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Judge Allowed Cameras In The R. Kelly Trial

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Judge To Allow Cameras during R.Kelly trial

The highly controversial and publicized trial of R. Kelly is set to begin later this month, and the judge presiding the trial has allowed the use of cameras to record the proceedings amidst the objection of the alleged victims.

Presiding Judge Lawrence Flood has ruled that cameras will be allowed in the courthouse during the trial regardless of the strong objection of two of the four women involved in the case. The two women wrote to Flood specifically to request the judge to prohibit the use of cameras in the courtroom during the trial.

R. Kelly, the famous R&B singer, is charged by four women with ten counts of sexual abuse against three underage girls and one woman. Both of the women opposing the use of a camera in the courtroom during the trial were underage during the time that the sexual abuse was supposedly committed.

“I have no interest in being a media spectacle,” wrote one of the victims to Flood, highlighting how Kelly’s legal team has systematically shamed the victims in different instances in the past.

However, Kelly’s legal representative Steve Greenberg, the trial has to be “open” and “transparent” so that people who are following the proceedings can form their own opinions based on facts and not on rumors.

“Mr. Kelly wants everyone to know what is going on in an open and transparent process. People can form their own opinions about what they see, and they don’t have to rely on rumor and innuendo,” said Greenberg during an interview.

Kelly, who built his career as the King of R&B, has been accused of multiple counts of sexual assault by four women who he was allegedly had sex with while they were still underage. Kelly has been in a lot of legal troubles in the past few months and has been in and out of prison for different charges aside from the sexual abuse cases.

He was recently released from jail after an anonymous donor has paid the amount he owed for child support from his ex-wife and three children. Kim Foxx, the state attorney for Cook County, told reporters that the alleged crimes took place between 1998 and 2010. A court clerk in earlier reports said that nine of the charges involve minors with ages between 13 and 16.

Foxx said that felony charges carry three to seven years of imprisonment per count. That means R. Kelly is possible to be jailed for thirty to seventy years if all counts are ruled against him.

Nonetheless, Judge Flood maintains that witnesses have the right to stop recording their testimony upon request to protect their identities. According to reports, the two women who wrote to the judge have confirmed that their statements will not be televised.

As alleged victims of sexual assault, the women involved in the case has the right to be protected from any form of intimidation and harassment throughout the trial. To publicize the hearing with a video camera exposes these four women to public examination with greater relentlessness and candor than if they were to remain unidentifiable to the public. That is the reason why most news outlets do not identify the identity of sexual abuse victims unless there is explicit consent from them through their own volition.

Kelly vehemently denied the accusations thrown at him to the extent that he made an emotional statement in one of his interviews to dismiss the sexual abuse claims of the women and their parents. He said that the relationship that occurred between him and the women are born out of “love.”

Steve Greenberg vowed to ‘vindicate’ the singer saying that he thinks that ‘all of the women are lying.’ He further dismissed the cases by saying that they were based on old and false accusations. “Everybody’s trying to profit off of R. Kelly,” he added.

Amid the denial of Kelly, new evidence has surfaced against R. Kelly including a video where he was caught during the act of the abuse and a t-shirt submitted by one of the victims containing Kelly’s DNA. Foxx alleges that the singer also spat on his victims during the attacks.

In an earlier statement, R. Kelly’s lawyer, Greenberg dismissed the claims against the singer saying “all the woman are lying.”

However, Michael Avenatti, legal counsel for one of the victims pushed back to Greenberg and called him ‘outrageous’ and ‘completely unprofessional.’ /apr

A Consumer Tech and Cybersecurity journalist who does content marketing while daydreaming about having unlimited coffee for life and getting a pet llama.

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Celebrities

Millions Of Celebrity And Influencer Personal Info Exposed In A Database

Instagram influencers and celebrities had their data scraped and stored in an unprotected online database. It also contained computed value of each influencer used to determine how much to pay them for sponsored ads. Click To Tweet

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Influencers and Celebrities
Photo: TT Marketing | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

An unsecured database containing the private contact information of millions of Instagram influencer, celebrities and brand accounts have been discovered and is said to have included personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses. The database was supposed to be unprotected, and anyone could have access to the plethora of sensitive information that it contains.

The discovery was first reported by Zack Whittaker from Tech Crunch and said that cybersecurity researcher Anurag Sen discovered the exposed and unprotected database, hosted by Amazon Web Services. According to the initial report, there were already 49 million records in the database and seemed to have been growing by the hour.

In hindsight, each record in the database contained publicly listed data scraped from influencer, celebrity, and brand Instagram accounts including their bio, profile picture, their follower count, verification status, and their location by city and country. However, the database also contained private contact information, including email address and phone number.

Several high profile influencers and celebrities were found in the database, including some prominent beauty and fashion bloggers, food bloggers, celebrities, and other famous social media influencers. According to Whittaker, he contacted several people on the list at random whose information was found in the database, and some of them indeed replied, confirming that some – or most – of the data contained in the database are actual data scraped from their Instagram accounts.

