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R. Kelly Wants Sex Tape Copies Travel Plans Possibly Derailed

3/24/2019 10:23 AM PDT

3/24 -- R. Kelly's request to travel to Dubai looks shaky at best now -- 'cause the Dubai government is coming out strong against the singer, saying he has no business coming there ... at least as far as they're concerned. The Dubai Media Office issued a statement Sunday, denying R. Kelly's claims that he might need to fly there for potential gigs ... with the agency saying there were no planned concerts for R. Kelly that the government was aware of. 

The DMO also shot down claims by R. Kelly's legal team that he had plans to meet the sheikhdom's ruling Al Maktoum family ... calling BS and saying, "Authorities in Dubai have not received any request for a performance by singer R. Kelly nor are there any venues that have been booked."

8:02 AM -- The hearing has wrapped up. Greenberg formally asked for a copy of the sex tapes but the judge did not rule on whether Kelly's team will get copies just yet. Greenberg added the sex tapes should be protected from public viewing. 

Also, Kelly's motion for permission to travel has been continued.

7:20 AM PT -- Kelly has just arrived to court. The hearing is now scheduled to start at 7:45 AM PT.

6:40 AM PT -- We will be live streaming inside R. Kelly's pretrial hearing in Cook County Courthouse. It's scheduled to start around 7 AM PT. 

R. Kelly and his legal team are demanding to get their hands and eyes on the alleged sex tapes that prompted the 10 counts of sexual abuse ... and they're hoping to walk out of court Friday with them.

Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg, tells TMZ ... prosecutors will begin handing over discovery materials during a court hearing Friday in Chicago. He says there's no guarantee what they'll get right off the bat -- could be police reports, case material from Kelly's 2008 trial but, obviously, the items they're most anxious to see are the 2 tapes Michael Avenatti turned over to Cook County prosecutors.

Greenberg says he hasn't seen the tapes -- which Avenatti claims show Kelly engaged in various sex acts with a 14-year-old girl -- so he can't really begin to mount a defense strategy. Once he does get them, a couple different things could happen.

He'll immediately order a full forensic analysis of the tapes ... if he and Kelly believe the tape does show the singer. If they don't think it's Kelly, Greenberg says he'll speed things up to trial. 

For now, it's a waiting game since Kelly's team has no idea what prosecutors will hand over.

Kelly might also ask the judge to let him travel to Dubai for work -- he had to surrender his passport when he got arrested. Sources close to the singer tell us he could potentially get a gig there, but doesn't have anything booked yet. 

Greenberg says he's not sure the judge will hear that request Friday, but it's on their "to do" list because -- make no mistake -- Kelly's desperate to make some cash.

Originally Published -- 3/22 12:50 AM PT

Dr. Dre Deletes IG Post Touting Daughter's USC Acceptance

3/25/2019 6:20 AM PDT

3/25 -- For the record, Dre and Iovine donated a whopping $70 MILLION to the University. The department they funded -- The Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation, was established to promote entrepreneurship, computer science and engineering, audio and visual design, and the arts. Dre and Jimmy wanted to inspire innovators.  

3/24 -- Dr. Dre has deleted his Instagram post in which he touted his daughter's acceptance to USC with "no jail time." Lots of people pointed out how tone-deaf it came off considering he and Jimmy Iovine made a multi-million dollar donation to USC and literally have a portion of the school named after them. 

Dr. Dre's rubbing a little salt in the wounds of Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and all the other parents involved in the college bribery scandal ... while gloating about his USC-bound child.

The music mogul and proud papa just shared a photo with his daughter, Truly Young, holding up her Certificate of Admissions letter from the University of Southern California ... and added a savage jab.

Dre wrote ... "My daughter got accepted into USC all on her own. No jail time!!!"

As we've reported ... Huffman, Loughlin and her husband are facing criminal charges for allegedly paying to get their kids into the prestigious school by fraudulent means.

Loughlin's daughters have already formally left USC and could be banned from campus forever.

Dr. Dre clearly doesn't think he has any reason to worry about something like that happening or any legal issues with her attending the college.

Some folks might take umbrage with the rapper's claim that his daughter got accepted on her own, though -- he and Jimmy Iovine founded the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy a few years back ... and there's a hall on campus named after them.

That may have had a little something to do with it ... just maybe.

