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Anthony Hamilton Puts Fergie's Nat'l Anthem to Shame ... At NBA All-Star Game

2/17/2019 5:59 PM PST

Talk about a complete 180 for the National Anthem performance at this year's NBA All-Star Game ... sorry, Fergie

Anthony Hamilton took the reigns Sunday to do his own rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner," and he absolutely killed it ... even with a slowed-down version -- unlike his predecessor.

The soul singer took his time, and hit every note he needed to ... and the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Even more telling ... no NBA players were laughing. You'll recall ... Fergie had guys like Draymond Green and others giggling on the court.

Fergie eventually came out and apologized for her performance after it was roasted by just about everyone, saying she tried her best

No question ... Anthony's got Fergie beat. But the real question now is, who did better ... AH or Marvin Gaye??? In case you didn't know, MG belted out what many consider to be the best rendition of the National Anthem during the 1983 NBA All-Star Game.

Now, Anthony's performance is being exalted as possibly even better than that gem. It's a tough one, but they're definitely in a league of their own. 

Tekashi 6ix9ine Plea Deal Revealed Short Sentence, Witness Protection

2/17/2019 4:57 PM PST

Details of Tekashi 6ix9ine's plea deal are now public, and it looks like about the best deal he could get ... way less than even the minimum sentence for a boatload of crimes.

Tekashi was facing a MINIMUM of 47 years in prison and a maximum of life behind bars after pleading guilty to racketeering, conspiracy, firearms offenses, narcotics trafficking and other crimes.

As we reported, the rapper cooperated with the feds and even testified before the Grand Jury. The U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York agreed "not to prosecute [69] for the crimes set forth in Counts One through Nine."  So, various crimes are off the books. In addition, prosecutors agreed not to go after 69 for crimes he told prosecutors about but have not yet been charged.

The plea deal also says, "It is understood that the defendant's cooperation is likely to reveal the activities of individuals and that witness protection may be required at a later date." It sounds like that may be necessary, because 69's testimony implicates hardened criminals accused of extremely violent crimes. 

It's ultimately up to the judge to determine sentence ... but the prosecutors say if Tekashi keeps talking, he'll get a gigantic break ... "should the defendant successfully cooperate, the government agrees that it will file at the time of sentencing a motion ... for a sentence below any mandatory minimum." 

It's unclear how much time prosecutors will ask for, but it appears the number of years may be in the teens ... maybe even less. 

Reese Witherspoon Serenaded by the Globetrotters ... With 'My Girl'

2/17/2019 5:05 PM PST
Exclusive Video

Reese Witherspoon and her husband scored courtside seats to watch the Harlem Globetroters this weekend -- but they also got an unexpected Motown serenade out of it. 

The actress and her hubby, Jim Toth, hit up the Staples Center in L.A. Sunday to watch the Globetrotters perform their magic on the court. The good thing about sitting so close ... ya might get called up and be put under the spotlight, which is exactly what happened to Reese.

She and Jim were then treated to the soothing tunes of The Temptations ... with "My Girl," of course. And, naturally, the couple got to two-stepping hand-in-hand. 

Not exactly NBA All-Star caliber entertainment, but we're sure it was a great time for Reese and her family. 

R. Kelly Grand Jury Formed After New Alleged Victims Saw New Sex Tape

2/17/2019 6:46 PM PST
Exclusive Details

6:44 PM PT -- R. Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg tells TMZ ... "I am unaware of any 'special' grand jury being convened to look into R. Kelly. There is no record of any such proceedings, and no need for them. The report is false."

A grand jury has been convened to hear evidence against R. Kelly in the wake of a new sex tape that reportedly shows him having sex with a 14-year-old girl -- and some of his alleged former victims might've been the reason a jury was formed so swiftly.

Sources connected with the Cook County State Attorney's investigation tell us a number of women who claim to be victims of R. Kelly were recently flown out to Chicago to watch the sex tape Michael Avenatti handed over to prosecutors.

Avenatti says the tape clearly shows R. Kelly having explicit sex with the girl. CNN -- which saw the tape -- described lurid details, including R. Kelly allegedly urinating on the minor.

Our sources say that these women -- some of whom have never surfaced -- were brought in to watch the new tape to see if anything looks familiar ... including the setting, surroundings, location and, of course, the identity of the 14-year-old.  

