Now Playing
Power 100.1
Last Song Played
Athens #1 Hit Music Station
On Air
No Program
Now Playing
Power 100.1
Last Song Played
Athens #1 Hit Music Station

Entertainment News

The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested

Update, 2:14 a.m. CDT Sunday: Austin police have arrested a man in connection with a bomb threat that led to the cancellation of The Roots’ show Saturday at South by Southwest. 

The city of Austin tweeted the following statement early Sunday:

Trevor Weldon Ingram, 26, was arrested on charges of making a terroristic threat, a third-degree felony, the release said.

Police also tweeted Ingram’s booking photo:

ORIGINAL STORY: A South by Southwest performance by The Roots at Fair Market in Austin, Texas, was canceled Saturday night due to a “security concern,” event organizers said.

>> Visit for the latest on this developing story

A police spokesman said around 9:30 p.m. that more information would be released via Twitter, but nothing had been posted by 11:30 p.m. CDT.

However, the Austin Chronicle reported that it had two staffers at the event. One staffer heard event workers discussing the concern as a bomb threat, according to a report the weekly posted online, and "a second Chronicle staffer spoke with someone working at Fair Market tonight, who confirmed that Austin police were canvassing the property to determine whether there is any validity to the threat."

The cancellation of the show on the final night of the South By Southwest Festival comes at a time of heightened concern in the city following three deadly package bombs – two on Monday – that have exploded in East Austin this month, killing two people and seriously injuring a third.

>> Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say

Representatives for the event issued the following statement Saturday night after the cancellation

“Due to a security concern, we have made the difficult decision to cancel tonight’s Bud Light x The Roots SXSW Jam. After working proactively with SXSW, the Austin Police Department, and other authorities, Bud Light believes this is the best course of action to ensure the safety of our guests, staff, and artists, and appreciate your understanding. We are truly sorry to have to cancel the event, but we felt it was necessary to take all safety precautions.”

>> Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House

In an Instagram post, Fair Market representatives said Anheuser-Busch made the call to cancel the event.

In a tweet that was later deleted Saturday night, frontman Questlove wrote, “Uh, welp can’t say much but for those in Austin waiting in line to see us tonight. Tonight’s show has been cancelled. They’ll make official announcement but I’d rather save y’all the trouble of waiting in line.”

>> On Complete coverage of SXSW

In response to fans who were upset after waiting in line for hours, Questlove also tweeted:

SXSW 2018: Bill Murray recites poem on street while wearing overalls, bucket hat

Jack Plunkett/Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP

SXSW 2018: Bill Murray recites poem on street while wearing overalls, bucket hat

Bill Murray has arrived at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.

>> The Roots SXSW show canceled following possible bomb threat, report says

He’s in town for multiple reasons – the premiere of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” on Saturday night, a dedication at the Belo Center for New Media at the University of Texas on Saturday afternoon and an appearance at the Long Center on Sunday night.

>> On Complete coverage of SXSW

>> Read more trending news 

In true Bill Murray fashion, he also appeared on Sixth Street on Saturday evening and recited a poem while wearing overalls and a bucket hat, likely to promote his Long Center show at which he’ll be sharing stories and poetry. Anderson made an appearance, too:

>> Click here to watch

            Cellist Yo-Yo Ma to speak at MIT about the role of culture

Cindy Yamanaka/The Press-Enterprise via AP, File

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma to speak at MIT about the role of culture

World-famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma is set to give a lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The school says Ma will visit the campus Monday to deliver a talk titled "Yo-Yo Ma: Culture, Understanding and Survival " as part of a lecture series featuring figures in modern thought.

Ma is a prolific performer who has recorded more than 100 albums and has worked to promote collaboration among artists from different cultures.

He was born in Paris and became a child prodigy after learning the cello at age 4. He has won 18 Grammy awards, the National Medal of the Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The event will feature a lecture from Ma and a conversation between the cellist and MIT President L. Rafael Reif.

            Vandal tags mural created by British graffiti artist Banksy

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Vandal tags mural created by British graffiti artist Banksy

British graffiti artist Banksy is drawing crowds to his New York City mural but for an unfortunate reason.

It seems somebody has added a signature tag to his artful protest of the imprisonment of a Turkish artist and journalist.

Plenty of pedestrians were getting a look Saturday at the signings scrawled across the bottom half of his 70-foot-long mural. The mural bearing the slogan "Free Zehra Dogan" was recently installed on the Houston Bowery Wall, made famous by Keith Haring in the late 1970s.

The mural protests the jailing of Dogan, an ethnic Kurd, after she painted the Turkish flag flying over the rubble of a destroyed town. Dogan, was convicted last March.

Banksy's mural shows her jailed behind a set of black tally marks representing her days in prison.

            Demi Lovato celebrates 6 years sober at show with DJ Khaled

Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File

Demi Lovato celebrates 6 years sober at show with DJ Khaled

Demi Lovato celebrated six years of sobriety at a concert in New York with tour mate DJ Khaled, whose powerful words brought the pop star to tears.

Lovato performed Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, telling the audience that March 15 was a proud day for her.

DJ Khaled played the role of preacher, life coach and best friend as he offered words of inspiration, motivation and admiration to Lovato, who has been open about her issues with drugs and alcohol. He told the crowd "this is a special day" and repeatedly said "happy birthday" to Lovato, as she began to tear up.

"Every time I see you I say, 'Man, this is a strong queen,'" he said. "What you've overcome through trials and tribulations, through dark clouds, you found the sunshine, and now the sun is shining on you forever."

"You inspire me," Khaled added.

DJ Khaled and R&B singer Kehlani, another tour mate, encouraged the crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to Lovato in honor of her sixth year of sobriety.

The crowd then chanted "Demi!" as she sat down by the piano and dabbed her eyes with tissues handed to her by a crew member.

"Six years ago, I was drinking vodka out of a Sprite bottle at 9 in the morning, throwing up in the car," Lovato said. "So, I took a look at my life and I said, 'Something has to change, I've got to get sober.' So, I did."

"Thank you for being a part of saving my life. I love you guys," she added before performing the song "Warriors."

Lovato struggled with an eating disorder, self-mutilation and other issues, entering rehab in 2010. The 25-year-old has spoken out about her battles over the years, detailing her recovery in the YouTube documentary "Simply Complicated," which was released last year.

Grammy-nominated Kehlani, who has also been open about her personal struggles, thanked Lovato and said she's honored to know the singer.

"As a 22-year-old woman, you represent me, you represent every single women in this room and even every single young boy," the singer said. "You are 100 percent yourself, and that is so rare in this world and this industry."

Lovato's concert took another emotional turn when she performed the song "Father," saying this was the first tour she's been able to sing the song. Her biological father, who she has described as mean and abusive, died in 2013.

"I had love for him and I forgave him," she said. A photo of her father holding her as a baby closed the performance.

Lovato ended the concert, backed by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, with the songs, "Sorry Not Sorry," and "Tell Me You Love Me."

            The 'force' with Mark Hamill at Dublin's St. Patrick's Day

Brian Lawless/PA via AP

The 'force' with Mark Hamill at Dublin's St. Patrick's Day

Mark Hamill has tweeted that "today the whole galaxy is Irish" as he appeared as international guest of honor at Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade.

The "Star Wars" actor, whose great-grandmother was born in Ireland, was invited to represent the Irish diaspora at the celebration. Hamill spent time on Ireland's rocky Skellig Michael island filming the most recent "Star Wars" movie, "The Last Jedi."

Hamill sported a tweed cap, a green scarf and a shamrock sprig as he attended the parade, which sees floats, colorfully clad performers and marching bands wind their way through the Irish capital.

"Game of Thrones" actor Liam Cunningham was the grand marshal of Saturday's parade, attended by Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar is at New York's St. Patrick's Day parade.

            With torn ligament, SZA powers through performance

Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File

With torn ligament, SZA powers through performance

R&B singer SZA didn't let a torn ligament in her foot slow her down at a concert for her feverish fans in New York City.

She walked into the venue Friday with a crutch helping her to the chair placed in the middle of the stage. She injured her foot while performing last week at the BUKU Music + Art Project festival in New Orleans.

Backed by three musicians, she delivered her direct lyrics from songs that helped her become the most nominated woman at this year's Grammy Awards, while her fans sang along.

Though injured, she performed in style, wearing fuzzy, platform, pink slippers though her right foot had a brace on it.

"I don't really have a plan, but we're gonna, like, wing this," she said after singing her first song, holding onto the microphone stand for support.

SZA danced excitedly while the Travis Scott verse played from her hit, "Love Galore," and she used both crutches while singing her popular slow groove and crowd favorite, "The Weekend."

Her performance at Samsung 837 was in celebration of the company's new Galaxy S9 phone, released Friday.

Sporting a long sleeved, tie-dye-styled shirt and white pants, she thanked the audience for "vibing with me."

SZA was nominated for five Grammys at January's show, including best new artist and best urban contemporary album for "Ctrl," her major label debut that recently hit platinum status. She will launch "The Championship Tour" on May 4 in Vancouver with her Top Dawg Entertainment label mates Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q and others.

            Theron calls idea of arming US teachers 'so outrageous'

AP Photo/Jon Gambrell

Theron calls idea of arming US teachers 'so outrageous'

Actress Charlize Theron says the idea of arming teachers after recent U.S. school shootings or "adding more guns" to the situation is "so outrageous."

The South African says: "I have a very personal experience with gun violence. I lost my father to gun violence."

She added: "I just don't understand when people try to make the conversation, the argument that the fix is more guns. It is so outrageous to me."

Theron spoke Saturday at the Global Education and Skills Forum being held in Dubai.

Theron says people should "listen to our kids" to solve the problem, speaking just after three students talked about the Feb. 14 Florida school shooting that killed 17 people.

Wedding bells planned for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

Frazer Harrison

Wedding bells planned for ‘Grey’s Anatomy’

There’s going to be a wedding soon on “Grey’s Anatomy,” Entertainment Online reported.