Originally Published -- 3/23 7:29 PM PT

'American Idol' Chikezie Eze My Estranged Wife Vanished with Our Kids

3/24/2019 12:20 AM PDT

Former "American Idol" contestant Chikezie Eze says his estranged wife disappeared more than a year ago and took their children ... but he's finally got the court's help trying to locate them.

Chikezie and his ex, Linda Iruke, have had their issues -- he filed for divorce from her last year shortly after she accused him of domestic abuse and threats -- but this is even more troubling.

Eze tells us Iruke completely vanished in early 2018 and cut off all ties with him and their friends, and even more concerning ... he says her family hasn't been able to contact her either.

According to new legal docs ... the court stated there is reason to believe the children have been "taken, detained, and concealed" and have authorized the L.A. County D.A.'s office to investigate and locate Eze's estranged wife and kids.

He's thankful to have this assistance, and tells us Linda's family -- especially her mother -- have been vital in convincing the court to take action.

Chikezie also has an emotional message for his son -- on his birthday -- and urges anyone who knows about his family's whereabouts to contact the D.A.'s child abduction unit.

Eze finished 10th on the seventh season of 'Idol' back in 2008.

Disneyland Paris Terror Attack Panic ... False Alarm Caused By Loud Escalator

3/23/2019 3:59 PM PDT

Folks at Disneyland Paris got quite the scare when a loud, malfunctioning escalator caused people to fear there was another terrorist attack ... but thankfully, it was a false alarm.

Footage of the incident shows panic spreading as visitors at the amusement park scream and run for cover Saturday night after hearing loud noises. Turns out, the sounds came from a faulty escalator and there's no threat to the public ... but it still caused chaos.

Police reportedly say people mistook the sounds for gunfire or detonations, and there was a brief stampede before Disneyland officials and law enforcement got things under control.

Disneyland Paris says ... "There has been no explosions, no shootings, no injuries. It a false alarm."

The panic's understandable, considering Paris was the scene of a coordinated series of terrorist attacks in November 2015 that killed 130 people and included bombs and mass shootings.

Fortunately, this is not another attack ... but Disney better fix that escalator pronto.

Jordan Belfort College Scammers Hunted Me Down ... I Said No Thanks

3/23/2019 2:50 PM PDT

Jordan Belfort could have been linked to Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and the other parents caught up in the college bribery scandal ... but he didn't take the bait.

The real-life "Wolf of Wall Street" was at LAX when we asked him about the admissions scandal involving schools like USC, Harvard, Yale, UCLA and Georgetown, and turns out ... he has a wild personal story about it.

Belfort tells us his son was applying to Georgetown and somehow, a shady character got his number and tried to rope him in ... but he and his son declined. He says the scheme went far beyond the old "wink wink" days of buying your kid's way into college with a donation too.

As for who was behind the recruitment process, Jordan speculates it could have been one of Rick Singer's "finders" ... but he's not certain.

As for Singer -- the ringleader of the scandal -- Belfort has some predictions on the legal ramifications of his crooked scheme ... and it goes beyond jail time.

As we reported ... Huffman, Loughlin and her husband are facing criminal charges for their involvement. Seems the 'Wolf' thinks they should be cut a little slack though.

Robert Kraft I'm Sorry, I Would Never Disrespect Women ... My Late Wife Taught Me That

3/23/2019 10:42 AM PDT
Breaking News

Robert Kraft is finally speaking out about getting caught in the South Florida prostitution sting ... and he's apologizing to his friends, to Patriots fans and to all women.

Kraft says, "In deference to the judicial process, I have remained silent these past several weeks. To correct some of the misinformation surrounding this matter, my attorney made his first public comments on Friday night. I would like to use this opportunity to say something that I have wanted to say for four weeks.

"I am truly sorry. I know I have hurt and disappointed my family, my close friends, my co-workers, our fans and many others who rightfully hold me to a higher standard."

His statement continues, "Throughout my life, I have always tried to do the right thing. The last thing I would ever want to do is disrespect another human being. I have extraordinary respect for women; my morals and my soul were shaped by the most wonderful woman, the love of my life, who I was blessed to have as my partner for 50 years."

TMZ Sports broke the story ... Kraft's legal team, along with 14 other defendants, filed for a protective order earlier this week which would prevent all evidence in the case -- especially the surveillance video from inside the Orchids of Asia spa -- from going public. Kraft's lead attorney, William Burck, insists that video, recorded on cameras set up by police, was illegally obtained.

