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Jussie Smollett He Gets One Hail Mary ... Before Case Goes to Grand Jury

2/20/2019 12:50 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

The ball is in Jussie Smollett's court, and we're told the ONLY way he can stave off a grand jury investigation is to meet with cops and somehow convince them the "attack" was real.

As we reported, police "urgently" want a follow-up interview with Jussie ... this comes after Ola and Abel Osundairo told police they staged the so-called attack at Jussie's behest and even got paid for doing so.

We're told the call has gone out to his lawyers, but cops have not heard back. It's now complicated by the fact there are rumblings Jussie has a new lawyer -- Mark Geragos.

Our sources say cops are waiting to see if Geragos makes contact with them. Our sources say if Jussie refuses to speak with police -- which is almost a certainty -- the case will go directly to the grand jury.

Even if Jussie speaks to police, unless he pulls a rabbit out of a hat and convinces them the "attack" was real, the case is still going to the grand jury.

Our law enforcement sources say the grand jury will decide whether to indict Jussie on the felony crime of filing a false police report

The Osundairo brothers met with prosecutors Tuesday to go over their story.

'Fyre' Star Andy King Glad I Trusted Director ... My Oral Sex Story is Paying Off!!!

2/19/2019 3:02 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Andy King's blown away by his newfound fame -- courtesy of his infamous scene in Netflix's "Fyre" documentary -- but admits he almost missed out, because he wanted it on the editing room floor.

The event planner who offered oral sex in exchange for a load of Evian water for the doomed Fyre Festival ... told us he begged producers to axe that part of the story. While he was on TMZ Live today he revealed why the director put the kibosh on that.

Andy's now glad he did, because TV and movie offers have been rolling in since the doc aired, and he's riding the wave of being a social media hero while he can.

As we told you ... Andy's already teased a TV project he's working on, but it sounds like there's a lot more in store for him. There could be even more excitement, too ... if Ja Rule comes calling.

Andy didn't leap at Ja's second attempt at a Fyre-like fest -- but he doesn't rule it out, either.

Jussie Smollett Criminal Defense Attorney Mark Geragos ... On The Case

2/19/2019 11:54 AM PST

Mark Geragos reportedly is close to becoming Jussie Smollett's new criminal defense lawyer, and all signs were pointing to it Monday night. 

Geragos appeared on CNN and made a ferocious case supporting Jussie and throwing major shade on the Chicago Police Department. Geragos suggested the leaks coming from the police were a thinly veiled attempt to skewer the actor.

We realized what was up the second Geragos appeared on Anderson Cooper's show and made repeated contacts with Geragos trying to find out if he was representing him -- it was the only way to read his comments. Geragos did not get back to us. 

There are now reports he is close to representing the actor who is now in the crosshairs of the police department.

TMZ broke the story, a grand jury is about to convene to hear evidence as to whether Smollett should be indicted on the felony charge of filing a false police report.

Smollett has vehemently maintained the attack was real.

Jussie Smollett 'Empire' Role Slashed ... In Wake of 'Attack' Scandal

2/19/2019 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett's "Empire" screen time is getting slashed in the wake of a growing sentiment that he staged the so-called "attack."

Production sources tell TMZ ... Jussie was supposed to have 9 scenes and a big musical number in the second to the last episode -- which is being shot now -- but 5 of his scenes have been cut, and his musical number has been 86'd.

As for the remaining 4 scenes  ... we're told he's no longer the focus. The scene features an ensemble, meaning he's flanked by a number of cast members.

With his duties pared down, Jussie will be spending way less time on set. Instead of working every day this week, we're told Jussie's working Friday and possibly Thursday, and he won't be rehearsing.

Less work for Jussie means more work for writers, who are busy making edits. In the past 24 hours, we're told the script has undergone multiple revisions. 

We broke the story ... Jussie's case is heading to a Grand Jury as early as Tuesday. Our law enforcement sources say the focus is presenting evidence that could lead to a felony indictment against Jussie for allegedly filing a false police report.

Charo Singer's Husband Dead by Suicide 'The Love of My Life Killed Himself'

2/19/2019 10:55 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

2/19 -- Charo just released a statement confirming "the love of my life killed himself." She said, "There are no words to describe what we are feeling now. In recent years, his health began to decline and he developed a rare and horrible skin disease called Bullous Pemphigoid." The condition causes chronic blistering of the skin.

She added, "He also became very depressed. That, along with the many medications he needed to take, became too much for him, and he ended his suffering."

Charo also urged fans if they knew of anyone suffering from depression or illness to hold them close, and insisted suicide is not the answer.

Singer and actress Charo's husband of more than 40 years is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound ... TMZ has learned.

Kjell Rasten shot himself Monday afternoon around 2 PM in the Beverly Hills home where he and '70s icon Charo lived ... according to law enforcement sources. We're told Charo was home at the time and someone in the house called 911.

