April Ryan Denies Ordering Assault on Journo Claims Filming Was No-Go

3:50 PM PT -- Charlie Kratovil tells TMZ that April should blatantly condemn the alleged attack unleashed by her ex-bodyguard, although he says he welcomes the news that the guy is no longer in her employment.

April Ryan is going on TV this weekend to explain how and why a reporter was allegedly roughed up by her security this month, but we've learned she's denying responsibility.

Sources close to the White House correspondent and CNN contributor tell TMZ ... April insists that she did NOT give her security the go-ahead to remove, let alone get physical with, New Jersey reporter Charlie Kratovil a few weeks ago at an event she was speaking at.

Unfortunately, it appears that's exactly what went down ... and it got ugly fast.

On August 3, the New Brunswick Today journo told cops that April's bodyguard, Joel Morris, snatched his phone away from him while he was recording April's remarks at the Heldrich Hotel, and then twisted his wrist in an attempt to get him outta there.

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April took to social media Saturday, teasing her appearance on CNN Sunday ... where she'll presumably tell her side of the story about the dust-up.

The whole thing was partially captured on Kratovil's smartphone camera, and you can hear what sounds like a physical confrontation. Before that though, you see Kratovil recording April come up to the podium -- where she's addressing some politicos -- but gets interrupted by Morris, whom we're told whispered to her, "Ms. Ryan, stop talking."

She does, giving him a head nod at the same time, and then stands up there silently while her guard walks over to the reporter. It's all downhill from there ... watch.

Our April sources tell us that the reason she stopped talking is because she and her team have a strict policy on people recording her speak in public, to avoid having her words taken out of context. We're told Kratovil was NOT pre-approved to film her here.

It should be noted -- in the police report filed by Kratovil, obtained by TMZ, he told cops he'd been invited to the event by a PR person who wasn't on hand to confirm or deny.

IT'S A DANGEROUS PLACE
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As for why she even has security with her in the first place, well ... she gave us the rundown on that back in November, after she'd received multiple threats on her life.

Anyway, our sources tell us April is doubling down on the fact she didn't sign off on how Kratovil was handled, as she's a huge advocate for First Amendment rights. BTW, Kratovil has a history of filming confrontational encounters for NBT ... it's kinda his thing.

Morris was ultimately booked for assault, harassment and theft, and he'll reportedly be arraigned next month. Either way, we're told he no longer works for April.

We've reached out to Charlie Kratovil for comment ... so far, no word back.

Originally published -- 2:43 PM PT

Larry King Files for Divorce ... Their Kids Begged Him, End This!!!

Exclusive Details
TMZ.com

5:40 PM PT -- A source who spoke with Shawn this afternoon says she was blindsided by the divorce ... she found out by getting a call from TMZ. As for Larry's allegations, the source says the last time Larry was in the hospital, doctors said he might only have 3 days to live. The source says their estate planning lawyer had told them they needed to update their docs -- something they had mutually agreed to do -- and that's what Shawn presented to Larry recently when he was ill. She strongly denies doing anything that would compromise the inheritance of their 2 sons. We're told Shawn is "devastated" ... the news comes 2 weeks before their 22nd wedding anniversary.

2:25 PM PT -- Larry's divorce docs, obtained by TMZ, list the date of separation as June 6, 2019. That's interesting because we got video of Shawn, the very next day, at LAX. She talked about Larry's recovery from the heart attack, and didn't let on at all about any trouble in paradise.

HE'S ALL GOOD
SplashNews.com

1:51 PM PT -- Sources connected to the couple tell TMZ ... they have been having marital trouble for several years now. Larry has accused Shawn of infidelity. We're told that has created tension for a while now, but the breaking point was when Larry was in the hospital a couple months ago.

Sources say Shawn presented him with legal documents that would have given her certain rights to their property that would adversely affect the couple's 2 sons. We're told they felt she was trying to screw them out of their inheritance.

We're told the boys went to Larry and told him they were outraged by their mother's conduct -- presenting the documents -- and pled with him to get out of the marriage. We're told he followed their advice.

Larry King is moving on ... once again -- he's divorcing his 7th wife, Shawn Southwick King.

