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 Nipsy'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 her 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 ... 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 Offcials to discuss a planned summit Nipsey and them had coordinated to curb gang violence.

Soboroff publicly hailed Nipsey as a peacemaker.

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.

HOME SWEET HOME
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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 extradition hearing in federal court in Chicago, but they are planning to hold a news conference afterward with their attorney, Gloria Schmidt. 

Federal prosecutors have already made their case to the judge for Kelly to be held without bail once he's extradited to NY 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. 

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 Virginiaโ€™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
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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 extradition 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 want him transferred there STAT to face the 2nd federal indictment. They've also 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. 

Rep. Ilhan Omar Trump's Racist Tweets a New Low ... But He Won't Defeat Us!!!

THIS IS MY HOME
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3:01 PM PT -- The congresswomen just wrapped up the press conference, and their message was unified and clear -- President Trump's xenophobic comments are a distraction, and his actions have more than justified him being impeached.

HERE TO STAY

All 4 Representatives all spoke, starting with Rep. Pressley, who urged the country to not take the bait and hold Trump accountable for the mass detention, deportation and separation of families at the border.

Rep. Omar went the hardest at POTUS, reminding everyone of his countless past comments denounced as sexist, racist and xenophobic ... and AOC wrapped things up by accusing him of being weak-minded and resorting to personal attacks instead of debating policy.

Trump was definitely aware of the presser, as he was on Twitter throughout, starting with this tweet ... "We will never be a Socialist or Communist Country. IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE! It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country...."

Congresswoman Ilhan Omar says President Trump's xenophobic tweets are disturbing, because while she's heard those very words before -- they've never come from the White House.

The U.S. Rep from Minnesota is not holding her tongue in responding to Trump -- telling a photog Monday in Washington, D.C. ... she's been a citizen for 2 decades, and the other Congresswomen he attacked were born in this country. That aside, she dismissed his comments as old-school racist and xenophobic rhetoric. 

As you know by now ... President Trump said Sunday that 4 sitting minority female members of the House of Representatives should go back and fix the "totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

Rep. Omar says all 4 Congresswomen plan to introduce a resolution to call out and condemn such messages coming from the Trump administration.

Last but not least, Rep. Omar has a message for all immigrants, especially kids, who are feeling dejected and hurt by the President's words.

Omar, along with Reps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley -- have all also rebuked Trump on Twitter, and plan to hold a news conference Monday to address the issue.

Originally Published -- 2:01 PM PT

Vanessa Hudgens & Austin Butler Yes, My Man Loves Me Tender ... He's the New Elvis!!!

MEGA

If you think you saw Vanessa Hudgens walking with Elvis Presley in L.A. Monday afternoon, you're sorta dead-on ... since her BF is about to step into the king's blue suede shoes. 

The former Disney star was hand in hand with Austin Butler on the heels of the big Hollywood casting news -- he's playing Elvis in an upcoming biopic, and beat out heavy hitters like Ansel Elgort, Miles Teller and Harry Styles.

The decision to go with Austin caught some folks by surprise -- fact is, he's relatively unknown compared to his competition, but looks at these pics and it's easy to see why he was tapped for the role. Dude's got the hair and the look working!

Mega

His appearance and acting skills obviously impressed director Baz Luhrmann and co. enough to land the potentially career-changing gig. 

As for Vanessa, she wrote on social media Monday that she was "OVERRRR THE F***ING MOOOOOOOOONNNNN" for her man, with whom she's been with since 2011. 

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

BTW, just 'cause you might not have heard of Austin before today ... that doesn't mean he's a hound dog in the acting game. He's been in the biz since 2006, having appeared in numerous hit series like 'Ned's Declassified,' "Zoey 101," "Life Unexpected," "Switched at Birth," "The Carrie Diaries," "The Shannara Chronicles" and tons of other shows and movies.

Don't be cruel now ... give this stud a chance! 

Joe Montana $30 Million Mansion For Sale ... 500 California Acres!!!

Here's a look at how Joe Montana lives ... and if ya got $30 MILLION lyin' around -- you can live like one of the best quarterbacks EVER too!!!

The San Francisco 49ers legend's EPIC 500-acre palace in Calistoga, California is up for sale ... and the place is ridiculously awesome.

