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Jussie Smollett 'I Swear to God, I Did Not Do This' ... Pleads to 'Empire' Cast

2/21/2019 4:52 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett is begging his "Empire" family to believe he's innocent and continue supporting him -- even as the drama of his arrest postponed a scene Thursday in Chicago.

Sources on the "Empire" set tell us the cast and crew were waiting at least 30 minutes for Jussie to begin the scheduled scene. When he eventually showed his face he was very emotional, and surrounded by his family.

We're told he addressed everyone on set, saying ..."I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.”

After that, he left the set. We're told it was obvious Jussie had been crying a lot, so producers said he would have to come back later. He did, and we're told he is currently shooting the scene. 

As we reported, Smollett bolted from the mob scene outside court, and headed straight to Chicago's Cinespace Studio ... after his bail was set at $100k. News choppers and trucks followed him most of the way as he crossed town.

Kylie Jenner Jordyn Who??? Steps Out with Other Bestie

2/21/2019 3:46 PM PST

Kylie Jenner's already moving on from Jordyn Woods, and hanging with a different BFF.

Kylie stepped out Thursday for the first time since TMZ broke the story Khloe was kicking Tristan to the curb for allegedly cheating (again) ... this time with her sister's BFF, Jordyn.

KJ was all bundled up and trying to cover her face next to her pal, Heather Sanders.

We might've buried the headline here, but it's snowing in parts of L.A. right now! So, Kylie and Heather were definitely dressed for it out in Calabasas -- and they even recorded a video to commemorate the oddly chilly occasion.

As for Jordyn ... we're told she's moving out of Kylie's pad and back into her mom's house for now.

It's unclear where exactly things stand between Kylie and her -- but it's safe to assume it ain't great.

Or even good.

Jerry Springer If Jussie Wanted a Pay Raise He Should've Put in the Work, Not Lie

2/21/2019 4:57 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jerry Springer says there's a simple solution Jussie Smollett could've pursued if he wanted a bump in salary from "Empire" brass -- get on the grind ... and lay off the alleged lies.

The famed daytime TV host -- who's obviously seen plenty of crazy scenarios -- told us Thursday at LAX that Jussie's story truly has him dumbfounded.

He says he doesn't understand why Jussie might've done this, and in such an inflammatory way -- invoking racism, homophobia and politics at a time when the country is at a boiling point. 

Chicago PD's superintendent said they believe Jussie orchestrated the staged attack because he was dissatisfied with his salary.

If that's indeed the case ... Jerry says Smollett should've put in some good old-fashioned hard work to get the dough he thinks he deserves.

As it stands, Jussie's career is hanging in the balance. Fox execs say they're "considering our options" when it comes to his continued role on the show.

Jussie Smollett Released from Custody ... Bail Set at $100k

2/21/2019 1:47 PM PST

2:10 PM PT -- Jussie told police, during his arrest, he has a drug problem ... one for which he's never been treated. That could become relevant later in the case because, as we reported, cops say Jussie bought ecstasy from Abel. IF he were convicted, a drug issue could be a mitigating factor that gets his sentenced reduced.

According to docs, Smollett also answered "no" to alcohol or mental health problems.

One of the conditions of his bail calls for him to have no contact with Ola and Abel Osundairo or their family members.

1:45 PM PT -- Jussie has just been released from custody into a mob of reporters, security and police officers. He got in a black SUV and quickly left the courthouse.

12:04 PM PT -- Jussie's bail was just set by a judge at $100k. He has to surrender his passport as part of his bail conditions and post 10% of his total bail to be released from custody. He's also subject to pre-trial monitoring.

8:12 AM PT -- Trump has now weighed in on the situation, calling Jussie's allegations "racist and dangerous."

7:10 AM PT -- The Police Superintendent just expressed his outrage at Jussie Smollett for allegedly betraying the African American and LGBT communities to further his career in a "publicity stunt." The superintendent said Smollett created the ruse because "he was dissatisfied with his salary" on "Empire."

The Superintendent also said the wounds on Smollett were most likely "self-inflicted."