>> Read more trending news

Oh, spoiler alert -- if you did not watch Thursday’s episode and want to find out for yourself, skip this story.

The turbulent relationship between Jo (Camilla Luddington) and Alex (Justin Chambers) ends with their engagement by the end of the episode, titled “Old Scares, Future Hearts.”

Jo feels the need to make a confession to Alex, but he cuts her off and runs to his dresser, looking for something.

“Where the freak is my ring?” he finally asks.

“Alex, I’m wearing it,” she tells him.

The proposal is made and accepted. Wedding details are coming soon.

            Bye-bye box seats? Tax law may curb corporate cash at games

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

Bye-bye box seats? Tax law may curb corporate cash at games

Could the crackdown on tax loopholes clamp down on corporate schmoozing?

The new tax law ends a benefit prized by business for impressing customers or courting new ones. And the impact could be felt in the pricey boxes at sports stadiums, or even at Double-A baseball games in small towns with loyal company backers. In Washington, lobbyists who helped craft the Republican tax legislation could now be pinched by it.

U.S. companies spend hundreds of millions annually on entertaining customers and clients at sporting events, tournaments and arts venues, an expense that until this year they could partially deduct from their tax bill. But a provision in the new law eliminates the long-standing 50 percent deduction in an effort to curb the overall price tag of the legislation and streamline the tax code.

"Congress didn't feel the government should subsidize it anymore. Firms are going to take a hard look at their entertainment budgets," said Ryan Losi, a certified public accountant based in Glen Allen, Virginia.

The provision is one of the many under-the-radar consequences slowly emerging from the new tax legislation, the most sweeping rewrite of the tax code in three decades. Also embedded in the law are little-noticed provisions with the potential to bring major changes to mundane parts of American life — including home-buying, saving for school and divorce.

"You can believe there's going to be more pressure on the sales people and marketing people to not go so crazy on the expenditures," predicted Ruth Wimer, an executive compensation attorney at law firm Winston & Strawn who's also a certified public accountant. "It's going to be a consideration for companies — it's going to cost them."

Ending the deduction will save the government about $2 billion a year and $23 billion through 2027 in formerly lost revenue, Congress' bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimates.

Of course many companies will continue to spend without the tax incentive, for the benefits they get from entertaining such as the payoff in future revenue. But the tax change still could have a financial impact on sports teams and cultural institutions.

The prestigious U.S. Open tennis tournament held for two weeks every summer in Flushing Meadows, New York, offers court-side suites. It sees around 40 percent of its revenue coming from corporate sales.

Chris Widmaier, managing director for corporate communications at the U.S. Tennis Association, said it hasn't seen an impact yet on ticket sales, but noted it's still fairly early in the sales season.

"It's a fair question," he said.

"It is a concern," said Kate McClanahan, director of federal affairs at Americans for the Arts, an advocacy group that coordinates local cultural organizations and business donors around the country. "It can have a negative impact on both the commercial and nonprofit arts."

The industries that spend the most on this type of entertaining are banks and financial services, airlines, automakers, telecoms and media. This kind of organized socializing also is a staple of lobbying firms, of course. The K Street lobbyists often party with clients at Washington Nationals ball games or Capitals hockey games. The firms may have tough decisions to make regarding spending on future outings.

"There's also the psychological impact," said Marc Ganis, a co-founder of Sportscorp Ltd., a sports consulting firm. "When something is deductible, people think it's less expensive; effectively the government is paying for part of it."

Companies could fall into two camps around the impact of the tax change, experts suggest. Those that are profitable, paying taxes at the former top rate of 35 percent and using the 50 percent deduction for entertainment, were previously able to cut their tax rate to 17.5 percent. Now, with a zero deduction and a new 21 percent corporate tax rate, their tax liability would increase by only 3.5 percent, not a huge deal. By contrast, companies that are struggling or have been paying an effective tax rate below 35 percent because they were using deductions — they could see a substantial impact on their bottom line.

The irony of Washington lobbyists falling victim to their own successful work on the tax bill isn't lost on some in the "swamp."

Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and a fierce critic of the tax legislation, called the end of the deduction for lobbyists' entertaining "one positive sign in an otherwise dismal bill."

Still, deductible or not, lobbyists and their company clients still will have "much to celebrate over fine wine and entertainment" from the legislation's big corporate tax cuts, Doggett said.

            Spokeswoman: Damon not fleeing to Australia in Trump huff

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

Spokeswoman: Damon not fleeing to Australia in Trump huff

A publicist for Matt Damon is batting down reports that the actor is moving to Australia with his family, and that such a move would have been inspired by anger over President Donald Trump.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper in Sydney had reported that Damon was buying a home in Byron Bay near actor Chris Hemsworth. The two recently appeared in "Thor: Ragnarok" together.

Damon spokeswoman Jennifer Allen said Damon has been to Australia a lot recently. But Damon has not bought a home there nor is he relocating there, she said.

The New York Post's Page Six gossip site, citing an unnamed source, said the "Good Will Hunting" and "Jason Bourne" star told friends and colleagues he wanted to leave the country because he disagrees with Trump's policies.

When asked about Damon's rumored motivation, Allen wrote in an email, "He's not moving out of the U.S." Damon has publicly supported Democrats, including Trump's rival in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton.

            ProPublica leads media into correction of murky CIA story

CIA via AP

ProPublica leads media into correction of murky CIA story

The news organization ProPublica issued a detailed correction of a story about Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's choice for the next CIA director, and the waterboarding of a detainee the year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It wasn't alone: Other organizations, including The Associated Press, have issued their own corrections this week, illustrating the murkiness of reporting on the behavior of official actions by public servants whose work, by its very nature, remains in the shadows.

The retraction and apology on Thursday by ProPublica, an organization of independent investigative journalists founded in 2007, was unusual in the amount of detail it offered about its reporting process. ProPublica concluded it was wrong last year in reporting that Gina Haspel was chief of a secret CIA "black site" in Thailand where suspected al-Qaida detainee Abu Zubaydah was interrogated with waterboarding, a measure that some regard as torture. That claim became relevant again this week with Trump's proposed promotion of the longtime CIA official.

ProPublica also apologized for incorrectly saying that Haspel mocked Zubaydah's suffering. The organization said it is now clear that Haspel was not in charge of the base until after Zubaydah's interrogation was finished.

"We at ProPublica hold government officials responsible for their missteps, and we must be equally accountable," wrote the site's editor-in-chief, Stephen Engelberg. "This error was particularly unfortunate because it muddied an important national debate about Haspel and the CIA's recent history."

ProPublica said it was told by three former government officials, when Haspel became the No. 2 person at the CIA last year, that she had been head of the Thailand base at the time of Zubaydah's waterboarding. The New York Times also reported that same detail last year.

But that was called into question this week, ProPublica said, when two of Haspel's former colleagues said that she did not arrive in Thailand until after Zubaydah's interrogation. The site said its original story also relied on a book by James Mitchell, a CIA contractor who helped direct the waterboarding, and a faulty assumption made by the news site.

In his book, Mitchell at different times referred to the base's chief as "he" or "she." ProPublica said it assumed this was an attempt to conceal Haspel's identity. But Mitchell told Fox News this week this wasn't the case, and that he had been referring to an official other than Haspel when he wrote about Zubaydah's treatment.

Engelberg wrote that the CIA declined to answer specific questions about Haspel before the story was written, although the agency said "nearly every piece of reporting that you are seeking comment on is incorrect in whole or in part." ProPublica went ahead with the story, including that comment.

"The awkward communications between officials barred from disclosing classified information and reporters trying to reveal secrets in which there is legitimate public interest can sometimes end in miscommunication," Engelberg wrote. "In this instance, we failed to understand the message the CIA's press office was trying to convey in its statement."

Other organizations similarly corrected the assertion that Haspel had been involved in Zubaydah's interrogation. Some cited ProPublica's reporting, others appeared to rely on their own.

The New York Times, for example, appended corrections both to a news story about Haspel and an editorial printed on Thursday, "Having a Torturer Lead the CIA." The Times said it had relied on its own reporting, and said in its correction that a "former senior CIA official" had confirmed that Haspel had arrived after the interrogation was complete.

The AP on Friday issued a correction to its own stories from Tuesday and Wednesday about Haspel. The AP said that it "suggested" she oversaw the Thailand prison at the time Zubaydah was waterboarded, but that the CIA now would not confirm any details about Haspel's role in his treatment. The AP also wrongly reported that Hansel oversaw the prison between the years 2003 and 2005.

The AP had relied on its past reporting when it said Haspel ran the prison, but in looking at declassified material, mistakenly conflated the years involved, spokeswoman Lauren Easton said. The AP investigated its own work after being contacted by a CIA official about the existence of ProPublica's correction.

NBC corrected a Tuesday article on its website to say that Haspel was not present at Zubaydah's interrogation. The network wouldn't say what triggered its move, but the timing of the correction — on Wednesday, before the ProPublica piece moved — suggested it relied on its own reporting.

National Public Radio on Friday added an editor's note to a story about how Haspel's nomination was reopening debate on torture. NPR said that according to several media reports, including from ProPublica, she was chief of the Thailand base starting in 2002. The note mentioned ProPublica's retraction and assertion that she was not at the site.

The Atlantic magazine cited ProPublica's correction in updating its post, written by Ali Soufan, a former FBI official who said he participated in interrogation of Zubaydah without using any techniques regarded as torture. Soufan makes the argument that these enhanced techniques are not useful, and Haspel's opinions should be an important part of her confirmation hearings. His original story stated Haspel was in charge of a prison where two detainees were tortured; it was corrected to say it was only one.


This story has been corrected to show the surname is Haspel, not Halsey.

            Archive of Studs Terkel radio shows to be released to public

AP Photo/Michael S. Green, File

Archive of Studs Terkel radio shows to be released to public

More than 5,600 of Studs Terkel's radio interview programs on the Chicago station WFMT will be released to the public.

