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NO PLANS FOR SMOLLETT TO MEET WITH POLICE

CHICAGO (AP) — Attorneys for "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett say there are no plans for him to meet with Chicago detectives Monday for a follow-up interview about his reported assault. Anne Kavanagh is a spokeswoman for Smollett's lawyers. She says in an emailed statement that his lawyers "will keep an active dialogue with Chicago police on his behalf." Smollett reported last month that he was physically attacked by two men who yelled homophobic and racial slurs. He said they also yelled he was in "MAGA Country," an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's campaign slogan. Police said Saturday that the investigation had "shifted" after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them without charges. Police say they've requested a follow-up interview with Smollett. Smollett's lawyers say the actor feels "victimized" by reports that he played a role in the assault.

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053101-v-360:48-(Julie Walker, AP correspondent)-"I'm Julie Walker"-Chicago police seek follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053101 (02/17/19)££ 360:48 "I'm Julie Walker"

052979-w-385:92-(Julie Walker, AP correspondent, with Gloria Schmidt, Attorney for the two men questioned, with reporters)-"I'm Julie Walker"-Chicago police release 2 men questioned in Smollett case (16 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *052979 (02/16/19)££ 385:92 "I'm Julie Walker"

052974-a-72:00-(Gloria Schmidt, Attorney for the two men questioned, with reporters)-"in this case"-Chicago police release 2 men questioned in Smollett case (16 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *052974 (02/16/19)££ 72:00 "in this case"

052973-a-73:92-(Gloria Schmidt, Attorney for the two men questioned, with reporters)-"they're free men"-Chicago police release 2 men questioned in Smollett case (16 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *052973 (02/16/19)££ 73:92 "they're free men"

052972-a-72:00-(Gloria Schmidt, Attorney for the two men questioned, with reporters)-"matter of co-ordination"-Chicago police release 2 men questioned in Smollett case (16 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *052972 (02/16/19)££ 72:00 "matter of co-ordination"

JUSSIE SMOLLETT - CELEBRITIES BAFFLED BY "SHIFT" IN CASE

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The focus by Chicago police on the Jussie Smollett case isn't the only thing that has "shifted" the past day or two. Also shifting: support from fellow celebrities for the "Empire" actor. From the time the story broke, numerous musicians, actors and others in Hollywood expressed support for Smollett — and distain for the political climate that seemed to foster an attack on an openly gay black man by people who uttered racist and anti-gay slurs. Ariana Grande, Zendaya, Kerry Washington, Shonda Rhimes and Andy Cohen rallied to his side right away — and spoke of the incident as an example of how intolerance can lead to violence. But most of those voices have fallen silent as talk increases that Smollett may have made up the story. Meanwhile conservative pundits have said celebrities and the news media were too quick to believe a story that indicated supporters of President Donald Trump are racist and homophobic.

BOX OFFICE

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's Presidents Day. But for the movie industry, there's little to celebrate — unless someone in Hollywood scores a deal on a new car or furniture. This holiday weekend posted its lowest box office figures in nearly 20 years. And this, despite three major debuts hitting the multiplexes. The top film is the sci-fi fantasy "Alita: Battle Angel," but even that victory is hollow. It took in an estimated $27.8 billion — but it reportedly cost $170 million to make. Number two is last week's top movie, "The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part," followed by "Isn't It Romantic," ''What Men Want" and "Happy Death Day 2U."

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053099-w-394:32-(Ben Thomas, AP correspondent, with sound from movie trailers)-"I'm Ben Thomas"-'Alita' leads a slow Presidents Day box office weekend (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053099 (02/17/19)££ 394:32 "I'm Ben Thomas"

053100-w-374:64-(Ben Thomas, AP correspondent, with sound from movie trailers)-"I'm Ben Thomas"-'Alita' leads a slow Presidents Day box office weekend (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053100 (02/17/19)££ 374:64 "I'm Ben Thomas"

053058-r-257:28-(Sound of trailer for the movie "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part")-"most of us"-'Alita' leads a slow Presidents Day box office weekend (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053058 (02/17/19)££ 257:28 "most of us"

053059-r-285:84-(Sound of trailer for the movie "Isn't It Romantic")-"that's what. bye-uh"-'Alita' leads a slow Presidents Day box office weekend (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053059 (02/17/19)££ 285:84 "that's what. bye-uh"

053056-r-232:56-(Sound of trailer for the movie "Alita: Battle Angel")-"who I am"-'Alita' leads a slow Presidents Day box office weekend (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053056 (02/17/19)££ 232:56 "who I am"