Larry filed divorce docs Tuesday in L.A. Superior Court ... pulling the plug on his 22-year marriage to Shawn. The couple does not have any minor children -- their 2 sons, Cannon and Chance ... are 19 and 20 years old, respectively.

They've been down this road at least once before. In 2010, the former CNN host filed for divorce, and it was actually a race to the courthouse -- Shawn tried to file first, but Larry's legal team was faster on the draw. Didn't matter in the end ... he and Shawn eventually reconciled.

They dealt with more marital turmoil in 2016, when they publicly addressed cheating rumors.

2/27/19
LAST TIME WE SAW THEM TOGETHER
TMZ.com

The breakup comes on the heels of Larry's medical crisis in April, where he suffered what doctors described to Shawn as a heart attack.

This will be 85-year-old Larry's 8th divorce ... assuming he goes through with it this time. He married one of his wives, Alene Akins, twice ... that was way back in the 1960s.

Lord, he was born a ramblin' man ...

Originally Published -- 1:21 PM PT

'Godfather' Star Gianni Russo Shame on Cuomo's Fredo Meltdown ... Made a Fool of Himself

Exclusive
EMBARRASSED THE FAMILY
TMZ.com

Chris Cuomo losing his s*** over being called Fredo deserves a Don Corleone slap in the face -- so says a guy who acted in "The Godfather," and thinks CC completely overreacted.

We got Gianni Russo -- who played the treacherous, wife-beating Carlo in the OG 'Godfather' -- and he tells us Chris made an ass out of himself, and his family, by flipping out over the insult ... not to mention suggesting it was an ethnic slur against Italians.

Gianni says that's nonsense ... all Fredo means is that someone's weak, there's nothing else to it. He also says Chris's dad, ex-Gov. Mario Cuomo, woulda smacked him over this.

Of course, Chris came out publicly and issued an apology of sorts after he was caught on camera  in a profanity-laced tirade, threatening to beat up a guy who called him Fredo. He said he shouldn't allow himself to be baited like that, and had to be better.

As for why Chris responded the way he did -- Gianni says he has no clue ... as he doubts his family would ever use such a term in referring to him. But, as our camera guy suggests -- it's possible Chris might have heard it from others throughout his life.

His older brother, Andrew Cuomo, is the current New York governor, after all.

Whatever the case, Gianni seems to believe Chris hurt his career by doing what he did. In his eyes, not even a plea to the Godfather himself could make this one go away.

As Michael once said ... don't ever take sides against the family again. Capiche?

Chris Cuomo Enraged After Guy Hurls Italian Slur ... 'I'll F***in' Throw You Down These Stairs!!!'

8:16 AM PT -- 8/13 -- Chris has finally spoken out about the incident, stating that, while he appreciates the support, "Truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me."

He says there's a lesson to learn from this, "No need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose."

6:00 AM PT -- 8/13 -- Donald Trump predictably weighed in, supported the guy who called Chris "Fredo," saying, "I thought Chris was Fredo also. The truth hurts. Totally lost it! Low ratings @CNN."

8:43 PM PT -- A CNN spokesperson tells us, "Chris defended himself when he was verbally attacked with the use of an ethnic slur in an orchestrated setup. We completely support him."

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo went nuclear on a guy who called him a derogatory name, threatening to beat his ass.

Chris was in NY Sunday when a guy approached him and called him "Fredo" ... the insulting name of a character in "The Godfather" ... a name that connotes weakness.

Chris is from a proud Italian family and it set him off, challenging the man, threatening ... "I'll f***in' ruin your sh*t. I'll f***in' throw you down these stairs."

Cuomo told the guy ... the name "Fredo" is as offensive to Italians as the n-word is to African Americans.

He's a popular anchor who's made a name for himself as a fair-minded guy, but everything dissolved into abject rage as he scoffed at the guy who claimed -- clearly falsely -- that he thought Chris' name was Fredo.

It escalated even further -- Chris was clearly looking for a fight ... challenging the guy to take a swing at him.

He did not anchor his show Monday night ... CNN says he was scheduled to be off.