The Studs Terkel Radio Archive will launch May 16, the 106th birthday of the late author, activist and oral historian. Terkel died in 2008 at age 96. The archive will be available on

For 45 years — 1952 to 1997 — the legendary Terkel elevated oral history to a popular genre by interviewing both the celebrated and everyday people for books and on WFMT. Among the radio interviews to be released are those with Martin Luther King Jr., Simone de Beauvoir, Bob Dylan, Cesar Chavez and Toni Morrison.

Terkel won the 1985 nonfiction Pulitzer Prize for his book, "'The Good War': An Oral History of World War II."

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 10 things to know

Chip and Joanna Gaines rose to fame on their HGTV series “Fixer Upper.” Although their hit series is ending, the family has multiple business across their town of Waco, Texas, and a line of decor at Target.

>> Read more trending news 

Here are some facts about the couple.

The Gaines opened their first business together in 2003

Magnolia Market came from a dream Joanna Gaines had. The business opened in 2003, but the couple later closed it to focus on their first two children, Drake and Ella Rose. During that time, they focused on their construction business, Magnolia Homes.

The first Magnolia Market, known as the Little Shop on Bosque, reopened in 2014. After outgrowing the space, the business moved to downtown Waco in October 2015 and became the Magnolia Silos location.

Chip and Joanna married in 2003

Chip and Joanna married in Waco, Texas, on March 31, 2003.

Chip surprised Joanna with a gathering of family and friends for their 12th anniversary in 2015. Some of the celebration aired during season three of “Fixer Upper.”

“The party itself was so intimate with just family and close friends in attendance,” Joanna told Style Me Pretty. “Chip stood up and read the sweetest speech and there was also live music played by a dear friend of ours. All the details and meaning behind this party really touched me, and when I think back to that sweet day Chip surprised me I feel so loved and honored to be his!"

They have a big family

The Gaineses are parents to four children and have one on the way. They have two boys, Drake and Duke, and two girls, Ella Rose and Emmie Kay. Joanna is pregnant with a baby boy who is due in July.

Related: ‘Fixer Upper’ stars Chip and Joanna Gaines reveal gender of new baby

Chip and Joanna both went to Baylor University

Baylor University has been frequently featured in some capacity on “Fixer Upper.” Although Chip and Joanna Gaines both went to the school, they did not meet there. Chip graduated with a marketing and business administration degree in 1998. Joanna graduated with a communications degree in 2001.

They practice Christianity

Chip and Joanna are Christians and are outspoken about their faith. In 2016, they did an interview about their relationship with each other and their faith with I Am Second.

Chip has said Joanna allows him to be himself

“I feel like she knows me in a way that has caused me to stop acting,” Chip told I Am Second. “I feel like I’ve really been an actor -- I’ve been a character my whole life. I’ve always tried to prove something to someone. 

“When I caught her. I felt like I could be content. I felt like I could be exactly who I was.”

Joanna credits Chip with pushing her to start her own business, which became their home-renovation company

“If I didn’t have Chip Gaines in my life, I’d still be dreaming in my head but not acting out on any of that. Not living it out,” Joanna told I Am Second, adding that her husband pushed her out of her comfort zone.

Chip had multiple businesses before meeting his wife

Joanna met Chip in 2001, when she worked at her dad’s tire shop in Waco.

Related: Chip, Joanna Gaines team up with Target to release home-decor line

In an interview with “Today”, Joanna said her husband had a wash-and-fold business and a landscaping business, among others.

Joanna is of mixed heritage

Joanna is multiracial, and shared her heritage with fans on her website.

“I love hearing all the guesses,” Joanna Gaines said on a Q&A on the Magnolia website. “Although I did play Pocahontas in high school, I am not Native American. My father is half Lebanese/half German and my mother is full Korean.”

The Gaines’ businesses go beyond houses and home decor

In addition to their Target line of home decor, their renovation business and Magnolia Silos, the Gaines are opening a restaurant in Waco. Magnolia Table is opening at the location of Elite Cafe, a historical restaurant in Waco that closed in 2016.

            Aretha Franklin cancels concerts due to doctor's orders

Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File

Aretha Franklin cancels concerts due to doctor's orders

Aretha Franklin is canceling two upcoming concerts on doctor's orders.

The Queen of Soul's management team says in a statement Friday that Franklin will not perform March 25 at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, New Jersey. That show would have taken place on her 76th birthday.

Franklin also won't appear April 28 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Organizers say Rod Stewart will perform as the headliner instead.

The statement says the singer has been ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest completely for at least the next two months. It adds that Franklin is "extremely disappointed she cannot perform as she had expected and hoped to."

Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire, saying she would perform at "some select things."

            Lawyer: Porn star who alleges Trump affair has faced threats

AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File

Lawyer: Porn star who alleges Trump affair has faced threats

A porn actress who said she had sex with Donald Trump before he became president has been threatened with physical harm, her attorney said Friday.

Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has been seeking to invalidate a nondisclosure agreement she signed days before the 2016 presidential election in order to discuss their relationship, which she said began in 2006 and continued for about a year.

Lawyers for Trump, in a filing late Friday, claimed Clifford could owe more than $20 million in damages for violating the agreement.

Clifford's attorney, Michael Avenatti, told The Associated Press his client had been "physically threatened," but he didn't provide details. He would not comment on whether the threats came from anyone tied to the president, the Trump campaign or the Trump Organization.

Clifford will discuss the threats during a segment on CBS' "60 Minutes," which is scheduled to air later this month. Avenatti said he was confident that people would believe her after watching her interview.

"There's the act and there's the cover-up, and the American people are going to learn about both in the interview and beyond," the lawyer said during an interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday that she had no knowledge of the situation and hadn't spoken with the president about it.

But, she said, "obviously we take the safety and security of any person seriously" and "certainly would condemn anyone threatening any individual." Sanders said last week that Trump has "made very well clear that none of these allegations are true."

Clifford filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles last week that sought to invalidate the agreement so she could "set the record straight" and has offered to return the $130,000 she was paid for agreeing not to discuss the relationship. Clifford's lawsuit claimed the "hush agreement" she signed in October 2016 is legally invalid because it was only signed by Clifford and Trump's attorney, Michael Cohen, but was not signed by Trump.

The lawsuit refers to her beginning an "intimate relationship" with Trump in 2006 that continued "well into the year 2007." She said the relationship included encounters in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Beverly Hills, California. Trump married his current wife, Melania Trump, in 2005, and their son, Barron, was born in 2006.

In a Friday evening court filing, an attorney for Cohen sought to move the case from a state-level court to federal court in Los Angeles. The court filing accused Clifford of violating the agreement's confidentiality clauses more than 20 times and said she could be liable for $1 million in damages for each violation.

A separate filing by Charles Harder, another attorney for Trump, said the president planned to join an "anticipated petition" to have the case heard by an arbitrator.

Avenatti accused Cohen and Trump of trying to move the case to federal court to increase their chances of having the case heard by a private arbitrator, "thus hiding the truth from the public."

"The filing today is yet another bullying tactic from the president and Mr. Cohen," Avenatti said on Twitter. "The fact that a sitting president is pursuing over $20M in bogus 'damages' against a private citizen, who is only trying to tell the public what really happened, is remarkable."

In addition to Clifford, six women have contacted Avenatti with similar stories, he said. Two of the women appear to have signed nondisclosure agreements, Avenatti said.

Clifford also has previously denied through a lawyer that she and Trump had an affair, but Avenatti has said that was to meet the terms of the nondisclosure agreement.

Cohen has denied there was ever an affair and said he paid the $130,000 out of his pocket. He has said neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Clifford and he was not reimbursed for the payment.

Cohen did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Friday.

Cardi B is pregnant, report says

Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for New York Fashio

Cardi B is pregnant, report says

Cardi B may be performing at Coachella in April with a baby bump.

According to TMZ, the rapper is pregnant with her first child with her fiance Offset.

>> Read more trending news 

Citing unnamed sources, the website says Cardi is due the first week of July and will be around seven months pregnant when she performs at Coachella.

If TMZ’s report is true, Offset, who’s in the rap group Migos, would be having his fourth child. The 25-year-old is already a father to two sons, Jordan and Kody, and a daughter named Kaela.

Neither Cardi nor Offset have confirmed TMZ’s claim.

Cardi has a busy year. In addition to Coachella, she’s joining Bruno Mars on the last leg of his 24K Magic World Tour. The tour is set to make stops in the U.S. and Canada through October.

Rihanna slams Snapchat for ad asking users to slap her or ‘punch Chris Brown’

Weeks after receiving backlash for its new design, Snapchat is under fire again. This time, users are upset about an ad that seemingly promotes domestic violence.

An ad for a game called “Would You Rather” popped up on the social media platform last week. It asked, “Would you rather slap Rihanna or punch Chris Brown?” It included a subtitle that read “Impossible Choices.”

In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault and making criminal threats after assaulting Rihanna his then-girlfriend, during Grammy weekend. Many thought the prompt directly referenced the incident and encouraged domestic violence. 

>> Read more trending news 

Following the backlash, Snapchat issued a statement Tuesday, saying the ad was published “in error,” according the to BBC.

“The advert was reviewed and approved in error, as it violates our advertising guidelines. We immediately removed the ad last weekend, once we became aware. We are sorry that this happened,” it said.

Despite the apology, Rihanna took to social media Thursday morning to denounce the brand. “I’m just trying to figure out what the point was with mess,” she posted on her Instagram story Thursday. “All the women, children and men that have been victims of DV in the past and especially the ones who haven’t made it out let us down! Shame on you. Throw the whole app-oligy away.” 

Related: Snap Inc.’s stock falls after Kylie Jenner tweet about Snapchat redesign

The Verge reported that Snapchat responded to Rihanna’s post in a statement Thursday.

“This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service,” the company said. “We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process. We are investigating how that happened so that we can make sure it never happens again.”

Dateline reported that the ad was approved in error and violates Snap’s advertising guidelines. The company said it has blocked Would You Rather as an advertiser.