The tape, and possible witnesses who can contextualize the video, may be enough for a grand jury to indict.

Originally Published -- 4:43 PM PST 

Common Kap's No Sellout for Settling ... The Journey's What Matters

2/17/2019 1:05 PM PST

Colin Kaepernick is far from a sellout by settling with the NFL -- because he shed an important spotlight along the way that won't soon be forgotten ... so says Common

We got the rapper leaving WeHo Sunday, where we asked what he thought of the ex-QB recently coming to terms with the NFL out of court. Common's got nothing but good things to say about Kap here and gives a good reason why he hasn't compromised his principles.

According to Common ... Kaepernick exposed the NFL and its owners through his collusion case and thoroughly highlighted what Common considers exploitative practices over their black players. He says nothing can take away from the work CK's done on that front.

When our photog asks point blank if his settlement -- which is rumored to be in the $100 million range -- makes him a sellout, Common shoots that notion down hard.

He tells us standing up for what you believe in is never a sell-out move.

Jussie Smollett Case to Go to Grand Jury ... Doubt MAGA Comment Because Trump Folks Don't Watch 'Empire'

2/17/2019 11:59 AM PST

A grand jury will hear the Jussie Smollett case early next week ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

Law enforcement sources connected to the investigation tell TMZ, the 2 brothers who were arrested and then released are staying somewhere around the Loop in downtown Chicago under the watchful eye of police so no one gets to them. We're told cops especially want to make sure Jussie does not contact the brothers.

We're told when police raided the home of the 2 brothers they found magazines with pages torn out, and authorities are now trying to determine if the missing pages are connected to the threatening letter that was sent to Jussie 8 days before the alleged attack.

Our sources say early on they asked Jussie if he'd sign complaints against the 2 men who attacked him and he was clear that he would. But, when he found out the 2 brothers were the ones in custody we're told he said he knew them, felt bad for them and declined to sign the complaints. 

Our sources say although cops believe the brothers purchased the rope that was around Jussie's neck after the incident, there is no surveillance video at the hardware store because it erases after a week.

We're told the way they tracked the 2 brothers down was by their movements in arriving and leaving the scene around Jussie's apartment building. As we reported, they left in either a cab or an Uber, but we're told cops tracked the vehicle and the 2 brothers got out on their way home and into another vehicle. As one source put it, "It was almost like a bad spy movie."

The sources say there were red flags from the get-go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera.

And, there's this. We're told investigators didn't believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed, "This is MAGA country," because, "Not a single Trump supporter watches 'Empire.'"

And, a few loose ends ... we're told when cops picked up the 2 brothers at O'Hare Airport, police were armed with 3 warrants for each man, one of which was to seize their phones.    

We're also told there is no video of a "rehearsal" of the attack in the street.

Jussie and his lawyer have vehemently denied the attack was staged, maintaining this was a hate crime.

50 Cent NYPD Officer Denies Telling Cops Shoot Him On Sight

2/17/2019 1:27 PM PST
Exclusive Details

1:22 PM PST -- Roy Richter -- who serves as the president of the Captains Endowment Association, a union that reps Emanuel Gonzalez -- tells TMZ ... the allegation that Gonzalez told fellow officers to shoot 50 Cent on sight last year is completely false. Richter tells us Gonzalez never said that, and that he completely denies any suggestion he did. In fact, Richter says it was 50 who put Gonzalez's safety at risk by publishing a threatening Instagram post. 

10:00 AM PST -- 50 Cent has responded to the Daily News article on Instagram saying, "I take this threat very seriously," and he is consulting with his legal counsel all the while posting a photo of Emanuel Gonzalez.

An NYPD officer is under investigation for allegedly telling his fellow cops to shoot 50 Cent on sight ... TMZ has confirmed.

Police sources tell TMZ, Commanding Officer Emanuel Gonzalez made the comment last June during roll call at the 72nd Precinct. What apparently triggered his comment ... 50 was scheduled to attend an NYPD boxing match in the Bronx. Gonzalez said, "Shoot him on sight."

