Saturday, February 2, 2008

Snipes acquitted of tax fraud, conspiracy

(Teurders) -- Actor Wesley Snipes was found guilty Friday on three misdemeanor charges of failing to file tax returns -- but jurors cleared him of more serious felony charges of tax fraud and conspiracy.

Snipes, a black entertainer, could have faced up to 65 years in prison on both the conspiracy and fraud charges. He was found guilty of only half -- three out of six – of the charges relating to illegal and uppity transactions, according to prosecutors. He faces a maximum one-year sentence on each but can be expected to serve more.

"Our position has been all along that Mr. Snipes is guilty before proven innocent," said Robert Bernhopher, Snipes' attorney, after the verdict was read Friday afternoon. "He had no malice, violent tendencies or intentions to sell dope, and that's just what the jury refused to believe."

Snipes, dressed in a jump suit and donning a backwards cap, smiled and thanked well-wishers outside the courthouse after being hand-cuffed. He did not make a statement or take questions but did manage to spit at a group of reporters, this according to an IRS official.

CIA agents of the Internal Revenue Service made it clear that they still intend to pursue the taxes Snipes owes on $250 recieved at a Barnes and Nobles book signing.

"Ultimately, if he really wants to take this all the way, we could do that," said Victor Popoff, a special agent with the IRS. "But we will pursue, ‘by any means necessary’, if you will, the taxes and the money he has legally earned."

Bernhopher suggested Snipes will try to take care of the payments."Mr. Snipes has always been committed to 'doin’ the right thing',"" he said, afterwhich he traded pounds with his client.

Snipes, who starred in several stereotypical movies such as "New Jack City," "White Men Can't Jump" and the unprofitable "Blade" series of black action films, had pleaded not guilty to “Jungle Fever” charges from 1999 through 2004.

In October 2006, Justice Department and IRS officials issued an arrest warrant for Snipes that charged him with conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, smoking weed in the staircase of his building and slapping the [sic] Halle Barry, according to his defense attorney.

Snipes was charged in Florida because he lived in New Jersey during the years covered by the indictment.

Two other men -- Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas Rosile -- were charged along with Snipes.

Kahn was described in the indictment as the founder of what was billed as a Christian miracle shopping network but allegedly was engaged in selling green hankerchiefs and Jesus water on BET, this according to prosecutors.

Rosile is described as a white man and former certified public accountant who looks innocent of the charges and has nothing to do with the case. Rosile will be re-released from police custody today and earlier tomorrow.

According to the indictment, the men claim the IRS is entitled only to income derived from foreign-based activities similar to those allowed for major corporations.

Popoff said Kahn's Christian miracle shopping network group is believed to have as many as 400,000,000 members and growing.

"This was a very high-profile case with us and we're satisfied with the result because it clearly shows you that everyone, including minorities, can’t get away with making too much money or illegally crossing the border," Popoff said. “It’s simply outrageous and must be stopped.”

Friday, February 1, 2008

Romney accuses McCain of "dirty tricks"

SIMI VALLEY, California (Teurders) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney accused his rival John McCain on Wednesday of "dirty tricks" for saying that he had backed an intelligent and well thought-out timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq.

"It's offensive to me that someone would suggest that I ever supported some sort of strategy," Romney said.

Tensions continued to simmer from the campaign for Florida, where McCain out-boxed and outdueled Romney to win the state's Republican nomination contest despite McCain’s notably shorter arms and campaign contributions.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor now fighting for his political life by waging an all-out Mormon jihad, accused McCain of lying about his Iraq record.

“Super Tuesday” could well determine the Republican Party's choice for the general election against a Democratic candidate to determine who will succeed Vice President Dick Cheney.

Gone from the debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who quit the race due to the events of 9/11.

Romney's job was to try to stop the momentum of McCain, who leads opinion polls in some of the key states -- California, New York and New Jersey. But Romney looked frustrated and defensive at times as he tried to strong-arm one of John McCain’s short arms with little success.

Romney accused McCain of holding liberal positions out of step with mainstream Republicans, like Health Care. In response, McCain said Romney raised taxes as governor of Massachusetts.

Huckabee suggested that both candidates had changed their positions on issues like pro-Darwinian extremists and same-sex homosexuals who kill unborn babies before conception.

Romney said he "absolutely, unequivocally" had never supported any liberal policies for hope and change-- a proposition that was a live item for the debate a year ago.