Some fans have considered deleting the app after Rihanna’s post.

According to The Wall Street Journal, about $800 million of Snap’s market value was lost after Rihanna’s post. The price of shares in the app’s parent company went down 4.5 percent according to Bloomberg

Snap’s latest decline comes after shares rebounded from Kylie Jenner’s February tweet about no longer opening Snapchat. After the tweet, $1.3 billion in market value was wiped out as shares of Snap declined 6.1 percent. 

  Snap Inc.’s stock falls after Kylie Jenner tweet about Snapchat redesign
  ‘Change it back’: Snapchat users not happy about latest update
‘Avengers: Infinity War’ trailer shows Black Panther, Spider-Man in battle against Thanos

Photo courtesy: Marvel Studios

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ trailer shows Black Panther, Spider-Man in battle against Thanos

After the smashing success of “Black Panther,” the trailer for the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been released.

>> Read more trending news 

It’s the newest look at the “Avengers: Infinity War” and it shows the warriors from Wakanda, teaming up with the likes of Doctor Strange, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man and the rest of the Avengers to battle the big bad -- Thanos.

Take a look at the latest preview.

“Avengers: Infinity War” hits theaters on April 27. Tickets are on sale now.

            Indian singer convicted of trafficking jobseekers to America

AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File

Indian singer convicted of trafficking jobseekers to America

A popular Indian pop singer was convicted of human trafficking and cheating Friday by a court that found he took money to pretend people were in his performance troupe so they could get jobs in North America.

Daler Mehndi said he is innocent. The court in the northern city of Patiala sentenced him to two years in prison but freed him on bail while he challenges his conviction in an appeals court.

Prosecutors said Mehndi and his brother took "passage money" from Indians they offered to disguise as performers in his troupe. The jobseekers could then stay in the United States and Canada to find work.

The cheating conviction alleges the brothers took money from some Indians and never took them abroad. They filed police complaints in 2003.

Mehndi told reporters on Friday that his brother was the main accused in the case and he died last year.

The Press Trust of India reported that the Mehndi brothers took two dance troupes to the United States in 1998 and 1999 and allegedly dropped off 13 members illegally.

Mehndi shot into fame in the 1990s with Punjabi-language songs and energetic dancing and has lent his voice for Bollywood film songs.

He has a large fan following among Indian migrants in the United States, Canada and Britain.

'Willie Wonka' actor appears on 'Jeopardy!'

Charley Gallay

'Willie Wonka' actor appears on 'Jeopardy!'

Mike Teevee won another Golden Ticket, but you had to be a big chocolate fan to recognize him.

>> Read more trending news

Paris Themmen, who played the TV-obsessed kid in the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” finally made it to television on Tuesday when he appeared in an episode of “Jeopardy!” ET Online reported.

However, Themmen did not mention that he had been in the classic that starred Gene Wilder. When host Alex Trebek asked Themmen about an interesting fact, the former child star said he was an “avid backpacker” who had hiked on six continents, ET Online reported.

Themmen’s fans recognized him, however, and mentioned that fact on Twitter. He wound up finishing second during Tuesday’s episode, ET Online reported. The last acting role Themmen had was a small part in the 2000 television series, “Star Trek: Voyager.”

WATCH: Baby elephant takes tourist on roll through mud. It’s hysterical!

A tourist won’t forget her trip to Thailand anytime soon.

Her roll in the mud, which was caught on camera, has entertained millions of people.  

>> Read more trending news 

Hannah Frenchick posted video of her encounter with a baby elephant while on a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

The video shows the baby elephant knocking over the woman. It then playfully lays on top of her and finally rolls around in the mud with her.

>> Related: Idaho science teacher fed sick puppy to snapping turtle as students looked on

She was surprised at first, then she realized just how playful the little elephant was and had some fun. 

The video has gone viral with millions of views.

            Ava DuVernay to direct DC superhero film 'The New Gods'

Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP, File

Ava DuVernay to direct DC superhero film 'The New Gods'

Ava DuVernay's "A Wrinkle in Time" may have disappointed at the box office, but she's already booked another big-budget project.

Warner Bros. said Thursday that DuVernay will direct "The New Gods," a DC Comics property created by the famed comic book artist Jack Kirby. It's an elaborate science fiction work, part of Kirby's "Fourth World Saga," about two warring alien planets. It debuted in 1971.

DuVernay became the first African-American woman to direct a live-action movie with a budget of $100 million or more with "A Wrinkle in Time." The Disney release debuted last weekend with $33 million in ticket sales.

Warner Bros. recently reshuffled its DC film division after critical duds like "Justice League" and "Suicide Squad." A "Wonder Woman" sequel is in development and an "Aquaman" spinoff is due out in December.

            'Slap Rihanna' ad on Snapchat brings outrage, apologies

Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP, File

'Slap Rihanna' ad on Snapchat brings outrage, apologies

An ad on Snapchat asking users if they'd rather "Slap Rihanna" or "Punch Chris Brown" has spawned widespread outrage, including from the singer herself, and brought profuse apologies from the company behind the visual-messaging app.

Snapchat said it is investigating how the ad for a mobile video game called "Would You Rather" made it to the app.

Rihanna, who Brown was convicted of assaulting when she was his girlfriend in 2009, posted an angry statement on her Snapchat and Instagram accounts.

"I'm just trying to figure out what the point was with this mess!" Rihanna, 30, wrote. "I'd love to call it ignorance but I know you ain't that dumb! You spent money to animate something that would intentionally bring shame to DV victims and made a joke of it!!!"

"Shame on you" she goes on to say, "Throw the whole app-oligy away."

"This advertisement is disgusting and never should have appeared on our service," a Snap, Inc. spokesman said in a statement. "We are so sorry we made the terrible mistake of allowing it through our review process."

Snapchat said most of its advertising is bought through a self-service platform but is subject to review that should have stopped the ad. "Would You Rather" is now blocked from advertising there.

Brown pleaded guilty to felony assault for his attack on Rihanna in 2009 just hours before the Grammy Awards.

The ad and Rihanna's response lit up Twitter, with many vowing to delete their Snapchat accounts.

Snapchat's stocks were down 4 percent Thursday. The company's stock is always volatile, and investors worry that the fickle teens and young millennials who are its primary users will drop it.

Last month a tweet from Kylie Jenner saying she rarely uses Snapchat anymore sent the company's stocks plunging even more than they did Thursday.

            After Shkreli conviction, what will happen to Wu-Tang album?

AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File

After Shkreli conviction, what will happen to Wu-Tang album?

Two unreleased, collectible rap albums may go up for auction following the criminal conviction of the albums' owner, pharmaceutical company investor Martin Shkreli.

Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud on Friday. He owns an unreleased Wu-Tang Clan album and claims to own an unreleased Lil Wayne album. Both could be auctioned by the government since Shkreli has to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets.

The 34-year-old entrepreneur known as "Pharma Bro" boasted that he paid $2 million in 2015 for "Once Upon a Time in Shaolin," the 31-track double album the Wu-Tang Clan spent six years creating. Shkreli won an auction for the sole copy of the album in 2015. Group member RZA said he wanted the album — which was packaged in a hand-crafted silver and nickel case and includes a 174-page book wrapped in leather— to be viewed as a piece of contemporary art

Prosecutors said the forfeiture order requires Shkreli to say if he's still in possession of the album — or has proceeds from a sale of it — by Thursday. Until then, he "shall not, directly or indirectly, transfer, assign, license, waste, pledge, encumber, hypothecate, distribute, dissipate, dilute or remove" it from the court's jurisdiction, reads the order, which is still subject to appeal.

Along with the Wu-Tang Clan album, the government has listed a Picasso painting and Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter V" as substitute assets for Shkreli. In September 2017, Shkreli put the Wu-Tang Clan album up for sale on eBay. It's unknown if he sold it.

Jeff Gold, a longtime record executive and owner of Recordmecca, a music collectibles and memorabilia store, said the value of the albums have decreased since being in Shkreli's hands.

"Martin is not viewed by the general public in a necessarily positive way, so his association with (the albums) I don't think is a positive," he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Gold called the rollout of Wu-Tang's album "brilliant" and said "there's never been anything like this." But he added, "These (albums) are problematic to sell."

"If there are cars or boats or brokerage accounts, all of that stuff is going to be a lot simpler to quantify. There are a lot of questions around these albums and what you can and can't do with them," he said.

Shkreli's attorney, Ben Brafman, said he had no comment on the albums.

Shkreli grew up in Brooklyn and said rock music was his preference as a kid, not rap.

"I told RZA to his face, 'I'm not your biggest fan,'" he told the popular New York radio show "The Breakfast Club" in 2016. "I can't name every track on every affiliated Wu album. That's not me."

He said he was introduced to Wu-Tang's music while in summer school, and he became a fan. He said when he learned about the rare Wu-Tang album, he had to have it.

"There's a lot of things rich dudes buy just ... to show off," he told "The Breakfast Club."

"The point is I wanted to show respect for art," he added, saying he didn't purchase the album as an investment. "Music means more to me than anything."

Shkreli became the face of pharmaceutical industry evil in 2015 when he increased by 5,000 percent the price of Daraprim, a previously cheap drug used to treat toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be fatal to people with the AIDS virus or other immune system disorders.

He also claims he owns Lil Wayne's highly anticipated "Tha Carter V." The rapper's "Tha Carter III" sold more than 1 million copies in its debut week in 2008, and helped launch Lil Wayne to superstar status. It featured multiple rap and pop hits, from "A Milli" to "Lollipop," made the rapper the most nominated act at the 2009 Grammys (he won four awards) and helped solidify his stance as one of hip-hop's elite performers.

"Tha Carter IV" sold 964,000 albums in its first week, adding anticipation to "Tha Carter V," an album Lil Wayne had been recording for years.

In 2015, Lil Wayne sued Cash Money Records for $51 million after claiming that it stiffed him for $8 million for creating "Tha Carter V."

The album has not been released and it's unknown whether or how Shkreli got it.

