R. Kelly $2 Mil Payoff for 2008 Acquittal is BS ... Claims Family of Alleged Victim

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R. Kelly didn't buy an acquittal in 2008 by paying off the alleged child victim and her family ... so says that family.

Attorney Christopher Brown, who represents the family, tells TMZ ... the claims made by Michael Avenatti suggesting the victim did not testify in the trial because the family received a $2 million payoff for their silence are "false and have no basis in reality."

Brown adds ... "The victim and her family have been contacted by the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago and are cooperating with the investigation of R. Kelly."

As we reported ... Kelly is due in court Tuesday for a bond hearing in his federal sex crimes case. On Monday, Avenatti -- who says he reps 3 of the alleged victims in the new federal indictments -- alleged Kelly got off in his 2008 child porn case by paying the family off.

Avenatti called the 2008 acquittal bogus, saying ... "R. Kelly bought his acquittal. He bought this victim and their parents and ensured that the truth was never told to that jury in 2008."

The family clearly refutes these allegations.

As we reported ... Kelly was arrested last week in Chicago and is facing federal charges for multiple sex crimes including child pornography, racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Of course, he's also facing separate sex abuse charges in Cook County, IL.

Pete Buttigieg Celeb $upport Still Strong Major Donations Last Quarter

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Pete Buttigieg may have lost some early steam in his campaign to nab the Democratic nomination for president ... but Hollywood's still got his back big-time.

According to filings by the 2019 Federal Election Commission ... contributions for Mayor Pete have been pouring in from celebs since he announced his 2020 presidential run -- with well over 30 Hollywood types forking over cash to the South Bend Mayor.

Among the names ... Gwyneth Paltrow ($2,800), Anna Wintour ($2,800), Mandy Moore ($3,818.86), Tom Ford ($5,600), Larry David ($2,800), Kevin Bacon ($2,800), Michael J. Fox ($2,800), Frances McDormand ($3,000), Matt Bomer ($2,800), Jeffrey Katzenberg ($2,800), Marilyn Katzenberg ($2,800) and John Stamos ($1,000).

And, there are others who opened their wallets for Pete, including Brad Falchuk, Sean Hayes, Caroline Kennedy, Ryan Murphy, Sarah Silverman, Ted Danson, Sharon Stone and George Takei. 

Looks like $2,800 seems to be the magic number -- the max one-time donation. Funny enough the largest one-time contribution we found in the famous batch of donors -- $6,600 -- was one Cooper Hefner -- the guy running Playboy Enterprises. The smallest donations came in at $250. 

Pete may be behind in the polls, but he's still one of the most popular Democratic candidates -- raising more than $24m this past quarter.

BTW, he's not the only Dem who's got Hollywood in his corner ... Senator Elizabeth Warren has a healthy amount of support as well -- Amy Schumer, Rosie O'Donnell, Scarlett Johansson and others plunked down cash -- raising a total of just over $19m over the course of this last cycle. 

Hollywood support doesn't get you elected, but the money sure helps. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Doubles Down ... Trump's Got a Racist Mind & Heart

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If it quacks like a racist ...
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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thinks President Trump is splitting hairs by saying he doesn't have a racist bone in his body -- 'cause he's got plenty of other bigoted body parts.

We got AOC Tuesday roaming the halls of Congress on Capitol Hill, just a day after she and 3 other Democratic congresswomen publicly rebuked Trump, again, for telling them to go back and fix the countries "from which they came." 

With the House of Representatives now preparing a resolution to formally condemn his racist remarks ... the Prez defended himself, saying, "Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show “weakness” and fall into their trap."

Our photog asked the NY Congresswoman about the "racist bone" comment, and she says he's got a lot more problems in that department than just his bones. Watch.

She also gets into the delayed roll-out for the new Harriet Tubman $20 bill design -- which many people thought Trump's cabinet was responsible for slowing, but it's since been confirmed as something that was never gonna happen in 2020, even on Obama's watch. 

AOC says it'd be a huge step in the right direction if Trump makes sure that happens as planned. If that sounds like she's complimenting him, don't panic ... the world isn't ending. She closed with a jab. 

WWE's Jeff Hardy Passed Out In Stairwell Before Arrest ... Cops Say

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Myrtle Beach PD

WWE wrestler Jeff Hardy was passed out in a public stairwell and reeked of booze before cops arrested him Saturday ... this according to new police docs obtained by TMZ Sports.

We broke the story ... Hardy was busted down in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this weekend for allegedly being drunk in public -- and was eventually released on less than $200 bond.

Now, we've obtained police docs that say Hardy admitted to drinking vodka before cops found him passed out in a stairwell.

Hardy was facing a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication -- but we've now learned Jeff ain't facing more trouble in the case.

Court officials tell us ... because Hardy paid a $153 ticket for public intoxication, his case is considered closed.

