Brittney GrinerPleads Guilty in Russian Court ...Brings Photo of wife

UPDATE

7:08 AM PT -- Brittney Griner has just pled guilty to drug possession and smuggling charges in a Russian court. She told the judge, "I'd like to plead guilty, your honor, but there was no intent. I didn't want to break the law."

UPDATE

Griner spoke in English and it was translated to the court. She went on to say, "I'd like to give my testimony later. I need time to prepare." It's unclear what testimony to which she's referring, since she was pleading guilty. The testimony may involve sentencing.

UPDATE

The next hearing is set for July 14. Griner faces up to 10 years in prison. It's interesting the plea comes on the heels of President Biden saying he was stepping up efforts to win her release.

Brittney Griner is back in court in Russia as her trial continues onward ... but this time, she made sure to bring a very personal item with her -- a photo of her wife.

Cameras captured the WNBA superstar walking into a Moscow courtroom for another hearing in her drug case on Thursday morning ... and you can see in her hand, very clearly, was a photo of Cherelle Griner.

The picture appears to be a screen grab from one of Cherelle's recent television interviews ... and next to it, there was also a photo of Brittney holding a basketball.

Brittney seemed to want to make sure cameras snapped her holding the pics ... as she held out the paper and stared at photogs camped inside the halls of the courthouse on her way inside.

The 33-year-old hooper wore a red Crenshaw T-shirt, red sweats ... and had a stern look on her face.

The loud-and-clear message from Brittney comes just one day after both President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Cherelle about Brittney's case.

White House officials said Biden and Harris assured Cherelle on the call they're pursuing "every avenue to bring Brittney home" and promised that they're "working to secure Brittney’s release as soon as possible."

Cherelle said in a statement shortly after the call she was "grateful" for the U.S. officials' contact ... but added at a rally for Brittney at the Footprint Center in Phoenix hours later that she "honestly can't rest until" Brittney is back on U.S. soil.

As we reported, Brittney is facing up to 10 years behind bars in Russia after she was accused of having drugs in her luggage at a Moscow airport back in mid-February.

Originally Published -- 6:34 AM PT

Mini Depp v. Mini HeardCourt Battle Replays in Mini Wrestling!!!

MINI MATCHUP
BACKGRID

Amber Heard's getting a small shot at redemption -- not in court, but in a wrestling ring where, you guessed it ... Mini Johnny Depp squares off against Mini Amber!!!

Yeah, they might be testing the limits of the world's fascination with the bitter exes, but Wednesday night the good folks at Micromania M****t Wrestling put on their version of the defamation trial at the Whisky-a-Go Go ... complete with a Mini Camille Vasquez in Johnny's corner.

Ya can't knock the theater of it all -- Amber entered the ring to the Buckcherry hit, "Crazy Bitch," and Johnny swashbuckled in to the "Pirates of the Caribbean" theme.

As for the ring action ... well, you really just gotta see it, but here's a short summary: Both minis get in their shots, with Amber delivering the most humiliating blow. As the ring announcer so eloquently put it, "She wiped s**t on his face! What the f**k?!?"

Poetry.

Anyway, just like in the Fairfax courthouse, Johnny came out on top ... delivering a Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka finishing move, and then pinning Mini Amber. Mini Camille even got in a parting shot.

Ya happy, America? This is what happens when you feverishly watch every moment of a trial and flood TikTok with your takes. We're sure the minis will be standing by if Amber really does appeal.

'One Tree Hill' Bevin PrinceHusband Dies After Being Struck by Lightning

"One Tree Hill" star Bevin Prince is suffering through the devastating loss of her husband, who was struck by lightning.

According to a local report, William Friend was near Masonboro Island in North Carolina over the weekend when he was hit by a lightning strike. Friend, the CEO of Bisnow, a digital media company, was only 33 years old.

NBC affiliate WECT says deputies performed CPR on Friend at the scene for 20 minutes, but the life-saving efforts weren't enough ... he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Bevin and William married in 2016, the pair owned a fitness business in North Carolina.

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A release from Bisnow read, in part, "Friends and former colleagues marveled at Friend's ability and willingness to take on new challenges β€” whether or not he was ready. He demonstrated that tenacity at an early age."

Bevin was a regular on "One Tree Hill" ... appearing in episodes from 2003 to 2012.

