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Today In SMH News: Another Married Politician Caught In Sexting Drama

When Anthony Weiner got caught up in his sexcapades his colleagues judged him and forced him to resign. But Councilman Joe Stagni, despite similar drama, seems to be off the hook. Read below:

When news broke that Kenner City Councilman Joe Stagni sent a picture of himself in his underwear to a city employee and had an “inappropriate” relationship with her, the reaction was muted. The council’s two at-large members, for example, said Tuesday they are not taking a stand on their colleague’s future. “I’m never going to cast stones on anyone,” Councilwoman Jeannie Black said. “I’m not going to be a judge.”

Councilwoman Michele Branigan said now is not the time for judgment. “My concern right now is for his family,” she said. “His wife and his children are the only thing I’m thinking about right now.”

Stagni, 47, released a prepared statement after city officials retrieved the underwear image from a government computer and gave it to the news media Monday, in response to public records requests. “I had an inappropriate but consensual relation with an adult female and we exchanged improper electronic communications which ended (in) 2009,” Stagni said.

The electronic exchange took place 18 months ago. Stagni would not identify the woman or say whether she is a city employee. However, public records show Stagni’s personal smartphone was used to send a text message and the picture to Annamaria Pizzolato, who was Kenner’s internal auditor, on Dec. 23, 2009. The message carried the subject line: “I’m n trouble – serious conversation wwife.”

Sigh.

Props to Bossip.

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Barack Obama Tweets About Duke Basketball Star Zion Williamson's Injury

On Wednesday evening (Feb. 20), former President Barack Obama took time out of his day-to-day activities to sit court side at a Duke vs. North Carolina basketball game. While reports of a $2,900 ticket to attend the game circulated, it was main attraction Zion Williamson that generated everyone’s attention, including No. 44.

During regulation, Williamson tore through his Nike sneaker and injured his knee, immediately taking him out of the game. The Blue Devils succumbed to the Tar Heels 72-88. Since Williamson’s injury, Obama tweeted his well wishes for one of college basketball’s most talked about athletes.

Zion Williamson seems like an outstanding young man as well as an outstanding basketball player. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 21, 2019

Zion's shoe: destroyed 😳 pic.twitter.com/LqQ2te0Jay

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 21, 2019

Since his time at Duke, the power forward has broken the university’s basketball records, namely the single-game points data held by a freshman. Williamson has also garnered attention from the NBA’s leading athletes, specifically LeBron James. The Los Angeles Laker praised Williamson for his athleticism and command of the game.

“With his athleticism, with what we all see, to jump well beyond the 10-foot rim is incredible,” James said to USA Today. “I think what’s also incredible is at his size his speed, his agility, his quickness. And then to add on to that, I think he’s just a great kid.”

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Beyonce Applauds Meghan Markle For Including Black Traditions At Wedding

This Black History Month, Beyonce has been honoring a number of public figures who have contributed to their communities. On Wednesday (Feb. 20), Bey penned a heartfelt tribute to Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle for her philanthropic work and for her culturally-inclusive royal wedding.

In the post, which is published on her official website, Beyonce commended Markle on her "charitable work in communities of color." "Meghan’s background as a film and tv actress has allowed her to use her platform for good," the singer wrote. "As a global ambassador for World Vision, she traveled to Rwanda to see how access to clean, safe water impacts children, an issue that is near and dear to our hearts. She also visited and supported the Myna Mahila Foundation in Mumbai, an organization that helps solve the menstruation challenges many women and girls in the community face."

The Lemonade artist also praised the Duchess for incorporating traditions from her own culture in her royal wedding to Prince Harry in May 2018. "[She] brought many Black traditions to her Royal Wedding including a Chicago-based Black pastor, an amazing gospel choir, and a young Black cellist" she continued. "At the wedding her culture was front and center, and she and Prince Harry have continued to push the race relations dialogue forward both near and far."

She concluded her note, by congratulating Markle on her pregnancy. "In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas,” Bey added. "Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy."

The tribute comes shortly after honored Markle on Instagram after winning Best International Group at the 2019 Brit Awards with husband, Jay-Z. The video showed the power couple standing in front of a reimagined image of Markle as the Mona Lisa as their single "Apesh*t" played in the background. "We wish you so much joy," Beyonce wrote in the caption of her Instapost.

Read Beyonce's full tribute here.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Thank you to the Brits for the award for Best International Group. I won this award back in 2002 with my besties, Kelly and Michelle. How lucky am I to have been in a group with my other best friend, the GOAT Hova. 🙌🏾 In honor of Black History Month, we bow down to one of our Melanated Monas. Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy.

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Feb 20, 2019 at 2:48pm PST

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Chicago PD Blasts Jussie Smollett For Faking Hate Crime To Promote Career

Update: 9:00 am ET (Feb. 21, 2019) -  The Chicago Police Department held a press conference  on Feb. 21, at 9:oo am CT after Jussie Smollett was arrested for filing a false police report. Additionally, police claimed the actor sent fake hate mail to himself in an attempt to "promote his career."

"Jussie Smollett took advantage of the pain and anger of racism to promote his career," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson said. "Why would anyone especially an African-American man, use the symbolism of a noose to make false accusations? ... How can an individual who’s been embraced by the city of Chicago turn around and slap everyone in the city in the face with these false claims?"

Johnson added: "I just wish that the families of gun violence got this much attention because that's really who deserves the kind of attention that we're giving this particular incident."

Original story below...

Jussie Smollett has reportedly been arrested and is in the Chicago Police Department's custody on Thursday (Feb. 21) Chief Communications Officer Anthony Guglielmi confirms. He has reportedly been charged with one count of felony disorderly conduct for filing a false police report.

"Jussie Smollet is under arrest and in custody of detectives,"  Guglielmi announced on Twitter. "At 9am at #ChicagoPolice Headquarters, Supt Eddie Johnson, Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki will brief reporters on the investigation prior to the defendants appearance in court."

Smollett has been charged three weeks after he told law enforcement that he was the victim of an alleged hate crime. He claimed that two Trump supporters brutally attacked him in the early hours of the morning in Chicago. The assailants allegedly doused him with a liquid substance and hung a noose around his neck before yelling racial and homophobic slurs.

Following his initial statement, police noticed several holes in his statement. After several interrogations, officials interviewed two brothers believed to be involved with the attack. Footage last night proved that the two had purchased several supplies that may have been used at the time of the incident. The newly-surfaced video, along with other evidence obtained by the police, prompted the charges brought against Smollett.

Smollett's attorneys,Todd Pugh and Victor Henderson, issued a statement to USA Today, maintaining Smollett's innocence. "Like any other citizen, Mr. Smollett enjoys the presumption of innocence, particularly when there has been an investigation like this one where information, both true and false, has been repeatedly leaked. Given these circumstances, we intend to conduct a thorough investigation and to mount an aggressive defense."

If Smollett is convicted, he faces up to three years in prison.

Press Briefing: Jussie Smollet is under arrest and in custody of detectives. At 9am at #ChicagoPolice Headquarters, Supt Eddie Johnson, Commander of Area Central Detectives Edward Wodnicki will brief reporters on the investigation prior to the defendants appearance in court. pic.twitter.com/9PSv8Ojec2

— Anthony Guglielmi (@AJGuglielmi) February 21, 2019

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