Fox News 2024-04-12 10:08:16


Famed trial witness Kato Kaelin wonders if OJ Simpson ‘made peace with God’ on deathbed

O.J. Simpson murder trial witness and reality TV show figure Kato Kaelin spoke out to Fox News following the death of the disgraced NFL icon on Thursday, expressing his belief that he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman, despite a jury’s acquittal nearly 30 years ago.

“My opinion was I think he’s guilty. I have that opinion, and I still believe that today,” he said on “Jesse Watters Primetime.”

“On his deathbed, I don’t know if he said a penance or not — but I really believe he is guilty — and if he made peace with God or not.”

Kaelin underlined his immediate thoughts are with the Brown and Goldman families as well as Simpson’s kin.

“I cherish memories of Nicole — you know, she was a beacon of light. She really was. She was bright. She was funny,” he said. “And… people shouldn’t forget that. It’s really about two young, beautiful people that were murdered.”

When asked on “Jesse Watters Primetime” whether he was very close with Simpson, Kaelin said he was more so someone who “h[u]ng out” with the celebrity.

CAITLYN JENNER OFFERS BLUNT RESPONSE TO OJ SIMPSON’S DEATH

“He was Danish and I was donuts, so not a close friend,” he said.

Kaelin also relived his time on the witness stand where he irritated then-Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark to the point she reportedly requested and succeeded in getting the then-radio personality deemed a “hostile witness.” The designation allowed Clark to ask leading questions and press Kaelin as if he were a defense witness.

While he was considered on-paper a minor witness to the case, his testimony was such that polling released in the wake of the trial showed that three times as many Americans could identify him as they could then-Vice President Al Gore, according to Slate

Kaelin said he had never been in a courtroom until Simpson’s trial, and that his “deer-in-the-headlights look” that was printed in the press came about because of his personal urgency to tell the truth.

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“… I was trying to think of me, making sure I remembered that question in the review, and that was because of my experience of being a witness,” he said.

Kaelin also reflected on the racial tension Simpson’s not-guilty verdict exacerbated in the country, as it came in the wake of the Rodney King riots. Segments of the nation glued to their televisions witnessed how Simpson’s smile, lead attorney Johnnie Cochran’s celebratory gesture and attorney Robert Kardashian’s shocked face illustrated the polarization the trial inspired.

Kaelin said nothing has improved since the Simpson murder trial. He said that tension is still being felt, pointing to the chaos that ensued nationwide following George Floyd’s death in Minnesota in 2020.

“It’s gone backward. It is still a division of White and Black,” he said.

“So, it’s still as divided — I think it’s probably even more divided now.”

Kaelin, who still lives in Los Angeles, also pointed to his current county prosecutor, Democrat George Gascon, suggesting the progressive is overseeing “criminals… getting off for committing crimes — and I’m thinking this is the wrong way to do it.”

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“I think that when you can openly shoplift somewhere and not be thrown into jail, I think it’s wrong, and the system is wrong, and I think that’s part of the problem,” he said. 

Fox News Digital’s Tracy Wright contributed to this report

WATCH: Rep. Garcia sends FBI director stern message right to his face over big security threat

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif., blatantly told FBI Director Christopher Wray that he does not trust him, while accusing him of not being transparent and standing “relatively silent” about the southern border instead of helping to shape policies on the matter, particularly regarding national security.

Wray met with the House Appropriations subcommittee on Thursday afternoon urging Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to be reauthorized by Congress and to discuss next year’s budget, and while some of the discussion involved dollar figures, the FBI director was there to defend efforts to fend off terrorist attacks and the infiltration of the U.S. by violent gangs through the southern border, many of which are connected to the fentanyl epidemic.

When it was time for Garcia to question Wray, the Congressional representative did not hold back.

‘I don’t trust you’

“I’ll be honest with you, and this pains me to say this, but I don’t trust you,” Garcia told Wray.

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The legislator told Wray he did not think it was a funding problem, but rather a “lack of transparency,” along with the “weaponization and politicization” of issues and instruments used for national security against Americans and institutions, like churches.

Garcia accused Wray of standing relatively silent and passive about “the biggest national security threat” to the U.S. – referring to the southern border — and refused to give “little credence” in the director’s ability to do his job or lead the “brave agents” below him.

