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Eric Idle looks at the bright side of (his own) life

Eric Idle is writing a memoir, and Monty Python fans can guess the title: "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."

"We used to be babe magnets. Now we're fridge magnets," Idle said in a statement Wednesday. "I thought it was time to tell my tale before I suffer from Hamnesia, which is what happens to elderly actors."

Crown Archetype told The Associated Press that Idle's book is coming out in October. Idle is calling the publication a "Sortabiography." Crown is calling Idle "A legend in his own lunchtime."

"With anecdotes sprinkled throughout that involve close friends and luminaries such as Mick Jagger, Steve Martin, Paul Simon, Mike Nichols and many more — let alone the Pythons themselves — Idle captures a time of tremendous creative output with equal hilarity and heart," according to Crown.

Idle's previous books include "The Greedy Bastard Diary: A Comic Tour of America" and the novel "The Road to Mars."

US filmmaker Martin Scorsese wins Spain's Asturias art prize

American filmmaker Martin Scorsese has been awarded Spain's Princess of Astorias award for the arts, with the jury describing him as an uncontested major figure of contemporary cinema.

New York-born of Italian descent, Scorsese has produced and directed dozens of fiction and documentary films, including "Taxi Driver", "Cape Fear", "Casino" and "The Wolf of Wall Street."

The 75-year-old has also worked on popular TV series and performed as an actor.

The jury says describes his work as "transcendent," uniting "mastery, innovation and classicism."

The 50,000-euro ($61,000) award announced Wednesday is the first of eight prizes —also including social sciences, sports and scientific research— handed out annually by a foundation named for Crown Princess Leonor. The awards are presented each fall.

Meek Mill: People going through same ordeal depending on him

Rapper Meek Mill said Wednesday that now that he's out of prison, a lot of people facing similar battles with the criminal justice system are depending on him.

"I got a lot of responsibility," he said in an interview with Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News.

He said the men counting on him are "going through the same thing I'm going through."

The Philadelphia-born rapper rang a replica Liberty Bell at center court of the Philadelphia 76ers' first-round clinching playoff game Tuesday less than two hours after being freed on bail while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions.

He was released after the state Supreme Court directed a Philadelphia judge who had jailed him to immediately issue an order letting him out.

Asked if he felt free, Mill told Holt: "I ain't feel free since I caught this case at age of 19 — I'm 30 now."

Mill had been sentenced in November to two to four years behind bars for probation violations, setting off an all-out battle by a team of lawyers and public relations consultants to get him released on bail. They fiercely criticized the judge as a stream of high-powered figures and celebrities visited Mill in jail in the weeks and days before the Supreme Court ruling.

"Although I'm blessed to have the resources to fight this unjust situation, I understand that many people of color across the country don't have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues," Mill said in a statement shortly before his release.

He said he planned to focus on getting his convictions overturned, and that he looks forward to resuming his music career.

The ruling came after prosecutors said they agreed with his lawyers that he should get a new trial because of questions raised about the arresting officer. The now-retired officer was among a list of police officers the prosecutor's office has sought to keep off the witness stand in cases across the city because of credibility questions.

The district attorney's office has not said whether they would seek to retry him if the old convictions are thrown out. But it noted that just last week, prosecutors agreed not to further prosecute three defendants whose cases were tossed because of doubts about the credibility of the arresting narcotics agent, the same officer who had arrested Mill.

Judge Genece Brinkley, who sent Mill to prison and had refused to release him on bail until the Supreme Court ruling, was accused by the defense of waging a vendetta against the rapper. She defended herself, saying she had acted "impartially and without prejudice" in all proceedings since 2008.

No verdict from Cosby jury; defense lawyers slammed

The jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case ended a marathon first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict Wednesday as his lawyers came under heavy criticism for what some called a blatant attempt to "victim-shame" the parade of women who have leveled accusations against the 80-year-old comedian.

In the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era, the panel of seven men and five women began weighing charges that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia home 14 years ago. He says his encounter with former Temple University women's basketball executive Andrea Constand was consensual.

