Luann de Lesseps Checks Back Into Rehab

Luann de Lesseps has checked herself back into rehab.

The 53-year-old Real Housewives of New York City star is seeking help for the second time after attending an alcohol treatment program in the winter, PEOPLE exclusively confirms.

The reality star has only authorized costar Bethenny Frankel to speak on her behalf.

“This weekend, Luann was surrounded by her girlfriends and decided — with their support — that in light of recent circumstances, it is the healthiest choice for her not to attend Tuesday’s reunion taping so that she can continue in her healing process,” Frankel tells PEOPLE. “Luann is now surrounded by a core group of people who truly have her best interests at heart and who are working to make sure she gets the help she needs.”

“Bravo has been very supportive of Luann during this time. It’s a brave and honest decision by her, and everyone is rallying around her and wants the best for her,” Frankel explains.

Bravo confirmed that she is not taping the season 10 reunion.

“Bravo supports Luann’s decision to focus on her health,” the network said in a statement to PEOPLE. “She is part of the Bravo family and we continue to stand by her as she copes with this challenging situation. At this time, we hope everyone will respect her privacy.”

Frankel explains that de Lesseps made the decision because she wants to look to the future.

Recently, de Lesseps had enjoyed a string of sold-out cabaret performances — #CountessAndFriends at New York City’s Feinstein’s/54 Below — for which she received glowing reviews.

“Luann loves doing the cabaret,” Frankel says about the reality star, whose goal is to return to the stage as soon as possible. “She’s taking the necessary steps to get better so that the show can go on.”

Her decision to return to rehab comes days after news broke that her first husband, Alexandre de Lesseps, her daughter, Victoria de Lesseps, and son, Noel de Lesseps, filed a lawsuit against her over an $8 million house sale. According to court documents obtained by The Blast, she breached a stipulation of settlement in her divorce by failing to create a trust “for the benefit of her two children.”

“Recent additional family stress was a catalyst to her taking a break,” Frankel says.

De Lesseps’ first trip to rehab occurred after her headline-making arrest in December.

She was arrested in the early morning hours of Dec. 24 and released on her own recognizance that same day after allegedly attacking a police officer in Palm Beach.

She was charged with and pleaded not guilty to disorderly intoxication, battery on an officer/firefighter/EMT, resisting arrest with violence and threatening a public servant, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. (She’s since pleaded not guilty and rejected a plea deal in February.)

The reality star had been discovered trespassing in a hotel room with an unidentified man, according to a police report. The pair had allegedly entered the wrong room at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach and refused to leave. Police say de Lesseps slammed a door and kicked at least one officer. She also allegedly told the police, “I’m going to kill you all.”

After her arrest, de Lesseps — who had gotten married to ex-husband Tom D’Agostino in Palm Beach on last New Year’s Eve before their divorce seven months later — released a statement, saying, “This was my first time in Palm Beach since my wedding, and being here brought up long-buried emotions. I want to offer my sincere apologies to anyone I might have offended with my behavior. I am committed to a transformative and hopeful 2018.”

“After the events … in Palm Beach, I am truly embarrassed,” de Lesseps said in a statement to PEOPLE as she checked herself into treatment. “I have decided to seek professional guidance and will be voluntarily checking into an alcohol treatment center. I intend to turn this unfortunate incident into a positive life-changing event. Once again, I sincerely apologize for my actions. I have the greatest respect for police officers and the job they do. My actions alleged in the police report do not reflect my core values and my law-abiding character.”

“I am so grateful for the love and support that I am receiving from my family, friends and loyal supporters,” she continued.

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Aretha Franklin Reportedly Left No Will

According to a recent TMZ report, Aretha Franklin left no will.

TMZ was able to get ahold of court documents which said that the Queen of Soul was “intestate” which means she died without leaving a will. The report comes as a surprise considering some of Franklin’s pressing financial obligations, including leaving the proper finances behind to care for her special needs son, Clarence.

Michigan law states that Aretha’s four children will split her estate, equally. Aretha Franklin died August 16 from complications with pancreatic cancer. She was 76.

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Michael Cohen pleads guilty to 8 federal crimes

President Donald Trump’s former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges on Tuesday, including campaign finance violations related to hush money payments he made to porn actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.

What’s more, Cohen admitted that he did so at the direction of Donald Trump, and with the goal of influencing the election.