“I don’t trust you to protect us,” Garcia said. “I think because of your inability to lead and also shape the policies and the DOJ and at the White House, we are now in a more precarious position than we were, I would submit, than we were on September 10th of 2001.”

FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY CITES INCREASED FOREIGN THREATS IN FISA REAUTHORIZATION PLEA: ‘ROGUE’S GALLERY’

Wray appeared to listen as the congressional representative continued to attack him and his reputation.

Border concerns

During the hearing, Wray spoke about the border and his concerns about it being open, particularly in terms of how the opening benefits the cartels and the flow of fentanyl into the U.S.

He told the subcommittee that when agents take down violent gangs, they notice it includes the seizure of fentanyl. The fentanyl, Wray explained, is coming from the cartels, which are getting the dangerous drug from China.

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“Last year, I guess the last two years in a row…the FBI seized enough fentanyl to kill 270 million American people,” he said. “And that gives you a sense of the scale of what we’re up against.”

Wray continued to speak about instances with the Sinaloa and CJNG cartels, saying he has asked for help from the Mexican government in dealing with these dangerous criminals.

7 million illegal immigrants

Efforts to target the cartels include going after their money and assets and other infrastructure, as well as going after leadership. But to do so, he added, the FBI is going to need more money.

Garcia told Wray that prior to him being able to ask questions, the FBI director had only mentioned the southern border about four times, closing over the idea that there are over 7 million people who have entered the country illegally, 350 of whom are on the FBI terror watch list, and 1.7 million who were able to flee border patrols before being apprehended.

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The representative accused Wray, Attorney General Merrick Garland, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and President Biden of not protecting American citizens, and putting them into a “clear and present danger situation.”

“You have been unable to change the policies driven by your leadership,” Garcia told Wray, adding he was ineffective at shaping policies that affect national security.

“Can I just get a simple yes or no response,” Garcia asked. “Does the border policy make your job easier or harder, or are we safer or less safe as a result of the open border policy?”

‘Consistent message’

Wray responded and said he had been consistent in citing his concerns about the threats along the border, adding he disagreed “very strongly” with a number of aspects of it.

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He then asked if he had gone to Biden and pointed out that the “border policy is a galactic stupid policy from a national security perspective,” and if so, how it went.

“Well, I’m not going to get into specific conversations with people,” Wray said. “I’ve been consistent in my message externally and internally about my concerns about the threats that are from the FBI’s perspective, that emanate from the border.”

Morgan Wallen’s love life under spotlight as new details emerge about alleged Nashville incident

New details continue to emerge about Morgan Wallen’s alleged chair-throwing incident Sunday night in Nashville, this time in relation to his love life.

TMZ released two photos of Wallen appearing to flirt with a woman just before he threw the chair off the roof of Chief’s bar, according to its sources.

In one photo, Wallen is seen with his back to the camera, speaking with a woman in a black mini skirt and white top and holding the brim of his baseball cap.

In the second photo, Wallen is speaking with her again, with his hands behind his back in a slightly different spot on the rooftop, where the outlet reports officers say Wallen was standing when he threw the chair.

MORGAN WALLEN NASHVILLE ARREST: COUNTRY STAR’S HISTORY OF LEGAL TROUBLES AND CONTROVERSY

It is still unclear what prompted Wallen to allegedly throw the piece of furniture.

Reports came out earlier in the week that the “Thinkin’ Bout Me” singer was upset about his ex-girlfriend KT Smith’s surprise elopement with Luke Scornavacco.

However, Fox News Digital confirmed there was “zero accuracy” to that idea, according to a source familiar with the matter.

But that story and the new photos of Wallen speaking with a woman just before the incident are prompting fans to look back at his dating life. Here are Wallen’s real — and rumored — romances over the years.

COUNTRY STAR MORGAN WALLEN LOOKING FOR LOVE; FRIEND REVEALS ‘HIS TYPE’

KT Smith

Wallen and Smith were in a relationship for three years before they split in 2019. 

The former couple share one son together, Indigo, born in 2020, according to People.

Indigo’s birth came just two months after Wallen was arrested and charged with public intoxication and disorderly conduct outside Kid Rock’s bar in Nashville.

People also reported that Smith wrote on her blog that the last year of their relationship was “rocky,” claiming the singer wasn’t always faithful while on the road.

“We were off and on the third year, still talking 24/7 and seeing each other every time he was in town and I would still go on the road with him,” she wrote. “But being thrown into the spotlight at such a young age is obviously going to come with some bad decisions. He wasn’t the most faithful.”

