Wrestler Navid Afkari Executed In Iran Despite Plea from President Trump

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Iranian wrestling champ Navid Afkari has been executed in Iran, officials confirm.

The 27-year-old was hanged Saturday morning in Adelabad prison in the city of Shiraz, according to Iranian state media IRNA.

As we previously reported, Afkari participated in a peaceful 2018 protest against government policies. But, officials later accused him of stabbing a water supply company employee during the protests.

Afkari apparently confessed to the stabbing in a video put out by Iranian officials last week .. but most believe the confession was forced after he had been tortured.

Afkari -- a decorated wrestler in Iran who medaled in multiple national tournaments -- had been issued TWO death sentences for his alleged crimes in order to send a message to the rest of the country.

President Trump had tweeted to the Iranian government earlier this month asking them to spare Afkari's life.

"Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets," Trump said.

"They were protesting the 'country’s worsening economic situation and inflation.'"

Ultimately, Iran ignored Trump's request.

RIP.

Rudy Giuliani Rips 'Disrespectful' Houston Texans ... 'Stay In Locker Room Forever'

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LEARN SOME RESPECT
TMZSports.com

Rudy Giuliani is FURIOUS at the Houston Texans for staying in their locker room for the national anthem before Thursday's game ... saying, "Maybe they should stay in the locker room forever."

"Maybe that's where they belong."

The former NYC mayor was at the 9/11 Memorial on the 19th anniversary of 9/11 when we asked him about the drama before the NFL season opener ... and Rudy didn't hold back.

A DIFFERENT TAKE
Courtesy Of NFL

"I think [the Houston Texans] should kiss the ground of the stadium that they're in America. Where the hell would they make that kinda money?!"

Rudy claims roughly "a third" of the players are from another country -- and should "thank God they're in America. Nobody else in this world has an immigration problem but America so people should stop doing hateful things about America."

Rudy says if players want to go down on a knee, "they should kiss the ground and say 'Thank you God that we're in the United States of America' because there's no place else we'd make this kinda money for playing a game."

Guiliani also said the players should have more humility -- because they're not the "real heroes" in this country.

"The real heroes aren't them. The real heroes are the men and women who ran into that building to save people."

Rudy also went after the Black Lives Matter movement -- saying it "hates police."

"They hate police and they call for the killing for the kinds of people who ran into this building and save them."

He concluded with the age-old "love it or leave it" battle cry.

"If [the Houston Texans] can't put their hand on their heart when the flag goes by, maybe you should live somewhere else."

Of course, pro athletes for years have said the kneeling demonstration is not meant to be a shot at the flag or the military ... but rather to put a spotlight on social injustice and police brutality.

Joe Biden & VP Pence Coming Together ... For 9/11 Memorial in NYC

Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence put their differences aside and shared a moment of unity at the solemn ceremony in New York City to mark the 19th anniversary of 9/11.

The Democratic Presidential nominee and Vice President were front and center Friday -- along with their spouses -- at Ground Zero for the 9/11 memorial to commemorate the anniversary of the terroristic attack. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg were also there to mark the occasion.

BRIEF EMBRACE
C-SPAN2

Biden approached Pence, tapped him on the shoulder before they shared an elbow bump. Biden also greeted Pence's wife, Karen, in similar fashion.

Moments of silence were observed at Ground Zero and the Pentagon. There was also a ceremony to mark the 4th plane that crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back against the hijackers.

The 9/11 attacks resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths and more than 25,000 people injured. Many of the first responders became seriously ill as a result of their efforts ... many dying of cancer from the toxic rubble.

The ceremony resonated as if it were still fresh. The reality ... the emotional impact is still gripping.

Sen. Marco Rubio '1619 Project' is Flawed, But ... Don't Take It Out On Students, Trump!

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DON'T HURT THE SCHOOLS
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Marco Rubio's weighing in on President Trump's threat to defund schools that use "The 1619 Project," saying POTUS is misguided -- but he's also challenging the project's view of American history.

We got the Florida Senator at Reagan National Airport in D.C. Thursday, and he initially sided with Trump when he said he believes '1619' is "historically flawed" ... telling us the country was founded in 1776, not 1619.

It's interesting, though, because Rubio doesn't seem to oppose the goal of the project ... which is telling the full truth about slavery being at the center of U.S. history.

Marco admits generations of U.S. leaders have not lived up to the promise of equality in our Declaration of Independence, and concedes the '1619 Project' isn't all bad.