Travis ScottFires Back at Astroworld Victim Attorney ...I Was Trying to Keep Fans Safe at Coney Show!!!

UPDATE

8:53 AM PT -- A rep for Travis tells TMZ, "This is the despicable, cynical height of hypocrisy. It’s beyond disappointing to see that - in a desperate bid to influence potential jurors – plaintiffs’ legal team is criticizing Travis for pausing Monday’s Coney Island show to ensure that fans can have fun safely. This is exactly the wrong message to send to fans - and to artists. And it completely ignores the fact that Travis also stopped his performance at Astroworld three different times.”

Travis Scott stopping a concert for a rowdy crowd is backfiring -- 'cause the family of one of the Astroworld victims thinks it shows him picking and choosing when he puts fan safety first.

Alex Hilliard, an attorney representing Ezra Blount's family, tells TMZ ... Scott's actions at the July 4 Coney Island show don't prove the rapper is compassionate and willing to keep order. If anything, it depicts the exact opposite ... at least according to the lawyer.

7/4/22
CROWD CONTROL
TMZ.com

Hillard says, "He knows exactly how to keep his fans safe during a concert, but the problem with that is he didn't just learn about the fact that he has control over the entire crowd."

His implication is Travis has known he wields this power all along, including at Astroworld, but simply refused to exercise it to settle things down. Travis has denied that.

Hillard goes on -- "There are 10 people that would still be alive today, including young Ezra Blount, if Travis realized his responsibility as an artist goes further than just trying to rile up his crowds, and it reemphasizes the rule of 'if you see something say something.'"

In the immediate aftermath of the Coney Island performance, one of Travis's reps came out and said ... "Travis is committed to doing his part to ensure events are as safe as possible so that fans can have fun," adding that he encouraged fans to listen to security so everyone could be safe and enjoy themselves.

It might leave TS feeling like he's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't -- but Hillard just isn't buying the compassionate Trav version of events.

He hits back rather fiercely ... telling us, "The problem Mr. Scott has is his when we call him to the stand to swear him in and cross-examine him the judge will not allow his paid spokesperson to sit in the witness chair and answer questions for him."

As you know ... Travis is still tied to several lawsuits that have accused him of being liable for the deaths at Astroworld Fest. All that litigation is still working its way through the courts, and he has yet to be dropped from any of those suits ... despite having asked.

Kazuki Takahashi'Yu-Gi-Oh' Creator... Dead At 60

Kazuki Takahashi, creator of the hit TV series "Yu-Gi-Oh," and eventual inspiration for the trading card game, has passed away in Japan, according to the country's Coast Guard.

He was 60.

A spokesman told the New York Times that Takahashi -- who had been traveling alone while vacationing -- died from unknown causes while snorkeling.

His body was found Wednesday floating off the coast of Nago -- a city on Okinawa Island in Southern Japan -- the spokesman said.

The Coast Guard is investigating his death.

Takahashi's success with anime began in his early 20s, but it wasn't until 1996 -- when he created "Yu-Gi-Oh" -- he would realize just how popular the series would become.

Takahashi said in 2019 that when he created the manga, the original concept was to show different ways to battle each week. However, after two weeks of drawing out the characters he created, he decided to make the series about a trading card game.

Of course, the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game -- which debuted in the United States in March 2002 -- went on to become one of the most popular card games in the country rivaling the likes of Pokemon.

The franchise is estimated to have made over $17.1 billion, including over $960 million in sales of Takahashi's manga series, according to Newsweek.

Fans of Yu-Gi-Oh were shocked once they learned Takahashi died ... including former NFL player Cassius Marsh, who posted a picture of Yugi -- the show's main protagonist -- on his Instagram story with a sad emoji.

R.I.P.

'90 Day Fiance' Pedro JimenoFiles For Divorce From Chantel EverettYou Siphoned $257K from Our Bank Account!!!

"90 Day FiancΓ©" star Pedro Jimeno has filed for divorce from Chantel Everett ... claiming she took a ton of money from their joint account just to spite him.

The court documents, obtained by TMZ, show Pedro first filed back in May, claiming the two separated the month before. He said their marriage was "irretrievably broken" ... the case is still ongoing.

He also filed an emergency motion on the same day, claiming Chantel withdrew $257K from their joint business account just 5 days before they were separated -- allegedly transferring the money to an account in her and her sister's name.