Gonzalez has had beef with 50 ... according to the NY Daily News, which broke the story, a month before Gonzalez made his comment he filed an aggravated harassment complaint claiming 50 threatened him on Instagram.  

50 had accused Gonzalez of "shaking down" the owner of one of 50's go-to clubs ... this according to the Daily News. 50 wrote on his Instagram, "Get the strap" -- slang for gun. Gonzalez says 50's followers subsequently threatened him with violence. 

We're told Gonzalez has said it was just a joke, but the matter was reported to higher-ups in the Department and Internal Affairs is now investigating.

Gonzalez is a long-timer in the Department -- 30 years -- and he's still on duty.

50's rep tells TMZ," Mr. Jackson takes this threat very seriously and is consulting with his legal counsel regarding his options going forward. He is concerned that he was not previously advised of this threat by the NYPD and even more concerned that Gonzalez continues to carry a badge and a gun."

Originally posted -- 7:36 AM PST

Miranda Lambert Bands Together with New Hubby ... For Leather Weather in NYC

2/17/2019 10:52 AM PST

Miranda Lambert has left Tennesse and is now back in the Big Apple with a hunk of a husband hanging from her arm ... and some sweet new bling perched on her finger.

The country singer was spotted hand-in-hand with Brendan McLoughlin Saturday in SoHo, where they were both rockin' their wedding bands, and a little something extra for Miranda ... her engagement ring. They also had matching leather jackets to boot.

Good choice in attire ... NYC reached a high of 42 degrees Saturday afternoon, so the coats probably kept them warm in the chilly weather. A new boo helps in that department too.

As we reported, Miranda announced her surprise nuptials this weekend to the NYPD officer, who seems to have come out of nowhere. Reports say the newlyweds got hitched in late January down in Nashville ... where she recently had a bit of a salad spat.

Like we first told you ... Miranda got into a heated argument at a Nashville steakhouse last weekend, which boiled over into her dumping a salad onto a woman's lap.

The incident ended with no arrests and no police report filed. Here's hoping the New York dining scene treats her a little better.

BlocBoy JB Wanted in Tennessee ... Over Drug/Gun Charges

2/17/2019 1:17 PM PST

BlocBoy JB is a wanted man in his home state of Tennessee ... according to police, who say he's facing multiple criminal charges. 

The Shelby County Sheriff's Office tweeted out the news Saturday about the local Memphis MC, saying BB JB -- real name James Baker -- is wanted for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, being a convicted felon in possession of a handgun, and for theft of property. 

It's unclear what incident these charges stem from, but cops are asking the public for any information about his current whereabouts. 

BlocBoy's Instagram story has been quiet over the past 24 hours, but he posted a photo of himself with a tagged location of Memphis, TN just last weekend. 

View this post on Instagram

Where Is Yo Gloc My Coat🧥 #RipMacMiller

A post shared by BlocBoy JB (@blocboy_jb) on

You'll recall ... BlocBoy JB is one of many celebs currently suing the developers of Fortnite for allegedly ripping off his Shoot dance and throwing it in the game ... calling it the Hype dance.

He hasn't commented on the charges as of yet. 

Jussie Smollett Not Officially 'Suspect' ... Police Sources Say Otherwise

2/17/2019 8:03 AM PST

Jussie Smollett is not officially a suspect in the Chicago PD investigation, despite multiple sources inside the department who tell us he is squarely just that.

We reached out to Chi PD and asked if the status of the "Empire" star has officially gone from victim to suspect. We were told ... "We have some information that needs to be corroborated and verified with the Empire cast member before we can answer this question. After new developments, we've reached out to his attorney and requested additional time to interview him."

It actually makes sense ... the cops are playing the case close to the vest, so witnesses aren't influenced by police statements. As we reported, there was a sentiment early on in the Department Jussie's story didn't track, but officially they never let on. 

As we reported, the 2 brothers with connections to both "Empire" and Jussie "completely cooperated" with cops during their interrogation, and they made it clear ... their participation was at the behest of Jussie.  

Jussie's lawyer has indirectly lashed out at the brothers, doubling down that Jussie is a victim and "anyone claiming otherwise is lying."

As we reported, at least one of the brothers turned over his phone to cops and there's a call between him and Jussie in the vicinity of the "attack," but before it happened.

