Houston Astros Fire Manager A.J. Hinch and GM ... After MLB Drops Hammer In Cheating Probe

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3:38 PM PT -- Hinch just released a statement, saying, "I regret being connected to these events, am disappointed in our club's actions within this timeline, and I accept the Commissioner's decision."

Hinch reiterated that while he did NOT endorse the sign-stealing scheme ... he admitted, "I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry."

Hinch added, "I apologize to all of you for our mistakes but I'm confident we will learn from it - and I personally commit to work tirelessly to ensure I do."

1:43 PM PT -- We just got Ted Cruz out at Reagan Airport in D.C. ... and the Texas senator says he's DEVASTATED by the MLB's findings.

In fact, it sure seems like Cruz is starting to wonder if the 2017 World Series title should now be considered tainted!!

HATE TO SEE IT
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12:06 PM PT -- The Astros just fired A.J. Hinch and GM Jeff Luhnow ... saying the team needs to start fresh.

When asked if the team's 2017 World Series championship was tainted as a result of the scandal ... 'Stros owner Jim Crane said, "Absolutely not."

FIRED!!!
Houston Astros

The MLB just laid the hammer down on the Astros over sign-stealing allegations ... suspending manager A.J. Hinch for 1 YEAR -- and hitting the team with all kinds of other punishments for cheating.

MLB commish Rob Manfred just made the announcement ... saying the league found the Astros DID, in fact, steal signs from opponents beginning in the 2017 season.

Per Manfred, the league interviewed 68 witnesses -- including 23 current and former Astros players -- and found the cheating allegations to be credible.

As part of the punishment, Manfred announced 1-year suspensions for both Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow ... as well as a fine of $5 MILLION AND the loss of draft picks.

Manfred said the Astros will be forced to give up their first AND second-round picks in both the 2020 and 2021 drafts.

Per the league's report, the Astros used a complicated scheme where they filmed signs, decoded them in a separate room and relayed the upcoming pitches to batters by banging on dugout trash cans.

The report says former Astros bench coach and current Red Sox manager, Alex Cora, was the mastermind behind all the cheating.

Gigi Hadid Gets Called in for Possible Jury Duty In Harvey Weinstein Trial!!!

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SERVIN' HER CIVIC DUTY
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Gigi Hadid's in an awkward place, getting called as a potential juror on Harvey Weinstein's criminal trial -- and though she probably has solid reason to be excused, it seems she wants to serve.

Gigi showed up Monday morning in the NYC courthouse, and was later seen exiting. She was the model potential juror -- refusing to discuss the case, now in the fifth day of jury selection. More than 100 jurors have reportedly filled out questionnaires about their backgrounds and whether they'd remain impartial in the case.

Gigi was reportedly seated just 20 feet away from Weinstein and, according to the NY Daily News, she told the judge she'd previously met Weinstein but, "I think I'm still able to keep an open mind to the facts."

It's unclear if Gigi's been selected as a juror, but she's definitely got a dog in this fight. Back in 2017, Gigi's good friend, Cara Delevingne, accused the disgraced studio mogul of making an unwanted move and asking her questions about her sex life.

Dina Lohan Denies Being Drunk During Arrest ... I Fled 'Cause It Was NBD

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Dina Lohan has answers to just about everything cops allege she did this weekend during her DWI arrest -- denying she was in the wrong or in the danger zone for booze.

LiLo's mother's attorney, Mark Jay Heller, tells TMZ ... Dina was leaving an Outback Steakhouse Saturday near her East Coast home, and as she was pulling her Mercedes out of the lot when she hit the other car, a Honda.

Heller says Dina didn't see any damage, and claims no one was injured ... so she left, thinking nothing of it. Soon enough, she had the cavalry behind her.

We're told Dina was surprised to see several cops tailing her as she got home -- the implication being, she didn't think she'd done anything wrong. As for that pesky breathalyzer, Heller says she refused it 'cause she was NOT drunk ... and thought they'd lie.