Pedro claims he tried to resolve the issue but to no avail, so he asked the judge to make her transfer the money over to a joint account until it could be divvied up in the divorce.

The judge denied the request for an emergency hearing, but said the court would set a hearing for a later date to resolve the issue.

As for the divorce, Pedro is seeking an equitable division of all marital property.

Chantel's attorney Jarett R. Sliz declined to comment.

Gunshots in MovieHollywood Won't Limit ProductionsInvolving 'Shootings' In Public Areas

Movie gunfire that has been a staple on the big screen for decades is way more problematic these days -- given the fear those sounds generate during production -- but TMZ has learned the LAPD will continue to allow movie shoots in public areas that involve gunfire.

A law enforcement source at LAPD's Film Unit -- which issues permits to shoot movies in Hollywood and surrounding areas -- tells TMZ, there are no plans to limit shooting scenes in public places.

The LAPD will not publicly comment on its rationale ... but in the wake of the massacres in Highland Park, Uvalde, Buffalo and hundreds of other cities this year alone, there's no doubt the sound of gunshots strikes fear in anyone within earshot.

FLEEING FIREWORKS
Orlando Police Department

You can see clearly from celebrations during the 4th of July in Orlando -- where fireworks went off and people scrambled thinking it was gunfire -- just how terrified and on edge people are.

Nevertheless, there's no current plan in L.A. to limit productions that use weapons and the sounds of gunshots while filming in public.

We attempted to find out if any such productions have outstanding permits for movie shootouts, but records are not readily available.

There have been movie shoots in the past where people who weren't involved panicked when they heard the sounds, but in the last few years the alarm level has clearly exponentially increased.

'Love Is Blind' Star Shaina HurleyI Got Hitched at the Courthouse!!!Overseas Wedding to Come

"Love Is Blind" star Shaina Hurley is a married woman, tying the knot with her fiance, Christos Lardakis in a Chicago courthouse -- but it's just stage one of their big wedding plans.

Witnesses at the court tell TMZ ... the couple exchanged vows Saturday morning, and it was an extremely intimate affair -- the only guests were Christos' daughter, and a close friend.

Sources tell us both of their parents gave their blessings for the smaller courthouse wedding -- which they needed to be legally married in the U.S. before going all out, big fat Greek wedding style!

Yes, we're told Shaina and Christos will have a more traditional, and bigger, ceremony later this month in Greece ... with all of their family and friends.

'LIB' fans will recall Shaina had a strong connection in the pods with former costar, Kyle Abrams. Kyle and Shaina actually got engaged while on the reality series, before she called it quits and left the show. Kyle moved on with his other costar Deepti Vempati after filming ended.

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Christos popped the question back in March, after nearly a year of dating. Clearly, Shaina's been down this road before, but this time, she's sealed the deal.

Opa!!!

Prince HarryI Had No ClueQueen's Staff Cut My Security

Prince Harry claims he was not aware that some folks in the Royal Household had a hand in ending his police protection during a recent trip to the U.K. ... and he's pissed about it.

The Duke of Sussex and his team fired back at royal officials in a hearing Thursday ... saying he should've been aware that some of the Queen's aides were involved in the decision given the fact there were tensions between him and some royal officials.

In case you didn't know -- Prince Harry, who now lives in California, is suing for taking away his personal security during visits to the U.K. He claims it's not safe for him, Meghan Markle, or their two children to return to Britain because it's too dangerous without security help.

His lawyer, Shaheed Fatima, says ... "there were significant tensions between the claimant [Prince Harry] and certain people."

You'll recall ... Harry and his family flew to the U.K. last month to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Though the tension was obviously high between Prince Harry, Meghan and some other royal family members -- he was reportedly assured he'd have police protection.

Kirk FranklinMy Take on R. Kelly Debate ...Hard to 'Separate Artist from the Art'

WITH GREAT POWER ...
TMZ.com

Fans of R. Kelly's music are torn on how to handle the disgraced singer's catalog of hits, now that he's doing 30 years for sex crimes -- but maybe Kirk Franklin can provide some guidance.

We put the issue to the gospel music pioneer in NYC. Seeing as how he recorded with Kelly back in 1998, and he knows a thing or two about being persecuted in the spotlight ... he's a perfect person to weigh in.