Originally Published -- 8/12 6:51 PM PT

CNN's Don Lemon Trump Snubbed Kyler Murray ... Race Was a Factor

EXCLUSIVE
"BOSA IS A SUPPORTER OF TRUMP"
TMZSports.com

CNN's Don Lemon says he wasn't shocked to see President Trump congratulate Nick Bosa on being the #2 pick in the draft -- while ignoring Kyler Murray -- in part because Bosa is white and Murray is black.

Lemon was leaving the CNN building after his show Monday night when we asked about Trump's congratulatory tweet to Bosa ... who had been very vocal about his support for #45.

"Bosa is a supporter of Trump," Lemon said ... "[Bosa] doesn't like Kaepernick. It's everything this President is about."

Lemon added, "I think we should be congratulating the #1 person [Kyler Murray] as the #1 person made history."

Of course, Murray became the first person to be selected in the first round of the NFL and the MLB draft ... an amazing accomplishment.

"Don't forget the #1 person [Murray] is also black," Lemon added.

As for Bosa, he had previously called Kaepernick a "clown" on social media -- but later deleted the tweet.

When pressed about Kaepernick at his first press conference with the San Francisco 49ers, Bosa backtracked ... saying the name-calling was a bad decision.

Bosa also said he "respects what [Kaepernick] has done" and apologized for the initial tweet.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has never backed down on his position regarding Kaepernick -- firmly saying any NFL player who doesn't stand for the national anthem should be fired.

Van Jones I Cried So Hard I Started Bleeding!!! My New Show is Intense

EXCLUSIVE
THINGS GOT EMOTIONAL
TMZ.com

Van Jones brought a murderer together with his victim's child for his new show about restorative justice -- and the meeting was so powerful ... he cried so hard his nose started bleeding!!!

Van was on "TMZ Live" Friday, giving us the lowdown on his new series, "The Redemption Project With Van Jones." It brings offenders face-to-face with the people most affected by their violent crimes.

He says the process offers victims and criminals a way to finally heal their wounds. He adds ... every word uttered during the series is an authentic expression of someone "trying to climb out of hell." Riveting stuff, for sure.

As you might imagine, Van says he and his team struggled with the ethics of bringing victims together with convicts ... and explains the steps they had to take to make sure things didn't spiral out of control.

'Redemption' premieres Sunday night on CNN.

Check out our clip ... Van explains why he went rogue to put a killer in the same room as the victim's kid, and why it made him cry like never before.

Van Jones Big Props to Meek, Kim and T.I. ... They're Selfless Heroes

EXCLUSIVE
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
TMZ.com

Van Jones is working hard to bring light to prison reform and start a national conversation about our criminal justice system ... but he says a few celebs are outshining him.

We got the CNN host at Chelsea Studios in NYC Tuesday and asked who he thinks is stepping up the most for the cause ... he points to Meek Mill, calling him a "massive hero" for using his own case as a launching pad to help others.

Van then praises Kim Kardashian West for ignoring the skeptics and proving her ambitions and involvement are no joke ... and he believes it's a sign people from all walks of life have realized we have way too many prisoners in the U.S.

T.I. also gets a major shout-out for working with a church in Georgia to raise $120k to bail out 23 nonviolent offenders for Easter. Van says the rapper's "doing good by the hood," and if more people followed his lead ... things would improve very quickly.

There's a reason Van's so impressed by this group -- and it has nothing to do with celebrity. It's because they're doing the kinds of things he plans to spotlight on his new show, 'The Redemption Project.'

Don Lemon What to Do if 2020 Dem Nominee Wore Blackface

EXCLUSIVE
EXPECT A HIGHER STANDARD
TMZ.com

Don Lemon IS GOOD at comebacks ... and it's never been clearer than with this video.

We got Don at LAX Friday and asked about the blackface scandals in Virginia ... specifically, whether people should be punished for what they do when they were much younger.

Don says there's a special carve-out for political leaders, which then leads to the hypothetical ... what should happen if the 2020 Democratic nominee for President is killing Trump in the polls, but 2 weeks before the election it comes out he/she wore blackface in his/her 20's? Don handles it deftly, for sure.