Gold, who is also the author behind several music books, said whoever purchases Wu-Tang and Lil Wayne's albums may not be the only person to have the albums.

"(Shkreli) bought something digital and there's nothing to prevent him from having kept a copy. ...We live in a digital world where almost everything eventually gets bootlegged," Gold said. "When the first person bought it, they knew they were getting the only copy besides maybe whatever the Wu-Tang Clan had. But whoever buys it now has no assurance of that.

Gold added that "it's possible that there are copies of this floating around" and if it leaks, "the world's most exclusive album becomes something that everyone has instantly."


AP Writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.

            Conductor Levine, ousted after sex abuse inquiry, sues Met

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File

Conductor Levine, ousted after sex abuse inquiry, sues Met

Conductor James Levine sued the Metropolitan Opera on Thursday after a sexual misconduct investigation sank his storied career, saying the renowned company exploited baseless allegations to tarnish him and then fired him without so much as a phone call.

"Cynically hijacking the good will of the #MeToo movement," the Met and its general manager, Peter Gelb, "brazenly seized on these allegations as a pretext to end a longstanding personal campaign to force Levine out of the Met," said Levine's suit, filed in a Manhattan state court.

But a lawyer for the Met said Levine wasn't the victim of a vendetta but a man fired because of "credible and corroborated evidence of sexual misconduct."

"It is shocking that Mr. Levine has refused to accept responsibility for his actions and has today instead decided to lash out at the Met with a suit riddled with untruths," attorney Bettina (Betsy) Plevan said in a statement.

The suit accuses the Met and Gelb of defamation and breach of contract. It seeks at least $5.8 million in damages — and "to restore Levine's name, reputation and career."

Unleashed three days after his ouster, the suit represents Levine's most extensive public effort to date to combat allegations of sexual abuse and harassment that go back decades.

Levine's suit says one of his accusers sent him friendly letters for decades after their alleged encounter that never accused him of wrongdoing, and even talked of visiting. The suit says the Met wouldn't tell Levine who some accusers were but acknowledged no one who worked at the opera company made a complaint about him during his 46 years there.

The opera company suspended Levine and began an investigation in December, after the New York Post and The New York Times aired allegations of sexual misconduct from three men who said it took place decades ago when they were teenage music students or aspiring conductors. A fourth man later came forward to say Levine had sexually abused him when he was a 20-year-old music student.

Levine, 74, has called the claims unfounded.

"I have not lived my life as an oppressor or an aggressor," he said in a December statement. "My fervent hope is that in time, people will come to understand the truth."

He hasn't been charged with any crime. Prosecutors in Lake County, Illinois, said in December they had investigated a 1980s sexual abuse allegation but concluded that they could not bring charges, citing factors including the age of consent — 16 — at the time.

But the Met said Monday that its investigation, by an outside lawyer, found credible evidence of "sexually abusive and harassing conduct" both before and during Levine's tenure there.

His suit calls the investigation "nothing more than a kangaroo court" that capped years of efforts by Gelb to get rid of him.

"Gelb pursued this agenda for his personal gain to advance his own career and step out of the long shadow cast by Levine's incredible talent," says the complaint from Gelb's lawyers, Elkan Abramowitz and Edward J.M. Little.

The events have brought scrutiny upon the Met, as well as Levine.

One of the world's most prominent opera companies, the Met has faced questions about why it didn't act sooner, particularly since a Lake Forest detective contacted the company in October 2016.

Gelb has said he briefed Met board leaders about the police investigation and spoke to Levine. But at the time, the opera company decided to leave the matter to police, a Met spokeswoman said in December.

The Met said its own inquiry found any claims of a Met "cover-up of information relating to these issues are completely unsubstantiated."

After Leonard Bernstein's 1990 death, Levine was regarded as the top American conductor, so widely known he was given a starring role in the film "Fantasia 2000."

He made his Met debut in 1971, became chief conductor in 1973, then music or artistic director from 1976 until he stepped down two years ago because of Parkinson's disease. Levine then became music director emeritus and headed the Met's young artists program until his suspension.

He has conducted from a wheelchair since a 2011 spinal injury.

The Met paid Levine's company, Phramus LLC, over $1.8 million for his services as music director in the year ending July 31, 2016, according to the Met's last-released tax return. The lawsuit says his pay as music director emeritus dropped to $400,000, plus additional pay for performances.


Associated Press writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

‘American Idol’ contestant says Katy Perry kiss wasn’t harassment

“American Idol” contestant Benjamin Glaze was unexpectedly kissed by judge Katy Perry during his audition.

On Sunday night’s episode, the 19-year-old confessed that he had never been kissed.

“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” Luke Bryan asked, referencing Perry’s popular song, “I Kissed A Girl”.

“I’ve never been in a relationship,” he said. “I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.”

>> Read more trending news 

Perry decided to swoop in and give him a good luck kiss. “Come here, Benjamin. Come here right now!” she said.

Glaze walked to the judge’s panel and went in for a kiss on the cheek that just wasn’t up to Perry’s standards. When Glaze went in for another kiss, the “Roar” singer turned her head and planted one on his lips.

After composing himself, Glaze began his audition singing Nick Jonas’s hit “Levels.” Unfortunately, he didn’t get sent Hollywood to continue in the competition.

Bryan suggested he “hone his craft a little more” and “get better at singing” before trying again soon.

Fellow judge Lionel Richie also said he had high hopes for Glaze’s career, even though it was a no from him.

“I really enjoyed meeting you today,” Perry said. “You gave my heart a flutter. I think you’re really sweet, but truthfully, there are just some people that are outsinging you right now, and so I don’t think it’d be fair to put you in that kind of competition. Next time just take your time. I think you were a bit rushed, and I think that’s because I sped up your BPM of the heartbeat.”

Glaze spoke about the media coverage of the kiss on his Instagram page. Contrary to reports, Glaze said he wasn’t uncomfortable with the kiss, but the fact that he wasn’t expecting the kiss and hadn’t been kissed before was what caused discomfort.

“The way certain articles are worded is not done by me, and my true intentions are not accurately represented in every article you read about the situation,” Glaze said on Instagram. “I am not complaining about the kiss, I am very honored and thankful to have been apart of American Idol. The main purpose for the show is to find stars and new music artist. I do wish I would have performed better in the moment. I should have picked another song to sing and calmed myself down regardless of the kiss.”

“I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques. I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it.”

Glaze emphasized that he wants to reach people through music and not cause tension among anyone. 

“American Idol” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Country music star Tim McGraw changing workout routine after collapsing onstage

It sounds like Tim McGraw will be taking it easy, after giving fans quite a scare last weekend.

>> Read more trending news 

The country music superstar collapsed onstage after his performance of “Humble and Kind” at the C2C Festival in Dublin, Ireland, on March 11. 

After the incident, he was carried off the stage by a medical staffer, and his wife and touring partner, Faith Hill, took the microphone to explain that her husband had been “super dehydrated.” She also made the decision to end the show at that point and keep Tim from returning to the stage that night.

Now, Tim is opening up for the first time since the unsettling incident.

>> Related: Tim McGraw reportedly collapses onstage in Dublin

He gave an update about his health after touching down at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on March 12. He explained to TMZ that he is now “feeling good,” and also confirmed that his onstage collapse was, indeed, due to “lots of flying and dehydration.” He then added that he has to put his intense fitness routine on the back burner for a while.

“I’ve got to cut short my workouts,” the 50-year-old star, who is known for his washboard abs, said while walking through the terminal with his wife and crew.

Aside from making a few changes to his daily schedule, Tim seemed to be in good spirits, as he offered up plenty of smiles and a casual thumbs up before jumping into a vehicle.

>> Related: ACM Awards nominations hold surprises and snubs for some top stars

We’re glad to hear that Tim is on the mend, especially since he’ll soon return to the road for his and Faith’s joint tour. The country couple’s “Soul2Soul The World Tour” picks up on May 31 in Richmond, Virginia.

            Judge: 5 other accusers can testify at Bill Cosby's retrial

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Judge: 5 other accusers can testify at Bill Cosby's retrial

A judge agreed Thursday to let five additional Bill Cosby accusers testify at his April 2 retrial for an alleged 2004 sexual assault, giving prosecutors a chance to portray the man once known as "America's Dad" as a serial predator who made a sadistic habit of drugging and molesting women.

Judge Steven O'Neill said prosecutors could choose the witnesses from a list of eight women with allegations dating as far back as the early 1980s. They include model Janice Dickinson, who said Cosby knocked her out with pills and raped her during a 1982 trip to Lake Tahoe.

Prosecutors, eager to expand the scope of the underlying he-said-she-said case, had pushed to let jurors hear from as many as 19 of the dozens of women who say Cosby assaulted them over a five-decade span.

"We are reviewing the judge's order and will be making some determinations," District Attorney Kevin Steele said.

Dickinson's lawyer, Lisa Bloom, said if her client is picked, she would be "ready, willing and able to testify." Bloom said Dickinson "has waited decades for this opportunity."

Cosby's retooled legal team, led by former Michael Jackson lawyer Tom Mesereau, went to court last week to block any additional accusers from testifying.

Cosby's lawyers argued prosecutors are trying to bolster an otherwise weak case with "ancient allegations" that would confuse, distract and prejudice the jury against the 80-year-old comedian.

"It just shows how desperate they are and that this is a very weak case," Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt said after O'Neill's ruling. "Mr. Cosby is innocent of these charges."

Cosby has pleaded not guilty to charges he drugged and molested former Temple University women's basketball official Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in January 2004. He remains free on bail.

O'Neill has yet to rule on whether Cosby's lawyers can tell jurors about his 2006 settlement with Constand.

Mesereau said in court March 6 that jurors would learn "just how greedy" Constand was when they hear details about how much money she demanded from Cosby and what the star wound up paying her.

Allowing additional accusers to testify is sure to keep Cosby in court longer than his first trial, which ended in a hung jury last year after six days of testimony and five days of deliberations.