The jury worked more than 10 hours before calling it a night late Wednesday. Deliberations resume Thursday.

"Your mind is done. You're exhausted," said Judge Steven O'Neill, sending them back to their hotel.

Trying to keep him out of prison, Cosby's lawyers launched a withering attack on Constand and five other women who told the jury that the former TV star had drugged and assaulted them, too.

Defense attorney Kathleen Bliss chastised Constand for "cavorting around with a married man old enough to be her grandfather." She derided the other women as home-wreckers and suggested they made up their stories in a bid for money and fame.

She questioned the "personal morality" of one accuser and called another, model Janice Dickinson, a "failed starlet" and "aged-out model" who "sounds as though she slept with every man on the planet."

And she slammed the #MeToo movement itself, calling Cosby its victim and likening it to a witch hunt or a lynching.

Critics said the defense team went too far.

"They're playing on the same old myths that have been protecting perpetrators for centuries," said Kristen Houser of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. She said the defense's closing argument was filled with "rampant and ingrained" misconceptions about sexual assault and victim behavior.

"It was not only an attack on these six accusers," Houser said, "it was a verbal slap to survivors all across this country."

Gloria Allred, the lawyer for three of the women who testified, blasted the defense closing as "victim-shaming and victim-blaming" and said Cosby's lawyers had smeared her clients in a win-at-all-costs effort at an acquittal.

Perhaps anticipating the criticism, Bliss told jurors in her closing that "questioning an accuser is not blaming the victim."

Cosby spokeswoman Ebonee Benson echoed that sentiment when asked Wednesday about the criticism of the defense approach.

"There is no assassination of any character," Benson said. "It is evidence that the commonwealth either selectively, deliberately or just didn't want to take a look into. That's simply what it is. ... If anyone did any assassinating yesterday, it was the commonwealth toward our witnesses."

The back-and-forth outside court came as jurors began their work after a two-week trial that pitted Cosby, the former TV star once revered as "America's Dad," against Constand, 45, who testified that he knocked her out with three pills and violated her in 2004.

Cosby is charged with three counts of aggravated indecent assault. His first trial ended with a hung jury less than a year ago.

Before knocking off for the night, the jury had Cosby's old deposition testimony read back to them.

Cosby gave the deposition more than a decade ago as part of Constand's civil suit against him, testifying that he gave quaaludes to women he wanted to have sex with back in the 1970s. He also spoke about his encounter with Constand, whom he paid nearly $3.4 million in a 2006 settlement of her claims.

The jurors also appeared to be focused on the credibility of star defense witness Marguerite Jackson, a former Temple colleague of Constand's who claims Constand spoke of framing a prominent person for the money. Her trial testimony will be read back to them on Thursday.

Bill James, a defense lawyer in Little Rock, Arkansas, said vigorous advocacy is a defense attorney's job, and attacking an accuser's credibility — especially if there are no other witnesses and no physical evidence — is standard practice in sexual assault cases.

"What's good taste and what's aggressive representation are not always the same," he said. "In a criminal case you have a greater obligation to go after a witness's credibility because you're dealing with someone's freedom."

In her own closing argument, Cosby prosecutor Kristen Feden rebuked Bliss for engaging in "utterly shameful" and "filthy" character assassination of Constand and the others.

"She is the exact reason why women don't report these crimes," Feden said.

The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission, which Constand and Dickinson have done.

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This story has been corrected to show that Marguerite Jackson was a witness for the defense, not the prosecution.

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Follow Mike Sisak at https://twitter.com/mikesisak

Follow Claudia Lauer at https://twitter.com/ClaudiaLauer

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Associated Press writer Kristen de Groot in Philadelphia contributed to this story.

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For more coverage visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial

Rapper ‘Ralo’ flew drugs across U.S., sold them from apartments he rented, police say

An Atlanta rapper, accused of running a cross-country drug operation, was denied bond Tuesday, according to WSB-TV. 