FACE THE FACTS
TMZ.com

Thursday, the creator of '1619,' Nikole Hannah-Jones, told us Trump doesn't have the power to defund schools, despite his threats, and blasted him for misleading the public in order to stoke more racial division.

Senator Rubio suggests the President has more power than she thinks and could "make it difficult" for schools, but as he puts it ... Trump would only be hurting kids for the sake of politics if he went that route.

Nikole Hannah-Jones Trump Can't Block '1619 Project' in Schools ... It Will Help America!!!

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FACE THE FACTS
TMZ.com

President Trump's threat to defund schools implementing the "1619 Project" in history classes is just another divisive election tactic, but he's fighting a losing battle ... so says the creator of the progressive U.S. history initiative.

Nikole Hannah-Jones is the investigative journalist directing '1619,' and she's pushing back on the President's opposition of the project by suggesting he has racial motives ... and not the best interest of the U.S. in mind, as he has claimed.

Nikole joined "TMZ Live" to clarify what the project is all about, and quell the notion being stirred by Trump and others that it's a mission to change history and make people hate America.

Instead, she says its goal is to help Americans learn from their true history -- starting with the year African slaves were first brought to U.S. soil. Nikole says learning the truth about something rarely taught in traditional history classes will provide the perspective Americans need to strive toward the ideals upon which the country was founded.

Just as importantly, she says it will help Americans better understand why millions are marching and protesting today for social justice.

Nikole also points out that despite Trump's threats, he's powerless to direct what is taught in schools ... and can't pull funding as he's threatened to do in California.

"The truth is, the '1619 Project' is already being put into practice in many schools across the country, teaching students about the consequences of slavery and the contributions of Black Americans to the nation's history."

Nikole says there's still a long way to go though ... and she's not about to let Trump stop her or the project.

Joe Exotic's Tiger Team Lands with Thick Pardon Request ... Delivering to Trump Today!!!

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PARDON THE TIGER KING
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Joe Exotic's team has great timing -- or awful, depending on your perspective -- as they're handing his pardon request to President Trump on a day when there's A LOT going on in the Oval Office.

The Tiger Team leader, Eric Love, flew into D.C. Wednesday night with Joe's lawyers, packing a 257-page document he calls 4 months worth of hard work ... and he tells us it fully proves Joe's innocent.

As Eric says, this is the team's second major attempt to grab the President's attention ... but this time around they have more than a huge bus to persuade him to pardon Joe, and are even more optimistic about their pitch.

We asked him if going to the White House as the President's embroiled in controversy over his recorded convos with Bob Woodward was a good idea.  Eric thinks this timing could work in Joe's favor, and Trump's too.

As we first told you, Joe's 257-page case argues various reasons why he should be pardoned from his 22-year murder-for-hire sentence ... including a claim that he was sexually assaulted behind bars.

Love apparently has an in at the White House to deliver the goods, and he tells us Joe is so focused on the mission, he's even moved past hating on his rival Carole Baskin ... and wishes her well on "Dancing with the Stars."

That alone might demonstrate Joe's a changed man ... but that's for Trump to decide.

Ice Cube Black Agenda #1 for Me in Election ... Biden & Trump Reached Out

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END THE DISPARITY
TMZ.com

Ice Cube has a list of demands to help Black Americans that he feels needs to be addressed in order to get his vote ... and says both sides of the aisle want to, at least, hear what he's got to say.

We spoke to Cube Wednesday on "TMZ Live" and he elaborated on his "Contract with Black America" that he's been promoting these past few months ahead of the election. Bottom line ... he says he'll vote for whoever implements his ideas, even if it's President Trump.

Check it out ... for Cube, identity politics is gone, and he's only looking out for his people at this point -- telling us that if a candidate doesn't clearly explain what's in it for the Black community if they're elected, he doesn't see a point in voting for them.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

Specifically, he says economics is a huge part of his agenda -- explaining that there needs to be a monumental shift in the wealth gap between Black people and everyone else.

Now, Cube says he's heard from Joe Biden's camp AND Trump's about his 'Contract' ... and insists there's nothing partisan about his demands.

There's also this ... he says Biden should not think for a second he has the Black vote locked up. Fact is, Trump is still in office and could roll some of these things out before November, which would go a long way for Cube, and possibly other voters.

