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Alfonso Ribeiro Doesn't Own 'Carlton Dance' ... Hurts His Fortnite Suit

2/14/2019 8:57 AM PST

Alfonso Ribeiro making the "Carlton Dance" popular on 'The Fresh Prince' doesn't mean he legally owns it ... according to the feds, and it could mean a big L for him in his battle with Fortnite.

The bad news became public this week in court -- a registration specialist for the U.S. Copyright Office told Alfonso's attorney that the actor's bid to lock down the rights to the dance is being denied. The copyright pro said Alfonso's moves amount to nothing more than a "simple dance routine."

As if that wasn't enough of a shot at Carlton ... the expert broke down the dance step-by-step, saying ... "The combination of these three dance steps is a simple routine that is not registrable as a choreographic work."

We broke the story ... Alfonso is suing the creators of Fortnite -- as well as the creators of NBA 2K -- for allegedly ripping off the dance without his permission.

Aside from the fact that he'd never tried to copyright the dance in the 27 years since it debuted on 'Fresh Prince' -- as NBA 2K lawyers point out in a motion to dismiss the suit -- Alfonso also admitted on camera the dance was inspired by others. That credit goes to Courteney Cox and Eddie Murphy.

Alfonso's lawsuits are still active, but if they end up going to trial ... the copyright will likely do serious damage to his case. 

United Airlines Sued Passenger Smells Cover-Up Over Shattered 767 Windshield

1/23/2019 10:20 AM PST
Exclusive Details

United Airlines pilots had to deal with a shattered windshield at 40,000 feet, and although the airline said bird strike caused the emergency ... one passenger claims there was a massive cover-up.

United's flight 931 left Chicago bound for London on Oct. 27, 2018, and about 3 hours into the trip the pilot announced the windshield was splintered and they had to land immediately ... according to a passenger named Theodore Liaw.

In his lawsuit against United, Theodore says he and the other passengers aboard the damaged 767 had to "white knuckle" it for 30 minutes ... while the pilot and co-pilot rapidly went from cruising altitude to Goose Bay Airport in Newfoundland, Canada.

Theodore claims United's customer support agents told them a "bird hit the windshield," but he calls that a big fat lie, and claims he got the truth straight from the pilot during 8 hours on the ground. According to the suit, he asked the pilot and co-pilot if they'd hit something, and they "chuckled" and said that was impossible because "there's nothing alive at 40,000 feet."

In docs, obtained by TMZ, Theodore says the pilots openly confessed it was most likely caused by a mechanic over-tightening windshield bolts. They also admitted 2 of 3 layers of the glass were destroyed and they were nearly sucked out of the cockpit ... according to the suit. 

Theodore is suing United for negligence. He says he hurt his back in the emergency landing and he's suffered horrible plane crash nightmares ever since the flight.

United tells us, "Safety is our top priority and we diverted the aircraft due to an issue with the cockpit window. The aircraft landed safely, and we are continuing to investigate this matter. Due to the pending litigation, we’re unable to comment further.” 

Stormy Daniels Sues Columbus PD Vice Officers Over 2018 Strip Club Arrest

1/14/2019 11:59 AM PST
Breaking News

Stormy Daniels is taking some of the police officers who arrested her at a strip club last year to court -- claiming they only went after her for speaking out against President Trump.

The former porn star just filed suit against several members of the Columbus Division of Police who serve in the vice unit, in which she alleges the only reason these cops falsely arrested her last summer at Sirens is quite simple ... allegiance to Trump.

In the docs -- obtained by TMZ -- Stormy claims that the officers listed entered into a conspiracy with each other upon learning that she'd be making an appearance in the area, and decided to go undercover with the sole intention of retaliation and ruining her rep.

Stormy had recently spoken out about her alleged affair with Trump on "60 Minutes," and she believes the actions of these officers were in direct response to that. 

She claims the cops violated her civil rights by falsely arresting and imprisoning her, and now ... she's asking a judge to award her damages for it. 

Stormy might have a case ... as the Columbus PD police chief acknowledged her arrest was a mistake, which eventually triggered a federal corruption probe into the matter. 

R. Kelly He Knew Aaliyah's Age at 14 ... Lawyer's Claim Debunked

1/13/2019 2:13 PM PST

R. Kelly knew good and well that his one-time protege (and future wife) Aaliyah was a 14-year-old child the same year he married her -- which debunks a claim put forth by his lawyer that the singer was oblivious to her being a minor.