Mesereau said prospective jurors should expect a monthlong trial. Jury selection begins March 29.

Pennsylvania allows prosecutors to present evidence of alleged past misdeeds if they demonstrate the defendant engaged in a signature pattern of crime.

Prosecutors argue Cosby used his power and appeal as a beloved entertainer to befriend younger women and then plied them with drugs or alcohol before assaulting them.

Prosecutors tried to have 13 additional accusers testify at Cosby's first trial last year, but O'Neill limited them to just one and barred any mention of about 60 others who have come forward to accuse Cosby in recent years.

Kelly Johnson, who worked for Cosby's agent, testified Cosby knocked her out with a pill during a 1996 meeting at the Bel-Air Hotel in Los Angeles. She said she woke up to find her dress disheveled, her breasts exposed and Cosby forcing her to touch his genitals.

The only other hints jurors got of Cosby's past came from deposition excerpts from 2005 and 2006 in which he admitted getting quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.

For prosecutors, having several accusers tell similar stories about Cosby would give them a chance to smooth over issues with Constand's credibility and insulate her from attacks from his lawyers, who've already indicated they're likely to paint her as a money-grubbing liar.

Dave Zuckerman, a former prosecutor who practices criminal defense in the Pittsburgh area, said that "might help put the case over the edge in favor of the prosecution."

"Now it becomes more than just one accuser against Bill Cosby," he said. "Now you have a pattern of multiple women."

Also Thursday, Dickinson's defamation lawsuit against Cosby was allowed to move forward after the California Supreme Court refused his appeal. Dickinson sued Cosby after he and his representatives said her allegations were false.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and Dickinson have done.

            Janice Dickinson's lawsuit against Bill Cosby can proceed

AP Photo

Janice Dickinson's lawsuit against Bill Cosby can proceed

Model Janice Dickinson's defamation lawsuit against Bill Cosby can move forward after the California Supreme Court refused to review an appeal from the comedian Thursday.

The case had been on hold pending the court's decision. Dickinson said in 2014 that Cosby drugged and raped her in Lake Tahoe in 1982, then sued him after he and his representatives said her claims were false.

Cosby's attorneys had appealed Dickinson's use of a press release and a letter to media outlets as evidence of defamation, saying that would violate First Amendment rights.

Attorneys also objected to Dickinson adding a former Cosby lawyer, Marty Singer, as a defendant, saying it would hurt the ability of attorneys to represent their clients.

A California appeals court sided with Dickinson in November. The Supreme Court refusing to take up the appeal means the case can move forward with Singer as a co-defendant.

"While we believe the Supreme Court should have reviewed the erroneous appellate court opinion, we now have the opportunity to address these claims on the merits and fully expect that Mr. Singer will be dismissed from the lawsuit again," Singer's lawyer, Jeremy B. Rosen, said in an email.

Dickinson's attorney, Lisa Bloom, said she also looks forward to resuming the battle in court.

"We have been fighting this case for three years and we will continue fighting until we get Mr. Cosby's deposition, until Ms. Dickinson gets a trial before a jury, and on any further appeals as necessary," she said in an email. "Ms. Dickinson is strong and I am committed to this case."

An attorney for Cosby did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

Dickinson, a major model in the 1980s and 1990s, has more recently become a staple of reality shows, appearing on "America's Next Top Model," ''The Surreal Life," and "Celebrity Big Brother."

Her lawsuit is one of many against Cosby, who also is scheduled to face a new trial on sexual assault charges in Philadelphia next month.


Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter at: .

Danny Boyle to direct 25th James Bond film

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Danny Boyle to direct 25th James Bond film

If his own words are any indication, Oscar-winning filmmaker Danny Boyle will be writing and directing the next James Bond movie.

“We are working on a script right now. It all depends on that, really. I am working on a Richard Curtis script at the moment,” the director told Metro US at a recent screening of his new FX show “Trust.”

“We hope to start shooting that in six or seven weeks. Then Bond would be right at the end of the year. But we are working on them both right now,” he said.

>> Read more trending news 

Boyle also appeared to confirm that he is working on the script with longtime collaborator John Hodge.

“We’ve got an idea, John Hodge, the screenwriter, and I have got this idea, and John is writing it at the moment,” Boyle said. “And it all depends on how it turns out. It would be foolish of me to give any of it away.”

Writer Simon Beaufoy, another of frequent collaborator of Boyle’s, told Metro US that Boyle is the perfect choice.

“I don’t know why he hasn’t done one before. I think it’s meant to be,” Beaufoy said. “I can see Danny punching a few holes in the way that those Bond films are made. It will be really exciting.”

Boyle will take the reins from his countryman and fellow Oscar-winner Sam Mendes, who is quitting the franchise after helming two of its most successful entries, “Skyfall” and “Spectre.”

In 1996, Boyle became a household name in his native U.K. with the release of “Trainspotting.” He went on to dip his toe into a variety of genres and built a vibrant filmography. He won the the best director Oscar for his 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire” at the 81st Academy Awards.

Daniel Craig confirmed during on “The Late Show” last year that he will be reprising his role as 007.7 during an appearance on “The Late Show” last year.

“I just want to go out on a high note, he told Stephen Colbert. “And I can’t wait.”

Variety reported that the 25th Bond film will be in theaters Nov. 8, 2019. It will have an earlier release in the U.K. and the rest of the world.

            Prince of Providence: Notorious mayor gets stage treatment

AP Photo/Matt York, File

Prince of Providence: Notorious mayor gets stage treatment

The story of the notorious late Mayor Buddy Cianci, who was forced out of office twice, is coming to the stage.

Trinity Repertory Company in Providence announced on Thursday that it has commissioned playwright George Brant to write a play or musical adaptation of "The Prince of Providence," the 2004 book detailing Cianci's tumultuous two decades at the city's helm.

Bringing Cianci's story to the theater is a natural step for a man who was often described in Shakespearean terms, said the book's author, Mike Stanton, a journalism professor at the University of Connecticut and a former reporter at The Providence Journal.

"Politics is theater, and Buddy's life was a huge drama," Stanton said in an interview. "Buddy was this larger-than-life persona, and I think it could be a really meaty role for someone."

Cianci (pronounced see-AN-see) was known for his colorful TV appearances and publicity stunts touting Providence and himself. But he was forced from office twice due to felonies.

He was accused of attacking a man with a lit cigarette and a fireplace log and pleaded no contest to felony assault in 1984 and resigned. He returned to office a few years later, but in 2002 he was convicted of corruption and sentenced to 4 1/2 years in federal prison. He died in 2016.

Trinity Rep is a well-known regional theater company that has helped launch the careers of actors including Viola Davis and Richard Jenkins. It said the yet-to-be written script about Cianci, a Republican turned independent, will be workshopped and then produced at Trinity in a future season. It said the cast will be announced later.

Brant is known for plays including "Grounded."

It's not the first time Cianci's life has been adapted to the stage. "Buddy Cianci: The Musical" played at the New York Fringe Festival in 2003.

            Fox News extends anchor Shepard Smith's contract

AP Photo/Richard Drew, File

Fox News extends anchor Shepard Smith's contract

Fox News anchor Shepard Smith has signed a multiyear contract with the network.

21st Century Fox and Fox News Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch announced the contract extension on Thursday.

Fox News wouldn't comment on how many years the contract was extended.

Smith joined the network in 1996. He anchors "Shepard Smith Reporting" weekdays at 3 p.m. Eastern. He previously anchored "Studio B." and "The FOX Report."

Before joining Fox News, Smith worked for Fox affiliates in Los Angeles and Miami and several other Florida stations.

            Drake plays 'Fortnite' with 'Ninja', helps break record

Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP, File

Drake plays 'Fortnite' with 'Ninja', helps break record

Grammy Award-winning rapper Drake helped Twitch break its record for the most-viewed stream by joining gamer Tyler "Ninja" Blevins to play "Fortnite."

There were 630,000 concurrent viewers at its peak on the live-streaming platform Wednesday.

The rapper and singer says he's been playing the popular video game for a month or two.

He played with "Ninja" and then they were joined by rapper Travis Scott and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

            Report: ESPN president resigned over cocaine extortion plot

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

Report: ESPN president resigned over cocaine extortion plot

The former president of ESPN said he resigned from the sports network after an extortion plot by someone who sold him cocaine.

John Skipper told the Hollywood Reporter in an interview published Thursday that the drug seller, whom he did not name, tried to extort him in December. He said he hadn't had dealings with the seller before, and previously had been "careful" about buying cocaine.

"They threatened me, and I understood immediately that threat put me and my family at risk, and this exposure would put my professional life at risk as well," Skipper said.

He said he discussed the situation with Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger on Dec. 15, 2017, and they agreed Skipper "had placed the company in an untenable position." He resigned on Dec. 18 after leading ESPN since 2012, saying he was going to seek treatment for a substance abuse problem.

He said he used drugs recreationally and that it never impacted his work at ESPN.

"Look, it was inappropriate for the president of ESPN and an officer of The Walt Disney Co. to be associated in any way with any of this," he said.

"My drug use never had any professional repercussions, but I still have profound regret," he said. "I accept that the consequences of my actions are my responsibility and have been appropriate. I also have to accept that I used very poor judgment."

Skipper did not return a message seeking comment from The Associated Press on Thursday.

He also said "rumors and speculations" that mistreatment of women contributed to his resignation were untrue, and he denied having any inappropriate relationships or sexually harassing anyone.

Skipper said he has received drug abuse treatment and therapy, and that process is ongoing. He hopes to re-enter sports media as a consultant.

"I'm actually quite excited," he said. "In some ways I have no choice but to make the best of it. And I do intend to make the best of it. I've been meeting with people, and that has gotten me even more excited. I'm healthy, and I'm ready to plunge back in."

            Murder victim's mom to perform at Michigan comedy festival

Mike Clark /The Grand Rapids Press via AP

Murder victim's mom to perform at Michigan comedy festival

The mother of a Michigan teenager who was murdered in 2016 is hoping to give back to those who helped her by performing standup comedy at a fundraiser.

