A man accused of stalking Ashanti has been granted the opportunity to represent himself at his own trial. Devar Hurd is facing 10 counts, including criminal contempt and felony stalking, after allegedly breaking the terms of a restraining order by bombarding the Always On Time singer with sexually explicit messages on Twitter.com.
He had been banned from contacting Ashanti and her family after completing a two-year prison sentence in 2012 for sending similar lewd notes to her manager mother, Tina Douglas.
Hurd, who has pleaded not guilty to the accusations, appeared in New York's Manhattan Supreme Court on Thursday (05Jun14), when Justice Charles Solomon allowed the suspect the right to self-representation.
The defendant had previously complained about the way his attorney, Glenn Hardy, had handled the case so far. Hardy will remain as Hurd's legal advisor, reports the New York Daily News.
Pre-trial hearings are set to take place next Wednesday (11Jun14).
Warner Bros. Pictures via Everett Collection
Picking a title for a movie is hard. That one small phrase needs to be broad enough to encapsulate everything that the movie deals with but narrow enough to let the audience know what it's about, while also being catchy enough to stick in people's heads, but not so specific that it dissuades people from coming to see it. And on top of all of that, it needs to look good on a movie poster. So when it came time for the producer of Tom Cruise's latest film to name their blockbuster, they must have cracked under the pressure, and settled on the completely generic Edge of Tomorrow.
As a title, Edge of Tomorrow doesn't reveal anything about the movie. It doesn't clarify whether it's an action film or a coming-of-age story, it doesn't hint at the alien apocalypse at the center of the story, it isn't catchy enough to stay with you long after you watch the trailer, and it doesn't even look that great on billboards. Without Cruise, it would be almost impossible to identify Edge of Tomorrow... it could be any film, about any topic. Don't believe us? We've rounded up the plots of nine films with the most boring, uninspired titles in Hollywood. Can you pick match the film to its incredibly generic name?
1. While settling his recently deceased father's estate, a salesman discovers he has a sister whom he never knew about, leading both siblings to re-examine their perceptions about family and life choices. A. Life as We Know It B. People Like Us C. A Fine Mess D. Let Me In
2. A British investment broker inherits his uncle's chateau and vineyard in Provence, where he spent much of his childhood. He discovers a new laid-back lifestyle as he tries to renovate the estate to be sold. A. A Good Year B. Begin Again C. Life as We Know It D. Edge of Tomorrow
3. An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race, and must use the new skills he acquires each time to help defeat the enemy. A. Tomorrow Never Dies B. Live and Let Die C. Edge of Tomorrow D. Begin Again
4. Two single adults become caregivers to an orphaned girl when their mutual best friends die in an accident. A. An Unfinished Life B. A Fine Mess C. Life or Something Like It D. Life As We Know It
5. A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian. A. Live and Let Die B. People Like Us C. Life or Something Like It D. Let Me In
6. Two friends discover a plot to fix a horse race and try to get in on it, but their actions send a group of mobsters after them. A. Life as We Know It B. People Like Us C. A Fine Mess D. Once
7. A dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. A. Let Me In B. Once C. A Good Year D. Begin Again
8. A reporter interviews a psychic, who tells her that she's going to die and her life is meaningless. A. Life or Something Like It B. Life Itself C. Life Is Beautiful D. Life as We Know It
9. A busker and an immigrant spend a week together, writing songs, playing gigs and falling in love. A. Once B. Begin Again C. Let Me In D. A Fine Mess
Answers: 1) B; 2) A; 3) C; 4) C; 5) D; 6) C; 7) D; 8) B; 9) A
A lawyer representing the Beastie Boys has urged jurors overseeing his clients' copyright infringement trial to award the band at least $2 million (GBP1.2 million) in damages. In his closing arguments on Wednesday (04Jun14), Kevin Puvalowski stated that bosses at Monster Beverage Corp's use of the trio's songs without a license in an online video was "absolutely egregious".
Bandmates Michael 'Mike D' Diamond and Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz, who previously testified in the case, were spectators in the Manhattan courtroom as Puvalowski told jurors Monster bosses had hoped to benefit from how "cool" his clients' had become.
The 2012 video appeared as a tribute to late band member Adam 'MCA' Yauch, but it failed to impress the Beastie Boys, who are very protective of how and where their music is used.
Monster's lawyer Reid Kahn acknowledged his clients had infringed the Beastie Boys' copyrights, but insisted they incorrectly thought they had permission to use the music.
Kahn told the court that the band's demands for damages were "contrary to common sense", and asked jurors to award the band no more than $125,000 (GBP78,000).
Actress Anna Berger has died at the age of 91. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three star passed away on 26 May (14) in Manhattan, according to the New York Times.
Berger began her career as a child actress and went on to star in several TV shows and films including Crimes and Misdemeanors, You Don't Mess With the Zohan and The Sopranos.
She also appeared on Broadway in the adaptation of Unlikely Heroes: 3 Philip Roth Stories in 1971 and originated the role of Golde in Tevye and his Daughters in 1957.
Pop superstar Beyonce put on a show of unity with her sister Solange Knowles at a charity event in New York City on Tuesday night (03Jun14) just weeks after her headline-grabbing elevator fight with Jay Z. The Irreplaceable hitmaker appeared alongside her sister at the Chime for Change anniversary party in Manhattan.
The pair posed for pictures, hugging and smiling, in their first public appearance together since Solange's now notorious elevator bust-up with Beyonce's husband. Beyonce, who has been an advocate for the Gucci charity campaign since its inception last year (13), also made an impression at the event by announcing plans to donate $500,000 (£312,500) to the cause, according to WWD.com.
Chime for Change promotes education, health and justice for women worldwide.