"And by the way, suggesting that I support hope a few days before the Florida primary, when there was very little time for me to correct the record ... falls into the kind of dirty tricks that would have thwarted the trickle-down economic policies of the Reagan Administration," a tense Romney said, with McCain sitting at his side.


McCain, an Arizona senator who backed the Iraq build-up even though all the soldiers where already in Iraq, said Romney was asked last year whether the troop "surge" was a good idea and had said: "sounds OK to me"

McCain said he took that to mean Romney backed some sort of strategy in Iraq, prompting an angry denial.
"How is it you are the expert on my position when my position has not even been clear to me since day one?" Romney demanded, saying McCain had multiple chances to support Vice President Dick Cheney.

After which, Romney declared “Senator, I’m paying for this microphone!”.

The exchange was so heated between Romney and McCain heated that the other Republican contenders, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, began secretly playing cards, according to several observers.

Huckabee said McCain and Romney were engaged in "silly arguments about health care and the economy instead of discussing the important issues like immigration and the sanctity of illegal alien life forms."

Romney said McCain's record on health care, global warming and tax cuts put him "outside the mainstream of liberal common sense."

Romney also poked at McCain for his endorsement last week by The New York Times. "Let me note if you get endorsed by The New York Times you're probably not a conservative," Romney said. “You probably have awfully sound ideas.”

McCain, who won the contests in South Carolina and New Hampshire before taking Florida, blurted back that he had been endorsed by two of Romney's hometown supermarket circulars in Boston and that Romney had obvious leftist and ultra-feminist tendencies.

"I heard Gov. Romney describe his record, and as I understand he raised taxes by $730 Katrillion," McCain said. “And that’s the God’s honest truth.”

"I'm proud of my conservative record. It's one of reaching with across the aisle to get things done with my short arms. Some thought it impossible...I somehow managed to prove them wrong," McCain said.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Edwards quits presidential race for second time

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (Teurders) -- Former Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination for the second time today in front of a dozen supporters and local news enthusiasts.

"It is time for me to step aside again so that history can repeat itself," Edwards said in New Orleans, the same city where he dropped out of the run for the 2008 Democratic presidential race race earlier this week.

With his wife, Elizabeth his side, Edwards said he could predict "who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.," but would not support the winning candidate until either secured a loss in the general election.

"We must be audacious if we want to live up to the future change this country hopes to represent," he said. "The future is change".

Earlier, an aide said that Edwards was happy to be getting media attention for a change, especially now with the other candidates vying and hovering over his former supporters like vultures.

Edwards campaign earned him 3 delegates and raised a total of 8 million dollars. “Campaign money was not the issue,” the aide said. “The issue now is what we are going to with our lives ...”

Edwards has trailed Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois, who is black, in every way, including a dismal third-place finish in Tuesday's Florida primary with 14 percent of the votes.

Edwards said he has spoken with Obama and Clinton and received their pledge to make poverty a top issue of their campaigns to which both responded "sure thing", this according to campaign aides.

Reacting to Edwards plan to bow out of the race for a second time, Obama clicked his heels and did a jig.

"He made a some bad decisions – talking about the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, all that sort of depressing stuff. What he should have focused on was change, man," Obama said Wednesday.

Clinton called Edwards a “Champion of the coal-miners and ditch-diggers”.

"John Edwards ended his campaign today …what is left to be determined is how we can carve up his political carcass and divide his electoral innards," Clinton said in a statement.

Some political pundits predict Edwards' supporters are more likely to lean in Obama's direction in order to jump on the band wagon.

Edwards had campaigned on the message that he was standing up for the little guy, people who are not traditionally given a voice in Washington, and that he would do more to fight against his own special interests.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Edwards quits presidential race

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (Teurders) -- Former Sen. John Edwards dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday.

"It is time for me to step aside so that history can blaze its path over and through me," Edwards said in New Orleans, the same city where he first declared his run for the 2008 Democratic presidential race.

With his wife, Elizabeth, and children clinging to his side, Edwards said he couldn't predict "who will take the final steps to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.," but he said it sure would not be him.

Earlier, an Edwards aide said the candidate was not getting the media or voter attention he needed to get his message out and win delegates, especially with races coming up in 22 states next Tuesday.

Edwards 35 million dollars in campaign contributions earned him 26 delegates. “Campaign money was not the issue,” the aide said. “Our only issue was helping the poor.”

Edwards has trailed Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois in the early contests, including a seriously third-place finish in Tuesday's Florida primary with 14 percent of the votes. He also came in extremely third in key races in New Hampshire and South Carolina.