An old video of a documentary about R. Kelly from 1994 has resurfaced online and in this section ... Kelly clearly acknowledges Aaliyah's age (apparently, 14 at the time this was shot) as she records a song in the studio, with him serving as producer.

In the YouTube clip, you hear Kelly say clear as day ... "Right now I'm producing a very talented lady -- a young lady. She's 14, Aaliyah. She's real street." 

Kelly went on to marry Aaliyah that same year, which reportedly got annulled shortly after. Despite this evidence of Kelly clearly being aware of Aaliyah's age, the singer's new attorney, Steve Greenberg, insisted to ABC News last week that his client was unaware of her being 15.

He says she must've lied about her age to legally marry Kelly, and that Kelly had "no idea."

R. Kelly hasn't said much about his marriage to Aaliyah or her age, but he told GQ in 2016, "I can tell you I loved her, I can tell you she loved me, we was very close. We were, you know, best best best best friends."

Kelly and Aaliyah appeared together for a BET interview in 1994, where they denied they were in a romantic relationship ... and played coy about her age, calling it a "secret."

In light of this new video, Greenberg tells us ... he misspoke during the ABC interview, and probably shouldn't have put words in R. Kelly's mouth, as he says he never spoke to Kelly about Aaliyah specifically. 

Greenberg also says ... "That was 20 years ago. I didn't know him 20 years ago, I didn't represent him 20 years ago. And, I wasn't invited to any wedding." That said, Greenberg insists that Kelly has told him that he has never "been with" with an underage girl. 

Kevin Spacey Appears in Court ... To Face Sexual Assault Charge

1/7/2019 7:30 AM PST
Breaking News

Kevin Spacey appeared in a Nantucket court to face the charge of felony indecent assault ... and interestingly he did not enter a plea.

Spacey has said in legal docs he was pleading not guilty, but the judge never asked him to enter a plea.  

Spacey was ordered not to have any contact with the alleged victim or his family.

The actor's lawyer has said there are texts between the alleged victim and his girlfriend at the time of the incident and later as well. The alleged victim told cops his girlfriend didn't believe he was being assaulted by Spacey and he sent her a very short Snapchat video, showing a hand on clothes but not genitals

Spacey's lawyer asked the judge to preserve texts and cellphone records between the alleged victim and his girlfriend from July 7, 2016 to the present. Spacey's lawyer said he believes those texts were "likely exculpatory" -- translation, proof that Spacey didn't assault the then 18-year-old at a Nantucket bar.

His legal team requested he be allowed to skip the hearing, arguing it would "amplify the negative publicity already generated in connection with the case." The judge shot him down, though, and ordered Spacey to get his ass to court to enter his plea in person.

Spacey's lawyer claims the actor's contact with the 18-year-old was consensual, pointing to what he claims was 3-minutes of touching without the young man ever objecting.

If convicted, Spacey faces a maximum of 5 years in prison. 

Sofia Vergara Nick Lives in Louisiana, Eh? Show Me Proof!!!

12/26/2018 1:00 AM PST

Sofia Vergara doubts her ex truly lives in Louisiana -- where they're at war over 2 of their frozen embryos -- and now wants a court to force him to prove it.

The "Modern Family" star just filed a new motion in her never-ending legal fight with Nick Loeb, asking a judge to make him fork over documentation to confirm he's a real Pelican State resident, after allegedly refusing to cooperate with her lawyers' requests.

According to the docs, obtained by TMZ, Sofia says Nick's claim that he's settled down in Plaquemines Parish, LA -- a pro-life state that recognizes embryos as human beings -- doesn't pass the smell test, because he hasn't ponied up convincing evidence to support it ... like grocery store receipts, or bank info from the area to show he's got a life there.

Sofia doesn't say it outright, but it's strongly implied she thinks he's full of it, and wants a judge to compel him to hand over paperwork to her legal team.

FWIW ... Nick's lawyers claim he rented a place in PP, LA and is registered to vote, but wouldn't tell us how often he stays at the property, if at all. He also set up a trust fund for the embryos, and has named them Emma and Isabella.  

As we reported ... Sofia believes Nick is only suing for control of the embryos as revenge for her dumping him, and that he's out to ruin her marriage to Joe Manganiello.

