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Alec Baldwin defends director Woody Allen as Hollywood backs away

Alec Baldwin and Woody Allen. (Photos by Reuters)
LOS ANGELES | Actor Alec Baldwin on Tuesday expressed support for filmmaker Woody Allen as a growing number of entertainment industry stars seek to distance themselves from the “Annie Hall” director as part of the Time’s Up campaign against sexual misconduct.

Baldwin, who appeared in three of Allen’s films, said on Twitter that the renunciation of the director and his work was “unfair and sad to me.”

Baldwin said working with Allen was “one of the privileges of my career.”

Allen has repeatedly denied decades-old accusations that he molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old in the early 1990s.

But sentiment has turned against him during the sexual misconduct scandal sweeping Hollywood that has led to dozens of successful men being forced to resign or being dropped from projects.

“I am credible, and I am telling the truth, and I think it’s important that people realize that one victim, one accuser, matters. And that they are enough to change things,” Farrow said in an advance excerpt from a television interview due to be broadcast on the CBS show “This Morning” on Thursday.

Baldwin said he did not intend to “dismiss or ignore such complaints.”

“But accusing people of such crimes should be treated carefully,” he added.

Representatives of Allen did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. The director has never been charged with a crime.

Allen, 82, won Oscars for the films “Annie Hall,” “Hannah and Her Sisters” and the 2011 comedy “Midnight in Paris,” and continues to release a new movie almost every year.

Timothee Chalamet, 22, the star of gay romance “Call me By Your Name,” this week became the latest actor to announce he will donate the salary he earned from an Allen movie to “Time’s Up” and other causes for sexual abuse victims.

He followed Rebecca Hall, Ellen Page and Mira Sorvino who have made donations or issued regrets about working with Allen in recent weeks. Last week “Lady Bird” director Greta Gerwig, who acted in the 2012 film “To Rome with Love,” said she would not work with Allen again.

The “Time’s Up” campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace was launched two weeks ago by more than 300 Hollywood industry figures.

Allen’s most recent film “Wonder Wheel,” distributed by Amazon Studios, has fared poorly at the North American box office taking only $1.4 million since its Dec. 1 release.

His next film “A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Chalametand also from Amazon, is due for release later this year.

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller’s Russia Investigation

Stephen K. Bannon arrived to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session on Tuesday. Credit Joshua Roberts/Reuters
WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist, was subpoenaed last week by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The move marked the first time Mr. Mueller is known to have used a grand jury subpoena to seek information from a member of Mr. Trump’s inner circle. The special counsel’s office has used subpoenas before to seek information on Mr. Trump’s associates and their possible ties to Russia or other foreign governments.

A second subpoena for Mr. Bannon to testify came from a House panel on Tuesday.

The Mueller subpoena could be a negotiating tactic. Mr. Mueller is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators in the less formal setting of the special counsel’s offices about ties between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia and about the president’s conduct in office, according to the person, who would not be named discussing the case. But it was not clear why Mr. Mueller treated Mr. Bannon differently from the dozen administration officials who were interviewed in the final months of last year and were never served with a subpoena.

The subpoena is a sign that Mr. Bannon is not personally the focus of the inquiry. Justice Department rules allow prosecutors to subpoena the targets of investigations only in rare circumstances.

On Tuesday, he was questioned for 10 hours behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee, which is also conducting a Russian election meddling investigation. The meeting turned contentious as Mr. Bannon repeatedly said he could not answer questions, citing executive privilege. The committee eventually subpoenaed Mr. Bannon to compel him to provide answers.

Trump Breaks With Bannon, Saying He Has ‘Lost His Mind’ JAN. 3, 2018

After the interview, Democrats on the committee accused the White House of exerting influence over Mr. Bannon to keep him from expounding about his time in the West Wing. A senior administration official insisted that the White House had not told Mr. Bannon to exert executive privilege. Mr. Bannon did not address reporters, and a spokesman for Mr. Mueller did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Mr. Mueller issued the subpoena after Mr. Bannon was quoted in a new book criticizing Mr. Trump, saying that Donald Trump Jr.’s 2016 meeting with Russians was “treasonous” and predicting that the special counsel investigation would ultimately center on money laundering.