Cohen pleaded guilty to a total of eight counts, including five counts of tax evasion involving nearly $4 million, one count of making a false statement to a financial institution, one count of willful cause of unlawful corporate contribution from June 2016 to October 2016, and one excessive campaign contribution on October 27, 2016.

The last charge — one excessive campaign contribution — is related to a $130,000 hush money payment Cohen arranged to Stormy Daniels to keep her silent about an affair she says she had with Trump in 2006. Cohen wired the $130,000 to Daniels’s lawyers on October 27, 2016.

Cohen has been in deep legal trouble since April 9 — when the FBI raided his residence, office, and a hotel where he was staying and seized several of his electronic devices.

And though Cohen’s conduct has been examined in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference with the 2016 election, this indictment is separate from the Mueller investigation.

Several months ago, federal investigators in New York convened a grand jury to investigate Cohen for “criminal conduct that largely centers on his personal business dealings” and “finances,” as they put it in a court filing. They also secretly obtained search warrants on several of his email accounts.

This led to the high-profile April 9 raids. At that point, prosecutors were looking for information on Cohen’s hush money payment of $130,000 to Daniels on Trump’s behalf, hush money payments to other women, efforts to suppress negative information about Trump during the 2016 campaign, and information about taxi medallions Cohen owns.

ow Cohen appears to have reached a deal with prosecutors. It’s not quite clear what this might mean for President Trump, now that the man who’s been one of his closest associates for decades may be facing serious legal consequences.

Cohen, who once said he’d take a bullet for Trump, seems to have soured on his old boss as the months wore on. He gave several public signals that he might be willing to cooperate with prosecutors, including releasing a secret recording of himself and Trump discussing a payoff to former Playboy model Karen McDougal. A CNN report also suggested Cohen was considering telling Mueller that Trump had advance knowledge of the 2016 Trump Tower meeting where Russians offered “dirt” on Hillary Clinton — something the president has repeatedly denied.

Cohen’s plea agreement doesn’t call for cooperation with prosecutors, including those on Mueller’s team. But Cohen’s revelations in court certainly deal a blow to the president, and Trump is clearly listed as “Individual 1” in the charging documents.

“There is no allegation of any wrongdoing against the president in the government’s charges against Mr. Cohen,” Rudy Guiliani, Trump’s attorney, told the New York Times.

But it’s not good news either. Cohen is the latest member of Trump’s inner circle charged with federal crimes, and Cohen’s plea came just as a jury returned a partial guilty verdict in the trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

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PAUL MANAFORT FOUND GUILTY ON 8 CRIMINAL COUNTS

Paul Manafort has been found guilty on eight out of 18 criminal counts in the tax and bank fraud case against him brought by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The jury said they were not able to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 counts, and the judge declared those a mistrial — meaning prosecutors will be able to bring them to trial again.

The trial of President Trump’s former campaign chairman has been seen a major test for Mueller’s team, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The partial conviction still represents a significant victory for Mueller’s prosecutors, Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor, told VICE News.

“This kind of split verdict happens quite often, especially in complicated fraud cases,” Rocah said. “I still think that’s a win for the Mueller team. I don’t see this as some kind of stain on Mueller at all.”

The jury convicted Manafort on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and a single count of failing to disclose a foreign bank account.

Manafort, 69, had been charged with five counts of filing false tax returns between 2010 and 2014, four counts of failing to report foreign bank accounts, and a combined nine counts of bank fraud and conspiracy to commit bank fraud. If found guilty on all counts, he would have faced a maximum of 305 years in prison.

Trump, not surprisingly, didn’t like the verdict. Upon his arrival in West Virginia for a planned rally, he said he was “very sad” about the conviction and that it “has nothing to do with Russian collusion,” calling it “a disgrace.”

Though the financial charges against Manafort may have had little to do with the election, the verdict still carries major political implications. Before the trial began, the presiding judge, T.S. Ellis, publicly described the legal assault on Manafort as a pressure tactic aimed at convincing him to cooperate with Mueller’s investigators and spill everything he knows about Trump.

Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the decision should lend credence to the Mueller probe, despite Trump repeatedly calling it a “witch hunt.”

