Speaking Out

Meek Mill speaks out from prison: 'I am a political prisoner'

Rapper Meek Mill tells Page Six that he is a "political prisoner" and a victim of a marred criminal justice system that holds black men in prison for crimes they did not commit.

Rex USA

Back in 2008, Mill was convicted in Philadelphia for selling crack to an informant and threatening police officers with a gun — charges he has denied. Judge Genece Brinkley sentenced him to up to 23 months in jail and 10 years probation. The hip-hop star served several months of his sentence and was let out on parole.

However, he was arrested again in 2017 for "reckless endangerment" for doing wheelies on a motorbike in New York City while not wearing a helmet. While no new charges were filed, because he was still on probation, the same judge sentenced him to two to four years in jail.

This hefty sentence has ignited criticism from fellow artists like JAY-Z, who has said that "the criminal justice system stalks black people like Meek Mill."

Stephen Lovekin/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

In a major development, it has now been alleged in court documents that Mill's original conviction was a setup by corrupt police officers. A few months ago, his arresting officer and the main witness against the rapper, Reggie Graham, was revealed to be part of a list held by the Philadelphia District Attorney of "tainted" police who had a "history of lying, racial bias, or brutality."

While Meek is still in jail, having now served five months behind bars, appeal pending, the criticism of his sentencing grows louder. The DA, the mayor and the governor all say that he should be let out on bail, however, Judge Brinkley thus far has refused.

Mill recently got on the phone with Page Six from the State Correctional Institution in Chester, Pennsylvania, to discuss the ongoing case: "I am a political prisoner. Yes, I'm frustrated there's no way in a million years I could get a fair trial in front of this judge," he said. "Yeah, I am angry, but I am a prisoner of politics — me being in this situation, has brought light to the people who are serving time because of other corrupt cops."

Mill went on to explain why he could not have pointed a loaded gun at the cops: "In the middle of a full-blown raid, do you believe that I could point a gun at two officers, when there's 10 other officers in attendance with firearms in the air?"

"Do you believe in America that I could point a gun at two officers and not be killed or at least shot at?" he asked. "They are trained … to shoot into the target and neutralize, that's why you are seeing young black men who are shot 20 times, 15 times, for reaching for their cellphone in their pocket or running from police."

"Anybody in the world — you don't even have to be a judge — knows I didn't point a gun at these cops," he continued. "I don't have a reason to point a gun at a police officer, I am not a suicidal person, I never thought about suicide, I don't want to kill myself. Pointing a gun at a cop is suicide."

"You will never even hear a lyric [from] me talking about killing a cop or shooting at a cop," he said. "Everybody knows if you are a black young kid coming up, you know don't ever lift a firearm at a cop unless you want to die. It's simple."

Along with a sworn affidavit filed in February by an officer saying that he never saw Meek point the gun, the rapper also claims that officers lied about him having sold crack to an informant.

"They [the officers] are supposed to bring the crack to court as evidence, most of the time they give the informant marked money," he said. "I didn't have any of that in my case, and she [Judge Brinkley] found me guilty on all charges. … Now there's all this evidence coming forward that the cop that testified against me is corrupt, he's not allowed to testify [again] in the city of Philadelphia," Mill explained to Page Six.

"Once officers are corrupted, they say it is fruit from a poisonous tree, anything that he ever did is poisonous, and the cases are supposed to be retried or thrown out," he added. "I did not point a gun at police … and they arrested me outside, they handcuffed me, they took me into the house and they beat me up … and when I came out my face was bloody, I had abrasions to my face … my hair pulled out of my head. The way the cops treated me, they were the thugs, they beat me, they lied about it, and they sent me to jail."

WENN

Meek feels that the judge's bizarre interest in the case keeps him a victim of the system. He says her actions include checking up on him personally at community service, telling him that he should get a new manager for his music and inviting him and former girlfriend Nicki Minaj to her chambers and requesting he write a song about her as a judge. The judge also selected Meek's probation officer while he was on parole.

Meek told Page Six of Brinkley, "It is clearly an obsession with me because … anybody should be able to handle my case … the judge hand-picked my probation officer and then I am in trouble every time."

Judge Brinkley's attorney, Charles Peruto Jr., has vehemently denied that she has a "personal vendetta" against Meek. "It's a ridiculous and outrageous claim," he said, insisting that she is just doing her job. "If you don't want a tough judge, then don't elect them."