Of course, there is a small chance Jeff could fight the ticket in court later this month ... but doesn't seem that'll be likely, considering he's not facing a conviction on his record.

41-year-old Hardy has been 1/2 of the famous Hardy Boyz tag team in the WWE for years. 

Hardy underwent knee surgery earlier this year and is currently rehabbing to get back in the ring.

Nipsey Hussle Secretly Under Criminal Investigation for Gang Activity ... The Same Time LAPD Was Praising Him

TMZ

Nipsey Hussle was praised by the LAPD as a peacemaker in the wake of his death -- a hero of sorts in his community for trying to stem gang violence -- but it turns out the very same police department was secretly investigating Nipsey for possible criminal prosecution for alleged gang activity.

The probe was centered around Nipsey's Marathon Clothing store in South L.A., as a possible hub for gang activity ... this according to The New York Times.

It's a stunning development, because the LAPD was both investigating Nipsey and embracing him at the same time. He was set to meet the LAPD Police Chief the day after he was murdered, to discuss gang violence.

What's more ... a few years before his death, the City of Los Angeles was trying to pressure Hussle's landlords to evict Nipsey from Marathon Clothing ... this according to The NYT. As it turned out, Nipsey bought the building with some investors.

Although the City can no longer prosecute Nipsey, the City continues to investigate Nipsey's business partners.

Nipsey was a member of the Rollin' 60s Crips back in the day, but disavowed gang life and worked heroically to stem gang violence and even worked with former gang members who got out of prison to help get them back up on their feet.

The outlet reports that city officials suspected the strip mall where his clothing store was located -- which Nipsey owned along with a bevy of investors -- was a hotbed for gang members, and that the exact type of violence that took the MC's life was rampant there.

WE MUST PUSH FORWARD
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You'll recall the LAPD Commissioner Steve Soboroff stood shoulder to shoulder with Mayor Eric Garcetti, Chief of Police Michel Moore and other L.A. City Officials to discuss a planned summit Nipsey had coordinated with them to curb gang violence.

Soboroff publicly hailed Nipsey as a peacemaker.

Cameron Boyce Death Certificate Reveals He Was Cremated

Disney star Cameron Boyce's death certificate reveals the actor was cremated ... and his ashes were returned to his father.

Cameron's death certificate -- obtained by TMZ -- says he died at 2:35 PM on July 6. The official cause of death has been deferred until the coroner completes their investigation. Boyce was cremated and his ashes were given to his dad, Victor. 

The certificate says Cameron has worked in the entertainment industry for 12 years. Forest Lawn in Los Angeles is listed as the funeral establishment. 

As we reported ... Cameron suffered a fatal seizure last weekend and died in his sleep. Our sources say his roommate found him unresponsive, and when paramedics arrived they could not revive him. Cameron, who was just 20 years old, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

TMZ broke the story ... Cameron had been dealing with seizures, triggered by epilepsy, for a long time. His condition, however, didn't prevent him from acting in movies and TV ... and achieving great success in both.

After his death, Cameron's family said, "The world is now undoubtedly without one of its brightest lights, but his spirit will live on through the kindness and compassion of all who knew and loved him."

R. Kelly Set Up Alleged Sex Slaves Financially ... They Say Well's Run Dry

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R. Kelly's alleged sex slaves should not be in danger of going hungry or becoming homeless anytime soon -- even with the singer behind bars -- but they claim someone's cut them off from Kelly's funding.

Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary have built up a nice nest egg during their time with Kelly by working as his assistants ... according to sources connected to the women and Kelly -- and they should have plenty of money to hold them over for awhile.

We're told while they were Kelly's live-in "girlfriends," they also helped him by handling bookings and other business matters, and he paid them for it. He also gave them a weekly stipend and they were able to save much of that cash because he paid for everything anyway.

Their problem has been getting access to that money. Their attorney, Gloria Schmidt, tells us one of Kelly's staffers typically gives Azriel and Joycelyn cash -- but she says since his arrest that staffer's gone MIA.

One thing they don't have to worry about is a roof over their heads. Our sources say Kelly's Chicago condo in Trump Tower is all paid up through the end of the year, so the women can live rent-free for several months.

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We broke the story ... both women responded to reports they'd been evicted by recording a video showing them hanging out inside the home, telling everyone they're living there free and comfortably, as always.

The vid came 3 days after Kelly was busted in Chicago on 2 new federal indictments, including charges for multiple sex crimes, racketeering and obstruction of justice.

Both Azriel and Joycelyn's families have expressed concern for their daughters, with Joycelyn's parents saying they haven't been able to get in touch with her. 

As we reported, it's no secret where they will be Tuesday -- not only will they attend Kelly's bond hearing in federal court in Chicago, but they are planning to hold a news conference afterward with their attorney, Gloria Schmidt. 