The gospel Grammy magnet is currently promoting his social justice reform-themed album, "Kingdom Book One" w/ Maverick City Music, and didn't deny cancel culture is a slippery slope because we all make mistakes.

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Still, he says it can be "difficult to separate an artist from the art," and, therefore, performers have a responsibility to uphold the trust of their fans.

As we reported, Kelly is currently off suicide watch in prison, and if he's at all interested in forgiveness from fans ... it's gonna take a lot of work, according to Kirk.

He loosely quoted the Bible's book of Luke 12:48 when he told us, "To whom much is given, much is required."

Nicki MinajHusband Gets 1-Yr. Home Detention ...Mansion Time, It Is!!!

Nicki Minaj’s husband Kenneth Petty will be doing time for failing to register as a sex offender in California, but much to the feds' dismay -- he'll be doing that time in the mansion where he and Nicki live.

A federal judge sentenced the 44-year-old on Wednesday, giving him 1 year of home detention, 3 years probation and a $55,000 fine. Petty entered a guilty plea back in September 2021.

TMZ broke the story ... prosecutors inside the U.S. Attorney’s Office had argued home detention wouldn't be punishment, because Nicki and Kenneth live in a luxurious multi-bedroom mansion in a gated Calabasas community.

They had recommended Petty get 15 months in prison and 5 years of probation, but the judge clearly disagreed with him getting that stiff of a sentence.

Petty was convicted of a 1994 rape in NYC where he served over 4 years in prison. When he moved to Cali with Nicki, he didn't register on the sex offenders list and that's when the feds busted him.

Well, Nicki knows exactly where her hubby will be for the next year. No need for a babysitter now.

Rafael dos AnjosGaethje & Chandler Wouldn't Fight Me... Rankings Obsession

STOP PLAYIN' GAMES
TMZSports.com

Rafael dos Anjosplans to be a UFC champ again, but the future Hall of Famer isn't fighting a top 5 ranked opponent when he returns to the Octagon Saturday night ... 'cause RDA tells TMZ Sports the dudes at the top of the division simply won't fight him.

"We're trying to get a fight with all the guys ahead of me on the rankings, but nobody seems to want to fight," #7 ranked dos Anjos says, adding many fighters will only face guys ranked higher than them.

We asked the soon-to-be 38-year-old fighter -- who's beaten guys like Nate Diaz, Robbie Lawler, and Donald Cerrone -- specifically who turned down the fight.

"Everybody. We tried everybody. We tried [Michael] Chandler, we tried [Justin] Gaethje. We tried everybody. It seems to not work. We threw all the names out there. Trying to get a better fight with a better-ranked opponent. But, besides Beneil Dariush, he's my friend, I didn't try to fight him. But other than that, seems like nobody wants to take a 'step back.'"

FYI, there's (technically) no lightweight champ. The strap was stripped from Charles Oliveira (#1) after he missed weight prior to his title fight with Justin (#3) in May. Dustin Poirier is ranked #2, Islam Makhachev #4, Chandler #5, and Dariush is #6.

As for the guy RDA is fighting ... 29-year-old Rafael Fiziev is a savage. He's ranked #10, and has only lost once (11-1) in his professional career. RF last fought in December 2021 ... when he knocked out Brad Riddell with a spinning head kick in the final round.

Both top 10 fighters are attempting to get to the same place ... the top of the lightweight division. Dos Anjos has been there before ... defeating Anthony Pettis for the LW belt in 2015.

Fiziev's trying to claw his way to the top for the first time.

Bottom line ... only one Rafael can emerge the winner Saturday night.

'Cheer' Star Jerry HarrisSentenced to 12 Years ...In Child Pornography Case

UPDATE

5:28 AM PT -- 7/7 --Jerry's attorney Todd S. Pugh just released the following statement to TMZ ... "Jeremiah "Jerry" Harris is exceedingly grateful for Judge Shah’s recognition of his humanity, worthiness, rehabilitative potential. While Jerry has a difficult road ahead of him, his uncompromising spirit and strength has carried him through challenging times before. He has nothing but empathy and remorse for the people he has harmed and hopes that [the] proceeding provided them some peace."

UPDATE

In court yesterday, Jerry showed remorse for the crimes he committed, directly addressing the trauma he caused his victims. "I am ashamed as I know that I took advantage of your youth and weakness. I was wrong and selfish. I caused you harm and I do not blame anyone. I regret my decisions and I am deeply sorry."

