National Roundup

California
Lawyer: Georgia prosecutor ­seeking info about R. Kelly

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. (AP) — A lawyer representing a couple who appeared in a recent documentary detailing abuse allegations against R. Kelly said prosecutors in Georgia have reached out to him.

Atlanta-based lawyer Gerald Griggs represents Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage, who have said repeatedly that Kelly has kept their daughter from contacting them and has brainwashed her. The Savages, who live in Stockbridge, just south of Atlanta, appeared in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” series.

The series, which aired earlier this month, looks at the singer’s history and allegations that he has sexually abused women and girls. Kelly, who turned 52 on Tuesday, has denied wrongdoing.

Savage and his wife have said they haven’t heard from their daughter in about two years.

The Lifetime series reported that their daughter has repeatedly denied that Kelly has done anything wrong and has said she doesn’t want to talk to her family.

Griggs said the Fulton County district attorney’s office reached out to him on Monday seeking contact information for witnesses. Griggs said Fulton County investigators “haven’t confirmed or denied an investigation.”
Chris Hopper, a spokesman, for the Fulton County district attorney’s office, declined to comment.

Griggs said he has also been contacted by prosecutors in Kelly’s hometown of Chicago. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed reporters Tuesday afternoon after her office had been inundated with calls about the allegations in the documentary, some tied to his Chicago-area home.

But Foxx also said there’s no active investigation of Kelly and launching one would require victims and witnesses.

WMAQ-TV reported that Foxx’s office said Wednesday it has received calls after Foxx asked the public to come forward with information about potential victims of the singer. The office said it is “reviewing and following up” on the calls, but has no additional information at this time.

Kelly’s Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, said in a phone interview Tuesday evening that the allegations in the Lifetime documentary were false. He also said it was inappropriate for a state’s attorney to characterize allegations she’d seen on TV, prior to charges or even an investigation.

Also in Chicago, according to WMAQ, police confirmed Wednesday that they conducted a “business check” at Kelly’s recording studio on the city’s West Side but “have no criminal complaints from anyone about the location.”

Timothy Savage told a police officer on Jan. 3 that Don Russell, whom he identified as Kelly’s manager, had texted him saying it would be best for him and his family if the documentary didn’t air, according to a Henry County police report.

Russell called Savage while the officer was there and Savage put the phone on speaker so the officer could listen, the police report says. It went on to say that Russell accused Savage of lying to Lifetime and said that if Savage continued to support the series, Russell and Kelly would be forced to release information that would show Savage was a liar and that would ruin him, his reputation, his business and his family.

Contact information for Russell could not be immediately found.

Savage also called police in May to report that a man named James Mason had threatened him because Savage was trying to reach his daughter, who he said was being held by Kelly, according to a police report. The report doesn’t say what the relationship between Mason and Kelly is.

Savage told the officer that Mason had called him around 3:10 p.m. on May 23 and said, “I’m gonna do harm to you and your family, when I see you I’m gonna get you, I’m gonna (expletive) kill you.”

Capt. Joey Smith with the Henry County Police Department confirmed by email Wednesday that a magistrate judge had issued a warrant for Mason on charges of terroristic threats and acts. The email says detectives would like to meet with Mason to “review his version of events.” The Henry County Sheriff’s Office said no one by that name has been arrested since the warrant was issued last year.

Mason did not respond to an email Wednesday seeking comment.

A Cook County jury acquitted Kelly of all 14 counts of child pornography in 2008. Prosecutors had argued a videotape showed him engaged in graphic sex acts with a girl as young as 13. Kelly and the alleged victim, in her 20s at the time of the trial, denied it was them in the video.

Kelly rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side to become a star singer, songwriter and producer. Despite his legal troubles a decade ago, he still retains a following.

Kelly won a Grammy in 1997 for “I Believe I Can Fly,” and is known for such raunchy hits as “Bump N’ Grind” and “Ignition.”

California
Judge dismisses part of Judd’s lawsuit against Weinstein

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal judge has reportedly dismissed part of Ashley Judd’s lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein.

Judge Philip S. Gutierrez of United States District Court in Los Angeles ruled Wednesday that the actress’ sexual harassment claim does not fall within the scope of a California statute. But he said Judd may proceed to trial with separate allegations against Weinstein of defamation and economic interference, according to reports in the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times.

Judd says that after she rejected Weinstein’s sexual advances two decades ago, he defamed her to “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, hurting her career.

Weinstein, 66, also faces criminal prosecution in New York City and is the target of other criminal investigations.

The former movie mogul has denied engaging in nonconsensual sexual activity.

Ohio
Woman serving life in ex-boyfriend’s killing wins clemency

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich has commuted the life sentence of a woman convicted of killing her ex-boyfriend who she said abused her for years.

Thomia Hunter’s lawyer says the Republican governor’s decision will allow her to be released in July.

The Ohio Parole Board had recommended the Cleveland woman’s sentence be commuted after it found the issue of her abusive ex-boyfriend never came up at her trial.

Cleveland.com reports the board also said evidence backed up Hunter’s claims that the man choked her and attacked her with a knife before she fatally stabbed him in 2004.

Kasich also this week decided to pass on a clemency request from former Republican fundraiser Tom Noe.

Noe is serving an 18 year-sentence for his role in a state investment scandal.

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