As for the police officer's claim, Dina fell on her face as she got out of the vehicle, Heller says that's BS, and claims the officer actually pushed her to the ground.

No word yet on whether she'll take legal action, but for now ... she's gonna have to take her case up with the State of NY. Dina's pled not guilty to DWI, and a laundry list of other traffic violations ... including leaving the scene of an accident.

Queen Elizabeth We Support Harry & Meg Leaving ... But Wish They Wouldn't!!!

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are winning over Queen Elizabeth -- immediately following the family summit, Her Majesty now says she supports them stepping away from Royal life.

QE2 says both she and the fam are fully supportive of her grandson's power move. That said, she's pretty honest too, and notes she wishes they would've stayed on and remained "full-time working Members of the Royal Family."

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Prince William, Prince Harry and Prince Charles all left the meeting at the Queen's Sandringham Estate separately. They were all discussing the future of the Royal Family and how they'd all move forward after Harry and Meg's announcement. Meghan, who's in Canada now, reportedly teleconferenced for the meeting.

Her Majesty says there will be a period of transition while they sort out details on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's departure and finances. Harry made it clear they don't want to rely on public funds and prefer to seek financial independence.

Harry's grandma also confirmed he and Meghan will split their time between Canada and the U.K.

The Queen has spoken!!!

Jenelle Evans Drops Restraining Order Against David

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Jenelle Evans is having a change of heart when it comes to David Eason ... he no longer has to stay away from her, because she's ditched the restraining order against him.

Jenelle filed docs Friday to dismiss the temporary restraining order, and a judge just signed off on the request ... a rep for the Davidson County Circuit Court tells TMZ.

The former couple was due in court today in Tennessee for a hearing to make the order permanent, but we're told the entire case has been dismissed at Jenelle's request.

As we reported ... Jenelle got a temporary restraining order against her estranged husband back in November, after claiming her ex was off-the-rails violent. She said she feared for her life and her children's well-being.

It's unclear why Jenelle changed course, but under the temporary restraining order, David was prohibited from having contact with her or her kids. Jenelle and David have one child together, 2-year-old Ensley.

We reached out to Jenelle's reps ... no word back, so far.

President Trump Spikes Football on Cory Booker ... For Failed Presidential Run

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Donald Trump delivered a classy, gracious message to Cory Booker upon hearing the NJ Senator was no longer running for president -- just kidding! He taunted Booker so hard, he should get a 15-yard penalty.

POTUS fired off a tweet minutes after Booker announced he was suspending his campaign, saying ... "Really Big Breaking News (Kidding): Booker, who was in zero polling territory, just dropped out of the Democrat Presidential Primary Race."

Trump sarcastically added ... "Now I can rest easy tonight. I was sooo concerned that I would someday have to go head to head with him!"

Prince Harry, Prince William Bullying Story is Load of Bull ... Joint Denial Issued as Queen's Summit Begins

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Prince Harry and Prince William are actively squashing a report alleging Prince William's "bullying attitude" -- toward his brother and Meghan Markle -- is what's driving the couple away.

The brothers issued a rare joint statement Monday, saying, "Despite clear denials, a false story ran in a UK newspaper today speculating about the relationship between the Duke of Sussex and the Duke of Cambridge."

The statement continues ... "For brothers who care so deeply about the issues surrounding mental health, the use of inflammatory language in this way is offensive and potentially harmful."

The story suggested they had a falling out because William hasn't been friendly toward Meghan, and came on the eve of Queen Elizabeth's emergency meeting at her Sandringham Estate. QE2 is holding a summit with Prince Charles, Will and Harry to discuss how the family moves forward after Harry and Meghan's bombshell announcement they're stepping down from "senior" royal responsibilities.

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BTW, the Queen's family meeting will not include her hubby, Prince Philip, or Kate Middleton. Monday morning, she was driving the kids to school, and he was driven out of Sandringham. He gave up his license after a car accident a year ago.

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Harry and Meghan revealed their desire to become financially independent, and split time between the UK and Canada. The plan is off to a promising start ... with Meghan already getting some work in with Disney, and Harry's exec producing gig with Oprah.