Meek continued to plead his case to Page Six: "But now it is not normal, I'm doing time in a state penitentiary right now for a crime I didn't do when I was 19, I'm 30 years old now. Do you think I pointed a gun at a cop? That's just as simple as it gets …. you would be dead … I was arrested by a dirty strike force. … I was locked up by corrupt cops, they think that because I am a celebrity, I'll find a way around it. No — I want justice."

"The [Philadelphia] District Attorney, Larry Krasner supports me getting bail … he isn't supporting me getting bail because I'm a rapper, or I'm a black kid, or because I make money, he's doing it because it's the right thing to do. He's familiar with these cops, he's familiar with their activities. … He knows nine times out of 10 these charges would be thrown away. He's not doing it to look good for Philadelphia, he's doing it because it's the right thing to do."

Meek (real name Robert Williams) was raised in poor conditions in North Philadelphia and grew to stardom after his 2012 debut album, "Dreams and Nightmares." But he says that he's still grounded despite the fame: "There's many other men in this situation, their lives need to be saved too, they're kidnapped from their families, locked up in a concrete and metal facility, over crimes they most likely didn't commit."

"Every day that goes by I am losing [time with] my family, I am losing millions of dollars, I am wasting time in prison on a case they know they might overturn, but [I'm told] it's a process, it takes time, they know I can't be treated special," he said.

Finally, Meek is worried about his 6-year-old son, Papi, who lives with his mom in New Jersey and is having a tough time dealing with it all.

"I've always been humble and I know God has a plan for me. I'm wasting time in here, I read, I learn, but I'm wasting time," said the rapper. "I've got a 6-year-old son who has never been suspended from school and in the five months I've spent in jail, my son has been suspended from school," Mill said. "My son uses YouTube and he sees his dad is in prison, so he thinks that's the right thing to do — be bad. I'm not there to support my son — if I'm not there to support my son, I'm wasting time as a man."

The rapper's next hearing is on Monday, April, 16, with Judge Brinkley. As of now, there are no clear signs of any progress being made toward freeing him.

Awful accident

Russell Brand 'devastated' after dog mauls, kills wallaby

Russell Brand's German Shepherd reportedly mauled a wallaby to death this week, but the comic managed to save the marsupial's baby.

Roger Askew/Oxford Union/Shutterstock

A source told The Sun that the "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" star was walking his dog, Bear, near his home in England when they came across a female wallaby with a baby in its pouch. Bear made a beeline for the animal. Russell apparently got involved in the tussle and saved the baby. 

The actor is said to be mortified by the incident.

"Absolutely no one is ­blaming Russell or his dog — it's just a horrible accident," a source told the British publication. "In fact Russell was the hero because he managed to save the little joey and it could have been far worse if he hadn't stepped in so quickly."

Russell is a well known animal lover and often posts images of his pets on Instagram. In May he shared a video of Bear playing with his kittens.

"He is a very caring man with animals — he has plenty of pets and they're all his babies," the source said. "I understand he's devastated over what happened. It's really sad."

Estate issue

Family feud over DMX's estate begins

The family fight for DMX's estate has begun.

Page Six reported that Desiree Lindstrom, DMX's fiancee and mother to his 5-year-old son, recently asked the court to declare her his "common law wife," but a judge shot it down. If the move would have been approved, Desireee would have gained immediate seniority over his 14 children to potentially control his estate and all future earnings from his music.

Judge Helen Blackwood ruled that Desiree did "not have standing to file," as a common-law wife.

DMX left no will when he passed away in April from a drug overdose.

Shutterstock

As Desiree fights to control DMX's legacy and future earnings, his older children are doing the same. 

According to the June 19 report, an estate must be set up to manage future earnings from DMX'S music, and the first step is for a court to appoint administrators. Three of DMX's sons from his marriage to Tashera Simmons — Xavier, 28, Tacoma, 21, and Sean, 19 — are petitioning for be administrators. Further, two of his adult daughters from a different relationship are also fighting to be named administrators.

"There is no will from DMX and that's a big problem. This is a difficult situation because there are a number of people vying to be named administrators," a source said. "His fiancée Desiree tried to muscle in by asking the court to be named his common-law wife, which means she would have taken precedence over his children. But the court refused."

Trending name

Tristan Thompson's name trends, everyone thinks the same thing

On Friday, Tristan Thompson's name was trending on Twitter and pretty much everyone had the exact same thought.

"Me seeing Tristan Thompson trending thinking it has something to do with the Kardashians but then realizing it's about him and sports," one person said. 

Another added, "Anytime Tristan Thompson is trending, I always assume it's for something other than basketball lol."