Rihanna proved she was the right choice for an icon prize from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) as she turned heads in a sheer dress during the organisation's annual awards show on Monday (02Jun14).
The Diamonds hitmaker sparkled on the red carpet at Lincoln Center in New York City when she showed up to the ceremony wearing a see-through beaded gown with nothing but nude panties underneath, exposing her bare breasts and butt. When accepting the 2014 Fashion Icon honour, she said, "As long as I can remember, fashion has been my defence mechanism. As a child I remember thinking, she can beat me but she cannot beat my outfit... You will never be stylish if you don't take risks."
Top designer/director Tom Ford was given the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement award, while actresses-turned-fashion moguls Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen took the Accessories Designer of the Year award for their line, The Row. The CFDA Awards were hosted by director/screenwriter John Waters, with fashion-forward stars like Lupita Nyong'o, Blake Lively, Marion Cotillard making their own style statements on the red carpet.
Models Karlie Kloss, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Chanel Iman, and designers Diane von Furstenberg and Betsey Johnson were also on hand to honour the best in fashion over the past year.
The surviving members of the Beastie Boys have vowed not to record new music under the group's name after making a promise to late rapper Adam 'Mca' Yauch before his death in 2012. The hip-hop trio has not released any new material since 2011 album Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, and Michael 'Mike D' Diamond reveals fans won't be hearing anything else from the Beastie Boys now that co-founder Yauch is no longer alive.
He revealed the news during a New York court hearing in the band's ongoing copyright infringement battle against the bosses of Monster Beverage Corp, who stand accused of using five of the band's tracks in a promotional video without permission. During his testimony on Friday (30May14), Diamond admitted he and Adam 'Ad-Rock' Horovitz had made a vow with Yauch to prevent any new music being released without each member's input.
Testifying at Manhattan Federal Court, the Sabotage hitmaker said, "We have not been able to tour since MCA, Adam Yauch, died. We can't make new music." Diamond returned to the witness stand on Monday (02Jun14), when defence lawyer Dana Susman attempted to depict the band as hypocrites after the rapper claimed they had turned down "a lot of money" after producers behind Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent film Sabotage asked them for permission to use their 1994 song of the same name.
Diamond revealed they had rejected the offer because they "weren't fans of Mr. Schwarzenegger's recent... work", but Susman called the rapper out and suggested they had subsequently backtracked as their song was used as the action man's walk on music during a recent appearance on America's The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Susman alleged the band had received a fee of $600 (£375) in exchange for allowing a snippet of the track to be used, but Diamond insisted he had no knowledge of the deal and claimed any agreement would have been because they are "fans of that show", reports the New York Daily News. The Beastie Boys had previously performed on Fallon's previous programme, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, prior to Yauch's death.
The Beastie Boys rejected a big money deal to allow the producers of Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent movie Sabotage to use their song of the same name - because they aren't fans of the action star. Michael 'Mike D' Diamond made the revelation in a New York courtroom last week (ends30May14) as he testified in the band's ongoing copyright infringement case against the bosses of Monster Beverage Corp, who stand accused of using five of the hip-hop icons' tracks in a promotional video without their permission.
The promo was posted online days after the 2012 death of founding Beastie Boys star Adam 'MCA' Yauch, who had made it clear in his will that he didn't want his likeness or art used in any advertisements following his passing.
During his testimony at Manhattan Federal Court, the rapper used the Schwarzenegger film offer to demonstrate how picky the group is when it comes to allowing its work to be used for promotional purposes, admitting movie chiefs had offered the stars "a lot of money" to use the 1994 hit on the soundtrack.
He explained, "We felt it was too much of an endorsement, and we weren't fans of Mr. Schwarzenegger's recent... work."
The movie Sabotage bombed at the U.S. box office upon its release in March (14), grossing just $5.3 million (£3.31 million) in its opening weekend, making it the worst debut for a Schwarzenegger film in over 30 years.
Superstar Mariah Carey ditched her usual luxury transport as she headed home after a New York charity gala on Thursday (29May14) to hop on the city's subway system. The Hero hitmaker posted pictures of herself leaving the Fresh Air Fund's Spring Gala and boarding the 1 train with manager/producer Jermaine Dupri on Instagram.com.
In one photo, in which she is snapped in a floor-length sequined, blue gown, laughing, she writes, "Laughs pon de (on the) subway".
She adds, "Glimpses of our joyride on the 1 train subwayincouture (sic)."
The subway was not the only form of public transportation Carey took on Thursday - she also hopped in a cab on the way to the event.
The 46 year old is not the only celebrity to take an unlikely ride on the subway - in 2012, Jay Z rode the train from Manhattan to Brooklyn for his concert at the Barclays Center.
Award-winning jazz musician Roy Hargrove has been sentenced to two days of community service after admitting cocaine possession. The acclaimed trumpeter, 44, who has worked with musical greats including Herbie Hancock and Stevie Wonder, was arrested in New York in the early hours of 5 April (14) after cops caught him with four packets of the drug, the New York Post reports.
During an appearance at Manhattan Criminal Court in New York City on Thursday (29May14), Judge Neil Ross handed him the community service sentence and urged the musician to stay out of trouble in future, telling Hargrove, "I hope we can be confident about the fact we won't see you in this building again. There are other places people want to see you and people who've wanted to see you for a very long time - just not here."
If the Grammy winner avoids further run-ins with the law and completes his community service, the charge will be reduced from a misdemeanour to a violation, leaving him with no criminal record.
Set against the backdrop of the clandestine mission to build the world's first atomic bomb in Los Alamos, New Mexico and follows the brilliant but flawed scientists and their families as they attempt to co-exist in a world where secrets and lies infiltrate every aspect of their lives.