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Sweet N Juicy

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  1. JUSSIE Smollett told officers he has a drug problem as they arrested him for allegedly staging a "racist and homophobic" street attack to boost his career, according to US reports. Cops later said the Empire star had bought ecstasy from one of the brothers said to have helped him in the elaborate hoax. Today Fox confirmed Smollett had been axed from the last two episodes of hit drama Empire a day after he was freed on $100,000 bail. He went straight from court to the TV set where he made a tearful apology to cast and crew - but they were said top be furious at him over the outrageous alleged stunt. Police charged Smollett on Wednesday with staging the violent attack in Chicago and he handed himself in the next morning. During his arrest he reportedly told officers he struggled with drug use and had never been treated, TMZ reports. And police papers say text messages appear to show Smollett asking pal and Empire extra Abel Osundairo for "Molly" - a street name for ecstasy. If he is convicted, a drug problem could be used as a mitigating factor and get his sentence reduced, US reports say. Abel, who worked on the TV show with the humiliated star, and his brother Ola were allegedly paid £3,000 to stage the fake attack last month. Police said the actor messaged Abel days before saying: "Might need your help on the low." 'DESPICABLE' HOAX Smollett reportedly headed straight to the Empire TV set from court to plead with cast members after being released on £76,000 bail on Thursday. Sources told TMZ that Jussie arrived late on the TV series set and then begged his cast mates to believe he did not orchestrate the hoax. He reportedly said: "I’m sorry I’ve put you all through this and not answered any calls. “I wanted to say I’m sorry and, you know me, I would never do this to any of you, you are my family. I swear to God, I did not do this.” After th emotional speech he went on to shoot scenes for the upcoming series. But co-stars said they feel hurt and embarrassed that he is back after damaging the show's image. Earlier on Thursday, the actor was told to surrender his passport when he appeared in front of State of Illinois Circuit Court Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. The judge called the hate-crime hoax allegations against the star “utterly outrageous,” reports the New York Post. “The most violent, despicable part of it, if true, is the noose,” he said. “That symbol conjures up such evil in this country’s history.” Smollett said he received a threatening hate letter warning 'you will die black fag' but cops say he sent it himself During the court hearing, prosecutor Risa Lanier read aloud a four-page document outlining the mountain of evidence cops compiled while investigating Smollett’s claims. Smollett, who was wearing a black puffa-style jacket, spoke only to give his name during the hearing as his family stood by. Earlier yesterday Smollett was slammed by Chicago's black police chief for "taking advantage of the pain and anger of racism" to boost his career and earnings. The Empire actor could face three years in jail after he was sensationally charged with staging an elaborate street assault so he could play victim. He has also been accused of sending himself a note containing a cartoon figure strung up by a noose and cut-out letters spelling: "You will die, black f*g". Smollett claimed the note was a threat before two Trump fans in MAGA hats shouted racist and homophobic abuse, beat him up and left him with a rope round his neck. But police chief Eddie Johnson said the actor faked the whole thing because he wanted to boost his profile and pay packet. He said: "Smollett attempted to gain attention by sending a false letter that relied on racial, homophobic and political language. "When that didn't work, Smollett paid $3,500 to stage this attack. "This morning not only do I come to you as the superintendent of Chicago police department, but also as a black man who has spent his whole life living in the city. "This announcement today recognises that Empire actor Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career. "I'm left hanging my head asking why. "Why would anyone, especially an African American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations. "How could someone look at the hatred and suffering associated with that symbol and see an opportunity to manipulate that symbol to further his own public profile. "I'm offended by what has happened and I'm also angry." CCTV BOMBSHELL President Trump tweeted in response: "@jussiesmollett - what about MAGA and the tens of millions of people you insulted with your racist and dangerous comments!? #MAGA" Cops grew suspicious as holes began to appear in the actor's story following the alleged attack in Chicago last month and a tearful TV interview as he told of his ordeal. CCTV footage emerged showing two brothers with links to Smollett buying ski masks, bandanas and red hats just a day before the "attack". Smollett was subsequently charged with disorderly conduct and filing a false police report. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said on Twitter: "Felony criminal charges have been approved by @CookCountySAO against Jussie Smollett for Disorderly Conduct / Filing a False Police Report. "Detectives will make contact with his legal team to negotiate a reasonable surrender for his arrest." Responding to the charge, Smollett's lawyers Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson said they planned to mount an "aggressive defence". In a joint statement, they said: "Like any other citizen, Mr Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. "Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defence." CELEB SUPPORT Empire extras Ola Osundairo, 27, and brother Abel, 25, were allegedly paid more than £3,000 by the actor to attack him. On Wednesday they appeared before a Grand Jury - which decides whether to bring charges in big cases - for two and a half hours to testify against Smollett. The brothers' lawyer Gloria Schmidt later told reporters they laid out how Smollett "put them up to the fake assault", TMZ reported. The shocking twist in the case came just days after A-list celebs flooded social media with their support for the 36-year-old. Brit