After excerpts from the book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” were published this month, Mr. Trump derided Mr. Bannon publicly and threatened to sue him for defamation. Mr. Bannon was soon ousted as the executive chairman of the hard-right website Breitbart News.

Some legal experts said the subpoena could be a sign that the investigation was intensifying, while others said it might simply be a negotiating tactic to persuade Mr. Bannon to cooperate with the investigation. The experts also said it could be a signal to Mr. Bannon, who has tried to publicly patch up his falling-out with the president, that despite Mr. Trump’s legal threats, Mr. Bannon must be completely forthcoming with investigators.

Prosecutors generally prefer to interview witnesses before a grand jury when they believe they have information that the witnesses do not know, or when they think they might catch the witnesses in a lie. It is much easier for a witness to stop the questioning or sidestep questions in an interview than during grand jury testimony, which is transcribed, and witnesses are required to answer every question.

“By forcing someone to testify through a subpoena, you are providing the witness with cover because they can say, ‘I had no choice — I had to go in and testify about everything I knew,’” said Solomon L. Wisenberg, a prosecutor for the independent counsel that investigated Bill Clinton when he was president.

Significant grand jury activity may undermine the case that White House officials have made for months: that they believe the inquiry is coming to an end and are convinced that the president will be cleared. Mr. Mueller has told Mr. Trump’s lawyers that he will probably want to question the president before the investigation concludes, but no interview has been scheduled.

Mr. Bannon has limited firsthand knowledge about two key issues within Mr. Mueller’s purview — the president’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, a decision made without Mr. Bannon present, and the drafting of a misleading statement about the subject of the June 2016 meeting with Russians, in which they promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

But even Mr. Bannon’s secondhand knowledge could be used to draw a contrast with statements from people with firsthand knowledge whom Mr. Mueller has already interviewed. And Mr. Bannon was directly involved in a number of other major moments, including the decision-making around the firing of Michael T. Flynn, the president’s first national security adviser, who was dismissed after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about phone calls with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition.

Mr. Bannon also helped run the transition after Chris Christie, now the former governor of New Jersey, was fired as head of that team. And he was the chief executive of the Trump campaign in October 2016 when WikiLeaks began releasing thousands of stolen personal emails from the hacked account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John D. Podesta.


In “Fire and Fury,” Mr. Bannon was quoted by the author, Michael Wolff, as suggesting that Donald Trump Jr.; the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner; and Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman at the time, were “treasonous” and “unpatriotic” for attending the meeting with Russians at Trump Tower. Mr. Bannon said he believed there was “zero” chance that the younger Mr. Trump did not take them to meet his father, who has said he knew nothing about the meeting.

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor — with no lawyers,” Mr. Bannon said in the book.

Mr. Trump erupted in anger after the excerpts were published, calling Mr. Bannon “Sloppy Steve” on Twitter and saying he had “cried when he got fired and begged for his job.”

“Now Sloppy Steve has been dumped like a dog by almost everyone,” Mr. Trump wrote. “Too bad!”

Days after the excerpts were published, a statement was issued in Mr. Bannon’s name in which he tried to back away from his assertions in the book. He said that his reference to treason was aimed at Mr. Manafort, not the president’s son. Mr. Bannon did not apologize, however, and though he had approved the statement, an associate sent it to reporters without his knowledge.

The president appeared to ease his anger toward Mr. Bannon at the end of last week. When asked in an interview with The Wall Street Journal whether his break with Mr. Bannon was “permanent,” the president replied, “I don’t know what the word ‘permanent’ means.”

People close to Mr. Bannon took the president’s comments as a signal that Mr. Trump was aware that his fired strategist would soon be contacted by investigators.