And, then there's this ... should we elect a woman if only because their pasts seem less sketchy? Don does not disappoint!

Van Jones Trump's SOTU Address ... A Bowl of Kool-Aid with Bird Poop!!!

EXCLUSIVE
CAN'T HELP HIMSELF
TMZ.com

Van Jones wants to give President Trump credit for his State of the Union Address, but he can hardly bring himself to do it ... because he says POTUS also talked way too much crap on immigrants.

We got Van on Capitol Hill Tuesday night after the SOTU and the CNN commentator summed up the night like this -- Trump served a "nice bowl of Kool-Aid with some bird poop in it."

Translation: Trump's nice speech about criminal justice reform was ruined by his rhetoric on immigrants.

Van said he was touched by the compassion Trump showed for Americans wronged by the criminal justice system, and particularly how he praised Alice Marie Johnson, who Trump commuted last summer.

But, Van was NOT down with how POTUS dehumanized immigrants and justifying taking babies away from their mothers at the border.

Plain and simple ... Van was temporarily inspired, but mostly disgusted with Trump's address.

Andy Cohen New Personalized Umbrellas for NYE ... Come Get It Times Square Alliance!!!

EXCLUSIVE
I'M COMING PREPARED
TMZ.com

Andy Cohen ain't about to let Johnny Law rain on his New Year's Eve plans, because the host is already gearing up for the next ball drop with a fancy new umbrella ... Times Square Alliance be damned!

We got Andy Monday in NYC and he flaunted his personalized umbrella ... bragging it would be with him for his next NYE broadcast. He also dared the now infamous Times Square Alliance to stop him.

"GRADE A BS"
CNN

You'll recall ... Andy threw a fit on-air during CNN's NYE broadcast last week after he claimed security ordered him to lose his umbrella in the pouring rain or risk losing the network's credentials for the next NYE show.

The Times Square Alliance fired back in response to Andy's rant, pouring water all over his claims.

It's clear Andy's not ready to squash the beef yet, and just might be praying for rain on Dec. 31, 2019.

Andy Cohen Times Square Alliance Fires Back Pours Water On His NYE Umbrella Rant

It's still raining on Andy Cohen, because he's getting some serious pushback from the Times Square Alliance after he ranted on air about being singled out by officials who forced him to take down his umbrella during his CNN New Year's Eve broadcast.

During his fit, Andy claimed someone in the Times Square Alliance threatened to pull CNN's credentials for its next NYE show if he didn't lose his umbrella.

The Alliance fired back on Wednesday, issuing a statement to Page Six saying umbrellas are not allowed in certain media areas because they can block sightlines for other media.

"GRADE A BS"
CNN

The Alliance also denied Cohen's claim CNN's credentials were threatened, saying, "some tempers flared, but it was never the case, nor will it be the case, that CNN would be denied credentials or the ability to cover New Year's Eve."

Here's to hoping rain steers clear of Times Square next NYE ... although it did make for some pretty interesting TV.

Andy Cohen Goes Ballistic Over Times Square Security ... During New Year's Eve Show

"GRADE A BS"
CNN

Andy Cohen had a fit on the air during his CNN New Year's Eve broadcast over Times Square security and his umbrella.

Andy came back from a commercial with Anderson Cooper and launched on the Times Square Alliance, which ordered him to lose his umbrella ... or else.

It was pouring rain in Times Square and Andy was outraged, calling the order "Grade A BS."

Cohen says, when he initially refused to get rid of the umbrella, a member of the Times Square Alliance threatened to pull CNN's credentials for the next New Year's Eve show. Andy relented, but was furious.

BTW ... Andy also announced the surrogate who is carrying his baby is about to deliver a boy.

Congrats!

George Lopez Shocked Jim Acosta's Back at White House

EXCLUSIVE
CAN'T STAY AWAY
TMZ.com

George Lopez was positive Donald Trump would let D.L. Hughley in the White House press room before Jim Acosta would ever be invited back, so imagine his SHOCK when he learned from us Jim's back in action!