catwalk queen Naomi Campbell — who starred in hip-hop drama Empire — called on Chicago’s mayor to catch the “despicable people” who had committed this “act of hate”. Oscar-winner Viola Davis also shared a photo of the actor on Instagram, saying: “OMG!! This is why the LGBTQ community continue to fight to be seen and protected against hate! “We ALL have to take this racist and homophobic act of violence very personally! My arms are around you @jussiesmollett. You are loved!” And TV host Ellen DeGeneres, referring to an interview when the actor revealed he was gay, said: “Four years ago, @JussieSmollett came out on my show. I’m sending him and his family so much love today.” Smollett, who was treated in hospital, had initially told police that his "attackers" were yelling racial and homophobic slurs. And he claimed they made reference to "MAGA" - the “Make America Great Again” election catchphrase used by President Trump. Last week a tearful Smollett, who also starred in 1992 kids’ movie The Mighty Ducks, told Good Morning America he was attacked at 2am while speaking on the phone to his manager. He said: "I was crossing the intersection . . . I heard ‘Empire!’ I don’t answer to Empire. My name ain’t Empire.” Smollett said he heard one of them utter a racial slur, and added: “So I turned around and said, ‘What the f*** did you just say to me?’ I see the attacker masked.” Getting emotional, Smollett continued: “He said: ‘This MAGA country n*****’. And he punched me in the face so I punched his ass back.” DOUBTS SWIRL Smollett said a second person kicked him in his back. They threw a bleach-like substance in his face and tied a rope round his neck, he claimed. Choking up, Smollett told the interviewer: “I will never be the man that this did not happen to. I am forever changed.” But doubts about the authenticity of the attack were quickly raised after the actor refused to hand over his phone to detectives. Cops were also curious as to why the rope was still around Smollett's neck when they arrived on the scene 30 minutes later. He also asked responding officers to turn off their body cameras and come into his apartment — because he said he did not want neighbours witnessing the scene. But frustrated Smollett insisted: "It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me a lot more.” His story unravelled after cops arrested two black men with connections to him. Ola — who had worked as an extra on Empire — and Abel were released when officers revealed new evidence had come to light and they were “eager to speak to” Smollett. Cops are now understood to believe the star paid the men £2,700 to attack him and £390 when they returned from holiday in Nigeria. Sources told website TMZ the trio even rehearsed  the  assault. Following their release last week, the two brothers said: “We are not racist. We are not homophobic, and we are not anti-Trump.”
  2. JUPITER — New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution in connection with a Florida spa tied to an international human trafficking ring, police said Friday. The NFL owner was charged with paying for sexual services at Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter. The spa was among 10 shut down in the Orlando area, Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast after a several-month investigation revealed women there were in "sexual servitude," according to arrest records. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft celebrates a win against the Los Angeles Rams after NFL Super Bowl 53 on Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019 in Atlanta. (Photo11: Gregory Payan/AP) A detective said the acts were captured on surveillance video. Kraft, 77, has not yet been arrested on the misdemeanor charges, according to the Jupiter Police Department. "We categorically deny that Mr. Kraft engaged in any illegal activity," a spokesman for Kraft said in a statement. "Because it is a judicial matter, we will not be commenting further." Kraft bought the Patriots in 1994 for $172 million. He is the head of the Kraft Group, a holding company with investments in a number of industries, including sports and real estate. He is worth an estimated $6.6 billion, according to Forbes.com. Kraft is a longtime seasonal resident of Palm Beach County, according to the Palm Beach Daily News. Under Kraft's ownership, the Patriots have played in 10 Super Bowls and have won a record-tying six Super Bowl championships. Human trafficking An investigation into the spa, which opened in 2012, began in October. Surveillance revealed a steady stream of male clients at the nondescript business in a Jupiter strip center between 9 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. They would stay for 30 minutes to an hour, arrest records show. Hua Zhang (Photo11: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY PALM BEACH COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE) Women, many of them from China, lived inside and were not permitted to leave, detectives learned. Police found napkins coated in seminal fluid in a trash receptacle outside the spa on more than one occasion. Condoms were rarely used, according to arrest warrants. More: Human trafficking in Florida massage parlors: What happened in Vero Beach and Sebastian? The owner of that spa, Hua Zhang, 58, of Winter Garden, was arrested and charged with deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution, keeping and frequenting a house of prostitution and 26 counts of procuring for prostitution. Buy Photo Orchids of Asia Day Spa, 103 S U.S. 1, unit C-2, Jupiter (Photo11: ERIC HASERT/TCPALM) Martin County Sheriff William Snyder believe women in the spas were supplied by human traffickers with ties to China and New York. Millions began to be seized and about 300 arrest warrants were issued this week in connection with the 10 spas: Cove Day Spa: 6136 S.E. U.S.1, Stuart Therapy Spa: 2836 S.E. U.S. 1, Stuart Bridge Day Spa: 11774 S.E. U.S. 1, Hobe Sound Orchids of Asia Day Spa: 103 U.S. 1, Jupiter Sequoia Apple Day Spa: 10447 S.E. U.S. 1, Hobe Sound East Spa: 2345 14th Ave., Suite 10, Vero Beach AA Massage: 1547 U.S. 1, Sebastian East Sea Spa: 13401 U.S. 1, Sebastian East Spa: 1410A Gene St., Winter Park Rainbow Spa: 1809-2 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando
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