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  • Entertainment News

    • HARVEY WEINSTEIN RAPE TRIAL BEGINS WITH VIVID DESCRIPTIONS OF ALLEGED ATTACKS

      Harvey Weinstein's rape trial began in Manhattan on Wednesday, more than two years after women began sharing their stories. More than 80 women eventually came forward, accusing Weinstein of misconduct, including rape, sparking a #MeToo movement that swept the entire country.

      He is pleading not guilty. If convicted, Weinstein faces life behind bars for rape. Seven men and five women are hearing the case, which involved five charges levied by two women. Four other accusers—including actress Annabella Sciorra—are expected to testify.

      Prosecutors are painting him as a monster who used his power to control women. "They will each describe their fear, their shame and their humiliation – the struggle each went through to push their trauma down and show a brave face to the world," prosecutor Meghan Hast said in her opening statement.

      ALLEGATIONS

      Hast described Sciorra's alleged encounter with Weinstein in her apartment: "She told him to get out. She told him no. But Harvey Weinstein was undeterred,"

      In another incident, Weinstein allegedly injected himself with an erection drug before raping one of his accusers in a hotel room in 2013. Hast said Weinstein became "more demanding and violent" during their encounters, leading to a March 18, 2013, incident where "the defendant decided he wanted more and forcibly took it."

      Weinstein "ordered her onto the bed and disappeared for a moment into the bathroom," Hast said, then "came back out, got on top of her and raped her."

      Hast said after the alleged rape she was "distraught, disgusted and horrified," ran into the bathroom and "saw a needle in the garbage can."

      "She looked at the label of the wrapper and later Googled it," learning that it was for an erectile dysfunction drug, Hast said.

      In 2018, Weinstein's personal assistant, Sandheep Rehal, filed a sex discrimination suit against him, saying he forced her to manage his stockpile of erection drugs. She later reportedly settled.

      DEFENSE

      Weinstein's team, meanwhile, plans to show "dozens and dozens and dozens of loving emails to Mr. Weinstein" from alleged victims. His lawyer Damon Cheronis has said some of the women "also bragged about being in a sexual relationship with him."

      CONCLUSION

      Opening statements ended with the defense team claiming the jury was "poisoned" by prosecutors' depiction of Weinstain as a "predatory monster." Defense attorney Arthur Aidala called on the judge to restart the trial with a new jury. Judge James Burke denied the motion.

      OUTSIDE THE COURT

      As opening arguments went on inside, outside, dozens of alleged victims shared their stories and support. Dubbed the Silence Breakers, accusers launched an Instagram handle @_NoLongerSilent Wednesday to coincide with the opening of the trial.

      The post reads, in part: "We stand in solidarity with Annabella Sciorra, Mimi Haleyi, Dawn Dunning and all of the women who will courageously testify against Harvey Weinstein in court. For decades, Weinstein wielded his power to mentally, physically and professionally abuse and silence women with impunity."

      They continued: "Starting today, he will finally be forced to face his accusers and reckon with the consequences of his monstrous crimes. Whether we are in the court room or supporting our fellow Silence Breakers from around the world, we are all in awe of their selflessness and bravery. We will continue to support them by speaking out and telling our stories until this serial predator is brought to justice."

    • JESSICA SIMPSON DETAILS CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE, ADDICTION

      Multi-hyphenate celebrity Jessica Simpson is detailing childhood sexual abuse, and a serious battle with alcohol and pills in a new memoir, Open Book. The 39-year-old said honesty was the only option: She told People: "I didn't feel comfortable talking about myself in a way that wasn't honest. I'm a horrible liar."

      In her memoir, she shares the horrifying story of her sexual abuse as a young girl, and the emotional pain that resulted, with a domino effect of pressure on her career, which could lead to self-medication with alcohol and stimulants.

      ABUSE

      The abuse started when she was 6, "when I shared a bed with the daughter of a family friend," she writes. "It would start with tickling my back and then go into things that were extremely uncomfortable."

      She wanted to share her story, but was afraid. "I wanted to tell my parents," she writes in an excerpt shared with People. "I was the victim but somehow I felt in the wrong."

      Simpson did eventually tell her parents, Tina and Joe Simpson, while they were on a car trip. Her mom knew. She yelled at Joe, Simpson writes: "I told you something was happening."

      "Dad kept his eye on the road and said nothing," Simpson writes. "We never stayed at my parents' friends house again but we also didn't talk about what I had said."

      Later, she skyrocketed to fame via her voice and on the reality TV show Newlyweds, with then-husband to Nick Lachey. The show aired at the height of her fame, from 2003-2005.

