TV and film streaming service ... so Messing is clearly just out of the loop.

You may recall ... when Elon Musk was tapped to host last season, many people were up in arms about it because he's not an entertainer.

Oh yeah, and one of those people ... was Debra Messing.

As for shading Kim, fans let Messing have it, one saying, "Yes Debra, you are missing something. Like the last 40 years." Another jabbed, "She’s arguably one of the most famous people in the world. It’s a smart decision by SNL ... Ppl who say she’s famous for being famous would kill to be famous for being famous. She uses her platform for positive things. Everyone RELAX"

Kim's yet to reply to Debra, but instead tweeted her excitement about hosting the October 9 gig with musical guest Halsey. Kim said, "OMFG no turning back now!!!! LOL I’m hosting SNL!!!!!!"

Daymond John I'm Bringing Black Entrepreneurs Day to The Apollo!!!

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER OPORUNITY
TMZ.com

Daymond John says Black Entrepreneurs Day is going to be HUGE the second time around ... because the event is going live from one of the most famous stages in the world!!!

The "Shark Tank" star joined us on "TMZ Live" and filled us in on all the new happenings for the second annual venture -- he has tons of celebrities coming out to The Apollo Theater to inspire the next wave of entrepreneurs.

It's pretty cool ... Daymond says Kevin Hart, Tyra Banks, Shaquille O'Neal, Rev Run and Michael Strahan will be sharing biz tips live from Harlem, with a special performance from Khalid.

The celebrity backing is nice, but Daymond also tells us which major corporations are stepping up to help folks get a free $25,000 to help their small businesses.

Daymond and co. are streaming live for Black Entrepreneurs Day on Oct. 14 and you can tune in and take notes on Facebook.

Check out Daymond on Friday's "TMZ Live" in his weekly "Follow the Money" segment. He'll have more on those $25k grants -- which you can apply for at blackentrepreneursday.com -- and why, in some ways, they're a better deal than what he typically offers on "Shark Tank."

The winners will be announced next month at the second annual Black Entrepreneurs Day.

Angelina Jolie Merlot and Behold ... I Can Sell Stake in Brad's Wine Biz

7:54 AM PT -- A source connected to the case tells us that while the ruling technically would allow Angelina to sell ... there are still legal proceedings involving Nouvel in Europe that would make it challenging. Our source emphasizes this was a standard ruling and was never opposed by Brad.

Angelina Jolie got what she wanted -- a judge just signed off on an agreement with her ex, Brad Pitt, to sell her stake in their rosé business.

We broke the story ... Jolie filed docs in July asking the court to lift a restraining order on the transfer of their assets -- which was put in place early in their divorce -- so she could unload her interest in Nouvel, LLC, their French winery company.

According to new docs, obtained by TMZ, a judge signed off on Brad and Angie's agreement to lift the restraining order -- meaning they worked it out, and she has the green light to sell her part of the company to a third party.

And, it looks like that'll be it for Brangelina ... as far as their joint biz ventures are concerned.

BTW ... Nouvel is the LLC started to operate the Provence chateau and vineyard the former couple bought in 2011 for a reported $60 mil.

Unclear how much it's worth now, but we know Angelina has a prospective buyer on the hook for her portion of it.

Originally Published -- 7:20 AM PT

Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino Calls Cops on Brother ... Over Unannounced Visit, Gift Drop-off

Mike 'The Situation' Sorrentino had some family drama boil over this week that almost landed someone in handcuffs ... none other than his own sibling.

The "Jersey Shore" star's rep tells TMZ ... Mike had called police on Tuesday evening after his brother, Maximo, showed up to his New Jersey home with a ton of gift bags he was apparently trying to drop off for MS and his newborn son/Maximo's nephew, Romeo.

We're told Maximo excessively rang multiple doorbells, peered inside through the glass, lingered a bit and then turned to leave -- but not before leaving all the presents hanging on the doorknob.

The rep says Mike was watching this from inside -- and instantly called cops, who we're told showed up in less than a minute. They ran into Maximo on his way out and told him he wasn't allowed there unless Mike specifically invited him ... and then let him leave.

We know what you're thinking -- WTF??? Well, Mike and Max have had problems for some time now, and it's become a bit of a legal situation ... according to the rep.

We're told Mike's previously filed harassment claims against Maximo -- most recently in July -- because he feels his brother's been behaving erratically, and he wants a heads up before Maximo comes to the house.

Due to their rocky history, we're told Mike's main priority these days is protecting his wife and kid, and even though they're family ... he thinks what Maximo did crossed a line. That's why he reported it to cops, but he didn't want Max arrested.

As for Maximo's side -- he says he was just dropping off Puma BMW tracksuits for Mike and Romeo. Maximo also says he's saddened by Mike calling the 5-0 on him -- because he'd never do that -- and denies there's any ongoing issues between them ... despite what Mike says. 🤷🏽‍♂️

With that said, Maximo says he'll never go to Mike's house again without getting the all-clear.

