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Indictments Hit Manafort, Gates With Tax And Bank Fraud Charges

Special counsel Robert Mueller filed a new indictment on Thursday against former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and former campaign aide Robert Gates, charging them with new tax and bank fraud crimes and hiking the amount of money they allegedly laundered to more than $30 million. The 32-count indictment was filed in federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Manafort and Gates are both accused of tax evasion and not reporting money in foreign accounts, and they are also accused of defrauding banks on paperwork for real-estate loans. While Manafort was originally indicted on charges he laundered $18 million through offshore bank accounts, the new indictment pushes that sum to $30 million. Gates remains accused of laundering $3 million. The charges against Manafort and Gates are related to money from their lobbying work for pro-Russian political figures in Ukraine. ...Read more

CNN Denies Florida School Shooting Survivor’s Claim They Provided Him With Scripted Question

According to one of the survivors of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High, CNN nixed his proposed town hall questions and tried to get him to ask a scripted question instead. Colton Haab, a Junior ROTC student at the school who helped fellow classmates get to safety as the shooting began, says “CNN had originally asked me to write a speech and questions and it ended up being all scripted. I don’t think that it’s going get anything accomplished. It’s not gonna ask the true questions that all the parents and teachers and students have.” On Thursday morning, CNN denied providing a scripted question to Haab. The network stated it never scripts its town halls and that the teenager’s father instead pulled him from the production.  “We asked him to expand on his original question but the town hall wasn’t the place for a speech at which point his father declined for him to participate,” a source from CNN said. While CNN pushed back on Haab’s claim, they offered him the chance to appear on the network Thursday to discuss his views. ...Read more

Actor Brendan Fraser Says HFPA Ex-President Sexually Assaulted Him

Brendan Fraser is coming forward with allegations of sexual assault by an ex-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. In a new interview with GQ, Fraser alleges that the HFPA’s Philip Berk assaulted him at the Beverly Hills Hotel in the summer of 2003. Fraser, through his reps, asked the HFPA for an apology, which Berk says he wrote, but added “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize.’” Berk took a six-month leave of absence from the HFPA in April 2014, following backlash from his memoir, but is still a member. He denied the claim in an e-mail to GQ, saying “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.” The HFPA did not respond to Variety’s request for comment. The actor said that the incident made him reclusive and he retreated from public life. He was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes, which the HFPA runs, and he feels as though he was blacklisted as a result. He also believes it’s partly why his career derailed, and said “The phone does stop ringing in your career, and you start asking yourself why. There’s many reasons, but was this one of them? I think it was.”    ...Read more

USA vs. Sweden Set For Men’s Curling Gold-Medal Match At 2018 Winter Olympics

The USA will compete for a men’s curling gold medal for the first time on Saturday. They will take on Sweden in the curling final after both teams won their semi-finals on Thursday at the 2018 Winter Olympics. John Shuster’s team edged past Canada 5-3 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, while Sweden beat Switzerland 9-3.  As the top-ranked team in the world, Sweden will be considered favorites for the gold medal.  They beat the USA 10-4 in the round robin and will hope for a similar result on Saturday, but Shuster’s team should not be discounted after their victory. ...Read more

Tiffany Haddish Set To Host The 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards

MTV announced Thursday that comedian TIffany Haddish will host this summer’s 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards. Last year, MTV expanded the ceremony — formerly known as the MTV Movie Awards  — to recognize television and did away with gender-based category divisions.  Haddish, who had a breakout year in 2017, is making her mark on movies and TV.  The actress had a star turn in last year’s hit film “Girls Trip,” as well as previously appearing in the critically acclaimed NBC series “The Carmichael Show.” In addition to the hosting gig, Haddish will be starring opposite Tracy Morgan in the TBS sitcom “The Last OG” and alongside Kevin Hart in Universal’s “Night School.” The 2018 MTV Movie & TV Awards airs at 9 p.m. Pacific on June 18. Categories and nominees are still TBD. ...Read more

Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard Likely Done for The Rest of the Season

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters he’d be “surprised” if Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard returns to action this season after battling a quadriceps injury that has lingered all year long. “We only have X number of games left in the season, and he’s still not ready to go,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio. Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting it down after only nine games this year, he has elected against returning to the active roster. If Leonard does return, it will be because he has decided he can manage the pain of the injury. The injury to Kawhi’s hip has caused a ton of tension between the Spurs organization & the star forward, with possible implications spilling over into the 2019 free agency next Summer. ...Read more

Carolina Panthers Name Marty Hurney General Manager

The Carolina Panthers franchise officially named Marty Hurney their general manager, removing Hurney’s interim tag on Wednesday morning and officially heralding his second stint in the position. He had re-entered the post last summer after predecessor (and successor) Dave Gettleman was fired before training camp. “We are very fortunate to have Marty as our general manager after he did an exceptional job in the interim role this past season.” Panthers COO Tina Becker said.  Carolina reached the playoffs as a wild-card entry in 2017 but lost in the opening round to the NFC South’s New Orleans Saints. Hurney originally served as GM from 2002 until he was fired midway through the 2012 season. He oversaw Carolina’s first run to the Super Bowl during the 2003 season, which culminated with a loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII. ...Read more

Cross-Country Skier Kikkan Randall Wins Her First Gold Medal In Her Fifth And Final Olympics

Kikkan Randall, the only mom competing for Team USA in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, combined with Jessie Diggins to win the United States’ first medal in women’s Olympic cross-country competition. The medal is the first for American cross-country skiers in the Olympics since Bill Koch won a silver in 1976.  Randall, 35, appeared in her fifth Olympics appearance in Pyeongchang and her first since the arrival of son Breck 22 months ago. Randall finished under 5th place in three other events in South Korea, and plans to retire when these Games end.  ...Read more

Oprah Winfrey And Steven Spielberg Also Pledge $500K To March For Our Lives

Oprah Winfrey, along with Steven Spielberg and his Kate Capshaw, are the newest celebrities to pledge donations to the March for Our Lives goal of new gun reform laws. On Monday, George and Amal Clooney announced that they would donate $500,000 to the March for Our Lives, an event happening on March 24 in the wake of the Parkland shootings in Florida last week. Following their announcement, Winfrey tweeted out her support and pledged a sizable donation of her own in support. Spielberg and Capshaw also pledged a donation for the group of high school survivors that claimed the lives of 17. “The young students in Florida and now across the country are already demonstrating their leadership with a confidence and maturity that belies their ages,” said the couple in a joint statement. “We are joining in this movement with a donation of $500,000.”  March For Our Lives is happening on March 24 in Washington D.C. and across America. ...Read more

Talk Show Host Wendy Williams Taking Leave From Her Show After Being Diagnosed With Graves’ Disease

After canceling a number of shows last week, Wendy Williams announced on-air that she would be taking three weeks off to focus on her health. The host was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, a condition in which the thyroid overproduces hormones resulting in anxiety, hand tremor, heat sensitivity, weight loss, puffy eyes, and and enlarged thyroid. “My doctor has prescribed … are you ready? As of today, three weeks of vacation,” Williams told her audience on the show.  It’s not known if this diagnoses has anything to do with the fall she took back in October after fainting on air. Shortly after the stumble, her publicist said that Williams was “dehydrated and is on her way home for a good day and night of sleep. She has been examined by medical professionals and is well.”   Encore tapings of The Wendy Williams Show will be shown during Williams’ 3-week hiatus. ...Read more