053057-r-166:56-(Sound of trailer for the movie "Alita: Battle Angel")-"music fades"-'Alita' leads a slow Presidents Day box office weekend (17 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053057 (02/17/19)££ 166:56 "music fades"

OSCAR BACKLASH LEADS TO REVERSAL

UNDATED (AP) — The goofs by the motion picture academy in the run-up to this year's Oscars may make people long for the days when the only thing the awards show had to worry about was goofing up the best picture winner. This year has seen a series of blunders, like the move to not have all the categories shown in the live telecast. That decision has now been scrapped, meaning all 24 categories will be live. Also, this year's show won't have a host, after the gig was offered to — then rejected by — Kevin Hart after a public outcry about past jokes and tweets about gays. And early in the process, the Oscars walked back a decision that would have limited the number of tunes nominated for best original song that would be performed during the telecast.

"BLACK PANTHER" COSTUME DESIGNER SPEAKS OF INCREASED OPPORTUNITIES

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Usually, only friends, families and colleagues of those nominated for the costume design category at the Oscars will care about the results. But Ruth E. Carter says she hopes her Oscar nod will be seen as a way to open doors for others to follow in her path. Carter is the first African American to win for costume design. She's nominated for "Black Panther." Despite what she calls "very stiff competition," Carter says she thinks she has a good chance at winning.

WAX STATUE OF DIDDY IS VANDALIZED

NEW YORK (AP) — Police say someone attacked a statue of Sean "Diddy" Combs at Madame Tussauds wax museum in New York, shoving the rap impresario's likeness so forcefully it lost its head. Investigators were continuing Monday to look for a suspect in the strange episode Saturday night. Police say a man entered the museum near Times Square around 8:45 p.m., went to the statue and knocked it to the ground. The head fell off as the figure toppled. Madame Tussauds New York says artists will fix the damage as quickly as possible to get the figure back to the museum's A-List Party Room. General Manager Tom Middleton notes that Madame Tussauds doesn't rope off its statues so "guests can interact respectfully" with them. Combs attended his statue's unveiling in 2009.

JULIA ROBERTS - AWARD

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Julia Roberts is year's winner of the George Eastman Award. She's been named to receive the honour from the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. The award is given each year to someone who has made contributions to the art of cinema. Roberts is known for her work in "Pretty Woman" and "Steel Magnolias." Past recipients include Lauren Bacall, Gary Cooper and Meryl Streep. The award will be presented on May 2.

WILLIAM SHATNER SINGS AT GRAND OLD OPRY

NASHVILLE (AP) — William Shatner is the latest artist to make a debut appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. And yes, you heard that right. The "Star Trek" star rolled out some new tunes during his first-time performance in Nashville. And he says his training as an actor has helped him shape his musical sound. He says acting makes him use words in a particular rhythm — and he tries to use that skill when he sings.

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053083-a-153:36-(William Shatner, actor)-"me at least"-Actor William Shatner debuts country songs at Grand Ole Opry (18 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053083 (02/18/19)££ 153:36 "me at least"

053085-a-97:44-(William Shatner, actor)-"so it's different"-Actor William Shatner debuts country songs at Grand Ole Opry (18 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053085 (02/18/19)££ 97:44 "so it's different"

053082-a-137:52-(William Shatner, actor)-"in my way"-Actor William Shatner debuts country songs at Grand Ole Opry (18 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053082 (02/18/19)££ 137:52 "in my way"

053084-a-125:28-(William Shatner, actor)-"up until then"-Actor William Shatner debuts country songs at Grand Ole Opry (18 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053084 (02/18/19)££ 125:28 "up until then"

053086-r-199:68-(William Shatner, actor, and Jeff Cook of Alabama, performing at Grand Ole Opry)-"(music fades)"-Actor William Shatner debuts country songs at Grand Ole Opry (18 Feb 2019)

<<CUT *053086 (02/18/19)££ 199:68 "(music fades)"

MANHOLE FIRES FORCE TheatreS TO EVACUATE

NEW YORK (AP) — As the say on Broadway, the show must go on. But not when the fire department says otherwise. Manhole fires in midtown Manhattan on Saturday forced the evacuation of a theatre complex where performances of plays including "Jersey Boys" and "Avenue Q" were under way. No injuries were reported. Three other shows were cancelled for the night: "The Play That Goes Wrong," ''Puffs" and "A Spirited History of Drinking." The cause of the manhole fires isn't known.

by Oscar Wells Gabriel II

Follow Oscar Wells Gabriel II on Twitter at https://twitter.com/OWGabriel2

The Associated Press

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