The Superintendent added that Jussie sent a "false letter" -- presumably the letter that was sent to Fox Studios 8 days before the incident.

4:15 AM PT -- Jussie has turned himself in and is under arrest. He's been booked and will be taken in custody to the courthouse where he will be going to bond court at 1:30 PM CT. He will either post bond or be released on his own recognizance. He will not enter a plea.

Jussie Smollett has just been charged for a felony ... disorderly conduct for filing a false police report, and the stakes are 3 years in prison.

Click here... it's not over yet

Kendra Wilkinson Divorce from Hank Baskett Finalized ... Finally!!!

2/21/2019 3:24 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Kendra Wilkinson is officially back on the market ... 'cause the former playmate just finalized her divorce with ex-NFL star Hank Baskett.

Kendra and Hank filed docs in January signifying their marriage is dunzo ... and this time they got it right. According to the docs ... they will share joint custody of their 2 kids -- 9-year-old Hank IV and 4-year-old Alijah. They're also splitting most of their property right down the middle.

As we reported, the ex-couple had two previous divorce settlements rejected by the court after making clerical errors in their filings.

Kendra and Hank got hitched back in 2009 at the Playboy Mansion ... with the late Hugh Hefner and her other 'Girls Next Door' castmates in attendance. 

TMZ broke the story ... Kendra filed for divorce back in April, citing irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split. 

Right before the divorce filing, Kendra posted an emotional video of herself crying, confirming a split from Hank ... and saying she was frightened for the next step.

That step is finally here. 

Jussie Smollett Cops Say 'Attack' Plans Started with Text ... 'Might Need Your Help on the Low'

2/21/2019 1:00 PM PST
Breaking News

Jussie Smollett sent a text to the Osundairo brothers 4 days before the allegedly staged attack went down ... then met with them to go over details, including dousing the actor in gasoline.

Prosecutors detailed the evidence they've gathered against Jussie in docs filed for his bond hearing -- and it's jaw-dropping. In the docs, prosecutors say Smollett received the now-infamous hate mail -- with homophobic and racial epithets -- on January 22 at the Chicago studio where "Empire" is shot.

The letter contained an "unknown white powdery substance." It would appear that was intended to make people think it was Anthrax or some other dangerous chemical ... but prosecutors say it turned out to be crushed Ibuprofen.

Then on January 25, Jussie fires off the text to Abel Osundairo, saying ... "Might need your help on the low. You around to meet up and talk face to face?" Cops say Abel and Jussie had been friends since the fall of 2017, and that Jussie sometimes scored ecstasy from him.

Later on the 25th, they did meet face to face outside Abel's Chicago apartment and talked in Jussie's car about staging the attack. Cops say this is when Ola was brought onboard. The original plan, according to cops, was for Ola to place a rope around Jussie's neck, pour gasoline on him and yell, "This is MAGA country." At that point, they say Jussie gave them a $100 bill to go purchase necessary items for the "attack."

On January 27, they meet again and drive around Chicago to scout locations. Cops say Smollett told them to leave their cell phones and pointed out the surveillance cam near Jussie's residence that he believed would record the incident. 

They made a late change from gasoline to bleach -- although cops don't say why -- and Smollett also handed them the $3,500 check payable to Abel and backdated to Jan. 23. As we've reported, Jussie noted in the memo line that the check was for training.

On January 28, the brothers bought the materials and Abel deposited the check.

Now to the "attack" ... at 12:49 AM, on January 29, cops say there was a 3-minute call between Smollett and Abel, and Jussie told him the "attack" would go down at exactly 2 AM.

Interestingly, police are now revealing they do have surveillance video of the brothers waiting on a bench near the predetermined staging location around 2 AM. Cops say Jussie was running late. 

As you know, the Osundairos boarded a flight for Nigeria later on the 29th -- but police say Jussie spoke to Abel on Jan. 30. They say Jussie called him for 8 minutes and 48 seconds, while Abel was in Turkey. 

And, there's this ... you'll recall Smollett's camp told TMZ the day of the attack, he believed his attackers were white. Cops say he also told them, "he could see that the area around this person's eyes was white-skinned."