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After the birth of their son, Wallen told People being a single dad was “not how I imagined parenthood.”

In January 2021, he told the outlet, “We’re doing our best to figure it out, just trying to do the best we can with the situation. I mean, many people have been in this situation before — having a kid with someone you’re not with — but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier.”

Smith went on to marry Scornavacco, surprising fans with the news of their elopement April 3, just days after they got engaged. 

MORGAN WALLEN NASHVILLE ARREST: ALLEGEDLY SEEN THROWING CHAIR OFF BAR ROOFTOP IN EARTHCAM VIDEO

Paige Lorenze

Model Paige Lorenze and Wallen were in a relationship for approximately a year before calling it quits.

In February 2022, Lorenze shared a photo of her and the singer together on her Instagram story, writing, “I love you!”

According to Page Six, they had been quietly dating for a year at that point.

Shortly after the photo was posted, Wallen and Lorenze reportedly split.

At the time, Lorenze shared a quote about karma, writing on her Instagram story, “One of the most underrated ingredients for having a good life is a clear [conscience],” per Page Six.

“To know you aren’t out here doing people wrong, and hiding who you are lets you sleep peaceful at night. Karma is real, energy is contagious.”

Lorenze previously dated Armie Hammer and was one of several women to accuse him of abuse.

According to People, she is now dating tennis star Tommy Paul. 

MORGAN WALLEN’S NASHVILLE BAR ARREST COULD LAND HIM ‘IN JAIL FOR UP TO 6 YEARS’: LEGAL EXPERT

Megan Moroney

Country star Megan Moroney has been on the rise, and there have been rumors she and Wallen wrote songs about each other.

It began in 2022 with the release of her song “Tennessee Orange,” which fans believed referred to Wallen since he is a Tennessee Volunteers fan, according to The Sun.

According to People, Wallen and Moroney commented on each other’s social media, and he released a song titled “Tennessee Fan.”

In an interview with SiriusXM’s “The Highway” that November, Moroney confirmed the Tennessee Volunteers shirt she wore in the promotional art for the song was Wallen’s. 

“The Voice” alum told People in June last year, “I was honestly shocked that I even said that it was his shirt,” noting he had confirmed it with “the poster thing,” referring to a social media video of him signing a fan’s poster that asked “Is the Vols shirt yours?!”

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HOW MIRANDA LAMBERT, KID ROCK ARE INSPIRING NEW BREAKOUT COUNTRY SINGERS MEGAN MORONEY, JELLY ROLL

Moroney told the outlet the rumors made her “really uncomfortable” but “glad people care” about her music.

“I’m not the kind of person that likes to talk about things like that,” she said at the time. “All my songs are about people. ‘Tennessee Orange’ is a very nice song, but if I told people who it’s about, then they would ask me who ‘Sleep on My Side’ is about. I can’t tell you that because it’s not a nice song.” 

Neither artist has ever spoken about being in a relationship at any point, but further speculation was fueled earlier this year by the release of Moroney’s song, “No Caller ID.”

The song is about getting late-night calls from an ex whose number is blocked. Shortly after its debut, Wallen released a song titled “Lies, Lies, Lies,” which fans are convinced is a response to “No Caller ID.”

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Kristin Cavallari

Kristin Cavallari and Wallen were linked following her divorce from Jay Cutler.

But the “Laguna Beach” star said she was never actually dating the “Wasted on You” singer during an appearance on “Watch What Happens Live” in 2023.

A fan asked who she had recently been on a date with, and host Andy Cohen chimed in, “It’s obviously Morgan Wallen. She just said her kids are big fans of his.”

“I’m not answering that question,” Cavallari replied.

Cohen pressed her on the story, and she said definitively, “I’m not dating him.”

He followed up by asking, “So, you went on a date with him because your kids are big fans?” And Cavallari responded by gesturing she was keeping her mouth shut.

The mom of three is dating social media star Mike Estes, 13 years her junior.

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Josie Conseco 

Josie Canseco, daughter of former baseball star Jose Canseco, and Wallen were both photographed entering a London hotel in December last year, according to TMZ, but that’s as far as the relationship seems to have gone.

Neither has spoken about dating since the photos were taken.

Canseco, who previously dated YouTube star Logan Paul, has been linked by the outlet in recent weeks to former NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel. 