Burck told the NY Post, "We’ve looked at the law around the warrant for the video surveillance inside the spa, and we think it is a violation of the fourth amendment. We also believe the traffic stop [made by police as the men left the spa] was illegal and a violation of the constitution."

As we first reported, Palm Beach County prosecutors have refused to sign off on the protection order to keep the video from going public -- despite police insisting they are concerned about victims of human trafficking. 

Burck also addressed the alleged "trafficking," calling out law enforcement in Palm Beach and Martin Counties. He says they "have said this is a human trafficking case, but have produced no evidence [to corroborate that]. They have falsely connected Robert Kraft and other men to human trafficking. Now they should correct the record. I have asked that the record be corrected and there’s been no response."

Kraft and his legal team have not accepted a plea deal offer ... which would require him to admit he would have been found guilty if the case went to trial.

Kraft added in his statement, "As I move forward, I hope to continue to use the platform with which I have been blessed to help others and to try to make a difference. I expect to be judged not by my words, but by my actions ... I hope to regain your confidence and respect."

Barbra Streisand 'Profoundly Sorry' For Michael Jackson Comments

3/23/2019 6:51 PM PDT

6:40 PM PT -- Barbra issued a new statement adding an apology, saying ... "I am profoundly sorry for any pain or misunderstanding I caused by not choosing my words more carefully."

She adds ... "I didn’t mean to dismiss the trauma these boys experienced in any way. Like all survivors of sexual assault, they will have to carry this for the rest of their lives. I feel deep remorse and I hope that James and Wade know that I truly respect and admire them for speaking their truth."

1:15 PM PT -- Streisand's clarifying some of her interview comments in a statement to the Washington Post, saying ... "To be crystal clear, there is no situation or circumstance where it is OK for the innocence of children to be taken advantage of by anyone."

She continues ... “The stories these two young men shared were painful to hear, and I feel nothing but sympathy for them. The single most important role of being a parent is to protect their children. It’s clear that the parents of the two young men were also victimized and seduced by fame and fantasy."

Barbra Streisand believes Michael Jackson was a child molester, but she also believes his victims got a bonus and the sexual attacks didn't kill them ... this according to a new interview.

Streisand was interviewed by The Times in the UK, and shared some bizarre thoughts about MJ and the 2 accusers featured in "Leaving Neverland" -- Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

Streisand seemed sympathetic to Jackson, saying, "His sexual needs were his sexual needs, coming from whatever childhood he has or whatever DNA he has."

She believes Robson and Safechuck were indeed molested by MJ, saying the HBO documentary was painful to watch.

That said, she went on to dismiss the horror of child molestation, saying, "You can say molested, but those children, as you heard them say [in the documentary] they were thrilled to be there. They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them."

Streisand wasn't done. She said, "I feel bad for the children. I feel bad for him. I blame, I guess, the parents who would allow their children to sleep with him. Why would Michael need these little children dressed like him and in the shows and the dancing and the hats?"

Streisand says Jackson once asked her to do a duet, "I Just Can't Stop Loving You" ... but she turned him down.  

Originally Published -- 7:01 AM PT

UFC's Frank Shamrock Tearful Apology ... For Abandoning Dog

3/23/2019 12:50 AM PDT

Frank Shamrock says he didn't mean to hurt the dog he tied to a truck and left at an airport ... telling TMZ Sports, "I know what I did was wrong, but there was no way out of it."

As we previously reported, the UFC legend is under investigation after cops say he abandoned a dog at Dallas Love Field Airport ... leaving it tethered to the bed of a pickup truck for 5 days.

Now, Shamrock is explaining to us why he did it ... saying, "I had no other solution to solve that problem."

The former fighter tells us his mother is ailing, and when he traveled to Texas earlier this month to take care of her ... he realized she was in no condition to own dogs anymore.

Shamrock says he tried his best to find new homes for the animals ... but just could not find a place for Zelda.

"I called everybody in Dallas, I tried everything humanly possible to get care for the dog, to let people know that we could not take the dog."

Shamrock says his search for a new home for Zelda lasted up until just minutes before he had to board a plane back home ... so he decided the best thing to do was to tie her up with food and water and call security to come get her.