Stacey Hilton told WOOD-TV that Gilda's Club helped her heal after the death of her daughter, 18-year-old McKenna Hilton. She wants to show appreciation by participating in the club's LaughFest fundraiser this year.

"Gilda's Club was the only thing that got me up and got me out and they offer a meal and that was about the only thing I was eating, too," Hilton said.

Hilton will perform with a group of first-time standup comedians Friday in Grand Rapids.

"I want to do something that makes other people laugh," she said. "And see that even though you are grieving, you can still have some laughter in your life and it's OK."

Hilton said she's excited to perform and thinks her daughter would be amused at the idea.

"I think she would be hideously embarrassed but I'm sure she would still be rooting me on," she said.

The festival honors comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. Proceeds and donations from LaughFest support free emotional health care programs for children and adults living with cancer and grief through Gilda's Club Grand Rapids.

A person walking a dog found McKenna Hilton's body Aug. 18, 2016, in a wooded area near Emerald Lake in Grand Rapids Township. Hilton's half-brother, Savon Schmus, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to between 40 and 100 years in prison in October. Schmus, 17, and McKenna Hilton shared the same father.


Information from: WOOD-TV,

            Ed Sheeran, Gaga, more to cover Elton John across 2 albums

Universal Music via AP

Ed Sheeran, Gaga, more to cover Elton John across 2 albums

Elton John's songs will be reworked by top artists including Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Willie Nelson and Chris Stapleton.

John announced on Thursday the April 6 release of two albums. "Revamp" will include covers by pop and rock stars from Mary J. Blige to Miley Cyrus. Miranda Lambert and Dolly Parton will appear on the country album "Restoration."

Pink and Logic will team up for "Bennie and the Jets" and Florence + the Machine take on "Tiny Dancer." Other acts on "Revamp" include Sam Smith, Coldplay, The Killers, Mumford and Sons, Q-Tip, Demi Lovato, Queens of the Stone Age and Alessia Cara.

"Restoration" will feature Rosanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Don Henley, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Kacey Musgraves, Brothers Osborne, Dierks Bentley, Rhonda Vincent and Lee Ann Womack.

            David S. Wyman, Holocaust scholar, dead at 89

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies via AP

David S. Wyman, Holocaust scholar, dead at 89

David S. Wyman, a leading scholar of the U.S. response to the Holocaust whose "The Abandonment of the Jews" was a provocative, best-selling critique of everyone from religious leaders to President Franklin Roosevelt, died Wednesday at age 89

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies announced that Wyman died at his home in Amherst, Massachusetts, after a lengthy illness. Wyman was a professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The grandson of Protestant ministers, Wyman was in graduate school when he began a long-term quest to learn what was done on behalf of the millions of Jews rounded up and murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

He was best known for "The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-45," which came out in 1984 and sharply intensified a debate that began during the war. Drawing upon private and government records and contemporary media accounts, Wyman found widespread indifference and hostility to the Jews in Europe, even as their systematic extermination was conclusively documented. He faulted religious organizations, Jewish and non-Jewish; mainstream newspapers and movies; and the anti-Jewish feelings of the general public.

The federal government was slow to act, enforcing strict immigration quotas and refusing to bomb the concentration camps; waiting until well after the Holocaust had begun to establish a War Refugee Board, then forcing the agency to rely mostly on private funding. The blame rose right to the top, with Roosevelt, who Wyman alleged was more concerned about angering anti-Semites than about helping the Jews.

"If he had wanted to, he could have aroused substantial public backing for a vital rescue effort by speaking out on the issue," Wyman wrote, calling Roosevelt's inaction the low mark of his presidency. "It appears that Roosevelt's overall response to the Holocaust was deeply affected by political expediency. Most Jews supported him unwaveringly, so an active rescue policy offered little political advantage. A pro-Jewish stance, however, could lose votes."

Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor, praised Wyman for his "courageous, lucid, painful book." And "The Abandonment of the Jews" received several honors, including the National Jewish Book Award, and a nomination from the National Book Critics Circle.

Most scholars accepted his general argument that the U.S had done too little, but some disagreed with individual aspects, such as whether the U.S. could have disrupted or destroyed the Nazi camps. Roosevelt defenders, meanwhile, believed Wyman had failed to appreciate that the president's options were limited.

"FDR well understood that it would be fatal to let the war be defined as a war to save the Jews," historian and Roosevelt biographer Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote in Newsweek in 1994, around the time a television documentary based on Wyman's book aired. "He knew that he must emphasize the large and vital interest all Americans had in stopping Hitler, and that is what he did. And he knew that winning the war was the only way to save the people in the concentration camps."

Wyman's book was credited with helping to inspire the American rescue of hundreds of Ethiopian Jews stranded in Sudan in 1985. John R. Miller, a congressman and later an ambassador for combatting human trafficking, told a Wyman Institute conference that he had given copies of the book to then-Vice President George H.W. Bush and his top aides. According to Miller, Bush called "Abandonment of the Jews" a major factor in the U.S. decision to airlift the Jews and eventually bring them to Israel.

Bush later sent the author a handwritten note of gratitude.

Wyman continued his investigations with "The World Reacts to the Holocaust" and "America and the Holocaust," a 13-volume compilation of documents used for "Abandonment of the Jews." He would often invoke the Holocaust as a defense of Israel. "I'd come here and die for Israel if I were ever of any use," he said in 2012 while speaking at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

A book released in 2013, "FDR and the Jews," by Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman, contended that Roosevelt had been judged too harshly and that his actions compared favorably to those of future presidents responding to genocide.

In response, the Wyman Institute published Rafael Medoff's "FDR and the Holocaust: A Breach of Faith," which alleged that Roosevelt had a long history of anti-Jewish actions and opinions. (Ironically, Roosevelt was often the target of anti-Semitic attacks in his lifetime, with some opponents labeling the New Deal programs of the Depression the "Jew Deal").

Wyman was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, in 1929 and recalled his parents imparting "not just tolerance, but a high degree of respect for all different people." He studied history as an undergraduate at Boston University and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1962. He had intended to focus on the Progressive era of the early 20th century until he had an epiphany while walking in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard is located.

"Out of nowhere comes this question: What did the United States do while the Jews were being persecuted and mass-murdered?" he would recall.

Wyman taught elementary school and high school in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and was a history lecturer at Clark University and Northeastern University before joining Amherst in 1966 and remaining for 25 years.

In 1950, Wyman married Mildred Smith, with whom he had two children, Jim and Teresa. Mildred Wyman, often called Midge, died in 2003.


AP investigative researcher Randy Herschaft contributed to this report.

            Danny Boyle says he's working on script for James Bond film

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Danny Boyle says he's working on script for James Bond film

Danny Boyle says he's working on the script for the next James Bond movie.

The British director has been rumored to be at the top of the list to direct the 25th film in the spy action franchise. He says he's collaborating with John Hodge, who wrote Boyle's "Trainspotting" and its 2017 sequel, "T2: Trainspotting."

Boyle says the two are "working on a script at the moment." He says he can't offer more details.

MGM, which produces James Bond films, has not confirmed who will direct the next installment.

Boyle made the comments on the red carpet Wednesday at the New York premiere of "Trust."

The 10-part television miniseries on the kidnapping of J. Paul Getty III premieres on FX at 10 p.m. Eastern on March 25.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, pool

"I do": Queen gives her consent for Harry-Meghan wedding

Well, that's a relief.

Queen Elizabeth II has given her formal consent to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

The British monarch has issued a declaration consenting "to a Contract of Matrimony between My Most Dearly Beloved Grandson Prince Henry Charles Albert David of Wales and Rachel Meghan Markle."

The prince, fifth in line to the British throne, and the American actress are to marry May 19 at Windsor Castle.

Alongside the declaration that was made public Thursday, the queen signed an Instrument of Consent, a formal notice of approval, transcribed in calligraphy and issued under the Great Seal of the Realm.

Harry is among a handful of senior royals who must seek the monarch's permission to marry or have their descendants disqualified from succession to the crown.

            Brendan Fraser promotes 'Trust' after alleging misconduct

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Brendan Fraser promotes 'Trust' after alleging misconduct

Brendan Fraser feels a sense of relief after recently revealing publicly that he was the victim of alleged sexual misconduct in 2003.

Fraser shared his feelings about the incident while promoting the FX television miniseries, "Trust" on Wednesday at a New York screening.

Fraser alleged in an interview with GQ magazine that former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk intimately groped him. Berk says he just "pinched" the actor.

He says it took courage to talk about the incident and that he's hopeful that change will come from all those coming forward to discuss sexual misconduct.

Fraser says the incident changed him, making him feel "more reclusive." But he said that getting that burden off his chest after 15 years "felt good."

In the 10-part series, Fraser plays private investigator James Fletcher Chace who is hired by J. Paul Getty to "fix" problems, including the kidnapping of his grandson that the series centers on.

Getty is portrayed in the series by Donald Sutherland. After J. Paul Getty III is kidnapped, the elder Getty refuses to negotiate for his release.

Directed by Danny Boyle, "Trust" also stars Hilary Swank, Harris Dickinson, and Michael Esper. It premieres at 10 p.m. EDT March 25.

Jason Aldean announces Hootie & the Blowfish will join him at Atlanta concert

Jason Aldean wanted to go big for his first concert at SunTrust Park in Atlanta, so he’s enlisted a bunch of pals to share the bill.

Musicians Lauren Alaina and Luke Combs will be part of the July 21 stadium show, and Darius Rucker’s band Hootie & the Blowfish will reunite for the concert.

>> Read more trending news 

Aldean said he and Brian O’Connell, president of country touring for Live Nation, said the band came to mind when they were considering another act to add.

“(Hootie & the Blowfish lead singer) Darius (Rucker) is a friend of both of ours, so it was easy to have that conversation,” Aldean said Wednesday morning at a news conference at SunTrust Park. “They were all for it.”