      ADDICTION

      In 2010, she met Eric Johnson, whom she married in 2014. They share three children: Maxwell, 7, son Ace, 6, and baby girl Birdie, 10 months.

      "I was killing myself with all the drinking and pills," she writes.

      "When I finally said I needed help, it was like I was that little girl that found her calling again in life," she says. "I found direction and that was to walk straight ahead with no fear."

      Simpson recalls hitting rock bottom after a Halloween party at their home in 2017.

      She got sober in November 2017 and hasn't had a drink or drug since.

      Simpson says: "Giving up the alcohol was easy. I was mad at that bottle. At how it allowed me to stay complacent and numb."

      Simpson hopes her story will help others. "It's been a long hard deep emotional journey," she says, "one that I've come through the other side with pure happiness and fulfillment and acceptance of myself. I've used my pain and turned it into something that can be beautiful and hopefully inspiring to people."

    • BRAD PITT AND JENNIFER ANISTON ARE NOT GETTING BACK TOGETHER, SO CHILL

      Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are not getting back together, so just stop, insiders tell People.

      The pair, who divorced in 2005, got fans all excited by their touchy-feely apparently emotional reunion behind the scenes at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards.

      "Jen was happy for Brad," a source tells People. "They congratulated each other and that was it."

      The insider adds, "It was an emotional night," and adds that Aniston "is not dating Brad. They are friends and happy for each other. They want nothing but happiness for each other. She is happy to have Brad back in her life as a friend, but that's it."

      IN DENIAL

      If you choose to remain in denial, don't worry. Body language expert Blanca Cobb says there's hope: "A touch doesn't automatically mean it's a romantic gesture. However, Jennifer and Brad's touches lingered just a bit, which implies that there's a connection. Love can reignite over time."

      Plus, Aniston's BFF Courteney Cox liked multiple social media posts saying the pair were "still in love" and videos of them hanging backstage.

    • JUDGE SCOLDS CUBA GOODING JR. FOR SHOWING UP LATE

      Cuba Gooding Jr. was slammed by Judge Curtis Farber for showing up to court more than half an hour late. He was there to finalize a trial date for allegedly groping a woman's breast at a bar in Midtown last year.

      When the 52-year-old strolled in, Farber reportedly scolded him: "The case was called for 9:30 a.m. Why are you late?"

      "I apologize, we hit traffic," said Peter Toumbekis, one of two attorneys representing Gooding in the case.

      "You have to leave early next time," Farber ordered.

      If convicted, Gooding Jr. faced up to a year behind bars. Since his arrest, 21 other women have accused him of sexual misconduct. On Wednesday, Farber ruled that two of the accusers can testify in the trial, which will begin April 21st.

    • WILL LORI LOUGHLIN'S DAUGHTERS HAVE TO TESTIFY AGAINST HER?

      Lori Loughlin's daughters Olivia Jade and Bella may serve as "star witnesses" against her and husband Mossimo Giannulli, according to reports. The pair have pleaded not guilty to allegations that they paid $500,000 to get their daughters into the University of Southern California under false pretenses.

      The alleged plot had the parents telling the girls to pose for fake "action" photos that made it look like they were rowing athletes.

      Prosecutors plan to ask Bella "about the photo she took on a rowing machine prior to being admitted. Bella did so at the direction of her parents," a source tells Us Weekly.

      The girls could theoretically invoke the Fifth Amendment and refuse to testify. Bella and Olivia are no longer enrolled at USC and Olivia Jade is attempting to resurrect her career as an influencer.

      Lori and Mossimo face decades behind bars if convicted. Their trial begins this year.

    • CELEBRITY GOSSIP

      MEGHAN MARKLE STILL ON TOP OF ROYAL DUTIES: Meghan Markle is still working with her royal patronages. The 38-year-old Duchess of Sussex shared shots from a recent visit on Instagram. "Earlier this month, The Duchess of Sussex popped in to see the amazing people at Mayhew to hear about the incredible progress made throughout the festive period," the Sussex Royal Instagram account captioned two photos of Meghan at the animal shelter. Meanwhile, her estranged father Thomas Markle is slamming her and Prince Harry for stepping down from the their senior royal roles. The 75-year-old said in an upcoming documentary that has been leaked in part to tabloid outlets, the "the royals owe me." Addressing his daughter, he said: "It's time to look after Daddy." He also admitted that he is still making money off of photographs he sold to paparazzi in the lead-up to their wedding.