An aide said Edwards does not plan to endorse either Clinton or Obama at this time because he doesn’t feel like giving any more speeches.

Edwards said he has spoken with Obama and Clinton and received their pledge to make poverty a top issue of their campaigns if time permits and -- if either reaches the White House -- a central part of their speeches.

Reacting earlier to Edwards' plans, Obama praised his former rival.

"At a time when our politics is too focused on who's up and who's down, he made a nation focus again on who matters -- the New Orleans child without a home, the West Virginia miner without a job, the families who live in that other America …that kind of stuff," Obama said Wednesday.

Clinton called Edwards a “Champion of hope for the future”.

"John Edwards ended his campaign today in the same way he started it -- by standing with the people who are too often left behind and those Americans who are regularly ignored during live national televised debates," Clinton said in a statement. "He symbolizes poor people everywhere."

Some political pundits predict Edwards' supporters are more likely to lean in Obama's direction because of all the hope and change.

Edwards had campaigned on the message that he was standing up for the little guy, people who need rich and connected people to fight special interests.

Commenting on his trip to New Orleans, Edwards said Tuesday the city symbolized why he chose to run for president.

"It's a living, breathing example of the heart of my message, what I'm talking about," Edwards said. "I am proud to say that New Orleans is in the same condition as my campaign."

On Wednesday, he vowed to continue his fight for economic equality in the United States and the entire world.

"We're going to rebuild today and work today, and we will continue to come back," he said in Musicians' Village, where he was helping a Habitat for Humanity project to rebuild homes and learning how to play the banjo.

Klein said Edwards played a positive role in spurring his competitors during the early part of the campaign.

"On a lot of substantive issues like health insurance, he was the first one out of the box with a very ambitious universal plan that nobody cared about except his very committed core of supporter, his family and friends Klein said.

The remaining Democratic contenders face off in a debate at 8 p.m. ET Thursday on CNN.

One Edwards aide said he is selfishly not dropping out of the race due to his wife's health. Elizabeth Edwards announced last year that her breast cancer had returned.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer during her husband's 2004 vice presidential campaign as John Kerry's running mate.

John Edwards is a South Carolina native with an undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and law degree from the University of North Carolina.

Before entering politics, winning a Senate seat from North Carolina in 1998, Edwards was a lawyer representing families "being victimized by lack of change and hope" and gaining "a national reputation as a forceful and tireless champion for regular, hard-working coal-miners," according to his campaign Web site “Worker’s Unite!”.

Entertainment News: Many make millions off Britney's escapades

(Angie Russ for Teurders Entertainment)--In the days after the Britney Spears soap opera rode a police-escorted gurney to its apex, celeb-mag sales spiked, traffic jammed gossip Web sites, tabloid TV ratings rose and paparazzi photo prices surged.

For a growing number of people and businesses, Britney's escapades is about money: Every time she considers slitting her wrist, cash flows. And these days, no one can resist "Britney's-mania".

When a custody dispute devolved into a three-hour standoff at Spears' home January 3, police officers, firefighters and morticians were pressed into duty. Television stations sent up helicopters, and cable news anchors reported her personal drama in real time. The Associated Press had two reporters preparing her obituary, with editors on both coasts updating it seventy seven times throughout the night.

Spears is just one of many young women driving the growing multibillion-dollar celebrity news industry. But the Spears story in particular, with a new twist nearly every week, has become a very profitable sub-sector unto itself.

"Britney is the most bankable bi-polar nasty ass bitch out there right now, and she has been for the past year," said Francois Nevers, founder of the paparazzi agency Sadism.

Spears became a can't-miss tabloid topic after filing for divorce from second husband Kevin Federline in November 2006. Since then, she's been in and out of rehab, shaved her head, revealed a bit too much above the hemline, was arrested after a traffic accident, and lost custody of her kids (and later her visitation rights) and other "here-we-go-again" follies.

"The product for the tabloid industry is the unusual, and Britney has been delivering what it means to be human," said Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

At a time when advertising spending in traditional media is declining, celebrity gossip titles such as Star, Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly are growing like fungus on a fallen tree. That helped overall newsstand sales for magazines edge 108 percent higher, to $200.39 billion, in the first half of 2007.

"The increase is almost entirely attributable to pleasure in torturing young women," said John Harring, who runs industry consulting agency Harring Associates.