>> Read more trending news    

Terrell Davis, known by his stage name “Ralo,” faces a federal charge of possession with intent to distribute. Authorities allege Davis sold drugs from several apartment units he rents in Atlanta dubbed “Ralo’s Hood,” WSB reported. Davis and eight of his associates, believed to be part of his purported gang Famerica, are named in an 11-page criminal complaint. 

The complaint states Davis and his acquaintances traveled to California twice to retrieve 964 pounds of marijuana — worth nearly $2 million — with the intention of selling it in Atlanta. Davis was arrested April 15 at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport after he initially refused to leave the aircraft, authorities said. 

>> Related: Feds: Famous rapper Terrell “Ralo” Davis caught flying into Atlanta with nearly $1M worth of pot

Following Davis’ arrest, federal authorities raided three separate locations in southwest Atlanta allegedly connected to the case. 

According to the affidavit, Davis and roughly 10 people boarded a Dec. 18 chartered jet from the Fulton County Airport to Sacramento, Calif. Four days later, the group returned to the Fulton airport, where federal and local surveillance teams saw Davis and the other passengers transfer 37 packages wrapped in white holiday paper from the jet to an Econoline van, which was registered to Davis’ southwest Atlanta address. 

An employee with the charter company offered to help unload, but the passengers declined, the affidavit said. 

Shortly after the van was loaded, the Georgia State Patrol arrested three men wearing “RaloFamgoon” attire inside the vehicle, which was spotted driving in the dark without lights on, according to the complaint. Authorities said they found 520 pounds of marijuana worth $1 million in the van. 

>> Related: Federal raid at Atlanta apartment tied to rapper’s arrest, officials say

A day after those arrests, Davis posted a picture of himself by a swimming pool with the caption: “I’ve lost more than a man have gained in a lifetime ... have you ever lost a million dollars at one time???” A week after the post, authorities said they received a passenger list from the flight and connected Davis to the men

Four months after the shipment, federal officials were notified Davis and eight others traveled to Northern California again. This time they allegedly transported 17 packages containing marijuana weighing 444 pounds back to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, according to the affidavit. 

The packages, worth $880,000, were loaded onto a Chrysler 300. Not long after the car left the airport, the GSP stopped it and federal authorities took eight people into custody. 

Davis, who remained on the plane, initially refused to comply with authorities’ commands. He later exited the aircraft, which allegedly smelled of marijuana, when police dogs were brought in to assist. 

>> Related: Rapper Meek Mill released from prison after 5 months

One of Davis’ supporters, Kalya Freeman, told WSB that despite the allegations, Davis often gave back to the community: “He’s a good person. He supports what we do. He supports everybody.”

Wa Wa Nee lead singer Paul Gray dies of cancer at age 54

Paul Gray, lead singer of the 1980s Australian pop band Wa Wa Nee, has died of cancer, his brother said on Wednesday. He was 54 years old.

He musician died on Tuesday of multiple myeloma, his brother and fellow band member Mark Gray said in a statement.

"It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that we announce that Paul Gray passed away peacefully," Mark Gray said.

"We would like to thank all the doctors, hospital staff, relatives, friends and fans for the overwhelming support given to Paul and our family while he heroically battled multiple myeloma," he added.

Wa Wa Nee formed in the early 1980s and had an Australian hit with their single, "Stimulation," in 1986.

The band later charted in the United States with the song "Sugar Free."

The band's broke up in 1989, but re-formed in recent years to perform at 1980s revival concerts and to support British group The Human League on their Australian tour last year.

'A Star is Born' steals show in starry Warner Bros. slate

Warner Bros. Pictures brought out the big names for its CinemaCon presentation Tuesday, from stars like Sandra Bullock to movies like "Wonder Woman 2," but it was Bradley Cooper's "A Star is Born" that stole the show.

Cooper showed the emotional first trailer for the film to conference attendees in Las Vegas to some hearty, and rare, applause from the crowd of theater owners and exhibitors.