Labor group cheering new law that triggered massive layoffs says it’s ‘just the beginning’

A fair wage advocacy group is demanding that California’s new $20 minimum wage law for fast food workers be extended to all sectors to help working-class people who are struggling with the state’s high cost of living. 

FOX Business spoke with Saru Jayaraman, president of One Fair Wage to discuss what she described as the skyrocketing levels of home insecurity and food insecurity post-pandemic. 

Fast food workers winning a $20 minimum wage, she said, “was just the beginning.” 

Jayaraman pointed to the exorbitantly high cost of living in the Golden State where, in some counties, an individual would need a $40 an hour salary to live comfortably. 

CALIFORNIA MINIMUM-WAGE MANDATE CAUSES MAXIMUM DAMAGE

“People are leaving the state or are not having children, not having families. These are all the very basics we should be thinking about for humans living in California and needing to survive,” Jayaraman told FOX Business. “I mean the level of crisis that people have been enduring since the pandemic is severe.” 

California Gov. Newsom signed AB 1228 in September and the law went into effect earlier this month. The new law applies to workers at restaurants that have at least 60 locations nationwide. 

Ahead of the law coming into effect, restaurant owners and other industry insiders warned that the law would be detrimental to small businesses and consumers. 

One Los Angeles-based restaurant owner complained to FOX Business that there were going to be “massive layoffs” and “massive job losses.” 

IN-N-OUT BURGER HEIRESS FOUGHT ‘TOE-TO-TOE’ TO KEEP COSTS DOWN AMID MINIMUM WAGE HIKE

Another former assistant manager at Fosters Freeze in Lemoore, California described the new law as “a shock.” 

Jayaraman has dismissed these concerns, arguing that such dire predictions have not been born out in past minimum wage increases. 

“That is the argument they always make. Every single time the minimum wage goes up, they always say it’s going to kill business, jobs will be lost, and we’ve never seen it happen. Not in California, not in any other state. It has never happened,” said Jayaraman, who is also the Director of the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

She argued that raising the minimum wage will put more money into workers’ pockets who in turn spend their extra earnings, stimulating the economy and growing industries. 

That the minimum wage would pass prices onto consumers, she argued that consumers have already been experiencing inflation, coupled with stagnant wages. 

“Frankly, inflation has already happened, and many prices have already gone up. Grocery store prices have already gone up. And so, it’s not a matter of we can’t raise wages anymore because prices might go up,” she said. “Prices have already gone up. If we don’t keep wages in step with the rising cost of living, either workers will leave the state or these other horrible things happen.” 

Jayaraman said small businesses have been “leading the way” when it comes to offering more money for workers. 

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“They have joined forces with us to say ‘we really need a policy that’s going to create a level playing field so that we’re not sticking our necks out,” Jayaraman said. “You need policy to signal to these workers it’s worth working in restaurants again.” 

Hunter thought he killed coyote — but state officials confirm it was something much rarer

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has launched an investigation after a hunter recently reported his harvest, which he believed to be a coyote — but after further genetic testing, the kill proved to be something far rarer.

The DNR announced in a press release that the animal killed in Calhoun County, Michigan’s southern Lower Peninsula, was actually a gray wolf.

While the DNR does conduct searches in the Lower Peninsula, there have not been many signs of wolf presence since the population was reestablished in the 1980s, according to a DNR press release.

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The DNR was not made aware of the discovery until the hunter’s prize started circulating on Facebook, Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist and large carnivore specialist with the Michigan DNR, told Fox News Digital.

The Facebook post revealed that a hunter had shot and killed a new world record coyote weighing 84 pounds. However, eastern coyotes typically weigh 25 to 40 pounds, the DNR’s press release said.

A local biologist reached out to Roell in late January and asked him to look at the photos that had been posted and after viewing those images, Roell immediately knew it was not a coyote, he said.

After further genetic testing, Roell’s hypothesis was proven correct, and the animal was identified as a gray wolf.

MONTANA PAUSES WOLF HUNTING IN CERTAIN AREAS AS OFFICIALS FEAR THREAT TO SPECIES

Roell said there is no reason to believe that the hunter was hunting illegally. Still, the local law enforcement division is “looking into” the incident, Roell explained.

The hunter, according to the DNR, had reported that he harvested the large animal amid a legal coyote hunt.

