Joe Biden's Inauguration Here's How We Celebrate America ... Fireworks & Katy Perry!!!

SPARKING CHANGE

Joe Biden ended his first night in the White House soaking in a fireworks show over D.C. ... with Katy Perry putting a bow on a historic day.

The new President and First Lady Jill Biden wore masks and hugged on a balcony outside their new digs, watching fireworks over the Washington Monument as Katy sang her hit, "Firework."

The "Celebrating America" inauguration concert saved the best for last ... with Katy bringing down the house.

Tom Hanks hosted the 90-minute primetime concert live from D.C., braving a cold winter's night at the Lincoln Memorial.

THE GANG'S ALL HERE

Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama delivered a special message too ... sending Biden words of encouragement and wishing him success for the good of the country, while taking some subtle shots at the guy Biden's replacing.

Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters and John Legend performed virtually before Katy's grand finale ... as did Ant Clemons, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard.

BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD

Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria were also part of the action ... introducing the acts and sharing stories about young folks making differences in their communities.

After a long day of politics and procedures, Biden's first day in office ended with a bang!!

Christina Ricci Claims Husband's Abused Her in Lockdown ... Gets Restraining Order

Exclusive

Christina Ricci says quarantine's been a dangerous time in her household, because her husband's allegedly beaten her multiple times, and now she fears for her life and their son's.

The actress filed Wednesday to get a restraining order against James Heerdegen, who she claims started abusing her in December 2019. In her court filing, Christina claims he beat her, spit at her and made pig noises in her face. She says that incident, during which she suffered multiple bruises, convinced her she needed to leave him.

Christina says she told James she wanted a divorce, but that was derailed when the COVID-19 quarantine began in March, and she "found herself trapped in a house with a violent abuser."

In docs, she claims Heerdegen attacked her twice in June, while still in lockdown ... chasing her around the house, trying to prevent her from calling 911 after an argument. He allegedly dragged her by her wrists into their yard and threw her into a fire pit ... leaving her cut and bruised.

During the second attack, she claims he spit on her and threw coffee and a chair at her -- all while their 6-year-old son was watching.

Christina filed several photos with the court, showing injuries she claims to have suffered at Heerdegen's hands.

Christina filed to divorce him after those alleged incidents, and her attorney, Samantha Spector, was in court Wednesday to file the restraining order.

According to those docs, obtained by TMZ, Christina also fears Heerdegen's abuse could turn deadly. During a car ride in late 2019, she claims James "said something that made me think that [he] could kill me. He said the only way he could feel sorry for me is if I were dismembered into small pieces."

Christina says she immediately hid all the knives in the cabin where they were vacationing.

Late Wednesday, the judge granted a domestic violence restraining order ... which requires Heerdegen to stay 100 yards away from Christina and their son, and have no contact with them.

Christina claims Heerdegen leaves the dog leashed to his living room coffee table when he has visitation with their son -- and under the terms of the restraining order he has to stay away from the dog too.

Although he's already moved out, Christina wants a formal court order blocking James from returning.

And, there's this ... Christina is afraid her estranged husband -- who she married in 2013 -- will release private audio and video of her to "humiliate and embarrass" her, or use it to extort her. She wants the court to block him from releasing it, and force him to turn it over.

Heerdegen's attorney, Larry Bakman, tells TMZ they will file for their own restraining order against Christina "detailing her abusive conduct fueled by alcohol and substance abuse. His papers will also include documentation that Ms. Ricci advised law enforcement in December 2019 that there had been no prior incidents of domestic violence between the couple, thereby calling into question her credibility."

He also says his client "unequivocally denies all allegations of abuse made by Ms. Ricci as having occurred in 2020."

President Joe Biden Addressing His Staff ... Respect One Another, Or You're Fired!!!

NOT ON MY WATCH
CNN

3:50 PM PT -- Biden's laying down the law right off the bat with his team at The White House ... letting them know he won't hesitate to fire any one of them if he catches them disrespecting or talking down to a colleague.

The new Prez was swearing in his political appointees when he dropped the hammer and threw some shade at the previous administration at the same time ... saying people getting treated with "decency and dignity" has been missing the past 4 years.

It's kind of ironic ... Biden's threatening to use Trump's old catchphrase -- You're fired! -- if his staff acts in a way he's suggesting is Trump-like.