Police and paramedics responded, and Rasten was transported to a hospital, but they were unable to save him. We're told he was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Rasten was a TV producer in the '70s and '80s. He and Charo married in 1978, and had one child together ... actor and producer Shel Rasten.

Charo and Kjell, along with their son, appeared on a 2015 episode of the ABC show, "Celebrity Wife Swap." They swapped with Charo's old "Love Boat" co-star, Jill Whelan.

Kjell was 79 years old.

RIP

Originally Published -- 2/18/2019 7:24 PM PST

Lisa Casey in 'Mission: Impossible' 'Memba Her?!

2/19/2019 12:01 AM PST

Lynda Day George is best-known for her character, Lisa Casey, in the later seasons of the "Mission: Impossible" TV series in the early '70s, but was also in big shows like "Route 66," "Bonanza" and "Flipper." Guess what she looks like now!

Jussie Smollett Lock Up That Bitch If He Faked Attack ... Says Reza from 'Shahs'

2/18/2019 4:49 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett's going from "Empire" star to "punk ass bitch," IF it turns out he staged the homophobic, racist "attack" -- so says Reza Farahan who adds ... an apology won't be nearly enough payback.

We got the "Shahs of Sunset" star out Monday in L.A. and he didn't pull a single punch in his assessment of the latest Jussie news. Reza tore him to pieces as soon as we brought up the story TMZ broke -- that the Osundairo bros. told cops Jussie rehearsed the "attack" days before it all went down in Chicago.

Watch the clip ... Reza's anger came pouring out because he says he had passionately defended Jussie.

Now, he says it's not just Smollett's acting career that's derailed. Reza says there should be criminal charges and a STIFF financial penalty. 

Jussie Smollett Mocked in Racist Parody Movie Posters

2/18/2019 2:32 PM PST

Jussie Smollett is now the face of racist parody movie posters that have sprung up in Los Angeles in the wake of his alleged attack in Chicago and an unraveling narrative.

At least two posters popped up Monday at a bus station near Fox Studios in Century City, which feature Jussie's mug photoshopped onto the backdrop of posters for "BlacKkKlansman" and "Black Panther." Both mock claims Jussie made about the alleged attack.

The "Black Panther" poster shows Jussie as T'Challa in the 'BP' costume and the title has been changed to "Black Prankster."

The "BlacKkKlansman" poster depicts Jussie from his 'GMA' interview with a photoshopped MAGA hat and coat on, with the phrase "This is MAGA country!" superimposed in the background. Both posters are jokingly offering Jussie for consideration for "Best Fictional Story" and "Best Actor in a Drama.

The posters have been signed by conservative street artist Sabo ... the same guy that put up the Meryl Streep "She Knew" posters in 2017 after the Weinstein scandal broke.

As we've reported ... cops believe Jussie rehearsed the "attack" with the two Nigerian brothers. A grand jury is set to hear evidence soon, and potential indictment against Jussie could be forthcoming.

Jussie Smollett Rehearsed 'Attack' with 2 Brothers ... Law Enforcement Says

2/18/2019 12:14 PM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Jussie Smollett rehearsed the "attack" against him days before the incident and it was all staged for the camera, this according to what the 2 brothers told cops.

Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, Abel and Ola Osundairo told cops they got in a car with Jussie and scouted a location, settling on the one right outside the actor's apartment. The brothers said Jussie chose the spot because he believed a camera would have captured the action.

Our sources say the brothers told police Jussie said he wanted to make it a "physical thing," but not to the point he'd be seriously injured.  

On the night Jussie says he was attacked, the brothers claim they showed up at the scene but were extremely nervous because, just as they played out the scene, a car drove by and they were worried they'd be ID'd.

Our sources say the brothers performed per the rehearsal -- they screamed out they recognized Jussie from "Empire" and then hurled the racist n-word and the homophobic f-word.  

The brothers told cops they "made contact with Jussie's face" but it was "weak." They said they didn't know how he suffered the bruises but the staged fight was not designed to injure him.

Check out this video of Abel ... if he wanted, he could do a lot of damage.

TMZ broke the story ... when cops arrived, Jussie took them down to the area he said the "attack" went down and pointed to the camera, saying it was good the incident was captured on video. What he didn't know was that the camera was pointed in the wrong direction and didn't capture the incident.

Julian Edelman Used Beard Clippings Pass $2,000 ... In Charity Auction

2/18/2019 10:18 AM PST
Breaking News

Would you pay more than $2,000 for Julian Edelman's discarded beard shavings?!? 

That's the going rate for the NFL star's recently shorn facial follicles -- which Ellen DeGeneres famously shaved off earlier this month after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. 

Ellen collected the trimmings off the floor of her show and donated them to CharityBuzz -- which is now hosting an online auction with the proceeds benefiting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston

The opening bid was $1,000 ... but that was quickly surpassed and as of the time of this post, the leading bidder has offered up $2,100!!!!!