Don't get George wrong ... he stands with Acosta. But, the Trump/Acosta fiery relationship makes George's attacks on Trump look like a pillow fight ... hence his surprise.

As for whether George thinks Trump will ever call on Acosta again during a news conference ... he seems to think Acosta growing up Latino will serve him well at 1600 Pennsylvania.

Beto O'Rourke Not Closing Door On 2020 Presidential Run

EXCLUSIVE
THINKIN' ABOUT THE FUTURE
TMZ.com

It sounds like Beto O'Rourke is noodling a run for The White House in 2020, because the Congressman is not shutting down rumors he may challenge Donald Trump for the Presidency.

We got Beto Friday strolling around Capitol Hill and asked him straight-up if he's planning to run for Prez in 2020 ... and the rocker-turned-politician left the door wide open.

Beto is fresh off losing to Sen. Ted Cruz in the midterm election, so he says he hasn't given 2020 a whole bunch of thought ... these days he seems to have daddy duties on the brain.

One thing's for sure ... Beto is glad CNN reporter Jim Acosta got his White House press credentials back, and he's taking a stand against Trump labeling the media as an enemy of the people.

CNN's Jim Acosta Back at White House ... After Court Victory

Breaking News

10:14 AM PT -- Trump just addressed the situation, and he issues a stern warning to reporters like Acosta ... follow the rules or end up back in court.

NO MORE SHENANIGANS
CNN

9:49 AM PT -- Acosta hit the ground running, and is already back at the White House just hours after his victory.

9:20 AM PT -- Sounds like the White House fully intends to challenge the judge's ruling. Sarah Sanders said, "In response to the court, we will temporarily reinstate the reporter's hard pass."

"Temporarily" being the keyword there.

Sanders added, "We will also further develop rules and processes to ensure fair and orderly press conferences in the future. There must be decorum at the White House."

Translation: They're not done battling Acosta.

President Trump had it out for CNN White House Correspondent Jim Acosta ... so says a federal judge who has just ordered The White House to give Acosta his press credentials back.

The judge didn't buy the White House party line, because it shifted from Acosta making contact with a W.H. intern as the basis for its decision, to Acosta's "general conduct."

BACK IN ACTION
CNN

The judge did not base his core ruling off the First Amendment but rather the Due Process clause of the 5th Amendment. The judge said the decision to revoke the pass was "so shrouded in mystery that the government could not tell me ... who made the decision."

The judge went on to say Trump has no obligation to call on Acosta during White House news conferences but Acosta has a right to due process before his hard pass can be revoked.

CNN and its chief White House reporter, Jim Acosta, sued Trump Tuesday after Acosta's hard pass was yanked following aggressive questioning last week during a press conference ... Trump and Co. pulled his pass after he made contact with a White House intern, who was trying to take the mic away from him.

QUICK HANDS

CNN argued in court Trump was infringing on Acosta's 1st and 5th Amendment rights by pulling his press pass, adding the real reason behind the move is his extreme hatred for CNN.

For his part, Trump's White House lawyers responded by saying the Prez can pick and choose who gets on White House grounds to cover his administration.

Originally Published -- 7:28 AM PT

Omarosa Trump Plotted to Boot CNN's Acosta

THIS WAS PLANNED
MEGA

President Trump put in years of secret planning to get CNN's White House correspondent kicked off his detail ... at least according to Omarosa.

Trump's former aide was in D.C. Wednesday when a photog asked her about Jim Acosta and CNN suing POTUS for revoking his press pass. Omarosa was pretty nonchalant about it, because she claims the Prez held "private meetings" about Acosta back when she was still in the White House.

Omarosa claims booting Acosta, in particular, has been on Trump's agenda for a long time.

For his part, Acosta walked into a federal courthouse in D.C. on Wednesday, seeking an emergency order that would grant him immediate White House access. The court hasn't ruled yet.

QUICK HANDS

Omarosa's got an opinion on how the battle will play out for CNN and Acosta.

Granted, she has plenty of beef with 45 about how she was 86'd, but IF Omarosa's right about the alleged "private meetings," it confirms the media's biggest fears: That the President is trying to crush Freedom of the Press if he doesn't like your reporting.

Game on.