2:19 PM PT -- President Biden is now at The White House for the first time since taking office, and he shared a hug with his wife, Jill, before walking in with his family.

TO NEW BEGINNINGS
C-SPAN

Biden was accompanied by Vice President Harris and her husband, Doug, and the new Prez is getting to work right away in the Oval Office ... by taking 17 executive actions aimed at addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, and reversing some of Trump's signature policies.

Biden also addressed the note his predecessor left behind for him, calling it "very generous" but saying he's going to keep it private for now.

The Bidens' arrival at their new home was around 4 PM in D.C. as the "Parade Across America" virtual inaugural celebration was going off ... hosted by Tony Goldwyn from "Scandal" and featuring appearances by Jon Stewart and the New Radicals. It closed with an awesome "Dance Across America" montage after honoring many of the country's everyday heroes.

9:16 AM PT -- Joe Biden just delivered his Inauguration speech as the 46th President, and it was all about America's resilience and the need to unite under a new chapter in the country.

Biden laid out the challenges facing the U.S. at large -- including perhaps the most pressing being the pandemic, for which he led a moment of silence and a prayer -- and vowed that his whole soul was in the cause of moving us forward together, to get past the ugliness that's been exposed among so many of us of late.

PRESIDENTIAL PROMISE

Biden says we must meet this moment as the UNITED States of America -- adding that America has never failed in that regard. He urged us to start fresh, to listen to one another ... and to respect one another. He also said this ... not every disagreement has to result in war.

He had very telling line at one point, saying ... "We'll lead not merely by the example of our power, but by the power of our example" as he was addressing foreign nations looking to see what the U.S. would do next.

The speech was both realistic, yet hopeful ... and definitely a change of pace from what we've experienced of late. After Joe's remarks, Garth Brooks performed "Amazing Grace," capping off an inauguration that went as well as one could hope.

8:53 AM PT -- Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have officially been sworn in as the 46th President and Vice President of United States, taking their oaths of office from two Supreme Court Justices ... Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, respectively.

A NEW ERA

Prior to Vice President Harris taking her oath, Lady Gaga came out and sang the National Anthem in a very unique outfit -- complete with what appeared to be a golden dove broach. After her, Jennifer Lopez came out to sing "America the Beautiful" ahead of Biden's swearing-in ... and both performances went off without a hitch.

SINGING TO AMERICA
White House

J Lo said a part of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, to rousing applause.

It's been a looooong journey, but Joe Biden's big day is finally here -- he'll be sworn in as 46th President of the United States in an inauguration ceremony unlike any other in American history ... and you can watch it live right here.

The President-elect and Vice President-elect, Kamala Harris, are set to be sworn in Wednesday in D.C. shortly after noon, and then Biden will deliver his first presidential address to the nation.

Along the way during the "America United"-themed Inauguration Day, many of the normal ceremonial displays, tributes to the troops, A-list performances and former presidents will be featured, but otherwise ... it will be far from normal.

That's because COVID-19 continues to ravage the country, and because 2 weeks ago ... pro-Trump rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol and wreaked havoc in a coup attempt that resulted in multiple deaths.

For a combination of those reasons, Biden's inauguration will not draw a large crowd -- in fact, his team hopes it's the smallest ever, with folks opting to watch at home -- nor will it be followed up by a series of inauguration balls.

Instead, there will be a heavy police and security presence ... as the threat of more violence continues to loom large following the Capitol riots.

And, of course, Biden's inauguration will be different due to the fact for the first time since Andrew Johnson left office in 1869 ... the outgoing President, Donald Trump, is choosing to skip it. VP Mike Pence will attend, along with past presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton and their former first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton.

If all goes well though, the only other big news of the day will be the performances of Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Bruce Springsteen and Garth Brooks, a virtual parade ... and the inauguration television special called "Celebrating America" hosted by Tom Hanks.

Hopefully, America gets that lucky.

Originally Published -- 7:20 AM PT

Donald Trump Supporters Show Up in Singles ... At Several State Capitols

Donald Trump is no longer president, but his supporters still turned up at state capitols across the country to protest President Biden's inauguration ... a handful of them anyway.

It appears that in at least a few states -- Maine, New York, Utah and Arizona -- only a lone supporter of 45 arrived at the government building to express their right to peacefully protest.

In New Hampshire ... those numbers were doubled, maybe tripled.

A man named Mark Leggiero was the solo Trumper out in front of the New York State Capitol. According to reports he drove 45 minutes for the demonstration and expected a few thousand others. So, he's disappointed.