The problem? Security never found her, and she was stuck in the pickup bed for 5 days before police officers rescued her.

Now, Frank tells us he's heartbroken over the whole ordeal ... mostly because he can't believe people at the airport let her stay in the truck for that long without getting her.

"The dog stayed there for five days. I can't believe that," Shamrock said through tears ... "That wasn't what I was intending. I thought they would come get it."

Frank is now under investigation by the Dallas Police Department, who tell us they are expecting to file a charge of Cruelty to Non-Livestock Animals -- a Class A Misdemeanor -- against the former fighter.

Shamrock says he'll accept any charges, telling us, "I take responsibility for what has happened."

As for Zelda, a spokesperson for the SPCA of Texas tells us she's doing just fine since the incident -- and has received "a ton of TLC" and care while she's been in the organization's custody.

The spokesperson also tells us they expect to put Zelda up for adoption within the next few days.

Rep. Ilhan Omar Tight Security at Muslim Event ... In Wake of NZ Mosque Shooting

3/23/2019 12:40 AM PDT

A speaking event with Rep. Ilhan Omar is already attracting lots of attention, but the shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand has increased the focus ... for safety and security reasons.

TMZ has learned LAPD officers will be out in full force when the controversial new representative from Minnesota speaks Saturday at the Hilton in Woodland Hills, CA, at a fundraising banquet meant to empower Muslims living in the San Fernando Valley.

Protests are planned due to Omar's recent comments, which many view as anti-Semitic -- so, security was already going to be tight -- but law enforcement sources tell us the New Zealand mosque attack that killed 50 people required some adjustments to the overall protection plan for the event.

We're told LAPD will be adding plainclothes officers, police dogs and video surveillance to accompany uniformed cops on the scene. Every attendee will be required to go through a metal detector.

Our sources say the California Highway Patrol and L.A. Fire Dept. will also be lending support, and federal law enforcement will work with LAPD to monitor intelligence.

The Hilton also decided to beef up its security staff in the wake of the mosque shooting ... according to sources close to the Council on American-Islamic Relations event.

Clearly, the congresswoman speaking is a big deal ... but it's at another level now, as everyone involved is going above and beyond to avoid another tragic hate crime.

Shaq LSU Scandal Won't Distract Tigers ... From Beating Duke

3/23/2019 12:10 AM PDT

Think Zion and Duke will coast all the way to the title game without a hitch??? Here's Shaq to make you second-guess your bracket picks ... 'cause he says LSU CAN beat the Blue Devils -- despite the Will Wade scandal.

The Tigers head coach was suspended indefinitely before the Big Dance ... after Yahoo Sports recently reported that wiretapped conversations revealed Wade discussed making a "strong-ass" offer to a recruit.

Shaq clearly ain't sweating the investigation possibly making an impact on LSU's run at a title ... simply saying, "Not a distraction."

The Big Aristotle is probably right ... 'cause the Tigers looked pretty good against Yale on Thursday ... and all they have to do is win 1 more game to match up with the Devils (assuming Duke handles their opponents, of course). 

But, with guys like Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish -- 3 projected lottery picks in the NBA Draft in June -- LSU's going to have their hands full ... scandal or no scandal.

R. Kelly Joycelyn Pulls Plug on Family Reunion After Heated Phone Convo

3/22/2019 4:00 PM PDT
Exclusive Details

4:00 PM PT -- R. Kelly's rep, Darrell Johnson, says the meeting was only canceled because Joycelyn insisted on it going down in Chicago, while her family was demanding it happen someplace between Chicago and Atlanta. 

Sources in Kelly's camp provided this audio recording of a phone conversation Johnson had 14 days ago with the Savage family's attorney, Gerald Griggs. Take a listen, it's pretty clear both sides were going to have trouble coming to any agreement.

For his part, Griggs tells us the Savages intended to acquiesce and meet Joycelyn in Chi town, but Johnson never got back to them after the phone call. Griggs says they didn't hear back from him until AFTER Johnson was grilled Friday by the Chicago reporter.

1:33 PM -- According to Griggs, R. Kelly's team reached out to the Savages to say they're no longer going to help coordinate a meeting. It's unclear why Kelly's team pulled a 180.

R. Kelly's team is having a hard time arranging a meeting between Joycelyn Savage and her parents ... because both sides can't agree on a location. 