It's the directorial debut for Cooper, who also stars in the film alongside Lady Gaga, who plays the aspiring singer. This marks the third remake of "A Star is Born," which has classic versions with Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand in the role of the ingénue Lady Gaga is playing.

"It's a big swing this movie, I totally get that," Cooper said. "But you can't control what moves you. And I always wanted to tell a love story."

He added that Lady Gaga is "kind of a revelation in this movie."

The film is three years in the making, and features live-singing on real stages at festivals like Glastonbury and Coachella. It hits theaters on Oct. 5.

Warner Bros. teased a massive slate of films Tuesday, stressing the diversity of their lineup, of "event films, DC tent-poles, animation, first class dramas, elevated horrors and comedies."

"We love making all times of movies for all types of audiences," said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chair Toby Emmerich.

Actor Will Arnett moderated the lively presentation, riffing with "Aquaman" star Jason Momoa about whether or not the famously ripped star will "ever do a movie with his shirt on" and other stars like the women of "Ocean's 8" and the cast of "Crazy Rich Asians."

The studio showed new, and unfinished footage from James Wan's "Aquaman" and also teased new details about a few anticipated sequels in video segments featuring "Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins, who says the sequel will be set in the 1980s and shows Wonder Woman struggling with the "temptations of our world," and "It" director Andy Muschietti, who says "Chapter 2" will be scarier and "more intense."

"So bring your adult diapers to the theater," Muschietti said.

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Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Madonna loses battle to prevent auction of Tupac letter

Pop star Madonna has lost her battle to prevent an auction of her personal items, including a love letter from her ex-boyfriend, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, a pair of worn panties and a hairbrush containing her hair.

Last year, a judge ordered Gotta Have It! Collectibles to pull the items from its impending rock 'n' roll-themed auction after the Material Girl sought an emergency court order.

In a decision revealed Monday, the judge dismissed the case on grounds the statute of limitations to recover the items had passed.

The auction house told The New York Times it had done due diligence on the items and was confident Madonna had no claim.

The company says the auction will be in July.

Starting bid for the Tupac letter is $100,000.

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Information from: The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com

The Latest: Trump, Macron toast to US-France friendship

The Latest on the first state dinner of the Trump administration (all times local):

9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump and President Emmanuel Macron of France have toasted to continued warm relations between their countries.

Macron was honored Tuesday at the first state dinner of the Trump administration.

In his toast, Trump asked that their "friendship grow even deeper" and that their "kinship grow even stronger."

Relations between the U.S. and France date to the American Revolution, nearly 250 years ago.

Macron, who spoke in French, thanked Trump for making him the first world leader honored with a state visit.

Macron also toasted to what he characterized as the "unbreakable friendship" between France and the United States.

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9 p.m.

President Donald Trump has thanked his wife, Melania, for pulling together the first state dinner of his administration.

In a toast before Tuesday's dinner honoring France, Trump described his wife as "America's absolutely incredible first lady."

He thanked her for her efforts on the dinner and said she had created an evening that everyone will always "cherish and remember."

The dinner for 123 guests and a main course of lamb marked Mrs. Trump's highest-profile hostess gig to date as first lady.

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8:35 p.m.

The first state dinner of President Donald Trump's administration had 123 guests in attendance.

That's according to the official roster of names released by the White House after the last few guests arrived Tuesday night. The guest list included a number of Cabinet officials, Trump administration staffers, elected officials and some business leaders. Two Olympic gold medalists also made the list.

The tally does not include Trump, first lady Melania Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron or his wife, Brigitte.

The size of the crowd that accepted invitations to Trump's first state dinner makes it one of the more intimate events of its kind in some time.

Former President Barack Obama had more than 330 guests at his first state dinner, which honored India.

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7:50 p.m.

Melania Trump has chosen Chanel for the White House state dinner honoring the French president.

The first lady wore a full-length silver gown Tuesday night as she emerged from the White House to greet the French president and his wife. The White House said it was a black Chantilly lace Chanel haute couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins.