      WENDY WILLIAMS AND KEVIN HUNTER FINALIZE DIVORCE: Wendy Williams and Kevin Hunter are officially divorced, per documents obtained by E! Neither will receive alimony. The 54-year-old talk show host filed for divorce from her husband of 21 years after allegations of cheating.

      JESSE METCALFE AND CARA SANTANA SPLIT: John Tucker Must Die star Jesse Metcalfe has split from his fiancé Cara Santana. The pair were together for 13 years. The news comes after Metcalfe was spotted snuggling up with two other women, including model Livia Pillman. "Cara is heartbroken and has completely shut down and not talking to many people," a source tells E! News, adding that while Jesse has not moved out yet, they are now arranging that. "Cara was completely blindsided by the photos of him with other women."

      BILLY EICHNER JOINS IMPEACHMENT: Billy Eichner will star as Matt Drudge in Impeachment: American Crime Story. He is joining Sarah Paulson, Beanie Feldstein and Clive Owen. This is the third season of the FX Anthology series; it will drop this fall.

      PRIYANKA CHOPRA IS THE NEW FACE OF CROCS: Priyanka Chopra, one of the most bankable stars in the world, is the new face of cheap (@ $30) footwear purveyor Crocs, and yes, everyone else is shocked too. In the first promo shot, she is leaning casually against steps lined with plants wearing orange Crocs and a matching cardigan. In the new "Come As You Are" campaign, several other celebs are coming out as secret Crocs fans, including Zooey Deschanel, Suzu Hirose, Yang Mi, and singer Kim Sejeong.

      KATE MIDDLETON RECALLS FEELING ISOLATING AFTER WELCOMING GEORGE: Kate Middleton visited the Ely and Caerau Children's Centre in Cadriff, Wales on Wednesday and recalled feeling "isolated" as a new mom. The Duchess of Cambridge recalled feelings of isolation: "The first year and I'd just had George—William was still working with search and rescue—and we came up here and I had a tiny, tiny baby in the middle of Anglesey. It was so isolated, so cut off. I didn't have any family around, and he was doing night shifts. So…if only I had had a center like this."

    • INDUSTRY NEWS

      TERRY JONES DIES AT 77: Terry Jones, the founder of the Monty Python comedy troupe, has died at age 77. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, and was unable to speak as of 2017. Fellow Python member Michael Palin described Jones as "kind, generous, supportive and passionate about living life to the full. He was far more than one of the funniest writer-performers of his generation, he was the complete Renaissance comedian – writer, director, presenter, historian, brilliant children's author, and the warmest, most wonderful company you could wish to have," he added. John Cleese, another member of Python, said: "It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away… Two down, four to go." Five films emerged from the Python crew, including Holy Grail (1975), Life Of Brian(1979), The Meaning Of Life (1983). In 2016, Jones received a Lifetime Achievement award from BAFTA. He was married twice and had three children.

      DREW BARRYMORE TALKS DAYTIME TV: Drew Barrymore conquered her fear of working in TV with Netflix's Santa Clarita Diet, which ended after three successful seasons last year. Now, she is set to host and produce The Drew Barrymore Show for CBS. She told Variety that she plans to bring "humor and heart" to the show. She said: "I'm in the joy business. I don't carry the umbrella of darkness with me." The show is set to drop in the fall of 2020.

      NETFLIX SPENDS $150M IN NEW MEXICO: A year after setting up its first major U.S. production hub in New Mexico by snagging ABQ Studios in Albuquerque, Netflix has spent more than $150 million in the state across a half-dozen productions. Prior to signing the deal, Netflix said it aimed to bring $1 billion in production to the state over a decade, but was only committed to spending $80 million annually.

      GLAAD TO HONOR JUDITH LIGHT: The Emmy and Tony-winning Judith Light will be honored at the 31st Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York on March 19th. Light will receive the Excellence in Media Award in a ceremony hosted by Lilly Singh, the host of NBC's A Little Late with Lilly Singh. Ryan Murphy is also being honored with the Vito Russo Award. "Judith Light stood up for and with LGBTQ people when others in media and entertainment refused to speak up, and she has never left our side," said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "When the GLAAD Media Awards first started and was a small event with little visibility, she was one of the few entertainers who would join us in calling for LGBTQ representation, so it is only fitting to now honor her advocacy on what has become the largest LGBTQ stage in the world. From standing alongside LGBTQ people during the AIDS crisis, to fighting for marriage equality, to now uplifting transgender people and issues, Judith advocates with a unique passion and an unending dedication that uplifts."