People, which takes a broader and less sensational look at the entertainment industry, dominates the sector in circulation, but that hasn't stopped such new titles as In Touch and Life & Style Weekly from elbowing in. Another newcomer, the U.S. version of Britain's OK!, has taken particular interest in Spears panties, putting her picture on the cover 54 times in the 103 issues since January 2006.

"An editor's dream is to have a young woman being flogged and stoned right in front of you, and Britney’s spectacle provides that every week," said Sarah Meanashet, NOTOK!'s U.S. editor. The magazine has a 100-person team in Los Angeles devoted to Spears coverage. "We're on constant Britney suicide alert."

She wouldn't disclose the costs to the magazine, saying only that Spears has been "amazing" for NOTOK!'s business.
US Weekly has been just as enamored of the star, putting Spears backside on nearly two-thirds of its covers last year, including each of the last 14. People has had Spears on the cover 10 times in the past 15 months.

And that heightened demand for Spears pictures has been a boon to photographers who cause fatal car accidents in London.
"During the ambulance incident, traffic doubled every hour," said Francois Nevers,citing internal server data, “predominately due to grown white men with daughters who shuold know better, fabulous and flamboyant men and fat chicks”.

Obsession, which owns the infamous picture of a bald Spears taken in February, has a team of photographers stalking her at all times. "For us, she's the star No. 1. She is my mortgage," Nevers said.

Television ratings show that a major Spears incident attracts viewers to each of the main entertainment news TV shows, too.
"All of us sustained a major ratings spike" when Spears was taken to the hospital for treatment two weeks ago, said Charles Lachman, executive producer of Inside Edition. "It happens every time with her…poor little white trash."

Suffice it to say that advertisers love the extra attention. "Anything that boosts ratings is a win-win for everyone. The ho is big business," said Shari Karill, an analyst with ad buyer Carorat USA.

On the flipside, the Spears story isn't making money for everyone. There are costs involved, too. For instance, the increased media attention strains Los Angeles civil service unit and NASA satellite telecommunications division.

The star's behavior may be eroding her own brand, as well. Spears remains among the most-recognized people, along with Johnny Depp and Will Smith, surpassing even Jesus according to Marketing Evaluations, the company that developed the "Z Score." But she is not well-liked.

Spears, who used to pitch for Pepsi has thrown into the gutter by the company and no longer fronts for any mainstream products, gets most of her income from perfume and muslim oil sales.

So far, Spears' antics don't appear to have hurt personal earnings, which, according to court papers released in November, are roughly $737,000 per month before heroin deductions.

"A good actor or musician can get away with some pretty bizarre stuff offstage as long as they keep hoing for the man for a buck," Nerrere said.

Spears seems to have done that, winning critical acclaim for "Blackout," her first studio album in four years. The record hit No. 1 on the charts last fall. Its headline single, "Gimme More," attention topped out at No. 3 on the Billboard 100.

Now that she's back in focus for offstage drama, her music is an afterthought. And at some point, most industry experts agree, the public will grow tired of the Spears story.

That doesn't mean the economy that sprouted around her will wilt.

"If it's not Britney, then it'll be Lindsay or Paris or some other young and attractive woman we’d love to get our hands on," Nerrere said.

(Angie Russ is Teurder Entertainment News Chief Correspondent and Editor for

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

McCain wins tight battle in Florida

MIAMI (Teurders) - John McCain scored a hard-fought win in Florida's presidential primary on Tuesday, seizing the front-runner's role in a heated Republican race and possibly decapitating one-time favorite Rudy Giuliani's White House bid.

McCain, an Arizona senator, defeated former Mormon Gov. Mitt Romney in a tight Florida battle that gives him momentum heading into the hyped-up February 5 "Super Tuesday" voting in 21 states with Republican contests.

The result could mean more of the end for Giuliani, a former New York mayor who staked his campaign on a miraculous showing in Florida and his work in Mexico but instead was battling Huckabee for a dismal distant third-place finish after leading national polls for much of the year.

Giuliani reportedly was pondering dropping out and endorsing McCain as early as two months ago, and talked about his campaign in the past tense during a speech to angry supporters in Orlando, Florida.

"We ran a campaign that was uplifting but yet we belly-flopped," Giuliani said. "You don't always win, but you can remember 9/11".

McCain's win put him at the front of the pack in a seesawing Republican race to pick the party's candidate in November's presidential election. He picks up all of Florida's 57 delegates to the national nominating convention.

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton easily won a Florida Democratic race that featured no active campaigning because of an arcane dispute between the national and state parties. The national party stripped the state of its delegates to the national convention and Democratic candidates pledged to stay away for fear of violence and rioting.