The database was then traced back to an India-based social media marketing company, Chtrbox, a firm that pays Instagram influencers to post sponsored content on their accounts. The report revealed that each record, aside from public and personal information of the account owner, also includes an estimated worth of each account, factored by the number of followers they have, the engagement level they receive, the width of their reach, likes, and shares they had. The calculation was used as a metric to determine how much to pay an influencer to post a sponsored content on their account as an ad.

Those who responded have said that they used the email and the phone number as default to sign up for Instagram and they also denied having been involved in a business with Chtrbox.

The researchers were able to contact Chtrbox and was successfully in having them take the database offline; however, Pranay Swurap, the founder of the social media marketing firm and it’s Chief Executive Officer, refused to comment and answer questions raised by the researchers.

Until now, it is unclear how the company was able to obtain the massive data they have.

One theory made by the researchers is that two years ago, a security bug in the developer API of Instagram has allowed hackers to obtain email addresses and phone numbers of six million Instagram accounts. The hacker later sold the data they were able to scrape by exploiting the bug was sold to highest bidders for bitcoin.

Hackers have launched a website with a searchable database of some Instagram users’ alleged personal info. The data, a sample of which the hackers provided t, appears to include email addresses and phone numbers for a selection of high profile Instagram users, including politicians, sports stars, and media companies. The data also seems to contain information on more ordinary accounts, too.

“Instagram clearly hasn’t yet understood the full impact of this bug,” said one of the people behind the site, dubbed ‘Doxagram.’

Some of the accounts in the list are seemingly high profile. One entry is allegedly for the official President of the United States’ Instagram account. Another alleged account appears to belong to Cristiano Ronaldo, the world-famous soccer player.

As for why the database contains high profile users, the hackers claimed they set up their scraper to initially target all users with over 1 million followers, and then recursively harvest other users. In all, the hackers claim to have over 6 million accounts in their database.

Meanwhile, in a statement made by Facebook following the disclosure of the database said that the company is investigating the matter.

“We’re looking into the issue to understand if the data described – including email and phone numbers – was from Instagram or from other sources,” said an updated statement. “We’re also inquiring with Chtrbox to understand where this data came from and how it became publicly available,” it added.

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This Is Why Zayn Malik Tweeted ‘Leave Gigi Hadid Alone’ On Twitter

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Zayn Malik, Gigi Hadid

The former One Direction member has only one loud message to ex-girlfriend’s haters, and it says:

“My Tweet was not about @GigiHadid so leave her the f–k alone,” “She is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.”

The couple has been on and off again for quite a while now, and avid fans are getting confused about what is the real score between the two celebrities. After rumors speculated back in November that the two were going out apart from each other, fans wonder whether the couple’s relationship is getting healthier or not.

The couple is no stranger to issues like breakups. In January, the two announced they officially broke up together after confessing that Zayn has significant personal issues that need to be fixed first, while Hadid told the public that they aren’t compatible. After the pronouncement, fans are seeing tweets on Zayn’s end professing his love for Hadid even though they called it “quits.” And Gigi was also spotted leaving the singer’s apartment at one point after the breakup.

So what is going on between the two?

What is certain for now is that the supermodel is living the single life these days, so that leads to speculation that she is dating every single guy she is seen out with. Rumor has it that her new found love is her good friend Samuel Krost after the two were spotted hanging out together recently. That intensifies the speculation with tabloids’ headlines indicating that the two were dating, especially when they were getting very close days after they initially were seen together.

If Samuel Krost doesn’t ring a bell, the guy is known for his role in Fyre Festival saga and currently stars in Netflix’s Fyre: the Greatest Party That Never Happened. Krost worked on the festival, still books the musical acts despite having no experience in talent booking. Samuel also used to date Selena Gomez, a good friend of Gigi as well.

Obviously, Gigi, Victoria’s Secret angel, was not too happy with the speculation that she is dating Samuel, which the model furiously explained her side of the story on Twitter saying, “if you outlets are going to continue writing bs headlines every time I’m seen with a friend of the male gender then there’s [gunna] be a lot of unneeded confusion.”

Meanwhile, it seems like Zayn, wherever in the world he was, saw those pictures of Gigi and Samuel and ranted on Twitter the same day. His tweets became too controversial that some fans assumed it was addressed for Gigi.

“How about you all go f—k yourselves with your irrelevant bullsh—t,” Zayn tweeted. Naturally, many presumed that the singer is talking about his ex-girlfriend.

Zayn Malik, a former One Direction band member who decided to leave the group and creates his solo album, defended himself and Gigi.