There are multiple reports the brothers bought the rope in question at an Ace Hardware store in Chicago.

We're told so far ... Jussie has not agreed to another interview with cops.


David Charvet Grabbing Dinner with Sarah Jones ... Still 'Simply Friends?'

2/17/2019 11:37 AM PST

Jermaine Jones might've been on to something when he said David Charvet banged his wife and ruined their relationship, 'cause now there's photos that seem to back him up.

The former "Baywatch" star was spotted at a restaurant in Malibu Saturday night with J.J.'s estranged wife, Sarah, following close behind. It looks like a classic date night situation, even though there are no immediate signs of intimacy in these pics.

Still, the shots could give credence to Jermaine's public accusations of David being a homewrecker and sleeping with Sarah a few months ago ... depending on who you ask.

It all might be moot, though. David got a temporary restraining order against Jermaine after claiming the U.S. soccer star threatened him with violence. Sarah got a TRO against her soon-to-be ex-hubby as well, claiming he was stalking and harassing her.

She also filed for divorce from Jermaine last month, so it's clear the door is closing on their marriage. An outing like this doesn't bode well for any type of reconciliation either.

As for whether David and Sarah are still "simply friends" as he previously claimed ... that one stays between them, we suppose.

Anthony Weiner Out of Prison ... But Not a Free Man Yet

2/17/2019 1:00 AM PST

Anthony Weiner is no longer behind bars, but the disgraced ex-U.S. Congressman still has a few months in federal custody before he's freed ... still earlier than originally expected.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... Weiner's been transferred out of a Massachusetts prison and into the custody of a Bureau of Prisons residential re-entry center in New York. We're told he's either in a halfway house or home confinement.

Weiner's now in pre-release status, which inmates often get as they approach the end of their federal sentence. The purpose is to prepare them to transition back into society.

As we reported ... Weiner started serving his 21-month prison sentence in November 2017 after pleading guilty to sexting with a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. He was slated to get out August, 2019, but good behavior slashed the sentence 3 months to May 14.

We're told that is still his scheduled release date.

Weiner served his time at the Federal Medical Center in Devens, Massachusetts where they offer treatment for sex offenders. As you know ... Weiner has a long, scandalous history.

Weiner resigned from Congress after his first sexting scandal in 2011. He ran for NYC mayor but that bid was derailed in 2013 when he was found sexting Sydney Leathers under the infamous alias, "Carlos Danger."

The convicted sex offender saw his marriage fall apart the third time around. Huma Abedin filed for divorce just hours after Weiner struck a plea deal in the latest sexting scandal. Making matters worse ... Huma was a top aide to then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton when federal investigators found hundreds of thousands of Clinton's emails in Weiner's laptop ... forever changing the course of the 2016 Presidential election.

21 Savage Bailed On Gig ... After Complaining About a Gun

2/17/2019 12:50 AM PST

21 Savage skipped out on a paid gig at a club after voicing complaints about the opening act and demanding he be allowed to carry his gun ... this according to the promoter who booked him. 

The promoter, Karen Smith, tells TMZ ... she booked 21 Savage for a fee of $17,000 to play a Sept. 2016 show at Bo'Maz Club in Hinesville, GA, but 21 and his crew bounced without saying a word.

The promoter tells us she caved and allowed him to carry his weapon. We're also told by someone who was at the show ... 21 groused about the opening act -- a local rapper -- and asked the DJ to cut him off but the DJ refused. 21 got angry, and he and his crew beat it.

In video from the club, obtained by TMZ, you see the local rapper performing on stage when 21 and his crew get up and leave ... before he performed a single song.   

We broke the story ... the promoter went to cops in October 2016 and filed paperwork to get a felony warrant against 21 Savage for theft by deception, claiming he walked off with $17k for a show that never went down.

The warrant was issued but sat for more than 2 years. After 21 was arrested by ICE on Super Bowl Sunday, the club owner went to the Sheriff and decided to pursue the criminal case. 

21 Savage turned himself in Friday morning and was booked for felony theft by deception. He was released within a half hour. 

We reached out to 21's lawyer, Abbi Taylor, and she doubled down on her claim that 21 has committed no criminal offense. We believe he'll end up paying the woman and if that's what she's after she'll probably drop the case. 

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