As we've reported ... the authorities have been warning of the potential for big turnouts and violence by far-right groups gathering at state capitols ever since the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6.

It seems like all of the concern and heightened security measures did enough to thwart such gatherings and instead, pro-Trump protests remained peaceful ... and very, very small.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Vaccinated at Dodger Stadium ... 'Come with Me If ...'

I'LL BE ... VACCINATED

Arnold Schwarzenegger just got the shot needed 'round the world -- and he was happy to play up some of his best Hollywood lines to make it all the more familiar.

Arnold posted video of himself Wednesday, which shows him pulling into Dodger Stadium to receive his vaccine for COVID. You see him sitting passenger-side in an SUV as a medical staffer sticks with a needle and injects the serum ... Arnold, of course, didn't flinch.

It's funny ... he dropped two famous movie lines of his during his vaccination -- a well-known one from "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and a more obscure one from "Jingle All the Way." If you're a die-hard Arnold fan, you know both off the top ... but it's unclear if his vaccine giver did.

He tells her to "put that needle down!" as she's injecting him, which is a reference to 'JATW' when he told his schmucky neighbor, Ted, to put the cookies down that he was salivating over. The woman doing the deed didn't seem to respond to it, though 😅

Then came the more iconic Arnold line in the aftermath ... "Come with me if you want to live," which is what the Model 101 Terminator told Sarah Connor in the legendary sequel.

That quote is probably more relevant, but in any case ... AS gives a ringing endorsement of the vaccine, and invites everyone who's eligible to come get one ASAP.

You heard him, folks ... save yourselves!!

Joe Exotic Bummed About No Pardon from Trump Carole Baskin Not Bummed

Exclusive

11:14 AM PT -- Carole Baskin tells TMZ ... she's thankful Joe was not granted a pardon. She also said, "If I understand the notice I got from the prison system, he's already gotten another month added to his sentence by not obeying prison rules."

Carole added, "If Joe really had a change of heart, he could do what Mario Tabraue did to lessen his 100 year drug trafficking conviction to 12 years by turning state's evidence against the other animal exploiters."

The Tiger King is not free to run wild again ... President Trump snubbed Joe Exotic's request to be pardoned, and he and his team aren't taking it well.

What seemingly started as a pipe dream way back in April 2020 -- when Trump said he'd "take a look" at pardoning Joe -- turned out to be exactly that. Joe's team tells TMZ ... "140 million Joe Exotic fans had a hard time getting out of bed this morning."

Yeah, that 'Tiger King' viewers stat might be inflated -- and assumes all of them were rooting for Joe's release -- but you get the point ... they're bummed.

4/8/20
EXOTIC PARDON
C-SPAN

His team added, "We are as disappointed that the President did not sign Joe’s pardon, as we were confident yesterday that he would." Joe's team adds ... it's only because of his fans that the pardon was even a possibility.

As we reported ... shortly after Trump's comment, Team Tiger -- led by P.I. Eric Love -- produced a video asking to free Joe and hopped in a customized tour bus to head to D.C. in hopes of pitching Trump for a pardon.

9/10/20
PARDON THE TIGER KING
TMZ.com

Those early efforts didn't yield success, but Love and the team were persistent ... and he returned to D.C. in September to hand-deliver Joe's pardon request. As we reported ... the 257-page case to Trump included Joe's claims that he'd been sexually assaulted in prison.

Again, there was silence from Trump about a possible pardon, but Joe continued to publicly plead for one as recently as 2 weeks ago ... when he asked to be pardoned in time to attend his father's funeral.

It didn't happen, and Joe's patience and persistence was all for naught ... because he didn't make the cut for Trump's list of 73 pardons and 70 commutations. In other news -- Steve Bannon, Lil Wayne, Kodak Black and the co-founder of Death Row Records all did.

As you know ... Exotic's been doing hard time for the murder-for-hire plot, and though he's maintained his innocence, he'll remain behind bars.

Team Tiger says they're not giving up though ... and spent 2 hours on the phone with Joe this morning listening to his Direct Appeal Oral Arguments. Love says they "will never leave Joe’s side and will continue to work until his freedom is gained."

Originally Published -- 10:14 AM PT

Village People, Laura Branigan Mgr. Disavow Trump's Use of 'YMCA,' 'Gloria' But Thank God It's Over!!!