“My Tweet was not about @GigiHadid so leave her the f–k alone,” “She is the most amazing woman I’ve ever known.” He continues, “And she does nothing but love and support me when lord knows I don’t deserve it.’ The singer blasted Hadid’s haters even more by saying ‘If you know nothing shut your f—king mouth.”

The two started dating together on November 15, three months after Zayn’s break off his engagement to Little Mix’s Perrie Perrie Edwards, and Hadid’s split up Joe Jonas, US Weekly reported. Days after the news spread, the new couple was caught holding hands in their first significant moment of PDA.

The public supported the couple as it posted several cute photos together on Instagram, with Gigi spending holidays in Zayn’s hometown and officially introduced her to his family. It even melts the world when Gigi confessed to Instagram that “going home to Zayn’s arms is the sweetest thing life could offer.”

And despite Zayn’s affection towards the supermodel this year, he still doesn’t follow her on Instagram. He unfollowed her and Yolanda Hadid, Gigi’s mother, last March after the two took off from their relationship.

Fans know that the couple has a long history of an on and off kind of relationship, but they have always kept things cordial. Although avid supporters still think that the two will get back together, both “think that it’s best for the sake of their relationship right now.” For Zayn Malik, “This ain’t a place for feelings.”

Photo: Eva Rinaldi

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R. Kelly’s Lawyer Requested Court To Investigate Avenatti’s “Toxic” Involvement In The Sexual Abuse Case

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Lawyer of R. Kelly accused Michael Avenatti of polluting the sex-abuse case.

The case faced by R&B singer, R. Kelly is one of the most talked about and probably the messiest case involving a celebrity in 2019. There are just so many events taking place surrounding the different people that are involved in the infamous case. On Monday, in the newest twist and turn of the case, Kelly’s lawyer accused the state attorney, who alleged that R. Kelly is sexually abusing underage girls, of succumbing to the pressure from lawyer Michael Avenatti, saying that the involvement of the latter has irreparably tainted the proceedings.

Steve Greenberg, the lawyer who represents Kelly in the case, made the accusation through a court filing and in comments after a Monday pretrial hearing in Chicago, noting that the recent charges against Avenatti in New York that accuse him of trying to extort from Nike, is “toxic” for the case.

In an interview outside the courtroom after the pretrial, Greenberg said that there had been a “rush to prosecute because of pressure – all polluted – by Michael Avenatti.” He said prosecutors “got in bed with Avenatti and Avenatti is toxic.”

Previously, Avenatti said that he played a central role in prompting DA Kim Foxx to press charges against the R&B star by providing the state attorney with a video showing that Kelly had sex with a 14-year-old girl.

On Monday, Avenatti replied to Greenberg through a tweet where he said that Greenberg was “trying to distract attention away from the clear guilt of his client by raising bogus arguments about me and Kim Foxx.”

Last month, the legal representatives of the women alleging Kelly with sexual abuse as well as prosecutors of the case said that they hold fresh and robust evidence against R. Kelly. According to Cook County Prosecutor Kimberly Foxx, the alleged abuses took place across twelve years from 1998 – 2010.

New evidence has surfaced against R. Kelly including a video where he was caught during the act of the abuse and a t-shirt submitted by one of the victims containing Kelly’s DNA. Foxx alleges that the singer also spat on his victims during the attacks.

Kelly’s legal team requested to see the video mentioned above so that they can review it and prepare a defense.

The tapes were handed to the prosecutors by Michael Avenatti, who represents some people who are connected in the R. Kelly case, including the alleged victims.

Greenberg’s seven-page court filing asks Cook County Judge Lawrence Judge to order preservation of all the communications between Avenatti and the state’s attorney’s office and calls for an investigation of how Avenatti bring charges against Kelly.

The lawyer justified the request for the inquiry citing the charges against Avenatti in New York and another separate case of wire fraud in California.

The court document says that “Avenatti has acted as a de facto prosecutor” in the Kelly case, apparently, “with the full cooperation” of Foxx. It also noted that Avenatti has also acted “as an agitator” for Foxx, “saying what she could not.”

“Given the allegations against him one must wonder what he has told those he has interacted with in these matters, and what is true and what is not […] Obviously, he has been using his accusations against the defendant to divert from his own misconduct. He drums up problems for others to deflect from his own,” Greenberg added.

R. Kelly, one of the world’s most famous R&B artist, pleads ‘not guilty’ to all ten counts of aggravated sexual assault that he is facing right now. The plea was entered to a Chicago Court on February 25, by Steve Greenberg. The lawyer also notified the court that the 52-year-old has already surrendered his passport. Furthermore, as part of the bond, the talented singer is ordered to surrender his passport and was prohibited from making contact with anyone below 18-years-old.

Only recently, UAE officials denounced R. Kelly’s claims that he has a scheduled concert in Dubai after the singer requested the court to allow him to travel abroad, citing his lack of financial resources brought upon by the case and the unrelated lawsuit filed by his ex-wife for not paying child support.

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