It's a fascinating take, and Cube is determined to hold Trump and Biden's feet to the fire.

Take note, candidates ... voters are talking to ya.

Donald Trump Jr. Grossly Downplays Rittenhouse Killings ... 'We All Do Stupid Things at 17'

Kyle Rittenhouse shooting and killing 2 protesters with a semi-automatic rifle is just one of those stupid things all teens do ... at least that's Donald Trump Jr.'s absolutely shocking theory.

President Trump's oldest son shared that offensive take during an "Extra" interview with ex-'Bachelorette' star Rachel Lindsay ... who asked why his father still hasn't condemned Rittenhouse's actions.

Don Jr. says they're waiting for due process and don't want to jump to any conclusions -- which is ironic considering his dad does that all the time. Yet, he clearly defended the 17-year-old charged with 2 homicides.

8/25/2020
SHOOTING PROTESTERS
Storyful

Trump Jr. says if he puts himself in Rittenhouse's position ... "Maybe I shouldn't have been there. He's a young kid. I don't want 17-year-olds running around the street with AR-15s. Maybe I wouldn't have put myself in that situation, who knows. But, we all do stupid things at 17."

When Lindsay called him out for minimizing the incident, Don replied ... "Really stupid, fine."

The truth is ... Jr. and his daddy have no qualms whatsoever about condemning demonstrators against systemic racism and police brutality without getting all the facts straight. So, Don Jr.'s excuse for failing to condemn an alleged killer speaks volumes.

Rittenhouse has been charged with murdering 2 people and injuring another during the protests in Kenosha on August 25.

Masshole Knockout Trumper Clashes w/ BLM Protester ... Left Laid Out on Ground

FLYING FISTS

More clashing between apparent Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter protesters -- and, per usual, more of the former being left on their asses after taking a whooping.

This fistfight went down Friday at a demonstration in Pittsfield, MA -- where BLM protesters were facing off with what appear to be Trump supporters ... which led to these two fellas going at it. You see the one dude in red -- who seems to have stumbled out of the Trump crowd -- start to square up with the younger guy in a BLM-emblazoned shirt.

They throw a few punches, which mostly miss at first, but eventually ... the more spry of the two lands a hit that takes the Trump-er down, and hard. He hits the pavement and lays motionless on the ground as the other guy walks away. Looks like a clean knockout.

Pittsfield PD tells us they're investigating this further, adding an off-duty cop who was nearby arrived on the scene quickly. The man who took the punch was more or less okay.

We're told he was taken to a hospital with minor injures -- per reports, he was supposedly alert and conscious at the time. The police haven't yet made any arrests.

We've been seeing these scuffles all over the country lately, and it looks like they ain't slowing down anytime soon.

The White House New Lawn Post-RNC Costs $80k ... Fixing Muddy Aftermath

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President Trump not only broke political precedent by holding the Republican National Convention at The White House ... he also ran up a fat landscaping bill by damaging the grounds.

The South Lawn and iconic Rose Garden were getting a makeover Tuesday, almost 2 weeks after the RNC wrapped up there, reportedly leaving the grounds a muddy mess. And, the new landscaping's gonna cost a cool $79,675 ... TMZ has learned.

According to the federal docs we obtained ... the National Park Service hired a lawn servicing company to do the resodding, and they have until the end of the month to get the job done. According to the Washington Post ... the Trump Campaign is picking up the bill.

Makes sense ... Trump became the first president to accept his party's nomination at the WH, and gave his acceptance speech last Thursday night right on the South Lawn in front of about 1,500 supporters.

At the time, the mostly mask-free crowd raised concerns about COVID-19.

Turns out the more tangible damage being done was under the feet off the President's GOP faithful.

You'll recall, the RNC was originally scheduled to go down in Charlotte, before the pandemic forced the GOP to attempt it in Jacksonville. When that fell through, Trump decided to do it in D.C. ... with the White House as his backdrop.

The $80k lawn tab is just the price of doing convention biz in the beltway.

Kanye West Holler at Me, Biden ... Bernie Passed On Talks

LET'S TALK
Cannon's Class

Kanye West is trying to meet with his political rivals ... Ye says he was denied a meeting with Bernie Sanders, and wants the opportunity to chat with Joe Biden.

Yeezy recently sat down with Nick Cannon for a segment on Nick's podcast, "Cannon's Class," and they started talking politics, and how Ye caught a ton of flak for meeting with Jared Kushner.

