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Anthony Weiner pleads guilty in sexting case

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 9:06 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 11:38 AM

Anthony Weiner - A History of Scandals

Update 11:39 a.m.: Former Democratic congressman Anthony Weiner on Thursday pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a minor as part of an investigation into a sexting scandal.

Federal prosecutors in New York said Weiner admitted to sending sexually explicit photos and “directions to engage in sexual conduct” to a 15-year-old girl. He was aware of her age, said acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney John H. Kim.

“Weiner’s conduct was not only reprehensible, but a federal crime,” Kim said.

A charge of transferring obscenity to a minor carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Bloomberg News reported Weiner’s plea agreement called for a sentence between 21 and 27 months. Weiner will have to register as a sexual offender, according to Bloomberg.

Weiner cried in court as he apologized to the 15-year-old girl at the heart of the sexting case, The Associated Press reported.

“I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse,” Weiner said.

He was released on bail Friday ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for Sept. 8.

Original story: A former Democratic congressman who was brought down over sexting scandals is scheduled to plead guilty Friday.

Anthony Weiner will plead guilty in federal court to one count of transferring obscene material to a minor, two unnamed sources told The New York Times.

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Weiner’s expected guilty plea is part of a plea agreement. He was in FBI custody Friday morning after turning himself in, ABC News reported.

An investigation was launched last September into reports that Weiner had been sending sexually explicit messages to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina, The Times reported. That investigation is what prompted the final review in Oct. 2016 of Hillary Clinton’s private server, ABC News reported last year. During the investigation into Weiner’s alleged text message to the teen, at least one device had been found to have allegedly been used by both Weiner and his now estranged wife Huma Abedin, Clinton’s aide. Abedin had an email account on Clinton’s private server, ABC News reported. Days before the November presidential election, now-former FBI director James Comey told Congress about the FBI investigation into emails between Clinton and her aides, The Times reported last year. Two days before the election, Comey wrote a second letter to Congress stating that no new evidence against Clinton was found, Fox News reported. The Comey letters and late-in-the-election investigation have been blamed for Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Comey testified on May 3 that it makes him “mildly nauseous” that the letters to Congress could have changed the election outcome, NPR reported, but he stood by that he believes he did the right thing.

May 9, Trump fired Comey after the now-former FBI director’s testimony, NPR reported.

Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner waits to be interviewed while working the phone bank at campaign headquarters on September 9, 2013 in New York City. The city's primary mayoral election is September 10 with the general election scheduled for November 5. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)(Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Weiner resigned from Congress in June 2011 after explicit pictures in an unrelated case became public, CNN reported.

Amal, George Clooney donate $1 million to anti-hate group after Charlottesville violence

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 @ 12:58 PM

Amal and George Clooney attend the Celebrity Fight Night In Italy Benefitting The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center Gala on September 7, 2014 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Andrew Goodman/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night)
Andrew Goodman
Amal and George Clooney attend the Celebrity Fight Night In Italy Benefitting The Andrea Bocelli Foundation and The Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center Gala on September 7, 2014 in Florence, Italy. (Photo by Andrew Goodman/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night)(Andrew Goodman)

George and Amal Clooney have donated $1 million to Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit that strives to put an end to domestic hate groups and extremists, in response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month.

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“What happened in Charlottesville, and what is happening in communities across our country, demands our collective engagement to stand up to hate,” the actor and humanitarian lawyer said in a joint statement.

>> Related: More than 900 active hate groups in the U.S., report says

On Aug. 12, a rally in Charlottesville turned violent when a group of white nationalists clashed with counterprotesters. One woman was killed when a car plowed into the crowd at the rally.

According to Reuters, the donation comes from the Clooney Foundation for Justice, which the couple created in 2016 to promote justice worldwide in courtrooms and classrooms.

Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen released a statement thanking the Clooneys for “standing with (the organization) at this critical moment in our country’s fight against hate.”

Maria Menounos to join Miss America judge panel

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 @ 1:18 PM

Maria Menounos Bio

Not long after revealing she was diagnosed with a brain tumor and stepping down from her on-air position with E! News, Maria Menounos has joined the Miss America judging panel, PEOPLE magazine reported.

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Menounos, who was Miss Massachusetts Teen USA in 1996, will be joined by five other celebrities to choose the winner of the 97th annual competition, which is set to air on September 10. A seventh judge will be announced closer to the competition.

RELATED: Maria Menounos prayed for her own cancer diagnosis during her mother's cancer battle

Actress Molly Simms, 2014 Miss America winner and human rights advocate Nina Davuluri, former “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks, PEOPLE editor-in-chief Jess Cagle and country star Thomas Rhett have also been tapped as judges for this year’s competition.