Think it's gross to buy someone's used beard?? Maybe ... but Edelman's face fuzz was a piece of Patriots history

The WR rocked the scruff during his Super Bowl MVP performance in New England's SIXTH Lombardi Trophy-winning game.

Besides the cash raised from the auction, both Julian and Ellen donated $10,000 each to the Boys & Girls Clubs ... so, props to them!!!

The bigger issue ... what does the winning bidder do with the beard? Display them? Throw them away? Clone Edelman? 

It's super weird, right? 

T.I. 'Family Hustle' Production Halted ... After Sister Lands in ICU

2/18/2019 1:00 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

T.I. and Tiny have zero interest in filming "Family & Hustle" without one of their own ... so they've shut down production following a bad car crash involving the rapper's sister.

Sources close to production tell TMZ ... T.I. and Tiny halted production Wednesday after learning the rapper's sister, Precious Harris, got in a serious car accident in Atlanta earlier that morning.

It's unclear what led to the car crash but here's what we know ... sources say Precious hit a pole, which triggered an asthma attack. The 66-year-old -- who often appears on the show -- was taken to a hospital where she's now in ICU. Her exact condition is unknown. 

We're told Tip and Tiny were devastated and decided it was best not to move forward until Precious pulled through. T.I.'s incredibly close to his sister and so is Tiny.

For Precious' 66th birthday bash last May, Tiny gave her a shout-out and said, "I hope you know how much u mean to me. Always been my road dawg. Love u much! Hope you enjoyed your day!!"

#Prayers 

Chris Hansen Scrambled for Possessions After Eviction

2/18/2019 12:20 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

Chris Hansen is out on his ass ... with practically none of his belongings.

Sources tell TMZ ... the former host of "To Catch a Predator" was escorted out of his Manhattan apartment February 6 by city marshals, but not before throwing a Hail Mary.

We're told Hansen tried to be slick ... telling the marshals the attorneys worked out a deal. The marshals weren't buying it and called the landlord's legal muscle. Sure enough ... no deal was in place. We're told Hansen didn't put much of a fight after that, and -- as one source put it -- "went out like a church mouse."

And, get this ... after the locks were changed, our sources say Hansen tried getting back into the apartment, but obviously couldn't. He tried in vain to convince the super to let him inside ... to no avail.

We're told Hansen ultimately got permission ... and someone in his lawyer's office picked up some items Hansen left behind in his 1,000 square foot apartment. Sources say there's still TONS of stuff in the pad ... including furniture, electronics and jewelry. 

As we first reported ... Chris had trouble making rent back in August and stopped sending checks altogether. The owner went to court to have him evicted ... and the judge issued an order.

It's been a rough year for Chris. He was busted in January for bouncing checks. That charge was dismissed.

Jussie Smollett Case to Go to Grand Jury ... Doubt MAGA Comment Because Trump Folks Don't Watch 'Empire'

2/17/2019 11:59 AM PST
EXCLUSIVE

A grand jury will hear the Jussie Smollett case early next week ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

Law enforcement sources connected to the investigation tell TMZ, the 2 brothers who were arrested and then released are staying somewhere around the Loop in downtown Chicago under the watchful eye of police so no one gets to them. We're told cops especially want to make sure Jussie does not contact the brothers.

We're told when police raided the home of the 2 brothers they found magazines with pages torn out, and authorities are now trying to determine if the missing pages are connected to the threatening letter that was sent to Jussie 8 days before the alleged attack.

Our sources say early on they asked Jussie if he'd sign complaints against the 2 men who attacked him and he was clear that he would. But, when he found out the 2 brothers were the ones in custody we're told he said he knew them, felt bad for them and declined to sign the complaints. 

Our sources say although cops believe the brothers purchased the rope that was around Jussie's neck after the incident, there is no surveillance video at the hardware store because it erases after a week.

We're told the way they tracked the 2 brothers down was by their movements in arriving and leaving the scene around Jussie's apartment building. As we reported, they left in either a cab or a rideshare, but we're told cops tracked the vehicle and the 2 brothers got out on their way home and into another vehicle. As one source put it, "It was almost like a bad spy movie."

The sources say there were red flags from the get-go. Cops were extremely suspicious when Jussie took them out to the area where he said he was attacked and pointed to an obscure camera saying how happy he was that the attack was on video. Turns out the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. Cops thought it was weird he knew the location of that camera.

And, there's this. We're told investigators didn't believe the 2 alleged attackers screamed, "This is MAGA country," because, "Not a single Trump supporter watches 'Empire.'"

And, a few loose ends ... we're told when cops picked up the 2 brothers at O'Hare Airport, police were armed with 3 warrants for each man, one of which was to seize their phones.    

We're also told there is no video of a "rehearsal" of the attack in the street.

Jussie and his lawyer have vehemently denied the attack was staged, maintaining this was a hate crime.

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