Linda Evangelista Cosmetic Procedure Left Me 'Permanently Deformed'

Linda Evangelista says she's stayed out of the spotlight after a popular cosmetic procedure left her "permanently deformed" and "unrecognizable" ... but she's hiding no more.

The supermodel is finally sounding off about her ordeal and, in part, explaining why her career has stalled all these years while her peers have been thriving.

Linda, one of the hottest supermodels in the '90s who graced Vogue covers, says around 5 years ago she underwent a fat-reduction procedure called CoolSculpting -- no doubt, you've seen and heard the ads.

But, Linda claims instead of freezing fat cells, the procedure did the exact opposite.

She claims the procedure left her "brutally disfigured" and increased, not decreased her fat cells ... and left her "permanently deformed even after undergoing two painful, unsuccessful, corrective surgeries."

Linda added, "I have been left, as the media has described, ‘unrecognizable.'"

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Linda says she then developed Paradoxical Adipose Hyperplasia or PAH ... when fat cells grow larger rather than smaller. It's a rare but serious side effect that mostly happens to men.

Linda says she was NOT made aware of this risk before undergoing the procedure. She says PAH "has not only destroyed my livelihood, it has sent me into a cycle of deep depression, profound sadness, and the lowest depths of self-loathing."

She's not only speaking out on social media, Linda filed a federal lawsuit this week against Zeltiq Aesthetics, the company she says created, marketed and distributed the CoolSculpting system. She's seeking no less than $50 million.

Linda says she's tired of hiding and wants to "walk out of my door with my head held high, despite not looking like myself any longer."

Jo Koy & Chelsea Handler Hand in Hand at LAX ... Spill the Beans On Better Comedian!!!

OFFICIALLY OFFICIAL
TMZ.com

Chelsea Handler and Jo Koy aren't trying to hide their relationship anymore, and Jo's already playing the good BF role ... hyping her comedian chops at his own expense.

We got the comedy world's new couple Wednesday as they walked into LAX doing that new couple thing ... holding hands as they strolled. Yeah, they're official now.

So, when ya get 2 veteran comedians -- who are dating each other -- there's only one question that comes to mind, right? Who's funnier?

9/10/21
CHELSEA WHO?!
TMZ.com

Okay, we admit it's potentially treacherous territory, especially when the relationship's as fresh as Jo and Chelsea's. Still, he didn't hesitate to answer ... telling us it's for sure, Chelsea. As for her opinion? You're gonna have to read her body language.

In the meantime, it's nice to see Jo is no longer sidestepping questions about dating Chelsea -- like he very slyly did when he was recently on "TMZ Live."

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

In any event ... seems this budding romance is moving fast. This week, Chelsea flat out said she's "finally in love, with the best kind of guy there is."

So, we asked if they'll be pouring all those feels into a joint performance anytime soon -- and it sounds like they're at least thinking about it.

Congrats!!!

Tyron Woodley Getting Jake Paul Tat This Weekend ... Rematch Back On?!?

Tyron Woodley says his body will officially say "I Love Jake Paul" this weekend ... revealing he is still going to follow through on his tattoo bet after losing to the YouTube boxer last month.

So, now the question is ... rematch back on?!

As we previously reported, Woodley claims he tried like hell to get inked up in Cleveland after JP won via split decision ... telling TMZ Sports he waited and waited, but no one was around to do the job.

LET'S RUN IT BACK
TMZSports.com

Despite TW's efforts, Jake said Woodley didn't hold up his end of the deal and moved on from rematch talks to focus on Tommy Fury ... but negotiations have gone essentially nowhere.

With Jake's next opponent up in the air, Woodley told MMA reporter Ariel Helwani he's STILL going to get the tat -- and he thinks a rematch with Paul is still the smartest move for both sides.

GETTIN' FURY-IOUS

"Tommy Fury should have never even been in position for the bag," Woodley said Wednesday night.

"I’m gonna just let the week go through and see what happens. I think the most sensible thing to do is run it back."

Woodley says he's finally getting the tat on Saturday because "it's the solid thing to do" ... so it sounds like it's for sure happening even if a Jake rematch isn't in the cards.

As for the location of the tat, Tyron says he's still not sure where to get it on his body ... but it sounds like he has no plans to get it removed in the future.

"To me, it's like this ... if a dude want to pay me to whoop his ass -- since he supposedly paid me and promoted the fight -- then I love you!!"

Well, Jake?? How about this rematch??

George Lazenby Ex-Bond Star Says Future's Female ... But Daniel Craig's Not Wrong Either!!!

Daniel Craig's taking heat for saying a woman shouldn't play James Bond because women deserve better parts, but another 007 is defending him -- while adding his own slightly different take.

