People in the news

Status hearing set for Smollett lawsuit

CHICAGO (AP) — A hearing is set in the city of Chicago’s effort to recover costs from actor Jussie Smollett after police said his claims of a racist and anti-gay attack were phony and staged.

The status hearing today is the first since the lawsuit was moved to federal court from state court in July.

The city sued in April after a prosecutor’s surprise decision to drop criminal charges against Smollett, who was accused of making a false report. Chicago wants Smollett to pay $130,000 to cover police overtime, among other expenses.

Attorneys for the former “Empire” actor say assertions that Smollett concocted the incident are defamatory. They’re asking U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall to throw out the lawsuit. She’ll likely take several weeks to rule on that request.

Charge dropped against Chris Brown

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A felony battery charge has been dropped against singer Chris Brown, who had been accused of attacking a nightclub photographer in Florida two years ago.

Hillsborough County prosecutors filed a notice Friday to drop the charge. The State Attorney’s Office released a statement saying there was insufficient evidence.

Tampa police say Brown was at the former AJA Channelside club following a concert in April 2017 when he punched a photographer working for the club. Brown was gone when police arrived.

Brown was arrested more than a year later in Palm Beach County. He was met by officers with a warrant while walking off stage after a July 2018 show.

Brown’s attorney, Kevin Napper, told the Tampa Bay Times Brown had been wrongfully accused and that prosecutors made the right decision.

Gill weighs hard truths with ‘Okie’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Vince Gill admits that he broke down in the studio working on a song about his wife, contemporary Christian singer Amy Grant.

When Gill recorded “When My Amy Prays,” about his relationship with God through his wife, he choked up. His normally pristine tenor voice faltered. He decided to leave it as is.

His new album, “Okie,” is filled with more personal and honest moments. Gill sings about regret, faith, sexual abuse and hard choices on the album out Friday. The country singer has always been known for his emotionally wrought performances but “Okie” reveals a lot about his core truths and beliefs.

One of the most striking songs on the album is about child sexual abuse, which Gill said he was inspired to write because “sometimes the innocent don’t have a voice.”

Mark Halperin book announced

NEW YORK (AP) — Mark Halperin’s planned book about the 2020 election has been officially announced amid protests that the “Game Change” co-author hasn’t earned a second chance since facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment.

Regan Arts announced Monday that “How to Beat Trump” will come out in November. It draws upon the input of dozens of Democratic party strategists, among them Donna Brazile and David Axelrod. Reports Sunday of the book’s publication were met with numerous denunciations, with former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson calling the news “a slap in the face to all women.”

By Patricia Older

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