When Tristan's name has trended in the past, it's sometimes had something to do with his relationship with Khloe Kardashian or his, shall we say, spotty track record of faithfulness to her

On June 18, though, his name actually trended through no fault of his own. This time it had to do with his job. Tristan's name was quickly linked to trade rumors after his team, the Boston Celtics, made a big change with its roster Friday morning. There is growing sentiment that Tristan's time in Beantown is likely to end.

Brian To/Shutterstock

For pop culture fanatics, trade rumors involving Tristan and his career are a welcome reason to trend. Still, the jokes were pretty universal and similar.

"Tristan Thompson is trending because of basketball ……wtf going on in this world," one person said. 

Another added, "I forget tristan thompson actually plays basketball when i see him trending."

Clearly, the Internet is always willing to have a ball at Tristan's expense.

Internet claim

Hugh Grant rips Internet claim about foundation of his marriage

Hugh Grant is publicly balking at a claim on the Internet that plainly states he and his wife of three years married for "passport reasons."

CLEMENS BILAN/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

On June 17, the "Bridget Jones's Diary" actor posted a screenshot from a Google search and took issue with it. 

"No I didn't, @Internet. I married her because I love her," he wrote on social media.

It appears that Google's claim stems from a 2018 interview Hugh did with USA Today. In that chat, Hugh — once thought of as an eternal bachelor — was asked about marrying Swedish wife Anna Elisabet Eberstein.

"My wife agrees with me that marriage is a pretty preposterous social construct," he's quoted in USA Today. "But when you've got three children, it's a nice thing to do."

Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock

Travel, he said, weighed into the til-death-do-us-part decision. 

"I didn't like going through immigration into countries where they'd say, 'Everyone with a Grant passport, over here, and all the others through there.' She went through with the nannies. That seemed all wrong," he said. 

At the time, the USA Today reporter told Hugh that Michael Phelps secretly married before his final Olympics to ease passport clearances.

"Did he? Well, we're very similar in many ways," Hugh said.

After Hugh's tweet on June 17, one follower wondered why the actor was Googling his wife's name. "Hugh Grant forget who his wife is and have to Google it?" the person asked. Hugh responded, "No. A friend sent it to me."

Game off

Cody Simpson's Olympic dream ends … this year

Cody Simpson's aspirations to compete in the Tokyo Olympics have come to an end.

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

The Australian singer had been attempting to qualify for the postponed 2020 games in swimming. On June 17, his hopes came crashing down at the Australian Olympic Swimming Trials when he missed the mark by 1.14 seconds. 

After it was over, Cody reflected on his experience and vowed to try to swim for Australia at the 2024 Games in Paris.

"What an experience racing at my first Australian Olympic Trials," he wrote on Instagram. "To make a final was our goal this year and with less than a year of training we did just that. I've come so much further than I expected to this year and to be racing the best in the country already is a privilege."

He also thanked former Aussie Olympian Brett Hawke and his training partner for pushing him.

"I'm so psyched to get back to training," he said. "See you in 3 years.."

Throughout his training, Cody often documented his progress. 

"Just achieved my 2 goals for this year at once! An Olympic trials final and a 52. 100m fly swim," he wrote on Instagram on June 16.

His journey was also documented in the Amazon Prime. documentary "Head Above Water."

Housewives accusations

Kelly Dodd blames Braunwyn Windham-Burke for 'Housewives' axing

Kelly Dodd has found a scapegoat for her "The Real Housewives of Orange County" exit: Braunwyn Windham-Burke.

On June 17, just two days after the massive "Housewives" cast shakeup was announced, Kelly posted a text conversation she had with Braunwyn. In it, Kelly squarely says Braunwyn is the sole reason she's off the show.

Broadimage/Shutterstock

Braunwyn appears to have started the conversation, telling Kelly, "I hope you're okay, I know we've been through hell and back but I'm here."

Kelly, however, was less diplomatic.

"This was your fault. We'd still be on the show if you didn't make things so dark and ugly and brought all that political 'woke' BS,'" Kelly wrote. "Your lies about me, calling me a racist and a homophobe were horribly destructive and your phony storylines didn't help either."

Braunwyn, the first gay "Housewives" star, appeared to take the high road, reiterating that she's available to talk if Kelly ever wanted to reach out. Kelly, though, seems to want no part of an open dialogue.

"I can't believe this Braunwyn has the audacity to text me !!" Kelly wrote on Instagram alongside a slew of accusations. She also called her former "Housewives" costar a "nut job classic narcissist!"

For her part, Braunwyn confirmed to Page Six that the messages were authentic, but said they were also edited.