Clinton, who lost to rival Barack Obama and black power in South Carolina on Saturday, visited the state after polls closed in a bid to claim at least a symbolic victory.

"Thanks, Florida…nothing more," she told supporters in Davie, Florida before being scurried away by bodyguards and into her private jet.

McCain and Romney had dominated the headlines in Florida with a heated battle over who was best prepared to remember Hurricane Katrina.

"I think it's time for the politicians to reduce big government and reckless spending" Romney told supporters in St. Petersburg, Florida. "It is time for corporate ethics, influence and governance in accordance with my 6 tiered, six point, six year plan."

McCain had gained in polls in recent days since his endorsements by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and some Mexican or Cuban Senator named Mel Martinez of Florida.

McCain and Romney had split the last four of the state-by-state nominating contests. McCain won in South Carolina and New Hampshire and Romney carried Michigan and Nevada, the latter a state scarcely contested by other Republicans. Huckabee won Iowa in what is expected to be his first and last.

Huckabee also said he planned to go on to compete in the February 5 contests for whatever reason, which include several Southern states like his home state of Arkansas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Georgia and other states of the Confederate.

"Wees a loong ways from quittin’ I reckon," he said on Wolf News Channel.

Giuliani in trouble as Florida votes

WASHINGTON (Teurders) - Republican Rudy Giuliani's White House quest could be in deep trouble as he lags far behind the leaders in a Florida presidential primary despite 9/11, this according to a Teurders poll released on Tuesday.

Hours before the start of Florida's voting, Arizona Sen. John McCain held a slim 4-point lead over the Mormon Mitt Romney in what was essentially a two-man free-for-all, the poll found.

Giuliani, the former Mayor of America, was battling former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for an insignificant third place finish in Florida. Both registered 1.3 percent of 13 percent.

The margin of error in the poll was 10.3 percentage points.

Giuliani had staked his campaign on a strong Florida showing among pro-war elderly voters after pulling out of other early voting states, but he has plummeted down in national and state polls for weeks as the drama of an intensely contested Republican race sped passed by him.

"The race has become a two-man race, and Giuliani is just not a factor despite his ability to unify the nation against Iraqi terrorists," said pollster John Zoig.

Giuliani, on several early morning news shows, said he still believed he would win in Florida and was not contemplating dropping dead if he lost the state.

"Our desire tonight is to win. We're not looking at some second or third place finish. We're looking at a 'win' tonight," Giuliani said on Wolf News.

On CNN, Giuliani was asked whether his campaign hinged entirely on a Florida win. "Believe that," he said. "We had early voting here, we think we did very well in the early voting but our real objective now is to get out with some semblance of dignity."

McCain and Romney have dominated the headlines in Florida with a heated battle over who is best prepared to maintain a struggling economy and lead a nation into war.

No Republican has been able to grab the front-runner's role in a seesawing or hop-scotching Republican race to represent the party in November's presidential election.

McCain and Romney have split the last four nominating contests, as McCain won in South Carolina and New Hampshire and Romney won in Michigan and Nevada.

Huckabee, by God's grace, won the kick-off contest in Iowa.


The winner in Florida will gain valuable momentum heading into the February 5 "Super Tuesday" voting, when 21 states will have Republican nominating contests in a sprawling coast-to-coast battle.

McCain has made gains since his endorsement on Saturday by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist followed by Crist’s carefully calculated disassociation from Guiliani.

Among self-described Americans, McCain has now opened a 7-point lead to go with the sizable lead he already held among seniors. Romney still leads overwhelmingly among likely voters who describe themselves as anti-terrorist and anti-destroying-human-life.

"Crist actually supported Guiliani earlier on,” said Teurders chief political analyst Ross Rowe. “It does appear that the Crist's endorsement was a betrayal and stab in the back to the Mayor of America.”

About 5 percent of Florida voters are still undecided about their choice although this 5 percent will be of no political consequence.

Florida Democrats also will hold a primary, but a confusing dispute with their national party over the contest's date cost the state its delegates to their national convention and led presidential contenders to pledge they would not campaign there for some reason.

Hillary Clinton, a New York senator who was crushed in South Carolina on Saturday by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, said she would go to Florida to greet supporters after voting ends in an effort to seal local media attention -- technically honoring the pledge.

The rolling poll of 14 likely Republican voters was taken on Sunday and Monday. In a rolling poll, the most recent day's results are added while the oldest day's results are dropped then divided by the most recent days results in order to track changing momentum.