Federal prosecutors for the Eastern District of NY have already made their case to the judge for Kelly to be held without bail once he's transferred to Brooklyn to face the 2nd federal indictment. All the more reason Azriel and Joycelyn's attorney says they're desperate to get access to the money Kelly paid them. 

Tamar Braxton I'm Officially Single!!!

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Tamar Braxton is hitting the open market ... because a judge just ruled she's officially single. 

According to new legal docs obtained by TMZ ... the judge in her divorce with estranged husband Vincent Herbert changed their marital status and deemed them both single, even though they have yet to finalize the split of all their assets.

We broke the story ... the singer filed for divorce from Vincent back in October 2017 following nearly 9 years of marriage. 

Tamar and Vincent started dating way back in 2003 after they were introduced by her sister, Toni Braxton, who was working with the record exec. 

They got married in 2008 and have one child together, 6-year-old Logan Vincent. Tamar is 42 and Vincent is 46.

Tamar asked the judge in April to change her marital status to single ... and now she's finally got her wish.

Cristiano Ronaldo Flaunts Bulge For New Undies Campaign

It's that time of year again ... Cristiano Ronaldo is launching his new CR7 underwear line -- and shocker, he's thrusting his own man junk front and center of the new campaign! 

The soccer superstar stripped down to his skivvies to showcase his new High Summer collection of his CR7 undies ... and yeah ... they make more than his eyes pop.

Ronaldo says the design was inspired by summer sunsets, saying, “Summer is my favourite (he spells it weird because he's European) season and I love the time of day when the sun goes down and the sky is vivid."

"I wanted to capture that feeling in my HS19 campaign, using intense colour (again with the weird Euro spelling) that’s bold, rich and compliments my new collection. I wanted the campaign to have a really relaxed feel. Summer is the time of year when I have some time to chill out, so I wanted to reflect that.”

Ronaldo takes his looks about as seriously as his game ... and the dude is on a quest to make the most stylish underwear out there.

"Essentially, I want to create underwear that looks so good that I want to wear it on the beach, rather than covering it up with my swimwear!”

In case you're wondering ... Ronaldo's underwear usually costs about $38 for a 3-pack. 

Enjoy. 

Bagel Boss Guy Signs Deal to Fight Other Viral Stars Ringside Meltdown this Fall!!!

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The short guy who lost his s*** in the New York bagel shop last week is putting his viral fame to good use ... by getting in the ring and beating the crap outta other "celebs."

Chris Morgan just inked a deal Monday with fighting promoter Damon Feldman -- who's arranged for Chris to put on some boxing gloves and go toe-to-toe with someone later this year in Atlantic City. We got him out with his new crew ... and he seemed pretty excited.

Come at me bro!!!

Not as fired up as he was in Bagel Boss, of course, but stoked nonetheless. Chris tells us he's willing to take on anybody foolish enough to face him ... and needs minimal training.

He might wanna rethink that, considering he got railroaded by a much bigger guy in the store. If his opponent is even a few inches taller than him -- Chris might have a hard time. 

SHORT TEMPER
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As for the fight itself, we're told the bout is currently booked for September 7 at the Showboat Hotel. And, while no definitive opponent is set in stone quite yet ... he could face someone just as viral -- Antoine Dodson (the "hide yo kids, hide yo wife" guy). 

Damon says Antoine is currently on the same card as Chris -- so it's possible they might square up at some point. Money-wise, we're told Chris stands to make anywhere from 5 to 6 figures ... depending on ticket sales and online streams. 

BTW ... Chris gave us some insight into how he plans to take home a W come September. Sounds like he's gonna channel his inner demon and let the claws fly!!!

Pernell Whitaker Death Ruled 'Accident' ... 'Blunt Force Trauma'

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The autopsy on Pernell Whitaker has been completed -- with officials saying the boxer died from "multiple blunt force injuries" in a car accident that has been labelled an "accident."

TMZ Sports broke the story ... the 55-year-old boxing legend was hit by a car while walking in Virginia Beach on Sunday night around 10 PM. Emergency responders raced to the scene and treated Whitaker but couldn't save him. 

The driver of the car was cooperative with police -- and we're told officials do NOT believe alcohol, drugs or speed was a factor in the incident. 

As one official put it, "It appears to just be a horrible accident."

Now, the Virginia’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner is releasing the topline results of the autopsy -- telling us the obvious, "Multiple blunt force injuries."

No word on funeral arrangement at this point -- but we're told several fans have created a makeshift memorial at the spot where Whitaker died, leaving flowers and other items to honor the boxer. 

Pernell was widely considered one of the best boxers ever -- winning titles in 4 different weight classes during his amazing career. He also won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics. 

Drake Bell Austin Butler LOOKS Like Elvis, But ... Can He Sing?!?