Kanye says the sit down with President Trump's son-in-law and trusted aid "ain't no secret meeting" ... and says he wanted a similar meeting with Bernie, but the former presidential candidate wouldn't grant one.

Now that Biden is the democratic nominee for prez, Kanye says he wants a power meeting with Joe and is willing to meet with any politician, regardless of their party.

Looks like the ball is in Biden's court here.

It's a pretty interesting conversation ... and Kanye also talks about his relationship with Nas, Trump and Kushner.

Joe Exotic Please, Mr. President, Pardon Me ... I've Been Sexually Assaulted in Prison

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12:27 PM PT -- 9/14 -- A rep for the Grady County Jail -- where Joe claims the sexual assault happened -- had no comment. However, a law enforcement source at the jail denies the allegations, claiming there are cameras all around the facility and saying it's Joe's character to make things up.

7:12 AM PT -- We reached out to our federal prison sources about Joe's claims, who tell us, "there was no such assault."

Joe Exotic has submitted a 257-page case to Donald Trump -- arguing various reasons why he should be pardoned from his 22-year murder-for-hire sentence -- claiming he was sexually assaulted behind bars.

Joe included a letter he sent to Donald Trump Jr. in his documents, in which he claims, "I have been sexually assaulted by jail staff, beat up and tied in a chair to the point the skin came off my arms." He goes on to say, "please be my hero ... my hands are damaged from the abuse in jail so I'm sorry for the soppy (sic) writing and spelling" and adding this ... "#TrumpJr.2024." We reached out to the prison for comment ... so far, no word back.

Joe says he fears he'll die in prison before his scheduled 2037 release, because his health is compromised because of various medical issues, including anemia and common variable immune deficiency.

Joe submitted various character references, including one from Kerri Walker, whose cousin worked at the zoo. She makes an appeal to Trump, saying Joe got a raw deal, just like Trump did with the "grab-'em-by-the-p***y" tape.

Joe goes on to say he never tried to kill Carole Baskin, and that all the so-called threats he made against her were just "hyperbole." His lawyers say in the docs, obtained by TMZ, the "threats" were "simply another aspect of his showmanship ... Joe's jokes, at most, in bad taste, were merely jokes."

Joe also insists he's been "railroaded and betrayed, repeatedly" ... blaming Jeff Lowe, the judge and others. He says the $3k he forked over to the alleged hitman was not to pay for a hit ... it was to get the guy out of his hair.

Joe also believes one of the reasons he was convicted was because of anti-gay sentiments.

He admits to shooting some tigers that were ill, saying that was the humane way of euthanizing them.

And Joe's husband, Dillon Passage, wrote a letter saying Joe saved him from addiction. Passage wrote ... "I see a sweet, big heart man, with good intentions, who took a few steps down a dark road, and he's just waiting to be pulled out of it."

Joe makes his plea to President Trump, saying, "Allow me to make you proud, to make America proud, to make the world proud. Be my hero please."

TMZ broke the story ... Joe's team is flying to D.C. Wednesday where Eric Love, who's leading the charge for Joe, will present the pardon application to someone he knows in The White House.

Originally Published -- 9/8 1:00 AM PT

President Trump Autographed Bible for Sale

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Here's a shocker for 54 percent of the country ... President Trump opened a Bible (that's not the shocker), signed his name in it, and now the good book could now be worth nearly $40k. There it is.

Yes, as Trump would almost certainly put it, you can now buy your "favorite President's" favorite book ... which our sources tell us he autographed during a very turbulent week in the nation, and particularly in Washington, D.C.

NOT IN MY HOUSE
AP

We're told he signed it at the White House during the first week of June, just a couple of days after he'd ordered federal law enforcement to fire pepper spray and rubber bullets at peaceful George Floyd protesters ... just to clear a path for him to St. John's Episcopal Church.

You'll recall he posed there for a now-infamous photo op with a Bible ... although that's not the one he signed.

The autographed Bible is going up for sale through the memorabilia company, Moments In Time -- and they're hawking this slice of Trump history for a cool $37,500.

Just the way God intended.

We kid, but Trump's critics might be expecting a lightning strike, because although he's often declared the Bible is his favorite book -- he's declined to name a favorite chapter or verse ... or even weigh in on the Old vs. New Testament debate.

Presidents have a long history of signing Bibles, but the practice has historically been done when presenting it as a gift with a spiritual message written inside.