Of course, we now know nothing could be further from the truth.

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Jussie Smollett Drops Trump Diss On Scrapped 'Drop the Mic'

2/21/2019 2:28 PM PST

Jussie Smollett took aim at Donald Trump during a "Drop the Mic" appearance, and even though TNT's yanked the episode ... we got a snippet of his rap battle.

Jussie was taking on "Orange is the New Black" star Danielle Brooks when he spit a few orange disses on President Trump. 

The episode was released online the week after Jussie claimed he was brutally attacked in Chicago -- but in the wake of Jussie's arrest on felony charges for filing a false police report, TNT says it's never gonna air. 

The collateral damage in all this -- "American Idol" star Clay Aiken and Ian Ziering ... who also battled in the episode, won't be seen on TV. 

Jussie's never hidden his disdain for Trump, and recently tweeted at the Prez, calling him a "bitch ass n***a."

However, Smollett did work in a Barack Obama line. That one was a compliment ... watch.

Michael Jackson Estate Sues HBO For $100 MILLION ... You Trashed MJ in 'Leaving Neverland'

2/21/2019 1:01 PM PST

1:01 PM PT -- HBO has responded to the lawsuit, telling TMZ, "Despite the desperate lengths taken to undermine the film, our plans remain unchanged. HBO will move forward with the airing of LEAVING NEVERLAND, the two-part documentary, on March 3rd and 4th."

They continue, "This will allow everyone the opportunity to assess the film and the claims in it for themselves."

Michael Jackson's Estate has just sued HBO, claiming the network screwed them over after promising not to take shots at MJ which they did in the upcoming documentary, "Leaving Neverland" ... and the suit claims damages could exceed $100 million. 

The Estate alleges HBO signed a contract that included a non-disparagement agreement with Jackson in 1992 when the network aired "Michael Jackson Live in Concert in Bucharest: The Dangerous Tour."

In the contract, there was a non-disparagement provision, which includes this ... "HBO shall not make any disparaging remarks concerning Performer or any of his representatives, agents, or business practices or do any act that may harm or disparage or cause to lower in esteem the reputation or public image of performer."

As you know, "Leaving Neverland" showcases 2 accusers -- James Safechuck and Wade Robson -- who say MJ molested them when they were children. The Estate claims the 2 are perjurers with no credibility since they have testified under oath no such molestation occurred.

We reached out to HBO ... so far, no word back.

Originally Published -- 11:06 AM PT

R. Kelly 2 New Accusers Come Forward Allege Sexual Misconduct When They Were Teens

2/21/2019 10:52 AM PST
Breaking News

R. Kelly's just been accused of sexual misconduct by two women who told their story for the first time ... because they want to encourage other victims to come forward as well.

The women -- Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington -- are represented by Gloria Allred, who came out strong against the singer at the NYC press conference by accusing him of using his fame to manipulate 2 starstruck teenagers in 1995. She claims he plied them with drugs and alcohol to take advantage of them sexually.

Allred says the women's story fits a pattern of predatory conduct by Kelly, and delivered a stern message to him -- you have nowhere to run or hide, and you're not going to get away with this anymore.

Latresa and Rochelle also spoke, and Latresa gave a detailed account of the night she claims she was sexually abused by Kelly. She says she was 16 and Washington was 15 when they went to an R. Kelly and LL Cool J concert and after-party in Baltimore.

She claims Kelly singled them out and someone in his crew gave them drugs and alcohol despite being underage. They were then invited to Kelly's hotel afterward and their cab fare was paid for to get there.

Scaff alleges the 2 called a local radio show to tell them they were sitting in R. Kelly's hotel room and even made it on the air ... before the singer arrived. When he did, Scaff claims his penis was exposed and he quickly got the teenage girls on his bed and tried to coax them into a threesome.

Latresa says Rochelle declined and went to hide in the bathroom, and that's when Kelly had sex with her without her consent. She says Kelly left the room shortly afterward and they never heard from him again.