Jerry Harris, star of Netflix's "Cheer," has just been sentenced to 12 years behind bars in his child pornography case.

Harris was in court for sentencing Wednesday, where a string of his friends and supporters read statements about the disgraced reality star's character. After the lengthy hearing, the judge announced the 12-year sentence.

Fed source tells TMZ … Harris has been ordered into 8 years to pay $35,000 into AVAA crime victims fund, along with court-supervised release after imprisonment.

As we reported, Harris was facing up to 50 years behind bars after pleading guilty to one count of receipt of child pornography, and one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct ... federal prosecutors recommended Harris spend 15 years locked away.

The "Cheer" star had been under investigation by the FBI dating back to 2019. Authorities claimed he was soliciting sex from minors at cheer competitions, and coercing teen boys to send inappropriate photos.

He was arrested in September of the following year -- the Netflix series even dove into his arrest during their second season.

Harris' cheerleading coach, Monica Aldama, was completely shocked by the news ... saying, "Our children must be protected from abuse and exploitation, and I'm praying hard for the victims and everyone affected."

He was denied bond while awaiting trial ... prosecutors successfully argued Harris might prey on minors if released on bond, reverting back to the same behavior he once had.

Originally Published -- 7/6 3:06 PM PT

Westside BoogieEminem Taught Me, No Crowd-Surfing... But It's My Thing!!!

SURF'S UP
It's Tricky with Raquel Harper

Westside Boogie says he's picked up lots of gems from Eminem while signed to his record label, but, unfortunately ... the best one involves NOT doing something he loves to do!!!

The Compton-bred rapper sat down with Raq on the 'It's Tricky' podcast and talked more about being a Shady Records artist, and learning the ropes from Em.

Westside Boogie says, the best tip Em ever gave him was telling him to stop crowd-surfing because there's a chance he can get sued. Great advice, financially speaking ... possibly, but you can tell in this clip, WB is conflicted about it.

If you didn't know ... Westside Boogie, formerly known as Boogie, signed to Shady Records and Interscope Records back in 2017.

Apparently, Marshall's warning came with good reason. Besides the aforementioned legal concerns ... Westside Boogie says his label honcho doesn't approve of stage-diving because it sparked a fight, back in the day for the 'Real Slim Shady.'

Westside Boogie released his 2nd studio album a few weeks back, but it's still a bit unclear if he'll stop pulling out his favorite move at the shows.πŸ˜†

For the full interview, catch "It's Tricky with Raquel Harper" wherever you get your podcasts.

Guess Who ThisBashful GirlTurned Into!

Before this girl in pink turned into an actress and a shining singer, she was just a pre-teen at brunch posing with her mini purse and growing up in Charlottesville, Virginia.

This brunette beauty made her film feature debut in "The New Romantic" starring Jessica Barden, but she's definitely most known for playing the outgoing and extroverted high school girl in a hit drama series, alongside Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart.

Still not sure who this young fashionista turned into? She enjoys sharing her skincare and beauty routine on Instagram with her millions of followers.

Can you guess who she is?

Elon MuskHad Twins with One of His Execs ...According to New Report

Elon Muskreportedly had twins on the low last year with a woman who is running one of his companies ... making him a father to at least 9 kids.

Elon had twins with Shivon Zilis -- a top executive at Neuralink, the brain chip company Musk co-founded and chairs -- according to an Insider report, and court docs filed in Texas.

The twins were born in November, and the timing is interesting ... because only a few weeks later in December, Elon and Grimes welcomed their second baby via surrogate.

No word on the twins' first names, but court docs were reportedly filed earlier this year by Elon and Shivon requesting the children's names be changed to include Zilis as a middle name, and Musk as the last. A judge already approved the request.

Elon and Shivon met back in 2015, and she's been rising through the ranks at his companies ... including a stop at Tesla before Neuralink. There's speculation Elon might pick her to run Twitter if his deal to buy the social media giant eventually goes through.

Elon's made a big fuss over the years about declining birth rates, and now he has 9 kids we know about ... including 5 with ex-wife Justine Wilson, 2 with Grimes and now 2 with Shivon.

As we reported, Elon and 4 of his kids recently met Pope Francis at the Vatican.

We reached out to Elon's camp about the twins ... so far no word back.

Old news is old news!
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