Tyler Perry Pissed the Oscars Snubbed J Lo ... 'Are You Kidding Me?!?'

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SHE DESERVES BETTER
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Tyler Perry says the Oscars royally screwed up by NOT nominating Jennifer Lopez or Awkwafina ... and he's visibly pissed off about it.

We got Tyler Monday outside leaving NBC studios in NYC. All we asked was how he's feeling, and he immediately told us, "I'm upset, man" ... then started unloading on the Academy.

Tyler says it's crazy J Lo didn't earn a nom for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Hustlers." Remember, she already earned Golden Globe and SAG nominations for the role as a conniving stripper. The Academy wasn't impressed.

Antonio Brown Throws 'Bag of Dicks' at Baby Mama ... In Police Showdown

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Another bizarre police incident at Antonio Brown's Florida home -- this time, cops responded after a dispute with his baby mama ... and it turned VERY nasty.

We've reached out to cops to find out exactly why they were called to the home -- and who made the call. But, here's what we know so far ...

Several Hollywood Police Dept. officers arrived at Brown's home around 10 AM local time on Monday ... and Brown's baby mama, Chelsie Kyriss, was there too. They have 3 children together.

Brown repeatedly told the officers he had previously evicted her from his home -- but allowed her on the property so she could pick up her kids and take them to school.

But, Brown claims during the handoff, Chelsie tried to steal one of his cars -- and he wasn't having it.

Blac Chyna Rob's a Liar!!! ... Denies Claims of Very Bad Parenting

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Blac Chyna's a very good mother who would never put her child in harm's way, contrary to what Rob Kardashian wants people to think ... so say sources close to her.

We broke the story ... Rob wants joint custody of their 3-year-old daughter, Dream, taken away from Chyna because he claims she's living wild and dangerously, even when Dream is under her supervision.

The allegations against Chyna include being drunk all day, abusing drugs, chasing people with knives and making violent threats, dropping Dream off with Rob in a dirty and disheveled state and teaching her sexual positions.

Sources close to Chyna tell TMZ ... she denies all of these nasty accusations and says Rob is a bald-faced liar -- specifically about the sex stuff.

LeBron James Gets Over Flu ... By Raging Onstage With Bad Bunny!!!

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THE HYPE KING
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Forget NyQuil ... Bad Bunny is apparently the perfect cure for the flu -- 'cause after he brought LeBron James onstage Sunday -- the Lakers star looked magically cured!!!

LBJ has been battling a bad cold this past week ... and he was feeling so crappy over the weekend, he missed L.A.'s game against the Thunder on Saturday.

But, on Sunday, clearly, all the guy needed was some Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton to feel better ... 'cause when Bad Bunny brought him onstage at Calibash at Staples Center, LBJ raged his face off!!

Watch the video ... LeBron sure looks like he's feeling okay to us -- boppin' around and getting the crowd fired up. He even got in a little dance sesh with Bad Bunny himself!!

The Lakers play the Cavs on Monday night ... and based on Bron's performance Sunday -- we're pretty positive he'll make his return to the hardwood for the game.

Sorry, John Beilein.

Critics' Choice Awards Criticize This ... Celebs Dress to Impress

The Critics' Choice Awards just got started, and the walk-in may or may not be worthy of some pro criticism ... some of the outfits were out there, and others were really safe.

Tons of celebs up for an award this year showed up flaunting their best style -- including Billy Porter, Olivia Wilde, Zendaya, Laura Dern, Adam Sandler, Mandy Moore, Kate Beckinsale, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Seth Meyers, Joaquin Phoenix, Christina Applegate, Joey King, Sandy Powell, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley, Ariel Winter, John Leguizamo and others.

A majority of the stars wore pretty bland get-ups as far as these fancy events go, with most opting for darker colors ... or just straight-up black. Meanwhile, a small handful of A-listers chose to spice it up, like Billy in this epic butterfly dress, Noah Jupe in the red pants, Seth and Sandy in the powder-blue suits, Zendaya in the pink two-piece or Laura in the orange gown.