Exclusive Details
ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD
White House

2:43 PM PT -- Laura Branigan's legacy manager is piling on with her own criticism of Trump using LB's iconic song "Gloria" during his farewell ceremony ... and this ain't the first time she's had to do it.

Kathy Golik -- manager of Laura's legacy management company, Other Half Entertainment -- tells TMZ that it's no surprise Trump used the song again during his last hoorah before jetting off to Florida, as she says he's continued to use music from artists without permission for quite some time now.

Katy explained it this way, "'Gloria' is a great, energetic anthem that for decades has evoked many good feelings, memories of times and places, etc. for so many across the globe, and that's the association that Laura would want, and that I do as her legacy manager."

She adds, "It's about not giving the power to those who do not deserve it, to change all the good that people have always felt about 'Gloria' -- to take the song back and restore it, and in turn, Laura's legacy, once again."

Of course, 'Gloria' also made an appearance on Jan. 6 -- the day of the Capitol riot -- where it was blaring inside a tent that much of the Trump family was in watching the events unfold with glee. Kathy says she bemoans that the song was played under such circumstances, and hopes it never does again for such vile purposes.

Donald Trump's final use of "YMCA" during a public political event did NOT go unnoticed by the guys who originally sang it -- and while they're still pissed ... they're also thankful that, for now, this is the end of his tradition.

The Village People tell TMZ ... "We asked him to cease and desist long ago. However, since he's a bully, our request was ignored." It's true -- TVP have repeatedly made clear they're not down with DT constantly using their most famous tune ... but he's persisted.

The group adds, "Thankfully he's now out of office, so it would seem his abusive use of our music has finally ended. We hope to spearhead a change in copyright law that will give artists and publishers more control over who can and cannot use our music in the public space. Currently there is no limit to blanket licensing."

That's interesting ... because that's not something that many people know or something that artists vow to change. Basically, the reason Trump has been able to, for the most part, get away with playing music from so many artists who don't sign off is because ... it's legal.

The Village People's comments here touch on copyright law -- which we won't dig into too deeply -- but essentially ... it's usually fine to play copyrighted songs in places like stadiums that have public performance licenses -- which is where Trump often played these songs.

The Village People -- and probably several other musicians, like Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, and countless others -- might be happy he won't have reason to do this anymore with their music, but in light of Trump promising to come back, they may have to revisit this issue again ... one day.

Originally Published -- 8:50 AM PT

Alice Marie Johnson Freeing Prisoners is My Mission ... Snoop Knows I'm Serious!!!

Exclusive
PAYIN' IT FORWARD
TMZ.com

Alice Marie Johnson's paying it forward by helping prisoners gain their freedom, and Snoop Dogg's witnessed her commitment firsthand ... which she describes as the most rewarding thing she's ever done.

As you know ... Alice is the grandmother whose sentence was famously commuted by President Trump in 2018 thanks to Kim Kardashian lobbying for her, and she joined "TMZ Live" Wednesday to explain why she's now doing the same for others.

Alice tells us the feeling she got Tuesday night celebrating with the families of those freed from prison in Trump's final round of presidential pardons and commutations was awesome ... even more so than her own release.

6/6/2018
FINALLY FREE
CNN

That's pretty incredible ... considering this is how that emotional moment went down in June 2018.

Alice says having such a positive impact on others' lives is unmatched, and that's why she started her own organization not just to free prisoners ... but to assist them on re-entry back into the real world.

As we reported ... that's the next step for Snoop's pal, Death Row Records co-founder Michael 'Harry-O' Harris ... whose sentence was commuted by Trump after heavy lobbying from Alice and Snoop.

Alice says the rapper came to her for help, but she had already looked into Harry-O's story ... and didn't need any convincing to go to bat for him.

V.P. Kamala Harris Nephew-In-Law Rocks Dior Jordans ... To Inauguration

Breaking News

Swag has reached the nation's capital -- with Vice President Kamala Harris' nephew-in-law rocking the insanely expensive and rare Dior Air Jordan 1s to the inauguration!!

Social media blew up in epic proportions after the kicks were spotted during Wednesday's historic ceremony in D.C. ... with everyone asking the same question:

Who the hell has this much drip in Washington?!?!

As it turns out, it was the veep's nephew-in-law, Nikolas Ajagu -- the husband of Harris' niece, Meena -- who decided to make a big statement with his kicks.