"Only Kelly Dodd would post screenshots of her own texts that make her look wildly immature," Braunwyn said. "I guess that's what being bitter is like, and I tried to empathize with her, as you can see. I'm a big believer in growing and changing, and second chances (or in this case 10th or 11th chance). At the end of the day, it's just a tv show and we are still neighbors."

Gregory Pace/Shutterstock

To be fair, Kelly's future on the show has long been in question. Last February reports said Kelly (and other cast mates) was set to be fired. Shortly before that, she also threatened to leave the show if Braunwyn were to return.

A source close to the "Housewives" told Page Six on Thursday that Kelly only needs to look in the mirror when figuring out where things went wrong.

"Kelly should take accountability for herself being fired instead of pointing fingers at everyone else," the insider claimed.

Marriage issues

Tori Spelling confirms marital strife with Dean McDermott

Tori Spelling is not living in a state of marital bliss with her husband, Dean McDermott — in fact, the couple is sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Getty Images

The former "Beverly Hills, 90210" star spoke about the rough patch on SiriusXM's "Jeff Lewis Live" on June 16 after he brought up paparazzi images from March that showed her without a wedding ring.

"What is really going on? You put the wedding ring on. Are things OK?" he wondered. "Because I feel like the last time you were here things were good, you were having sex. Are you guys sleeping in the same bed? Personal?"

Tori answered honestly.

"Right now, my kids and dogs sleep in my bed," she said while noting that Dean sleeps "in a room."

WireImage

The actress said that four of their five children have been sleeping in her room for months.

"Since he left — this is not good, you guys — but since he left [and] he was gone for six months filming in another country, they all stayed with me," she said. "So I currently still have four in the bedroom with me who have yet to go back to their rooms, yes."

The confirmation of marital strife comes a few months after divorce speculation hung over their marriage, largely due to the missing wedding band.

Kiss and tell

Padma Lakshmi reveals new romance with handsome author: See the kissing photo

Seems like Padma Lakshmi is writing her own love story. 

THB / BACKGRID

Earlier this week, paparazzi photographed the "Top Chef" host kissing a man in New York City as she walked her dog. At the time, the man's identity was a mystery, but on June 16, Page Six revealed that the lucky suitor is famed writer and poet Terrance Hayes.

RELATED: Padma Lakshmi kisses new man in NYC plus more celebrity love life updates this week

"It's early days," a source told the New York Post's gossip site. "They're just getting to know each other."

Kristina Bumphrey/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock

Like Padma, 50, Terrance has a rather impressive resume, having won the National Book Award in 2010 for his book of poems titled "Lighthead." He's also been a finalist twice since then. Page Six notes that Terrance, 49, also received a MacArthur fellowship in 2014 as well as a Guggenheim fellowship.

RELATED: Celebrity splits of 2021

The new romance comes on heels of the the model's 12-year on-again, off-again relationship with venture capitalist Adam Dell. They share 11-year-old daughter Krishna Thea.

Brad Barket/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

"Adam and Padma broke up shortly after the new year; it was very amicable," a source said as the new images surfaced. "They are intent on staying the best of friends and remain like family."

Padma and Adam, the source continued, "are still very close and are committed to co-parenting their daughter, Krishna, who has always been their first priority."

Orange return

Heather Dubrow's family had to talk her into 'Housewives' return

Although many have thought Heather Dubrow's chances of returning to "The Real Housewives of Orange County" was once a fruitless endeavor, she's back — and her family is juiced about it!

Rob Latour/Variety/Shutterstock

While discussing the return to Bravo on her "Heather Dubrow's World" podcast, the 52-year-old said she thought producers were joking when they first approached her.  

"Well, what was funny was — so, production called me, like, I don't know, December or something like that, and I laughed," she told Andy Cohen on the podcast. "My first reaction was like, I kind of laughed. And then I thought about it."

Truthfully, Heather was unsure if she even wanted to go back to the show that made her famous, a show she starred on from 2012-2016. When Heather left, she cited the culture as a reason for the exit. However, much has changed since then, as it's been announced that Elizabeth Lyn Vargas, Braunwyn Windham-Burke and Heather's nemesis Kelly Dodd will not be returning.

Still, she knew that rejoining the show would also put the spotlight on her family. 

"When I sort of came to the realization that, 'Wait a minute. This might be like that space-time continuum moment where it's, like, a good idea to go back,' we sat down and had a family meeting about it. We had a serious talk about it," she said. 

Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

Her family — "Botched" star Terry Dubrow, and their four kids — was fully on board.

"I was negative," she said. "I was like, 'Guys, you're on social media now. You do this. You do that. People will comment,' and they were cool."