Busta Rhymes Sues Ex-Employee You're Not My Manager!!!

12/21/2018 11:23 AM PST

Busta Rhymes just sued a former employee for allegedly pretending to be his manager and booking him for gigs without the rapper's permission.

Busta is suing Rasheem "Bubba" Barker claiming the guy had no authority to make deals on the rapper's behalf but still managed to make money off Busta's back by getting promoters to pay thousands up front and keeping the dough.

In docs, obtained by TMZ, Busta says Barker's misdeeds included when he booked Busta for gigs in 2016 and 2018 and put $60k in advances in his personal bank account.

Busta also claims Barker stole $8k that was supposed to go to Busta's travel expenses earlier this year for a trip to Toronto.

The rapper claims as a result of all this, someone got a default judgment against Busta for $22,478 after he no-showed a gig booked by Barker. Busta's pointing the finger at Barker and wants him to cover those and other damages. He's suing for more than $500k.

ICYMI ... earlier this week, Busta went off on Barker accusing him of pretending to be Busta's manager. He's now taken his beef from Instagram to the courthouse.

Tekashi69 Feds Reviewing Chief Keef Case In Which 69 Dimed Himself Out

12/19/2018 12:50 AM PST

Tekashi69 might have way more legal woes on the horizon than the full plate he's already dealing with, 'cause the feds are looking into the Chief Keef shooting case, in which cops think 6ix9ine implicated himself on tape.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... the shooting case -- which has gone unsolved so far with the NYPD -- is now under review with federal prosecutors, who are combing over the evidence to see if it might lead to any additional charges.

We broke the stories ... police who've been investigating the June shooting in NYC already believe Tekashi was involved and might very well have put a bounty out on Keef's cousin, Tadoe, as the rainbow-haired rapper seemed to say in this clip.

We're told the video TMZ posted of Tekashi saying he's got a "30 pack" on Tadoe, with whom he'd just gotten off the phone, is a key piece of evidence the feds are looking at. And, remember, one of the guys who police say tailed Chief Keef prior to the shooting is a "known associate" with direct ties to Tekashi.

Ya know, Tekashi can't be happy to hear that. He's already facing a number of racketeering charges as it is.

We reached out to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of NY ... a spokesperson declined comment. The NYPD also declined to comment.

Nunchucks Ban On Bruce Lee's Fave Weapon Unconstitutional

12/18/2018 8:10 AM PST

A federal judge in Brooklyn says New York state's nunchucks ban -- made wildly popular in the U.S. by Bruce Lee in the '70s -- is unconstitutional because it violates the 2nd Amendment.

The judge says the right to bear arms is not limited to guns ... it applies to all weapons that have some legal purpose. In the case of nunchucks, Judge Pamela Chen says they have been widely used over many, many years for martial arts training and defense -- a perfectly legal activity. 

Judge Chen says a weapon that has a legal purpose cannot be summarily banned under the 2nd Amendment. She says, the "relative dangerousness of a weapon is irrelevant when the weapon belongs to a class of arms commonly used for lawful purposes."

Her Honor draws a distinction between nunchucks and, say, pipe bombs, because the latter is really targeted for lawbreakers.

One thing we know ... Bruce would be happy about this. He often used nunchucks in his movies, which became staples in American cinema and a cultural phenomenon. 

Chicago's Kenneka Jenkins Mother Sues Hotel for $50 Million ... Over a Year After Teen Found Dead in Freezer

12/16/2018 12:39 PM PST

The mother of Kenneka Jenkins -- who was found dead in a hotel freezer -- says the establishment is to blame for her daughter's 2017 death ... and now wants $50 million.

Teresa Martin has filed suit on behalf of her late daughter's estate against the Crowne Plaza Chicago-O'Hare Hotel for negligence, claiming there were several opportunities for the company and its staff to step in and help prevent Kenneka's death last September ... but failed to do so. 

In the docs, obtained by TMZ, Teresa alleges that the hotel was made aware of Kenneka's disappearance from a room where a party was being thrown shortly after she wandered off, and says she was assured by Crowne Plaza personnel that they'd check surveillance footage in an attempt to locate her right away. She says they completely screwed that up.

Teresa says the hotel staff either didn't check the footage soon enough, or didn't properly review it ... because the 19-year-old could be seen clear as day stumbling into the kitchen in video later obtained and released by police who investigated her death. 