The case was cracked when Meena was asked on Twitter if her hubby was the man in the Dior Js ... to which she hilariously responded, "Yes smh."

Of course, the Dior Jordan 1s are some of the most highly-coveted shoes on the market right now ... with an average price of $10k on reseller site StockX.

JORDANS FOR JOE

The Dior x Jordan partnership is the first high-end designer brand collab for the Jumpman ... which hit shelves for a limited release back in 2020 with a $2,300 price tag.

Celebs and star athletes with major pull have basically been the only people able to get their hands on the rare kicks -- so to see someone wearing them at the inauguration was a pretty freakin' dope moment.

Amanda Bynes I'm a Rapper Now!!! ... Drops New Track Teaser

Amanda Bynes is now in the rap game ... or so it seems, after she dropped a snippet of her new track.

The "She's the Man" star posted a new track on Instagram dubbed "Diamonds" ... in which she raps for around 12 seconds --- "Diamonds, Diamonds on my neck, on my wrist" and so on. The track is only the second thing she's posted to her 505k followers on Instagram.

RAP DEBUT

She's also got a rapper by the name of Precise on the track. It's unclear when Amanda recorded the track or how serious she is about getting into the rap game, but back in June she rapped along to A$AP Rocky's "A$AP Forever."

As you know ... Amanda, who has been under conservatorship for the past 7 years, graduated from the prominent L.A. fashion school FIDM back in June 2019.

Donald Trump So Long, D.C. ... But I'll Be Back (One Day)!!!

Breaking News
I'LL BE BACK
C-SPAN

5:57 AM PT -- Donald Trump just made his last speech as President, and the key takeaway is ... he promises to return to the spotlight, somehow.

DT and Melania both addressed the crowd at Joint Base Andrews -- the First Lady's remarks were very brief, but Trump took a little longer to reminisce. He touted what he considers his administration's greatest achievements -- including work they did for vets, stabilizing the economy (even amid a pandemic), fast-tracking the vaccine rollout, creating the Space Force and of course ... tax cuts.

Trump says he can proudly say that he and his team "left it all on the field," adding that when they're all in Florida soon -- they won't have to look at each other and wonder, "what if?" He said he was proud of the job he'd done, explaining it'd been an honor to serve.

Trump actually wished the Biden-Harris administration luck, saying they had the foundation to do something great. But, then came a more ominous note from DT ... he said that he WOULD be back in some form, basically promising that we hadn't seen the last of him.

He told the crowd to "have a good life" ... and that they'd be seeing him soon. As he and Melania left the stage, the Village People's "YMCA" played for the last time as Trump said farewell to his family members and WH staff. They got onto AF1, and did a final wave.

DOIN' IT MY WAY
C-SPAN

He also gave us one last reminder he's all about TV production with the picture perfect timing of AF1 going wheels up as "My Way" ended.

And thus ... the Trump presidency comes to an end.

5:33 AM PT -- One of Trump's faves is blaring at Joint Base Andrews ... "Gloria" is playing so loudly on the PA system, as Marine One lands, that reporters there are getting drowned out. The man does love his disco era tunes.

He and Melania are addressing a crowd of about a couple hundred people gathered at the base.

IT'S BEEN AN HONOR
AP

Donald Trump is departing the White House for the final time as President, en route to a send-off party he requested as he leaves behind a tumultuous legacy that will certainly be ... remembered.

DT is about to board the Marine One chopper early Wednesday morning on the South Lawn, where a few of White House staffers are standing by to say deuces to POTUS for good. He'll be on his way to Joint Base Andrews -- just outside of D.C., where he's putting on a farewell ceremony for himself.

Invites for the event were sent out to Trump's remaining allies, but details for what exactly is in store were hazy. The buzz has been 45's looking for a major military-style parade, before he boards Air Force One. We'll see if he gets it, and who shows up ... it's slated to begin at 8 AM ET.

One person who won't be attending for certain is his Vice President Mike Pence. He's said he will who be at Joe Biden's inauguration ... presumably representing the administration. This is the first time in over a century that an outgoing Prez has blown off the Inauguration Day transfer of power.

In any case, once his farewell gala is done, Trump's flying south for the winter -- and beyond -- to his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

His decision to bolt outta D.C, at the crack of dawn isn't all that surprising considering the hot political (and possibly legal) water Trump's found himself in during these final weeks in office.