“This verdict makes it absolutely clear that the Mueller probe is not a ‘witch hunt’ — it is a serious investigation that is rooting out corruption and Russian influence on our political system at the highest levels,” Warner said in a statement immediately following the jury’s announcement. “Any attempt by the president to pardon Mr. Manafort or interfere with the investigation into his campaign would be a gross abuse of power and require immediate action by Congress.”

Before the verdict came down, observers had predicted that a guilty verdict would strengthen Mueller’s hand — but that a total wipeout for his team’s first major courtroom effort would be a crippling blow, leaving it vulnerable to the president and his allies who’ve repeatedly called for Mueller to wrap up the investigation quickly.

“In one sense, this trial is separate from the rest of the work that Mueller is doing,” said Jens David Ohlin, Cornell Law vice dean and an expert in international criminal law. “On the other hand, this is the first case that they’ve taken to trial, so they need to establish that their efforts are yielding fruit.”

Manafort had refused to plead guilty and cooperate. But legal experts have told VICE News that even after the verdict, he can still potentially strike a deal with Mueller’s team in exchange for leniency, especially if he does have bombshell insider information about the Trump campaign colluding with Russia in the 2016 election.

So far, however, there are no signs he plans to do that, prompting speculation he may be holding out for a presidential pardon, or that he may have no such information to trade for his freedom.

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Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin Has Died of Pancreatic Cancer at Age 76

Aretha Franklin, the “queen of soul” known for hits like Respect and Think, has died in Detroit at the age of 76.

The legendary singer was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and announced last year she was retiring from music.

Franklin had more than 20 US chart hits over a music career spanning seven decades.

The star gave her final performance last November at a gala in New York held in aid of the Elton John Aids Foundation.

In a statement, her family said: “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart.

“We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds.”

The family also confirmed her death was due to advanced pancreatic cancer of the neuroendocrine type.

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Baltimore Officer Resigns After Video Shows Him Repeatedly Punching Man

A Baltimore police officer has resigned following a viral video of him repeatedly punching a man identified as 26-year-old DaShawn McGrier.

According to reports, McGrier was moving to leave after police pulled up to where he was hanging out and he noticed an officer that he had a history with and didn’t want any trouble. McGrier was arrested in June for allegedly assaulting the unnamed officer, and his trial was scheduled for later this month. This time around, it was McGrier who was assaulted.

The officer reportedly asked McGrier for his identification and when he refused, the officer hit McGrier repeatedly and pinned him to the ground. McGrier’s attorney Warren Brown said he sustained a “Fractured jaw, two fractured ribs, he lost feeling in his left leg,” in the incident. He has since regained feeling in his leg.

According to Baltimore Police, McGrier was taken into custody and received medical treatment, and he was released without any charges. The unnamed officer was suspended during an investigation of the incident, and the officer later resigned.

Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle released a statement, which read, “While I have an expectation that officers are out of their cars, on foot, and engaging citizens, I expect that it will be done professionally and constitutionally. I have zero tolerance for behavior like I witnessed on the video today. Officers have a responsibility and duty to control their emotions in the most stressful of situations.”

Brown is planning to take action against the officer and the Baltimore Police Department.

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Aretha Franklin ‘gravely ill’ in Detroit hospital

Aretha Franklin is “gravely ill,” her family told Detroit’s WDIV-TV on Monday.

WDIV anchor Evrod Cassimy wrote in a tweet: “I spoke with her family members this morning. She is asking for your prayers at this time.”

This follows an earlier report from Roger Friedman’s Showbiz 411, saying that the 76-year-old soul legend is surrounded by “family and people close to her” in Detroit.

In March, Franklin canceled two concerts scheduled in New Jersey. According to a statement from her management team, she was following doctors’ orders to stay off the road and rest completely for two months, and that she was “extremely disappointed she cannot perform as she had expected and hoped to.”

Franklin’s most recent performance was on Nov. 2, 2017, for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in New York and her final public performance was at Philadelphia’s Mann Center in August 2017.

Franklin last performed in her Detroit hometown in June 2017. It was an emotion-packed concert for thousands at an outdoor festival downtown. She ended the performance with a then-cryptic appeal to the hometown crowd: “Please keep me in your prayers.”

Last year, Franklin announced her plans to retire after releasing one final album, saying she would perform at “some select things.”

A biopic starring Jennifer Hudson as Franklin is scheduled to start filming in 2019.

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