French first lady Brigitte Macron wore a cream full-length gown by Louis Vuitton with long sleeves and gold details.

President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron both wore black tuxedos.

___

7:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron to the administration's first state dinner.

Macron and his wife, Brigitte, arrived at the White House as a light rain fell Tuesday evening.

Trump and his wife, Melania, exchanged hugs and air kisses with the Macrons before going inside the White House for the festivities. About 130 guests have been invited.

Macron opened a three-day state visit to the U.S. on Monday.

The French leader is scheduled to deliver an address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday.

___

6:40 p.m.

Guests are arriving for the White House state dinner honoring the French president.

It's the first state dinner of President Donald Trump's administration.

Among those who have already arrived are Vice President Mike Pence, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Apple CEO Tim Cook and two Winter Olympians who flashed medals on their way into the pre-dinner reception Tuesday.

The 94-year-old Kissinger caused a little scare when he stumbled while walking past the media.

Several Cabinet secretaries have also arrived, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is awaiting Senate confirmation to become Trump's new secretary of state.

___

6:30 p.m.

The White House has some extra help in the kitchen for the state dinner honoring the president of France.

Former National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton is lending his skills to the occasion Tuesday night.

Anton is known for being particularly talented in the kitchen. In fact, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited his "amazing chef" skills in a statement earlier this month on his departure. The White House is serving rack of lamb for the main course.

Anton resigned from the White House just before new national security adviser John Bolton came on board.

He is now a writer and lecturer at Hillsdale College.

___

5:30 p.m.

Melania Trump is embracing her moment in the spotlight for the French president's state visit.

She traded in her usual dark sunglasses for a white wide-brimmed hat that quickly became a trending topic on social media. She has thrown herself into planning the state dinner for President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte. All eyes will be on the former model again Tuesday when she steps out in a designer gown to greet the Macrons as they arrive for dinner.

Seeing the gown is typically the highlight of a state dinner. But for once, it may pale in comparison to the hat.

The hat bobbed up and down across the bottom of TV screens as the first lady took her seat for the president's news conference with Macron.

Prince’s family sues Illinois hospital, Walgreens in singer’s overdose death

Members of Prince’s family have filed a lawsuit against an Illinois hospital and the Walgreens pharmacy chain, contending both could have done more to prevent the legendary entertainer’s opioid overdose death in April 2016, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news 

The suit follows a decision made last week by the Carver County Attorney Mark Metz against filing charges in the superstar singer’s death. Following a two-year investigation, Metz, of Carver County, Minnesota, announced Thursday that “Prince died from taking a counterfeit Vicodin pill that contained fentanyl, a dangerously powerful opioid,” but that investigators could not determine who sold the “Purple Rain” singer the pill. Authorities fined the doctor who prescribed Prince painkillers in a friend’s name.

A week before Prince died, he was treated at Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island, Illinois for an overdose. His plane made an emergency landing in Moline after he had played a show in Atlanta, and he was briefly hospitalized after overdosing on the plane.

>> Related: Music legend Prince dead at 57

The suit by the six heirs to Prince’s fortune accuses the doctor who examined the entertainer of misidentifying the pain pill the singer took before his overdose as a Vicodin, when it was instead a counterfeit laced with fentanyl, the Minneapolis Tribune reported. The suit also accuses the hospital of failing to appropriately identify and treat the overdose.

In addition, the suit names Walgreens because it gave prescriptions meant for Prince to his longtime friend and manager Kirk Johnson. 

“We will have much to say when the time is right,” the attorney who filed the suit on behalf of the family, John Goetz, told the Star Tribune

“We have client interests to protect at the moment, including our theory of the case. What happened to Prince is happening to families across America. Prince’s family wishes, through its investigation, to shed additional light on what happened to Prince,” Goetz said.

>> Related: Prince’s doctor fined for drug violations in singer’s death

Prince was 57 when he died on April 21, 2016, at his Paisley Park home of an accidental overdose, six days after the overdose on the plane. 

 

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