R. Kelly's rep, Darrell Johnson, tells TMZ ... Joycelyn is not opposed to meeting with her mom and dad, but she only wants to meet them in Chicago. We're told the Savage family wants to meet Joycelyn at her grandmother's home -- which is outside the Windy City -- because Grandma's battling cancer. 

The Savages have made it clear from the beginning ... they want to meet in a neutral location outside of Chicago. 

So, both sides remain at a standstill ... even though it's been two weeks since R. Kelly's team agreed to set up a meeting between Joycelyn and her fam. 

The Savages' family attorney, Gerald Griggs, tells TMZ ... there's no planned meeting in place, and he can't force one to happen. 

Earlier Friday, Kelly's publicist was asked about orchestrating a meeting between Joycelyn and her family ... but he dodged the question. 

As we've reported ... whenever the meeting goes down, the Savages plan to bring a psychologist with them to evaluate their daughter. 

Joycelyn is alleged to be one of Kelly's "sex slaves" and the Savages have been doing everything they can to set up a face-to-face meeting with her. 

Originally Published -- 12:09 PM PT

Cal's Justin Wilcox Supports Investigation Into Sexual Harassment Claims

3/22/2019 2:04 PM PDT
Breaking News

Cal football coach Justin Wilcox is throwing his full support behind a school investigation into claims that members of his team "ruthlessly" sexually harassed a student intern.

"We take these allegations extremely seriously," the coach told reporters Friday ... "It's not something that we would tolerate at our university or in our football program and it's something that is really tough to hear."

Paige Cornelius -- a former student at Cal -- claims she was "endlessly" and "ruthlessly" sexually harassed by members of the Golden Bears' squad during her time as a team intern.

She even accuses one coach of sexually assaulting her, saying he forcibly touched and kissed her during an after-hours office visit.

It's all in a lengthy social media post penned by the ex-Cal student ... in which she claims Wilcox and athletic director Jim Knowlton did nothing even after she reached out with the allegations.

"Your mental and physical health do not matter when a revenue sport is involved. Shoutout to Jim Knowlton, Justin Wilcox, the Cal Athletics Administrative office for teaching me this lesson."

In her claims ... Cornelius says coaches and players would constantly make her feel uncomfortable on the field -- and in one incident, a coach told her during practice, "I will get you fired if you do not have sex with me.”

She also says one coach followed her home after a practice and told her at her front door she "would look amazing in a bikini." 

Cornelius says as a result of her time with the team, she's now dealing with post-traumatic stress syndrome and anxiety and has medically withdrawn from the school.

It appears Paige is preparing to file a lawsuit against the program ... writing in a separate social media post, "If you have been sexually harassed by any cal athletics coach or player ... dm me."

"My legal team wants to have the best case possible."

For his part, Wilcox added at spring practice Friday, "We will fully support the investigation going forward. We are committed here at Cal football to providing an environment where people are protected and respected."

Robert Durst Sued You Killed Your Wife to Cover Up Wrongdoing ... Wrongful Death Suit Filed

3/22/2019 1:19 PM PDT

1:19 PM PT -- Durst's attorney, Dick DeGuerin, tells TMZ, "All you have to do is file a lawsuit -- but you have to prove it. And that's where they are going to have their problem."

He also stands firm, "Bob Durst did not have anything to do with Kathy Durst's disappearance and he did not kill Susan Berman and he doesn't know who did."

Robert Durst has just been sued for wrongful death in connection with the murder of his wife.

The Estate of Kathleen Durst is suing Robert, who is currently on trial for the murder of his good friend, Susan Berman, claiming he murdered Kathleen January 31, 1982. According to the lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, the Estate believes based on Durst's alleged M.O. ... after shooting her in the back of the head, he cut her body into little pieces and disposed of the remains ... which have never been found.

The Estate believes the primary motive was his then-lover, "Dear Prudence" Farrow, gave him an ultimatum ... if he didn't divorce Kathleen she would end their affair. The Estate says Kathleen was threatening a divorce and a cut of their fortune. There was also worry she would expose illegal business practices of the Durst companies.

Durst is currently locked up in downtown L.A. where he is awaiting trial in the Berman case.

Durst arguably confessed to both murders on an open mic during filming of the HBO documentary, "The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst." You hear him muttering, "You're caught ... What the hell did I do? Killed them all, of course."

Originally published --  11:14 AM PT

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