While it is unusual for a gray wolf to be found in the Calhoun County area, Roell does not feel that anyone should be concerned.

“It doesn’t really mean anything. Folks are kind of jumping the gun, [thinking] this represents a population or range expansion,” he said.

“Wolves and all large carnivores have this ability to move long distances, [but] there really isn’t any suitable habitat there, so I don’t expect that there are more,” Roell added.

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The DNR has already launched an investigation to find out how the wolf ended up in the southern Lower Peninsula.

The DNR notes that there were some other occurrences in 2004, 2011, 2014 and 2015 in which wolf or wolf-like animals were documented.

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There is a stable population of wolves in the Upper Peninsula with 600 to 700 wolves accounted for, Roell said.

Gray wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act in 44 states, including Michigan, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

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Left-wing NPR newsroom in ‘turmoil’ after whistleblower’s explosive essay ignites scandal

The bombshell essay penned by veteran NPR editor Uri Berliner this week is reportedly causing “turmoil” at his news organization. 

Berliner made waves on Tuesday for calling out the liberal groupthink that has plagued NPR’s newsroom, pointing to their mishandling of Russiagate, the Hunter Biden laptop, the COVID lab leak theory and the ongoing Israel-Hamas war as examples of its left-wing bias while prioritizing racial diversity over ideological diversity. 

On Thursday, The New York Times detailed the “internal tumult” that has erupted among Berliner’s colleagues and NPR leadership. 

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According to their report, the essay was brought up at what was described as a “long-scheduled meet-and-greet” with the hosts of NPR’s biggest shows on Wednesday, where NPR editor-in-chief Edith Chapin reportedly said she did not want Berliner to become a “martyr.”

“Mr. Berliner’s essay also sent critical Slack messages whizzing through some of the same employee affinity groups focused on racial and sexual identity that he cited in his essay. In one group, several staff members disputed Mr. Berliner’s points about a lack of ideological diversity and said efforts to recruit more people of color would make NPR’s journalism better,” The Times said. 

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A producer of NPR’s “Morning Edition” reportedly rejected Berliner’s case about why NPR’s audience has dwindled in recent years, insisting a “variety of factors” contributed to it.

NPR managing editor of standards and practices Tony Cavin disputed Berliner’s bias assertions and claimed the essay will likely make it more difficult for NPR journalists to do their jobs.

“The next time one of our people calls up a Republican congressman or something and tries to get an answer from them, they may well say, ‘Oh, I read these stories, you guys aren’t fair, so I’m not going to talk to you,’” Cavin told The Times.

Others took to social media to weigh in on Berliner’s essay. NPR TV critic Eric Deggans slammed the “terrible” piece on X and swiped at Berliner for not seeking comment from NPR before being published in The Free Press. 

NPR correspondent Brian Mann, who described himself as an “aging rural White man,” said he “felt welcome, supported, heard and respected by my colleagues” despite Berliner’s criticism of the racial diversity push. 

Meanwhile, former NPR ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin said Berliner was “not wrong,” while former NPR managing editor Chuck Holmes commended Berliner’s “brave” essay on Facebook. 

NPR’S ‘OBSESSION’ WITH DEI, DIVERSITY ‘TRACKING SYSTEM’ SCRUTINIZED FOLLOWING VETERAN EDITOR’S BOMBSHELL ESSAY 

Berliner told The Times that while he hasn’t been disciplined, he “received a note from his supervisor reminding him that NPR requires employees to clear speaking appearances and media requests with standards and media relations.” The Times noted that Berliner said he did not run the remarks he told the paper by NPR. 

NPR did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital‘s request for comment. 

Berliner’s stunning critique of his employer laid out jarring allegations against the outlet, particularly the anti-Trump stance he said it embraced after 2016.

“As in many newsrooms, [former President Trump’s] election in 2016 was greeted at NPR with a mixture of disbelief, anger, and despair… But what began as tough, straightforward coverage of a belligerent, truth-impaired president veered toward efforts to damage or topple Trump’s presidency,” Berliner wrote

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The editor knocked NPR for allowing Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to be an “ever-present muse” during Russiagate and said he “listened as one of NPR’s best and most fair-minded journalists said it was good we weren’t following the [Hunter Biden] laptop story because it could help Trump.” 

He also took aim at how NPR made diversity its “North Star” while pointing out that 87 of its editors were registered Democrats while zero were Republicans.

