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Officials: Weinstein to surrender in sexual misconduct probe

Harvey Weinstein was expected to turn himself in to police Friday morning to face charges involving an aspiring actress who said he forced her to perform oral sex on him, law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

It would be the first criminal case against Weinstein to come out of the barrage of sexual abuse allegations from scores of women that destroyed his career and set off a national reckoning that brought down other powerful men in what has become known as the #MeToo movement.

The two officials said the criminal case involves allegations by Lucia Evans, who told a magazine that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex. She was among the first women to speak out about the 66-year-old film producer. One official said it's likely the case also will include at least one other victim who has not come forward publicly.

The officials spoke Thursday to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the investigation.

Evans confirmed to The New Yorker that she was pressing charges.

"At a certain point, you have to think about the greater good of humanity, of womankind," she told the magazine.

Weinstein was expected to be charged at least with criminal sexual act, a crime that carries up to 25 years in prison, the officials said. Weinstein's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment, though Weinstein has said repeatedly through his lawyers that he didn't have nonconsensual sex with anyone.

Evans told The New Yorker in a story published in October that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting at his New York office in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College.

"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't,'" she told the magazine. "I tried to get away, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. I didn't want to kick him or fight him."

Evans, who is now a marketing consultant, didn't report the encounter to police at the time, telling The New Yorker that she blamed herself for not fighting back.

"It was always my fault for not stopping him," she said.

Brafman said in court paperwork filed this month in a bankruptcy proceeding that the allegations that Weinstein forced himself on women were "entirely without merit."

"I am trying my very best to persuade both the federal and state prosecutors that he should not be arrested and or indicted, because he did not knowingly violate the law," Brafman wrote.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had been under enormous public pressure to bring a criminal case against Weinstein. Some women's groups, including the Hollywood activist group Time's Up, accused the Democrat of being too deferential to Weinstein and too dismissive of his accusers.

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for weeks.

In March, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took the extraordinary step of ordering the state's attorney general to investigate whether Vance acted properly in 2015 when he decided not to prosecute Weinstein over a previous allegation of unwanted groping, made by an Italian model. That investigation is in its preliminary stages.

More than 75 women have accused Weinstein of wrongdoing around the globe. Several actresses and models accused him of criminal sexual assaults, but many of the encounters happened too long ago for any prosecution. Film actress Rose McGowan said Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah, "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra said he raped her in her New York apartment in 1992 and Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe said he attacked her in a London hotel room in 2008.

The statute of limitations for rape and certain other sex crimes in New York was eliminated in 2006, but not for attacks that happened prior to 2001.

New York City police detectives said in early November that they were investigating allegations by another accuser, "Boardwalk Empire" actress Paz de la Huerta, who told police in October that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010. She is not one of the victims in the case on Friday; hers was still pending, officials said.

Authorities in California and London also are investigating assault allegations. Britain has no statute of limits on rape cases; some of the allegations under investigation there date to the 1980s.

Harvey and his brother Bob Weinstein started his now-bankrupt company after leaving Miramax, the company they founded in 1979 and which became a powerhouse in '90s indie film with hits like "Pulp Fiction" and "Shakespeare in Love." The Weinstein Co. found success with Oscar winners "The Artist" and "The King's Speech."

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.

Sony no more, Bond 25 finds distribution from Universal, MGM

After more than a decade at Sony Pictures, James Bond has a few new partners.

In a joint announcement Thursday, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said Universal Pictures will release the 25th installment of the superspy franchise internationally while MGM will handle the U.S. release.

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as 007 in the film and Oscar-winner Danny Boyle will direct.

Sony's Bond contract expired in 2015 and many of the major studios competed for the chance to distribute the profitable franchise.

As per tradition Bond 25 will open a bit earlier in the U.K., on Oct. 25 2019, than in the U.S., where it will debut on Nov. 8, 2019. Production will begin in December at Pinewood Studios in London.

Rose McGowan on Weinstein: 'One win is a win for all of us'

She was one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, and she thought the mogul might never face justice in a court of law.

Now, actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her 20 years ago, is gratified but "still in shock" at the news that he is expected to surrender on Friday and finally face charges of sexual assault, in one of the scores of cases in which he's accused. And she prays that the charges will stick.

"I still have very guarded hopes," McGowan told The Associated Press Thursday night. "The justice system has been something very elusive. I hope in this case it works. Because it's all true. None of this was consensual."

Weinstein was expected to surrender to authorities on Friday to face charges involving at least one of the women who have accused him of sexual assault, Lucia Evans, two law enforcement officials told the AP. It would be the first criminal case against Weinstein since the revelations about him erupted last October and sparked the cultural "reckoning" that became the MeToo movement.

"I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us," McGowan said. "It shows that it can be done."

After talking and writing about the case for so long, including in a recent memoir, "Brave," McGowan, 44, said it came as a huge surprise when news of the legal case finally came.

"I haven't come out of the shock of it yet," she said. "This is somebody who has been my nemesis for 20 years."

Weinstein has said repeatedly through his lawyers that he did not have nonconsensual sex with anyone.