As we reported ... a grand jury has been convened to investigate the alleged sex tape that Michael Avenatti handed over to Cook County's State Attorney's Office. Avenatti says the VHS tape shows Kelly having sex with a girl who seems to be 14 years old.

It's unclear if the women who spoke today are among the women prosecutors flew to Chicago to watch the new tape to see if any of Kelly's surroundings looked familiar ... or to identify the girl.

TMZ Best in Show Challenge Carl + Lily Crowned As Prize-Winning Pets!!!

2/20/2019 12:07 PM PST

The votes are in, and by a narrow margin ... TMZ's "Best in Show" go to a pair of lovable puppers -- Carl and Lily!

The couple's romantic doggy date video barely topped the cute raccoon who "Woke Up Like Dis" to take home 1st prize and $3,000 to boot. The 4 other finalists scored $500, as well.

Thank you to all the pet owners out there who submitted funny, creative and adorable vids of their little loved ones. Stay tuned for a new challenge next week for yet another chance to win some cash.

Kanye West Color Me Focused

2/21/2019 11:27 AM PST

Kanye West looks like he's got a lot on his mind these days ... and we're guessing neon sherbet might be one of them. 

The rapper was out Thursday heading to his office in Calabasas when he stepped out with a new hairdo. It's pretty colorful. A little purple here, a little green there and tons of red. Whatever the case ... make no mistake about it, Ye looks like a man on a mission.

Kanye's no stranger to giving his hair a remix. Remember that one time he decked his dome in some bright ass red? At the time, the new style came on the heels of a music video shooting scare with Tekashi69.

This time around, the hairdo comes after an awesome Kenny G surprise for Kim K on Valentine's Day. A lot less dramatic, for sure, but still makes him easy to spot in a crowd!

Whatever the inspiration, we are diggin' the flair. Do you, Ye.

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Antonio Brown Domestic Violence Case Pics Show Minor Scrape

2/21/2019 12:50 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

TMZ Sports has obtained the injury photos cops took of the woman who claimed she was physically attacked by NFL star Antonio Brown ... and they show a very minor scratch on her forearm.

As we previously reported, the woman -- who has a child with Brown -- went to the Hollywood Police Dept. on January 18, 2019, to report an incident where Brown allegedly shoved her while they argued at his home on Jan. 17. 

Cops took a report and photographed the alleged injury on her left forearm. According to the police report, the woman said her wrist was in pain and she was scraped from Brown pushing her.

Cops described the injury as "an abrasion with some scabbing."

A short time later, cops say the woman had a change of heart and asked to "cancel" the initial police report -- and stopped cooperating with officials. 

Cops explained they could not "cancel" anything -- and had to include her initial statement and the photos in the case file. 

For his part, Brown adamantly denies any wrongdoing, and his attorney has said he will pursue legal action to get primary custody of their child because he believes she's an unfit parent. 

Brown has not been arrested or charged with a crime. 

Tom Green 20 Years Later ... I'm a U.S. Citizen!!!

2/21/2019 10:08 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Tom Green's counting down to November 3, 2020 ... because that's when he can finally vote for President, now that he's a U.S. citizen!!!

The comedian went through the naturalization oath ceremony Wednesday at the L.A. Convention Center along with hundreds of others. As you probably know, Tom was born in Canada but he's lived in the U.S. for two decades.

Check out the clip ... Tom couldn't contain his excitement as he proudly waves a U.S. flag. BTW, the same could NOT be said of President Trump who had a message for the newly naturalized citizens.

The obvious question ... what took so long? Tom tells TMZ ... being a standup comedian and commenting on society is great, but after living in America for 20 years now, he wanted the opportunity to vote and take part in the democratic process.

Make no mistake ... Tom bleeds Canada's red and white, and he's in no way turning his back on Canada. He's just now making room for America's red, white AND blue. And, he's showing both countries love ... 'cause now he has dual citizenship.

He knows his U.S. history too -- bet ya can't name every prez as Tom did while on "Celebrity Big Brother."

Congrats. Welcome!! Enjoy the taxes.

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