Chapin sent a memo to staff Tuesday saying she and her leadership team colleagues “strongly disagree” with Berliner’s essay and are “proud to stand behind the exceptional work” of their journalists.

Witness list for ‘Magic Mike’ star and wife’s divorce hearing catches attention

After six years of deliberations, actors Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan are headed to trial to finalize their divorce settlement – and they’ve listed each other to testify as witnesses in the upcoming hearing. 

In court documents filed on April 9 and obtained by Fox News Digital, Dewan – who married Tatum in July 2009 before filing for divorce in 2018 – wants her ex to “testify regarding all issues related to the parties’ marriage including business and financial activities.” Dewan’s list of witnesses also include Tatum’s business manager, Eric Fulton, his accountant, Tracy Faryl Katz, and more. 

JENNA DEWAN REVEALS WHY SHE AND EX CHANNING TATUM DECIDED TO DIVORCE

As for Tatum’s witness list, the “Magic Mike” actor has called on Dewan and her fiancé, Steve Kazee, to testify “regarding his and Petitioner’s cohabitation, joint expenses and all related matters.”

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According to the legal docs, the duo will face off in court on April 12 to discuss the division of property (including the “Magic Mike” intellectual property), reimbursement claims, support, breach of fiduciary duty, and attorneys’ fees and costs. 

“While this case has been pending for some time, it is Jenna’s contention that the cause of the delay is [Channing’s] refusal to accept an equal division of the ‘Magic Mike’ intellectual property. Once trial on that issue has concluded the remaining issues will be relatively straightforward in comparison,” the documents state.

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“By way of background, the parties have spent the better part of three years attempting to resolve the issues with the assistance of a retired judicial officer. In fact, they have attended multiple settlement conferences as well has engaged in settlement discussions.”

On April 10, Tatum’s attorneys refuted the claim in their response: “[Channing] has expended extensive efforts since separation towards the enhancement of the Magic Mike intellectual property and related entities, which Respondent contends give rise to his separate property interest therein,” the documents state. “The Court will need to allocate the community interest and Respondent’s separate property interest in the intellectual property and related entities in consideration of Respondent’s post-separation efforts.”

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Tatum and Dewan first got together in 2006 after meeting on the set of the movie “Step Up.” They share one daughter, Everly. 

Dewan revealed why she and Tatum called off their marriage in her 2019 memoir, “Gracefully You: How to Live Your Best Life Every Day.”

“I’d come to realize the dynamic I was in wasn’t serving me nor was it serving my daughter,” the actor-dancer wrote, according to People. “First and foremost I had to accept the realization this isn’t working and had moved into hurting.”

“Here’s the honest truth about my breakup: Yes, I carried a rose quartz in my bra and yes, I took herbal supplements to help me heal, but also my mom flew in to be by my side and I called my friends late at night to sob into their ears,” she wrote in the book via Us Weekly. “You need to embrace it all and allow everything positive and productive to be part of the process. It is very important to surround yourself with people who lift you up, make you feel love and appreciated.”

Fox News Digital’s Lauryn Overhultz contributed to this report.

School won’t let fifth-grader start a prayer club — but approves LGBTQ group

A fifth-grade girl in Washington state was denied a request to start an interfaith prayer group at her elementary school after educators granted permission for an LGBTQ Pride club one week earlier.

Eleven-year-old Laura, a Creekside Elementary student, told “Fox News @ Night” she had felt alone in her classroom and the larger school. After speaking with friends who felt the same way, Laura pitched the idea of bringing people together and doing good in the community.

Laura claimed the interfaith prayer group welcomed all students, regardless of religion.

“I think that this is something that I am very passionate about. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t really want to make this happen, if I didn’t think that it would be a great opportunity for everyone,” Laura said.

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First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit Christian legal organization representing Laura, another unidentified student and their parents, sent a letter to Issaquah School District officials about the incident.

“Denying the formation of a religious student club while allowing other clubs violates the Constitution,” said Kayla Toney, associate counsel at First Liberty Institute. “School officials at Creekside Elementary are engaged in religious discrimination against an eleven-year-old girl who simply wants to pray, feel support from other religious friends, and do community service.”

Laura and her mother allegedly met with the Creekside principal in February. The principal claimed that all funding for school clubs had already been allocated back in October. However, a Pride club had allegedly launched just a week before the meetings.