The main house is a 9,700-square-foot mansion that features 3 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms and an insane wine cellar that can hold 3,500 bottles of booze.

Outside the main place -- there's a horse-riding area, a basketball court and a bunch of olive trees that produce anywhere from 30-60 GALLONS of olive oil every year!!

Paul Rollins

There's also a swimming pool, a skeet-shooting range, a pond (that you can fish in) and two creeks to canoe in.

Oh, and if that ain't enough ... the pad is surrounded by unreal Sonoma County views of mountains and trees.

Unclear why Montana is trying to unload the place ... but it can be all yours if you've got $28.9 MILLION to burn!!!!

Remember, Montana played BEFORE players started signing 9-figure contracts -- in fact, back in 1990, Joe was the very first NFL player to average more than $3 million per season when he signed a 4-year, $13 mil contract with the 49ers. 

At the time, Montana's salary made up about 15% of the 49ers' $27 million payroll. 

Boy, have times changed ... 

Jenelle Evans Cops Have No Issues With New Dogs

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TMZ

Jenelle Evans and David Eason don't have to worry about authorities coming to snatch their new pooches from their property -- at least not yet -- even though some folks are worried the pups are in bad hands. 

The Columbus County Sheriff tells TMZ ... animal control has received ZERO complaints about Jenelle and David's new dogs, and so far, the Sheriff has no reason to remove the animals from their home. 

The Sheriff's department says its investigation into David's killing of the family's old dog yielded no findings of criminal activity ... so they can't punish him and take the new pups away. 

While there's been some social media outrage after Jenelle and David posted video over the weekend of their new Anatolian shepherds ... the sheriff tells us they are NOT being flooded with calls, a stark contrast to when Jenelle revealed her dog Nugget died after David shot it.

Several breeders tell us Jenelle and David are in for a challenge training their new pets, especially if the couple had trouble training a bulldog ... we're told Anatolian shepherd dogs are known to be stubborn, hyper and strong biters ... and they're a lot to handle if you're not brushed up on the breed. 

Jenelle and David say they picked the dogs to protect their livestock ... but breeders tell us the dogs needed to be trained from a young age, otherwise they could kill the chickens themselves. 

Tracy Morgan Bugatti Reborn ... Just Like New!!!

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Take 2! Tracy Morgan is back in his precious Bugatti ... the one he got into a car accident with last month, and it looks as good as new -- which raises some financial questions. 

The comedian and 'Last O.G.' actor was rolling around NYC Monday in what appears to be the same luxury sports car that got slammed in Manhattan ... moments after he drove it off the lot. We broke the story, the repairs -- which didn't seem major to the eye -- were gonna cost upwards of $32k!!! The question now ... who the heck paid for this???

BUSTED BUGATTI
TMZ.com

When the accident happened, NYPD told us the fender bender appeared to be the other driver's fault. If in fact it was ... her insurance would typically cover the damage. However, it's not everyday you hit a $2 million car, and it's unclear if the other driver had that much coverage. 

It's also possible, Tracy's insurance covered it but what's most likely is both insurance companies are slugging it out. 

Bottom line for Tracy ... he can get back to flaunting his whip around town.

Oh, and just to jog your memory on what he was dealing with on his $2 million whip ... here's a trip down deductible lane. Drive safe, folks!

R. Kelly Alleged Sex Slaves Still at His Condo We Haven't Been Evicted!!!

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HOME SWEET HOME
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R. Kelly's alleged sex slaves or, as they would say, girlfriends, are setting the record straight on where the hell they've been since the singer was arrested -- and they say ... nothing's changed.

A rep for Joycelyn Savage and Azriel Clary tells TMZ ... the women were sitting comfortably in R. Kelly's Chicago apartment inside Trump Tower on Sunday afternoon when they recorded this video ... addressing claims they'd been evicted from the premises following Kelly's arrest for 2 federal indictments.

In the clip -- obtained by TMZ -- Azriel does most of the talking and says they're fine and dandy, and living comfortably inside R. Kelly's pad.

They even give a glimpse of the view from the high-rise, showing off the Chicago skyline. Azriel says they're at the "Trump" ... and adds it's the same place they've been for years. 