Aldean and Alaina were given a surprise when Braves Hall of Famer Chipper Jones appeared to present them with customized jerseys.

Aldean, a Macon, Georgia, native who is a lifelong fan of the baseball team, said this upcoming show at SunTrust Park, along with his 2013 performance at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia, will be career highlights.

O’Connell pointed out that Aldean is the only artist to have played the University of Georgia stadium and the home of the Braves.

“It is important to him as a performer to pay tribute to his Georgia roots,” O’Connell said.

Plans for the stage production have been underway for a couple of months.

“We want to come in and make a statement show,” Aldean said.

Tickets to the concert are $40.50-$89.75 and will go on sale at 10 a.m. March 23 at

            Versace is latest to join no-fur trend in fashion

AP Photo/Luca Bruno, file

Versace is latest to join no-fur trend in fashion

Versace has become the latest fashion house to eliminate fur from its collections, joining Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss among others.

The Humane Society, which campaigns against the sale of fur, welcomed the decision Wednesday, noting that "Versace is a massively influential luxury brand that symbolizes excess and glamor." The group quoted an interview in the Economist Group's "1843" magazine with designer Donatella Versace, who said: "Fur? I am out of that. I don't want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn't feel right."

Versace hasn't said when it would phase fur out of their collections, but given the fashion cycle it wouldn't be before the next winter season. Versace is joining a trend among fashion houses to make its collections more environmentally sustainable.


This version corrects a typo in the spelling of Armani.

            Trump confirms CNBC contributor Kudlow to be economic aide

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Trump confirms CNBC contributor Kudlow to be economic aide

President Donald Trump confirmed Thursday that he has picked CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow as his top economic adviser and said the country is in line for a long run of upbeat financial news.

The United States "will have many years of Great Economic & Financial Success, with low taxes, unparalleled innovation, fair trade and an ever expanding labor force leading the way!" the president tweeted.

Kudlow is succeeding Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, at the White House. Cohn is leaving after a dispute over Trump's decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

Kudlow served in the Reagan administration and has emerged as a leading proponent of tax cuts and a smaller government.

Kudlow told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has accepted the offer and said the U.S. economy was poised to take off after Trump signed $1.5 trillion worth of tax cuts into law.

"The economy is starting to roar and we're going to get more of that," he said.

Kudlow will join an administration in the middle of a tumultuous overhaul, with a number of White House staffers and top officials departing in recent weeks. Trump on Tuesday dumped his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Trump seems increasingly determined to tax foreign imports, a policy that Kudlow personally opposes. Kudlow said he is "in accord" with Trump's agenda and that his team at the White House would help put in place policies set by the president.

Trump has promised to reduce the trade imbalance with China and rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Kudlow declined to say what advice he would give the president on trade issues, saying instead that Trump is "a very good negotiator."

Kudlow, 70, has informally advised the Trump administration in the past and he has spoken with the president "at some length in recent days," so he is ready "to hit the ground running."

Kudlow told CNBC on Wednesday that he was going to Washington on Thursday to meet with Trump. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration "will keep everyone posted" on when Kudlow officially assumes the job.

            'American Idol' contestant: Perry kiss not harassment

Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File

'American Idol' contestant: Perry kiss not harassment

Singer Katy Perry kissed a contestant on "American Idol" and he did not like it.

But Benjamin Glaze is downplaying some backlash aimed at Perry, who is a judge on the show. The 19-year-old took to Instagram on Wednesday to say he did not think he was sexually harassed.

The singer from Oklahoma says he was uncomfortable when Perry kissed him on the lips as he auditioned during the show's two-night season opener on ABC. Glaze says he had never been kissed before.

He needed some water before singing Nick Jonas' "Levels," which Perry called "a bit rushed."

Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan did not send Glaze to the next round. Glaze says he should have picked another song and calmed himself down regardless of the kiss.

            Docs link Trump Org lawyer to effort to silence porn star

AP Photo/Matt Sayles, File

Docs link Trump Org lawyer to effort to silence porn star

New documents show a second lawyer with ties to President Donald Trump was involved in legal efforts to keep adult film star Stormy Daniels from talking about her alleged affair with Trump.

Attorney Jill A. Martin signed the documents, which were filed Feb. 22 as part of confidential arbitration proceedings. She's referenced in the filing as counsel for "EC LLC," though the address she lists is that of Trump's Los Angeles golf club.

EC appears to be a reference to a company formed by Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to facilitate a $130,000 payment to silence Daniels in the closing days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Cohen has acknowledged making the payment, but said he was not reimbursed and denied the campaign and the Trump Organization were involved in the transaction.

Daniels' attorney, Michael Avenatti, confirmed the authenticity of the new documents to The Associated Press. The documents were first reported by CNN and the Wall Street Journal.

Avenatti said the documents show that "contrary to Mr. Cohen's representations, there is little to no difference between EC LLC and The Trump Organization/Donald Trump."

In a statement late Wednesday, the Trump Organization said Martin worked on the filing in her "individual capacity" and the company "has had no involvement in the matter."

The White House says Trump has denied the affair with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford.

Earlier this month, Clifford filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate her "hush agreement" because it was signed only by her and Cohen, but not Trump. She's also offered to return the money she was paid for agreeing not to discuss the alleged relationship.

Clifford alleges that she began an "intimate relationship" with Trump in 2006 and that it continued "well into the year 2007," according to the lawsuit. She said the relationship included encounters in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Beverly Hills, California.

            Harper Lee estate sues over 'Mockingbird' Broadway version

AP Photo/Rob Carr, File

Harper Lee estate sues over 'Mockingbird' Broadway version

The estate of "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee has filed suit over an upcoming Broadway adaptation of the novel, arguing that screenwriter Aaron Sorkin's script wrongly alters Atticus Finch and other characters from the book.

The suit, which includes a copy of a contract signed by Lee and dated about eight months before her death in February 2016, contends Sorkin's script violates the agreement by portraying Finch, the noble attorney who represents a black man wrongly accused of rape in "Mockingbird," as someone else in the play.

Filed against the theater company of New York producer Scott Rudin, the complaint cites an interview with the online publication Vulture in which Sorkin was quoted as saying the small-town lawyer would evolve from a racist apologist at the start of the show to become "Atticus Finch by the end of the play."

Such a change during a play could fit with the character evolution shown between the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Mockingbird" and Lee's first draft of the novel, finally released in 2015 as "Go Set a Watchman."

But the lawsuit contends the script would violate the contact by changing Finch and other characters and adding still more people who aren't in the novel. It asks a judge to enforce a section of the agreement that states the play won't "depart in any manner from the spirit of the Novel nor alter its characters."

A firm that represents Rudin's company, Rudinplay Inc., said Sorkin's script "is a faithful adaptation of a singular novel which has been crafted well within the constraints of the signed agreement" between the producers and Lee.

The statement also took a jab at the "history of litigious behavior" of Lee's estate, overseen by attorney Tonja Carter of Lee's south Alabama hometown of Monroeville.

"This is, unfortunately, simply another such lawsuit, the latest of many, and we believe that it is without merit," said the statement. "While we hope this gets resolved, if it does not, the suit will be vigorously defended."

The play is scheduled to open in New York in December.

The suit names as its plaintiff Carter, who represented Lee during the final years of the author's life. Carter handled Lee's will and is listed in the lawsuit as the personal representative of Lee's estate.

Rudinplay paid Lee $100,000 after she approved Sorkin as the screenwriter in November 2015, the suit said. Carter first saw a draft of the play in September, according to the lawsuit, and she later spoke with Rudin by phone to express numerous concerns about Sorkin's script.

"Mr. Rudin assured Ms. Carter that he wanted to do the Play right and that he would make sure that the Estate would be satisfied with the final product," the suit said.

The two talked again in February about the script, suit said, adding: "At times, the conversation was heated." Carter sued after Rudin's attorney wrote earlier this month saying extensive changes to the script weren't possible, the suit said.

Sorkin has won multiple Emmys for his work on the drama series "The West Wing," and he won an Academy Award for his screenplay of "The Social Network" in 2011.

Rudin's credits include "Lady Bird," which was nominated for an Academy Award as best motion picture this year, and "Fences," which was a 2017 nominee. He won a best picture Oscar for "No Country for Old Men" in 2008.

            Prosecutors unopposed to release of rapper Meek Mill

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File

Prosecutors unopposed to release of rapper Meek Mill

Prosecutors in Philadelphia are not opposed to the release of rapper Meek Mill while he appeals a probation violation sentence, they said on Wednesday, citing concerns about whether his conviction will ultimately be upheld.

Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was sentenced in November to two to four years in prison for violating probation on a roughly decade-old gun and drug case.

Prosecutors have confirmed that the arresting officer was among those prosecutors from the previous administration tried to keep off the witness stand because of credibility questions. They cited accusations against him by other officers in saying there was "a strong showing of likelihood" of the conviction "being reversed (in whole or in part)."

The district attorney's office said its policy was not to request more than six to 12 months for technical violations of probation and parole, and it was unlikely that the appeal could be decided within six months.

Mill has spent more than two years in custody or on house arrest, and if the conviction is reversed there is a risk of an unjust or disproportionate sentence having been served and "that risk increases as long as (Mill) remains in custody," the office said.

Judge Genece Brinkley, who will decide whether Mill is freed, has been the subject of harsh criticism from Mill's attorneys, who have asked her to recuse herself from the case. The judge has hired an attorney who accuses Mill's legal team of making baseless claims to the media about the judge's personal and professional conduct.

Defense attorney Joe Tacopina hailed the prosecutor's decision and said in a statement, "We look forward to his immediate release by the court on bail in light of this development."

Mill's mother, Kathy Williams, who a day earlier had called on the district attorney to weigh in on the case, expressed gratitude for the action.

"The fact that Robert's entire conviction could be overturned is a blessing and I pray that God gives Judge Brinkley the wisdom to make the right decision and allow my son to return home to his family," she said. "I truly believe justice will prevail."