George Lazenby, best known as the second guy to portray James Bond after Sean Connery, tells TMZ ... he understands where Craig's coming from and believes he was just backing up the boss, Bond producer Barbara Broccoli.

If you're not familiar ... Barbara's known for her work on the Bond film franchise, and in an interview with Variety last year she said the JB character "can be of any color, but he is male."

She added ... "I’m not particularly interested in taking a male character and having a woman play it." Instead, she said strong new characters should be created for women.

So, George firmly believes Daniel was just echoing one of the best producers in the biz, who also happens to be a woman.

That said, George points out Bond has been played by a wide range of men -- a Scot, an Irishman, a Welsh guy, 2 Englishmen and even an Aussie (himself) -- so he thinks it should be up for grabs ... male or female. He predicts it will happen, just maybe not right away.

Finally, Lazenby points to the late Dame Diana Rigg -- the Bond Girl who co-starred with him in his 1969 film, "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" -- telling us she was "everything a top spy could be -- sexy, tough, sassy and able to look after herself. So, there’s no reason why you can’t have a special agent like that."

For now, we're getting Craig's final performance (he swears it this time) as Bond when 'No Time to Die' comes out next month.

After that, the role's there for the taking ... by a man, assuming Broccoli gets her way.

B.B. King Estate Furious Over New Biography's Sterile Claim!!!

B.B. King's estate is PISSED .... and is calling BS on a new biographer's claim that the legendary musician was sterile and that he couldn't have possibly fathered his 15 children.

Vassal Benford, chairman of B.B. King's estate, tells TMZ ... the family is super unhappy with what they say are outlandish inaccuracies in a new, unauthorized biography written by Daniel de Visé's and dubbed "King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of BB King." It drops Oct. 5.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author writes ... King's 15 children with 15 different women can't be biologically his because the guitarist was sterile due to an accident as a kid and an illness.

The author claims loved ones -- and even King's doctor -- told him they didn't believe King had biological children. The author also points to King's accident when he was 12 ... after a ram's horn smashed his testicles. The author claims there was no doctor around so "the mangled organs were left to mend on their own."

As for the illness ... the author claims he was told King's testicles suffered further damage caused by a sexually transmitted disease contracted in his late teens.

Benford, however, tells us he spoke to 3 of B.B.'s children ... all of whom feel the accusations in the book are inaccurate and offensive. After speaking with the children, Benford says they told him King was NOT sterile in the 1950s ... when he had most of his children. He married twice but didn't father any children with the 2 wives.

Benford told us several of B.B.'s kids are definitely biologically connected to him, but when asked to clarify how many of the kids were biologically B.B.'s children he declined to answer.

Nevertheless ... we're told B.B., who died at 89 in 2015, considered all 15 of the kids as HIS ... regardless of biological connection. Benford says he loved them deeply.

For its part ... Benford says the estate's developing a biopic that'll portray an accurate depiction of B.B.'s life and the relationship with his 15 children. It's expected to drop in 2022.

We reached out to the author's publisher, Grove Atlantic, for comment, so far no word back.

Celeb Jeweler Ben Baller I'll Make Aaron Jones A Stout Piece ... For Dad's Ashes

I GOT WHAT YOU NEED
TMZSports.com

Celeb jeweler Ben Baller says he'll fix Aaron Jones' necklace issues ASAP -- offering to make the Packers star an indestructible piece that'll safely harbor his father's ashes forever.

The 48-year-old said he'd build Jones something similar to a device he already has on his keychain -- explaining the NFL player would never have to worry about losing his priceless contents ever again once he's done with the job.

"Look, Aaron, holler at me bro," Ben said. "Send me a DM. Send me a text. I'll make you one of these joints."

"Screw it on, boom. It's not coming off. You can secure your pops' ashes in there, man."

If you missed it, Jones headed into Monday's Packers vs. Lions game wearing a locket that had his father's ashes in it ... but he lost it at some point during the big win.

Fortunately, Green Bay trainer Bryan "Flea" Engel was able to find it after a frantic search ... though it's now unclear how Jones is going to proceed with the jewelry going forward.

Ben told us if Jones wanted, his contraption could be iced or it could be kept simple with yellow gold or platinum. Baller added he'd secure it all with one of his sturdy chains.

"If they coming off," Ben said, "then the neck is coming off. They're strong. Secure."

Kelly Wiglesworth on 'Survivor' 'Memba Her?!

California-native Kelly Wiglesworth was only 23 when she was cast as the white-water rafting guide turned island castaway on the very first season of the reality competition show "Survivor: Borneo" back in 2000.

Wiglesworth was the runner-up of the OG 'Survivor' season losing out on her chance at the one million dollar prize to Richard Hatch who has been credited for creating alliances and gameplay within tribes that made the show what it is today.

KW returned for another run at the prize money on "Survivor: Cambodia" but was voted out 9th.

Guess what Kelly looks like now at 44 years old!

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