Mr. Trump has a history of reaching out to people he has fired, including those under investigation, directly or indirectly, as he did with Mr. Flynn after he was dismissed and before he struck a plea deal with Mr. Mueller’s investigators.

Mr. Bannon has hired William A. Burck of the Washington office of the Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan law firm to represent him in the defamation threats from Mr. Trump and the congressional inquiries. Mr. Burck also represents several current and former administration officials who have been interviewed as witnesses by Mr. Mueller’s investigators. Among them are the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, and the former White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

Matt Apuzzo and Ali Watkins contributed reporting from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York.

 

Chrissy Teigen Boldly Offers to Pay Olympic Gymnast McKayla Maroney's 100k Fine If She Speaks at Larry Nasser Hearing

Tommaso Boddi/WireImage
Chrissy Teigen attends the premiere of WGN America's Underground Season 2 held at the Westwood Village on Feb. 28, 2017 in Los Angeles.   
 

In light of the hundreds of allegations against U.S. Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nasser, and with his sentencing going on today (Jan. 16), news that one of the victims, Olympian McKayla Maroney won't be able to testify has left some very angry. 

Maroney, who sued and received a settlement of $1.25 million from the U.S. Gymnastics team in 2016, faces a $100k fine if she speaks out at Nassar's sentencing due to a legal agreement. 

Chrissy Teigen took to Twitter to defend and the gymnast and offered to gladly pay Maroney's fine if she were to speak out during Nassar's marathon sentence hearing, in which a large number of victims are giving statements towards the disgraced doctor, the U.S. Gymnastics program, and Michigan State University where Nassar practiced.

"The entire principle of this should be fought - an NDA to stay quiet about this serial monster with over 140 accusers, but I would be absolutely honored to pay this fine for you, McKayla," said Teigen in a Tweet this morning (Jan. 16)

Along with Maroney, over 100 people have come forth to share stories of Nassar's sexual advances. The latest of which was U.S. Gymnastics Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles. She is one of four from the 'Fierce Five' team that won gold in the 2012.

Twenty-Two Attorneys General Sue The FCC Over Net Neutrality Repeal


On Tuesday, 22 state attorneys general filed a federal lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission in response to the agency's repeal of Obama-era net neutrality regulations, the Hill reports. Last month, the FCC rolled back rules, in place since 2015, that prevented Internet service providers from blacklisting specific websites or charging different prices for faster loading speeds.

"In repealing the net neutrality rules, the FCC ignored consumers' strong support for a free and open Internet," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement, echoing the backlash of the widely unpopular December repeal. "Internet access is a utility."

The lawsuit follows senate Democrats' announcement on Monday, reported by the Washington Post, that 50 senators have signed on to a Senate resolution that would overturn the FCC repeal and restore net neutrality rules. However, even if the necessary 51 Senate votes are secured, the bill is unlikely to pass the Republican-majority house or be signed by President Donald Trump.

Subway rider gives homeless man 'the shoes off his feet'

A Chicago woman says she was inspired after seeing a Good Samaritan give away his own winter boots to a homeless man on the subway, in a heart- and foot-warming story that is going viral on Facebook.
Jessica Bell says the incident happened late Friday on Chicago’s public transit system, where she found herself sitting across from an “older, weathered-looking” homeless man. She says in the post that he was wearing shabby, tattered gym shoes and several layers of socks, and that his swollen feet appeared to be bleeding underneath all those layers.
“I don’t know how many pairs of socks he’s wearing in an attempt to keep his feet warm but there is blood seeping through,” she wrote in her post.