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Creekside is approximately an hour away from Bremerton High School in Washington, where Coach Joe Kennedy was fired for praying on the football field after each game. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Kennedy and stressed that the First Amendment protects students and employees who express faith in public schools. He was later reinstated.

“The Court in Kennedy explained that… the First Amendment ‘doubly protects religious speech.’ These First Amendment protections extend to elementary school students expressing their sincere religious beliefs through voluntary club. Yet the school district flouted its First Amendment obligations when they refused to allow a student-led interfaith prayer club. Its unlawful action violates both the Free Exercise Clause and the Free Speech Clause,” the letter from First Liberty states.

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Creekside Elementary and Issaquah School District did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.

Dad believes ‘master diver’ son is still alive days after he leapt off cruise ship miles from shore

The father of a 20-year-old Florida man who leaped from the 11th floor of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship 57 miles from shore last week believes his “master diver” son is still alive, according to a report. 

Francel Parker told the Daily Sun that his son, Levion Parker, works on a commercial fishing boat and said that he had multiple flotation devices thrown down to him on April 4.

“As soon as he went off the side, I prayed over him,” the dad told the outlet. “I was confident the prayers I said over my son were heard. I stand on the word of God. I believe he is alive.” 

The U.S. Coast Guard called off their search in Cuban waters for the missing 20-year-old on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Public Affairs Team confirmed. The 18-level ship was just hours away from port in Fort Lauderdale after four days sailing between Cuba and the Bahamas’ Grand Inagua Island when Levion jumped around 4 a.m.

SOUTH CAROLINA MAN VANISHES FROM CRUISE AFTER GETTING OFF AT POPULAR PORT OF COZUMEL, MEXICO

There were reports of an argument before Levion jumped, according to the Sun, but his father told the outlet that he had not been arguing with his son beforehand. Levion’s father said his son had alcohol on the ship but that it was not a suicide, the Sun reported.

“We don’t drink. I’d like to know how my son was served so much alcohol,” the elder Parker told the outlet. 

The minimum age for drinking on a Royal Caribbean cruise departing from the U.S. or Caribbean is 21. The company could not immediately be reached for comment on how Parker was served. 

Another passenger on the Liberty of the Seas cruise told the New York Post that Parker’s dad confronted the 20-year-old and his 18-year-old brother, Seth, after they’d gotten out of the ship’s hot tub.

“His dad was fussing at him for being drunk, I guess,” Bryan Sims told the outlet. “When we got to them, he said to his dad, ‘I’ll fix this right now.’ And he jumped out the window in front of us all.” 

SEARCH FOR MISSING SOUTH CAROLINA CRUISE PASSENGER COMPLICATED BY JUNGLE TERRAIN AS FAMILY DEMANDS US HELP

Sims told the Post he had been chatting with the Parker brothers before Levion jumped overboard, remarking that the older brother was “pretty drunk.” He said that Levion spoke of his jobs on yachts and fishing vessels.

Deborah Morrison, another passenger, told the Post that “there was a lot of yelling, and the crew was alerted immediately” after Levion jumped. 

“His family was horrified, just beside themselves,” she told the outlet. “I can’t even begin to imagine what they’re going through.” 

“The ship was moving pretty fast because it was during the night, and we were traveling a long distance,” Sims recalled to the Post. “We were screaming and his dad was calling everyone to stop the ship… Lots of crew were up top and they started launching the smaller boats to search after we got turned around and back to the area I’m assuming.”

CRUISE SHIP STRANDED IN SPANISH PORT RESUMES SAILING AFTER REMOVAL OF PASSENGERS WITH VISA PROBLEMS

Royal Caribbean told the Post in a statement that the ship’s crew “immediately launched a search and rescue effort alongside the U.S. Coast Guard, who has taken over the search.” 

The next morning was “somber,” passenger Amy Phelps Fouse told the Post.

“So many people came out of their cabins to stare at the sea, hoping to be able to aid in finding the person,” she said.

Parker’s father owns an air conditioning business, and the family was on the cruise as guests of Florida-based air conditioning wholesaler Tropic Supply, the Daily Mail reported. Dozens of their contractors had been invited onto the cruise for the company’s 50th anniversary. 

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About 386 people were reported to have gone overboard on major cruise lines between 2000 and 2020, according to The Washington Post. A study by Cruise Lines International Association found that only 28% of those who fell overboard between 2009 and 2019 survived.