And if you thought these famous faces were glowing from outside, check out what was going on in the background behind closed doors.

Spoiler ... it was a lot of feel-good vibes, critics be damned.

That said, they are catering to a crowd that judged the hell out of their movies and TV shows -- and Sunday, they barked up that tree with their bold or not-so-bold fashion statements.

Hmmmm, we see you guys 🤔

Azriel Clary Seeking Counseling To Recover from R. Kelly

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Azriel Clary needs professional help to recover from the alleged abuse and trauma she suffered during her time with R. Kelly ... at least that's her mindset after fleeing his condo.

Sources close to the singer's now ex-GF tell TMZ ... she now feels she was brainwashed, manipulated and mistreated by Kelly. We're told Azriel and her family are searching for qualified counselors and therapists, so she can begin healing ... mentally.

Our sources say Azriel's father is focused on getting his daughter's life back in order as smoothly as possible, but the family understands they can't do it alone.

The 22-year-old alluded to her new perspective on Friday when she said, "I never thought me and victim would ever be in the same sentence because I was too in denial.. but once you realize, you realize."

Dana White UFC Doc Says ... Conor's In 'Best Shape' Of Career

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GONNA BE INTERESTIN'
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"The UFC doctor is actually saying he thinks Conor's in the best shape he's ever seen him in."

Dana White says Conor McGregor has been training like such a maniac to face Cowboy Cerrone at UFC 246, even the docs are impressed!

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We spoke with the UFC boss about the sport's biggest star returning to the Octagon on Jan. 18 (only available on ESPN+) ... and White says all signs point to the return of the old, dominant McGregor.

"Conor and I have not seen each other face-to-face yet, but we have been texting and I'm hearing that he's in phenomenal shape right now."

"Head seems to be in the right place."

Conor has bulked up for the Cowboy fight -- he fought Khabib at 155 lbs back in Oct. 2018. He'll be at 170 this time around.

But, White is warning fans ... don't count out Cowboy -- a future Hall of Famer who holds the record for most wins in UFC history (23) and most finishes (16).

"I think that the level of disrespect shown to Cowboy Cerrone by the media, a lot of the fans and definitely the sportsbooks in Las Vegas is insanity."

"This is the type of fight that Cowboy Cerrone is an absolute spoiler in. This is his deal. These are the type of fights he likes to be in."

Lori Harvey Charged in Beverly Hills Hit & Run Case

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Lori Harvey can't flee from prosecutors -- she's officially been charged in her hit and run case ... TMZ has learned.

According to the L.A. County District Attorney's Office ... Lori's been charged with one count of resisting/delaying/obstructing a peace officer, and one count of hit and run resulting in property damage. Both are misdemeanors.

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Steve Harvey's daughter is expected to be arraigned later this month. TMZ broke the story ... she allegedly smashed into another car and tried to leave the scene. Cops ultimately nabbed her when they found her walking down the street a short distance from the accident.

At one point she FaceTimed her dad while dealing with officers. Witnesses told cops they saw Lori texting and driving before crashing into a Prius.

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The crash was pretty intense, leaving her G-Wagon flipped on its side -- and it's a miracle no one was seriously hurt.

'Jeopardy!' Star Austin Rogers G.O.A.T. Tournament Is Freaking Fun!!! These Guys Are Like LeBron

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WE'RE WITNESSING HISTORY
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Austin Rogers is freaking out over the stunning abilities of Ken Jennings, Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer ... the "Jeopardy!" sensation says these G.O.A.T.s are the LeBron's of trivia.

We got Austin -- who captivated America back in 2017 with an impressive 12-game winning streak on Alex Trebek's show -- in Harlem, and he couldn't stop gushing over the trio duking it out for a million-dollar prize.

Austin took home a whopping $411,000 during his run at the top, but he says he's been blown away watching Ken, Brad and James make some extremely difficult questions look like child's play ... and he's putting them on par with the greatest athletes on Earth.