Bell says she was astonished to see another man take off his new, expensive-looking boots and hand them over “in a blink-and-you’ll-miss it fashion.” The man, whom Bell described as “younger, carrying a satchel and a suitcase,” also handed over a pair of socks before pulling out a backup pair of shoes from his suitcase.
“These shoes are nice too, but not as nice as the boots,” Bell wrote. “They would have fit the old man just as well, but they were not what this old man needed.”
The incident occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Chicago’s subway, just as frigid winds and a snowstorm were hitting the city.
Bell says she later spoke to the Good Samaritan and learned that his name was Maurice Anderson, and that he was only in town from Kentucky to visit his family. She says he didn’t make a fuss about handing over the boots, and didn’t say anything to anyone about it.
“Maurice took the shoes off his feet in the middle of a Chicago cold snap,” Bell told CTVNews.ca in a telephone interview on Monday.
“He didn’t draw a lot of attention to it,” she said. “It was so quiet and selfless.”
After handing over the shoes, Anderson advised the homeless man to clean his feet before putting on the fresh pair of socks, Bell recounted. Anderson got off the train shortly after.
“I love that in a time and place where hate and apathy are rampant, quiet compassion appears without warning,” Bell wrote.
The homeless man later told her that the boots came as a relief, because he was afraid his feet had become frostbitten from the cold.
Bell told CTVNews.ca that Chicago’s subway runs through the night, and is a common place for the city’s homeless to take shelter from the cold during bad weather.
Bell shared two photos of the older man putting on the boots, tagging the photos as being “with God” at the Chicago Transit Authority.
She says she wrote about the encounter on Facebook while waiting for a bus that night, and by the time she got home, her post had been shared several times. The post also caught Anderson’s attention, and the two have been working through the widespread media attention ever since.
The post has been shared more than 12,000 times.
“I’m inspired to continue to try to ‘be the change’ and I pray you are too,” she wrote.
Bell told CTVNews.ca she was truly touched by Anderson’s generosity, adding that it’s just one of the many selfless acts that often go unnoticed in the world every day.
“This is what people want to believe in,” she said.

13 victims, ages 2 to 29, kept shackled in foul Perris home by parents, officials say

David and Louise Turpin allegedly kept 13 victims confined in filthy conditions in Perris home. (Riverside County Sheriff's Dept.)

 

David Allen Turpin and Louise Anna Turpin allegedly kept their 13 children, ages 2-29, shackled in their Perris home in filthy conditions. (KABC)
Updated 6 mins ago
PERRIS, Calif. (KABC) -- Thirteen victims, ranging in age from 2 to 29 years old, were kept shackled to their beds amid foul surroundings in a Perris home by their parents, sheriff's officials said.

Early Sunday morning, a 17-year-old girl escaped from the residence, located in the 100 Block of Muir Woods Road and called 911 from a cellular device she managed to take from the home, investigators said.

That teen told the 911 operator that she and her 12 siblings were being held captive in their home by their parents.

When investigators from the Perris Police Department and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department met with the girl, they said she looked emaciated and only 10 years old, though she was 17.

After interviewing the girl, investigators contacted her parents, 57-year old David Allen Turpin and 49-year old Louise Anna Turpin at the home from which the teen escaped.

Further investigation revealed several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings. However, the parents were not able to immediately provide a reason why their children were restrained in that manner.

Deputies located what they believed to be 12 children inside the house - but were shocked to discover that seven of them were actually adults, ranging in age from 18 to 29.

The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.
There were 13 victims total -- 12 in the house, and one who escaped and called 911. The victims, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 years old, were transported to the Perris Station and interviewed.

Both parents were detained and transported to the station for further investigation. Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services arrived to assist in the investigation. The victims were provided with food and beverages after they claimed to be starving.

Both parents were interviewed and subsequently transported to the Robert Presley Detention Center. They were arrested on suspicion of torture and child endangerment.

Bail was set at $9 million each.

James and Betty Turpin of West Virginia, who are David Turpin's parents, told ABC News they are "surprised and shocked" at the allegations against their son and daughter-in-law.

They said they haven't seen the couple since they visited them in California four or five years ago. They keep in touch regularly by phone with David and Louise, but not with the grandchildren. They said their grandchildren are home-schooled.

If you have any relevant information about this ongoing investigation, you're urged to contact Investigator Tom Salisbury at the Perris Station by calling (951) 210-1000 or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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