Then again, Trump is far from your typical Prez.

Cardi B Fires Back at Candace Owens Ongoing Feud Over 'WAP,' Politics, Police Brutality

Breaking News

2:17 PM PT -- Cardi's firing back at Candace, claiming an old photo she shared epitomizes how Trump panders to Black people to get their praise.

The "WAP" rapper claims Candace wants Black people to look up to the President in this manner ... but she refuses to do so for anyone, other than the Lord.

Cardi B and Candace Owens are in an epic feud, with Candace calling Cardi an "illiterate rapper" who isn't worthy of interviewing Joe Biden ... thing is, Owens just doesn't get it.

Owens blasted Cardi for her recent sit down with Biden ... specifically, Cardi's question about what Biden would do about Black men dying in America. Owens thinks Biden should have fired back that, according to her, most Black men don't die at the hands of cops but rather other Black men.

WHO'S REALLY HURTING BLACK MEN?

Apparently, Owens doesn't think there's an issue with systemic racism in police departments, nor does she address the long list of Black men and women who have died at the hands and knees of cops ... sometimes over minor offenses and sometimes over no offenses at all.

Owens just can't wrap her head around Cardi interviewing a Presidential candidate ... she just can't understand why Biden didn't, as she put it, sit down with "intellectual" black people.

Here's what she's missing. Cardi has a huge following and can do more to get out the vote that the people Owens mentions, including herself. On top of that, she may not care for Cardi's interview, but lots of others did. Maybe she thinks Cardi was just too effective.

At one point during the back and forth, Cardi posted a vid from the Hamptons of her sister, Hennessy, getting harassed because she and her friend are an Afro-Hispanic gay couple.

Owens says Cardi is "uneducated when it came to politics." For her part, Cardi says Trump supporters have gone after her, encouraging people to set her house on fire.

2020 politics ... it ain't pretty.

Originally published -- 7:14 AM PT

Joe Exotic's Tiger Team Back to D.C. ... To Hand-Deliver Pardon Request

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Joe Exotic's team is heading back to our nation's capital for another shot at getting the Tiger King pardoned by President Trump ... and this time, they got an in at the White House.

Sources tell TMZ ... Joe's squad of attorneys and advocates will be flying to Washington D.C. Wednesday to hand-deliver a copy of their official pardon request to a contact they have at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The hope it seems ... to get the pardon request in front of Trump, and we're told Eric Love -- who's leading the team -- has a contact within the White House, so it would seem this might be their best chance yet to get DT to listen.

Not just that, but it would appear the Joe Exotic squad has more Trump allies than just one -- here's a photo of Eric with Brad Parscale, 45's head of digital operations for his campaign. Eric and the team met Brad in Texas recently, but also ... he's not the contact they have at the White House. Still, knowing BP can't hurt their odds!

FREE THE KING

Remember, Love and co. rolled up to D.C. a few months ago in a huge bus with a 'Pardon Joe Exotic' wrap. It doesn't appear that venture was all that successful -- Trump hasn't pardoned the guy after all -- but we know Joe's on Trump's radar.

He actually brought up Joe's name recently in a press conference, and said he'd look into his case. No better time than now, right?!?

Chasten Buttigieg Rough Start Coming Out as Gay

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AN EMOTIONAL JOURNEY
TMZ.com

Chasten Buttigieg's coming out experience didn't get off to a good start, but thanks to his parents it turned out well, and speaking of things working out ... he's focused on the bright side of his husband's unsuccessful presidential bid.

Mayor Pete's husband joined "TMZ Live" to tell his story about confiding in his family that he was gay, the difficulty and pain that followed ... and the life-changing call from his Mom that helped them heal.

Chasten tells us he's thankful for his parents' allyship, and describes what has to be done to make sure people like him are protected and supported ... something he says he's striving to do for others.

As for his famous hubby and the disappointment of not becoming the Democratic nominee for Prez ... Chasten says it was a bummer, but it's not all bad.

He points out that they've been able to regain a little anonymity in their lives while still focusing on their dreams and goals, and reminds us that they are both still very young ... and the future is bright.

Of course, Chasten believes the outlook will be much better if a certain person is elected president in November ... you can probably guess who, but watch the clip anyway.

Chasten's releasing a memoir this week titled 'I Have Something to Tell You,' in which he opens up about his upbringing, politics, and his relationship with Pete.

Old news is old news!
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