Of course, he's already been impeached for inciting the Jan. 6 riot and storming of the Capitol -- and could face a Senate trial.

1/6/21
"SHOW STRENGTH AND BE STRONG"
Fox News

The Senate could convict him, and also vote to bar him from holding any federal office again -- due to his historic double impeachment -- which would upend any potential Presidential run, which he's suggested he might do.

Needless to say, this is most likely not the last we'll see of Trump ... impeachment aside, there's wide speculation he could face criminal charges for the riot, business dealings in NY state and even Hollywood punishment from the SAG-AFTRA union.

Plus, he's talked about possibly starting his own news network. We guess the only place you won't see him, as of now, is Twitter.

We suppose there's nothing left to say except, goodbye 45. Yes, his own catchphrase comes to mind too, but we'll spare you. 👋🏽.

Originally Published -- 4:55 AM PT

President Trump Pardons Lil Wayne, Frees Kodak Shared Attorney Went to Bat

Exclusive Details

5:16 AM PT -- Lil Wayne and Kodak Black's attorney, Bradford Cohen was working behind the scenes for a while to lobby for both men's clean slate.

Cohen tells TMZ ... Wayne reached out to him shortly after he was slapped with gun charges in 2020, as they'd previously known each other over the years. Cohen got right to work, filing pardon paperwork for Weezy -- and largely relied on the argument that LW was being unfairly charged, considering he was a non-violent felon with just one previous conviction ... for which he served a great deal of time behind bars.

As for Kodak, Lord knows the guy was lobbying for his client for the longest time now -- and while Trump's staff noted Kodak's charitable work in their official reasoning ... Cohen tells us there were other factors at play too.

Cohen says he highlighted Kodak's horrible treatment while behind bars -- some of which we've documented ourselves -- as well as the fact that Kodak was being treated as a serious threat in a maximum security facility, when really ... he was convicted for a relatively low-risk crime over paperwork. Remember, Kodak was due to get out of prison no earlier than 2022 ... but Trump saw to it that the dude be sprung ASAP, noting he'd completed a good portion of his sentence.

President Trump came through for Lil Wayne with a full pardon that gets him off the hook for a gun charge that could've meant serious prison time, and rapper Kodak Black also got clemency with a commutation of his sentence.

Wayne's pardon announcement included a statement of support by Brett Berish of Sovereign Brands, who described him as "trustworthy, kind-hearted and generous." The pardon statement then reads, "Mr. Carter has exhibited this generosity through commitment to a variety of charities, including donations to research hospitals and a host of foodbanks."

Deion Sanders, also a supporter of the pardon, referred to Lil Wayne as "a provider for his family, a friend to many, a man of faith, a natural giver to the less fortunate, a waymaker [and] a game changer."

Weezy's pardon came just hours before the sun set on Trump's Presidency ... and it's just one of a stack of pardons, including Kodak Black. Black, who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for making a false statement on a Federal document, served nearly half his sentence.

The pardon statement notes he has been charitable in various ways, "such as providing educational resources to students and families of fallen law enforcement officers and the underprivileged." It goes on to note KB has provided funding to daycare centers, helped with food banks and worked with underprivileged children. And, the statement notes Kodak donated $50k to Dave Portnoy's Barstool Fund, which provides financial assistance to struggling businesses in the wake of COVID.

Wayne endorsed Trump in the final days of the 2020 election campaign -- posing for a photo, talking up Trump's criminal justice reform efforts and his proposed "platinum plan" to benefit the Black community.

With the pardon ... Weezy no longer has to worry about his federal gun case. As we reported ... he pled guilty in federal court last month to illegally possessing a loaded weapon while traveling to Miami on a private jet a year earlier.

He hadn't been sentenced, but faced the possibility of up to 10 years. That's all in Wayne's rearview mirror now.

Originally Published -- 3:52 AM PT

'Worst Cooks in America' Winner Ariel Robinson Charged with Homicide For 3-Year-Old Girl's Death

The winner of season 20 of "Worst Cooks in America" has been arrested for allegedly killing a toddler.

Ariel Robinson and her husband, Jerry Robinson, have been charged with homicide by child abuse in South Carolina, according to police, and are being held at the Greenville County Detention Center without bond.

They're accused of inflicting multiple blunt force injuries on a 3-year-old girl named Victoria Rose Smith, resulting in her death.

Police say they responded to a call about an unresponsive juvenile victim last Thursday, and the child was pronounced dead after being transferred to the hospital.