However, she insists they move freely and come and go as they like, attempting to knock down the notion they're being held against their will. This part seems to be a direct message to their parents -- who've been vocally and publicly concerned for years now.

They go on to thank R. Kelly's fans for the ongoing support amid his new legal battles. 

The video comes on the heels of Kelly's rearrest in Chicago on new federal charges, including racketeering and sex trafficking and obstruction of justice. Of course, that's on top of the state charges he's been facing in Cook County, IL. 

WHERE'S MY DAUGHTER?!
FOX 5

Joycelyn and Azriel's parents relayed that they were concerned for their daughters, whose whereabouts since Kelly's arrest had been unknown until now. There had been reports they were kicked out of Kelly's place ... but they claim they've always been there through the whole ordeal.

As we reported, Joycelyn's father confronted Kelly's spokesperson during a news conference, demanding to know his daughter's whereabouts. We're told Joycelyn and Azriel are denying the alleged suicide pact some family members thought had been formed.

The women, who are both adults, have always claimed they are not being held against their will -- and they reassert that in this video. However, Kelly's critics have long maintained ... this sort of video only shows how the embattled singer has brainwashed his victims.     

Boxer Pernell Whitaker Dead at 55, Hit By Car In Virginia ... Driver Not Arrested

10:49 AM PT -- The driver in the crash was NOT arrested -- and law enforcement officials tell us they do NOT believe drugs, alcohol or speed was a factor. 

The driver was not cited -- though we're told that person is cooperating with authorities. 

We're told the case will be kicked over to prosecutors to evaluate but it's unlikely the driver will be hit with criminal charges. 

In fact, as one person involved in the investigation put it ... "It appears to just be a horrible accident."

8:56 AM PT -- TMZ Sports just spoke with boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. -- a long time friend of Pernell -- who tells us how much Whitaker meant to boxing ... and to him personally. 

ROY JONES JR. REMEMBERS PERNELL
TMZSports.com

7:26 AM PT -- Pernell took a photo with Floyd Mayweather at an autograph show they were both appearing at in Virginia on the day before he died. 

Floyd paid tribute to Pernell on social media saying, "R I P champ, one of the best fighters to ever do it."

Boxing legend Pernell Whitaker was killed Sunday night after he was hit by a car in Virginia Beach, TMZ Sports has learned. He was only 55. 

We're told officials received a call around 10:04 PM in response to an accident at the intersection of Northampton Boulevard and Baker Road.  

When cops arrived, they located the man who had been hit by a vehicle who was in really bad shape -- and our sources tell us that man was Pernell Whitaker. 

Emergency medical personnel at the scene tried to resuscitate Whitaker -- even performing CPR on him -- but unfortunately, Whitaker succumbed to his injuries and died. 

DISPATCH AUDIO

Cops are investigating. Unclear if the driver of the car was arrested but he did stay on the scene to speak with police. It's NOT a hit and run situation. 

By the way, we're told the area where Pernell was hit is NOT a popular nightlife area -- in other words, it's not like he was out partying. 

Whitaker (who's from Virginia) was a BEAST in the ring ... winning world titles at 4 different weights -- lightweight, light welterweight, welterweight and light middleweight. 

Sweet Pea was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2006 -- and is considered by many to be one of the greatest fighters of ALL TIME. 

He fought everyone from Oscar De La Hoya to Julio Cesar Chavez -- and even though he lost to Oscar and Julio was a draw ... many people believe he was ROBBED in both decisions because he clearly won the fights. 

His pro career began in 1984 and spanned all the way through 2001, with an amazing 40-4-1 record including 17 knockouts.

He also won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in L.A. 

From 1993 to 1997 he was considered the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Ring Magazine named him the Fight of the Year in 1989. 

Whitaker is survived by his 5 children. RIP

Ex-NFL star Michael Vick, who's also from Virginia, tweeted about Whitaker's passing -- saying, 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker was our hometown legend and the greatest of all time. My prayers are with his family and loved ones."

Magic Johnson added ... "Pernell 'Sweet Pea' Whitaker was in the class of Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard as one of the most entertaining fighters in my lifetime. Iโ€™m praying for his family."

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Originally Published -- 5:59 AM PT