She goes on to allege that Kenneka walked by several hotel staffers who didn't help her, and that the freezer Kenneka walked into was easily accessible to the public. She also claims the freezer had a faded sticker on it that failed to instruct people on how to unlock the door.

Kenneka's body was found in the freezer nearly 24 hours after she was reported missing. Her cause of death was hypothermia and it was ruled accidental. Tons of rumors swirled around the circumstances of her death, with some suspecting foul play.

Despite the police closing out their investigation without any arrests or charges, Kenneka's mother says the blame still lies with the hotel. She's asking for more than $50 mil in damages.

The Crowne Plaza released a statement to the Chicago Tribune: "The death of Kenneka Jenkins was a tragedy, but the proximate cause of her death were the unsavory individuals who used a stolen credit card to book a room and host an illegal party which Ms. Jenkins attended. Those criminals escaped the hotel before police arrived and have never truly been held accountable. This lawsuit has no merit and we will vigorously contest it."

Pras DOJ's Accusing Me 'Cause I'm Black ... I Didn't Help Jho Low

12/11/2018 9:41 AM PST

Pras says he doesn't know why the Dept. of Justice is putting him at the center of a scheme to help a Malaysian financier funnel millions into the country -- but he's got a hunch it's due to his skin color.

We got the Fugees rapper at LAX where we asked him about this crazy new civil lawsuit filed by the U.S. DOJ. He's accused of conspiring with Jho Low in 2017 to sneak tons of cash into U.S. bank accounts. Allegedly, Low's intention was to bribe DOJ officials to influence a criminal probe into his alleged misuse of international dough. 

The feds filed suit to recover some of those funds -- but Pras is not listed as a defendant. He's mentioned because of his business dealings with Low. The DOJ's still investigating and says criminal charges against Low and/or Pras could be coming. 

Complicated, right? That's how Pras reacted to the allegations, but he did have one possible explanation for the suit ... they're pointing at him because he's black. At least that's the "vibe" he's getting. 

Low has been tied to other celebs he lavished with gifts, which are now being seized by the feds. Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly received Marlon Brando’s 1954 Oscar from Low, as well as a Pablo Picasso painting, and supermodel Miranda Kerr was gifted jewelry and a see-through grand piano.

Pras says he's gonna let his lawyers handle this one, but ends on one final point that invokes the murder and cover-up of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi

U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge Trump Didn't Pay Stormy to Keep Affair from Melania ... She Knew His Game

12/10/2018 3:47 PM PST

President Trump didn't fork over hush money to Stormy Daniels to keep their sexual liaison from his wife, because Melania knows his "history" with women ... so says U.S. Rep. Marcia Fudge.

The Ohio congresswoman scoffed at the notion Trump might argue his motivation for the Stormy pact was saving his marriage. As for whether it was a cover-up for election purposes ... Fudge says it's not definitive one way or the other.   

For the record ... Trump has denied all of the affairs alleged by women since he was elected.

Our camera guy misspoke and said a court of law will ultimately decide whether Trump broke the law ... that decision, at least for now, rests with Congress. 

Stormy Daniels This Stripper Age Requirement is BS ... After Court Upholds LA Law

12/9/2018 5:08 PM PST

Stormy Daniels went back to her home state to protest a law setting minimum age requirements on strippers, which she calls an illegal attack on women and a bad precedent.

The former porn star was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sunday, standing in front of the steps to a courthouse, where she and a bunch of other protesters decried an appeals court's recent decision to uphold the controversial L.A. law after it was challenged by 3 women.

The bill was originally called SB 468, and it stated that strip clubs couldn't employ dancers under the age of 21 (aka no 18, 19 or 20-year-old strippers allowed). It got signed into law in 2016, but will be reinforced again this month ... which is why Stormy is pissed. 

She definitely didn't miss the opportunity to bash the legislation, calling it "f***ing sexist" ... and claiming it targets female dancers and not males. We checked the language of the law, and while it doesn't flat out say it's aimed just at women, many have interpreted that way.

Check out Stormy's take on why the law isn't actually a good tool to help fight human trafficking -- like it was pushed as when first introduced -- and what folks should do about it.

Oh, and apparently it was pretty freakin' cold out there in Louisiana. Wait 'til the end ... 

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