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ALL SHOOK UP
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Drake Bell thinks Austin Butler has all the right features to play Elvis Presley on the big screen ... but his biggest challenge will be singing like the king of rock 'n roll.

We got the "Drake & Josh" star in New York City after news broke Austin got the nod to play EP in Baz Luhrmann's movie about the icon. Drake, a self-proclaimed Elvis fanatic, says it's going to be a tough call whether his fellow Nickelodeon alum should attempt to really sing Elvis classics, or just lip-sync. 

He's a bit of an expert on the topic, because Drake rattled off several other actors who were in Austin's shoes -- Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin, Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury and Taron Egerton as Elton John.

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Vocal abilities aside ... Drake says he's glad Austin got the part -- beating out Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller, Harry Styles, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and a last minute push from G-Eazy -- because he's got the right look.

Drake's a little bummed he never got a casting call though ... and ya gotta see his Elvis impersonation!

Sarunas Jackson 007's Going Black ... I'm All For It!!!

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RIDIN' THE WAVE
TMZ.com

Sarunas Jackson is totally down with the James Bond franchise casting a black woman to take over the role of 007 ... no matter what the true motives are behind the monumental decision.

We got the "Insecure" actor at LAX and our photog asked about reports that Lashana Lynch is being cast as 007 in next year's Bond 25 movie. Sarunas says it's amazing, even if money is the driving force behind the change from a traditionally white male lead.

Sarunas says the shift is great for black girls and black women ... and he thinks decision makers are finally recognizing they've been leaving out a key demographic -- and it's spending power.

Rumor has it, Lynch will only fill the role temporarily ... but Sarunas says it's about time black people finally get to see something different, even if it did take 25 movies to make it happen.

Team USA's Rose Lavelle $23k from Secret ... 'Step In Right Direction'

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MORE WORK TO BE DONE
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Team USA soccer star Rose Lavelle says she's stoked about that $23k bonus check from Secret deodorant, but explains there's A LOT more work to be done! 

As we previously reported, Secret cut a $529k check to the USWNT Player's Association to help close the pay gap between the men's team. Each player will essentially walk away with $23k. 

So, when we saw Rose -- the 24-year-old phenom who scored that amazing 2nd goal in the World Cup final -- we asked how she felt about companies like Secret trying to help out. 

"I think it's great," Lavelle told us while walking around Washington D.C.

"I think it's a step in the right direction, but I think there's always work to be done."

We also asked Rose if there was ANY chance the team would be willing to end the feud with President Donald Trump ... but Lavelle seemed genuinely stumped.  

"I don't know," Lavelle said while chuckling at the question .... "I have no clue!"

While Rose acknowledged it would "be cool" for the team and POTUS to find a away to get along, she didn't seem too optimistic about it.

Remember, USWNT captain Megan Rapinoe said there was no way the team would go to the "f*cking White House" to celebrate the World Cup victory with Trump because she claims he's a divisive person who's bad for the country. 

Guess Who This Drumming Dude Turned Into!

Before this drumming dude was rapping and touring the world with one of the biggest hip-hop groups of all time, he was born to modest roots in Georgia. As a kid, he stood out on the playing field and started as a quarterback while a high school senior. Now that he's a famous rapper, he gets to play in celebrity basketball games at NBA All-Star Weekend. 

He formed a rap group in 2008 with his uncle and his cousin, and they've since gone on to release tons of hit singles and a few studio albums. He's also started a solo career.

Can you guess who he is?

R. Kelly Alleged Sex Slaves Fully Support Him ... Will Attend Court Hearing

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R. Kelly's alleged sex slaves will be right behind the embattled singer Tuesday in federal court when he goes before a judge in his new sex crimes case, and they even plan to address the media. 

Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary will present a united front during Kelly's bond hearing ... according to Gloria Schmidt, the attorney for the women. 

After the hearing, we're told they, along with Schmidt, will hold a news conference to react to whatever happens inside the courtroom. As we've reported ... Kelly was arrested last week in Chicago on a new round of federal charges, including sex trafficking, obstruction of justice and racketeering.

Federal prosecutors in NY also want him there to face the 2nd federal indictment -- and they've made it clear to the court, they want Kelly held in custody through his trial.

Ashlee Rezin/Chicago Sun-Times

Amid all the allegations they're Kelly's brainwashed sex slaves ... Joycelyn and Azriel continue to publicly support the singer -- just as they did back in February when they walked hand-in-hand into court. They sat in the first row, reserved for friends and family, during that bond hearing for his arrest on sexual abuse charges in Cook County.

HOME SWEET HOME
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We broke the story ... Joycelyn and Azriel made it clear in a video shot on Sunday ... they're still living in Kelly's condo, and shot down reports they'd been evicted following his Thursday night arrest.