Cops arrested the couple based on their investigation, which is ongoing.

Robinson was named the winner of the hit Food Network show in August, and said in subsequent interviews that she's a mother of 5. It's unclear if the child she's accused of killing is a family member or not.

Porn Star Claims Taco Bell Fired Her Over Past

Taco Bell employee Lonna Wells is out of a job after ticking off a co-worker, who filed a complaint about Lonna's past ... as a porn star, but Taco Bell claims that's not what happened.

Lonna claims the fast-food joint in Newport, Arkansas canned her less than a week after she landed the job. She'd reportedly started working at Taco Bell after she stopped doing porn so she'd avoid catching COVID-19.

Wells was no slouch in her previous job -- she's been featured on PornHub ... and scored two AVN Award nominations.

She told the Daily Beast she was about to clock into work when her manager called to drop the hammer. Wells is pissed because she says she told the hiring manager about her sex work during the interview and even asked if it was going to be a problem.

Taco Bell, however, claims Wells was not fired for her porn creds. Instead, the company says, "This former team member worked for a franchise location and the franchisee has informed us that the accusations made are not accurate and that she was instead terminated for violation of their policies and procedures."

The Bell isn't saying which policies and procedures she violated. Lonna's now raising money online, claiming she was wrongfully terminated.

Kim Kardashian Man She's Been Trying to Free Since 2018 ... Sentence Commuted by Trump

Exclusive Details

After Kim Kardashian West was successful in lobbying President Trump to free Alice Marie Johnson, she went to work on doing the same for many others, including Chris Young ... and Trump delivered.

The Prez used his final day in office to grant pardons and commutations, and among the list of prisoners he commuted is Young ... who Kim began championing in 2018.

As you may recall ... Kim visited The White House in September 2018 -- a few months after Alice's release -- to continue to fight for criminal justice reform, and she lasered in on Young's case.

Much like Alice, Young was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 2014 for non-violent drug offenses -- weed and cocaine possession -- as part of Tennessee's 3 strikes law. He was just 22 at the time.

Sources close to the situation tell TMZ ... Kim stayed involved with Young's legal team since her WH meeting and continued to bring attention to the case. We're told Alice was also involved helping Chris -- they share the same attorney, Brittany Barnett.

The announcement from The White House says, "Mr. Young's many supporters describe him as an intelligent, positive person who takes full responsibility for his actions ..." While Kim was not mentioned among the several names of criminal justice reform advocates who assisted Young, her amplification of the case on social media certainly brought it much needed attention.

The statement says Young "lacked a meaningful first chance in life due to what another Federal judge called an "undeniably tragic childhood." adding the commutation gives Young a second chance.

BTW ... Chris earned his GED and taught himself to code behind bars ... so he'll have a leg up in the job market.

National Guard in D.C. Vetted Using Facial Recognition ... Scouring Social Media

Exclusive Details

With 25,000 National Guard members set to protect D.C. for Joe Biden's inauguration, each member has been subject to a heavy vetting, which includes high-tech facial recognition.

Federal law enforcement sources tell us ... FBI vetting -- which is normal for high-security events -- begins by checking social media accounts, looking for connections to extremist groups.

Along with reviewing posts, comments and photos ... we're told the feds are using facial recognition software to track the activities of guardsmen and women, specifically searching for photos or videos tying them to radical activities.

Our sources say all 21,000+ National Guard members currently in D.C. -- who have come in from all 50 states -- have been scrutinized by facial recognition and other high-tech methods to determine if they had any involvement -- direct or indirect -- in the Capitol riots.

As for how that works ... all Guard members were required to take a photo when they showed up in D.C. for duty. We're told that photo is then cross-referenced with security camera footage along with online content to make sure there's no connection to extremist, far-right or fringe groups.

Along with the high-tech vetting tricks, our sources say the more common criminal background checks are also conducted ... in order to pick up on any red flags such as arrests or police report mentions.

When it's all said and done ... the FBI's goal is obviously to weed out anyone who might not have national security as their top priority while serving with the National Guard.

A U.S. official announced Tuesday, 2 Guardsmen apparently fit into that category and were removed from the inauguration security detail ... after the vetting process determined they had ties to far-right extremist groups. Later, that number was reported to be "about a dozen."

Old news is old news!
Be First!

Get TMZ breaking news sent right to your browser!