RELATED: Mel B stormed off the “AGT” stage after Simon Cowell’s crude joke about her wedding night

The winner of Miss America will be given a full college scholarship. And judges won’t only look for beauty in this competition. They will also take lifestyle and fitness, talent, interview and evening attire into consideration.

“I’m so excited to be a judge at this year’s competition and am happy to participate alongside an organization that is an advocate for women’s education. I’m looking forward to seeing all the young women who have come this far and hearing more about them and their interests,” Simms said following the announcement.

Sparks added in a statement: “I am honored to participate as a judge for the Miss America competition this year. I understand the pressure that a competition brings and I’m lucky it’s given me the unique perspective on the hard work that the contestants have to put in to get to this point. No doubt they are all strong women and I look forward to hearing the platforms they represent.”

“Bachelor” host Chris Harrison will serve as the host of Miss America which will air live from Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 10.

Actress Maria Menounos attends "The Fate Of The Furious" New York Premiere at Radio City Music Hall on April 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Thousands of Atlantic salmon escape fish farm in San Juan Islands

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 @ 12:45 PM

An Atlantic salmon is pictured here. Washington State officials are encouraging fishermen to catch as many Atlantic salmon as possible after thousands escaped from a fish farm in the San Juan Islands.
The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images
An Atlantic salmon is pictured here. Washington State officials are encouraging fishermen to catch as many Atlantic salmon as possible after thousands escaped from a fish farm in the San Juan Islands.(The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images)

A fish pen containing 305,000 farmed Atlantic salmon collapsed over the weekend in the San Juan Islands, raising fears about the potential that native Pacific salmon will be negatively impacted.

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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimated that between 4,000 and 5,000 fish escaped the damaged pen off Cypress Island when it first became compromised Saturday.

The farm's owner, Cooke Aquaculture Pacific, said the farm then collapsed entirely on Sunday, trapping most of the fish inside.

Both the company and state officials did not expect disease to be transferred to native salmon because the farmed fish are considered healthy. Ron Warren, fish program assistant director for WDFW, said the farmed salmon had not received meal with antibiotics in more than a year.

>> Related: Watch the International Space Station fly across the solar eclipse

"That's a good indicator of a good healthy lot of fish," Warren said.

Warren expects the fish will make their way to fresh water areas, particularly in north Puget Sound, but predicted the biggest native impact on local wild salmon would be new competition for food.

He said there was no evidence that Atlantic salmon have successfully interbred with native wild salmon in Western Washington, but that "we don't like to test that theory.”

State officials encourage recreational anglers to catch the salmon, which are about 8-10 pounds each.

>> Related: Strange sea creatures in northwest waters ‘concerning’ scientists

The state says there is no size or catch limit for Atlantic salmon.

Read more here.

Queen, Freddie Mercury biopic cast set

Published: Wednesday, August 23, 2017 @ 12:47 PM

September 1976:  British rock group Queen at Les Ambassadeurs, where they were presented with silver, gold and platinum discs for sales in excess of one million of their hit single 'Bohemian Rhapsody', which was No 1 for 9 weeks. The band are, from left to right; Brian May, John Deacon (standing), Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury (Frederick Bulsara, 1946 - 1991).  (Photo by Ian Tyas/Keystone/Getty Images)
Ian Tyas/Getty Images
September 1976: British rock group Queen at Les Ambassadeurs, where they were presented with silver, gold and platinum discs for sales in excess of one million of their hit single 'Bohemian Rhapsody', which was No 1 for 9 weeks. The band are, from left to right; Brian May, John Deacon (standing), Roger Taylor and Freddie Mercury (Frederick Bulsara, 1946 - 1991). (Photo by Ian Tyas/Keystone/Getty Images)(Ian Tyas/Getty Images)

Rami Malek, the star of USA’s “Mr. Robot” was already tapped to play Queen’s flamboyant lead singer Freddie Mercury. The movie now has the rest of the iconic band cast.

Ben Hardy, who was in “X-Men Apocalypse”, will be portraying the band’s drummer, Roger Taylor. Gwilym Lee, of “The Tourist,” will be Brian May. Joe Mazzello from “Jurassic Park” will round out the band as John Deacon, according to Queen’s website announcement.

From L to R: Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee(Getty Images)

L to R: Freddie Mercury, John Deacon, Roger Taylor, Brian May(Getty Images)

The movie, which is being directed by X-Men director Bryan Singer, will be called “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Singer has said he plans on recreating Queen’s iconic moments, like the 1985 Live Aid performance.

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There had been a shake-up in casting. Originally Sacha Baron-Cohen was set to play Mercury, but after arguments between himself and May and Taylor, he dropped out and Malek took his place, NME reported.