Besides the immediate satisfaction of seeing Weinstein face justice, McGowan said she firmly believes that his story, and the cultural earthquake that followed, will have a profound and lasting impact on how society treats powerful abusers who engage in sexual misconduct.

"We can't go backward," she said. "The genie can't go back in the bottle. This is the first time since written history that women are being believed — begrudgingly, but still."

Equally important, McGowan said, is that the MeToo movement will help women who aren't famous, well-off movie stars, like many of Weinstein's accusers, but less powerful women without a voice. "If it's being done to me and other people who are well-known, what's happening to those who aren't?" she said.

As for what she expects to see in five or 10 years, McGowan said "there are always going to be social predators. And sociopaths. But the ones that to me are more guilty are the ones that kept everything quiet and covered everything up. Those are the ones that need to change their behavior. They know who they are. I think five years from now, a lot of these weeds will be taken out."

"The conversation will keep getting deeper," she said. "It will continue. Because we needed to have a conversation about truth. And ... victims tell the truth, no matter how long and how hard it is to tell the truth, or whether you've been saying it for 20 years and nobody cared to listen."

When asked if she planned to be in the courtroom should Weinstein go to trial, she said "Yes," with a quiet laugh. "Yes, I will."

Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck dies at 84

Prize-winning children's author Richard Peck, who drew upon his Illinois roots for such favorites as "A Long Way from Chicago" and "A Year Down Yonder," has died.

Peck died on Wednesday at his home in New York City at age 84. His publisher, Penguin Young Readers, told The Associated Press, that he died after a battle with cancer.

A native of Decatur, Illinois, and graduate of DePauw University, he was a prolific author who wrote dozens of books, but didn't start until his mid-30s when he decided to quit teaching. Willing from the start to address social issues, his debut novel "Don't Look and It Won't Hurt" was a story of teen pregnancy later adapted into the acclaimed independent film "Gas Food Lodging." He received his highest praise for "A Year Down Yonder," set in rural Illinois during the Great Depression and winner of the John Newbery Medal in 2001 for the year's best children's book. A year later, he became the first children's writer to be given a National Humanities Medal.

His other books included "The Best Man," ''A Season of Gifts" and "The River Between Us," a National Book Award finalist. His novel "A Long Way from Chicago," was a prequel to "A Year Down Yonder" and also a finalist for the National Book Award. Both featured his beloved character, the no-nonsense Grandma Dowdel.

Prince William to visit Jordan, Israel, West Bank in June

Kensington Palace says Prince William will visit Israel and the Palestinian territories at the end of June — the first British royal to make an official visit there.

The prince will begin his June 24-28 trip in Amman, Jordan, then travel to Jerash in Jordan; Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel; and Ramallah in the West Bank.

No British royal has ever made an official visit to Israel, whose occupation of the Palestinian territories is considered illegal by the U.K. William's father, Prince Charles, attended the 2016 funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres in a private capacity.

This is also the first official royal visit to the Palestinian territories. It comes at the British government's request.

The trip was announced earlier this year, but the dates and destinations were disclosed Friday.

Officials: Weinstein to surrender in sexual misconduct probe

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities Friday to face charges involving at least one of the women who have accused him of sexual assault, two law enforcement officials told The Associated Press.

It would be the first criminal case against Weinstein to come out of the barrage of sexual abuse allegations from scores of women that destroyed his career and set off a national reckoning that brought down other powerful men in what has become known as the #MeToo movement.

The two officials said the criminal case involves allegations by then-aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who told a magazine that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex. She was among the first women to speak out about the 66-year-old film producer. One official said it's likely the case also will include at least one other victim who has not come forward publicly.

The officials spoke Thursday to the AP on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss the investigation.

A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case for weeks, and the precise charges against Weinstein weren't immediately known. Weinstein's attorney, Benjamin Brafman, declined to comment, though Weinstein has said repeatedly through his lawyers that he did not have nonconsensual sex with anyone.

Evans told The New Yorker in a story published in October that Weinstein forced her to perform oral sex during a daytime meeting at his New York office in 2004, the summer before her senior year at Middlebury College.

"I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don't,' " she told the magazine. "I tried to get away, but maybe I didn't try hard enough. I didn't want to kick him or fight him."

Evans, who is now a marketing consultant, didn't report the incident to police at the time, telling The New Yorker's Ronan Farrow that she blamed herself for not fighting back.

"It was always my fault for not stopping him," she said.

Brafman said in court paperwork filed this month in a bankruptcy proceeding that the allegations that Weinstein forced himself on women were "entirely without merit."

"I am trying my very best to persuade both the federal and state prosecutors that he should not be arrested and or indicted, because he did not knowingly violate the law," Brafman wrote.

Brafman said in the same court filing that he had been informed that Weinstein was a "principal target" of an investigation being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has come under enormous public pressure to bring a criminal case. Some women's groups, including the Hollywood activist group Time's Up, accused the Democrat of being too deferential to Weinstein and too dismissive of his accusers.

In March, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo took the extraordinary step of ordering the state's attorney general to investigate whether Vance acted properly in 2015 when he decided not to prosecute Weinstein over a previous allegation of unwanted groping, made by an Italian model.

Vance had insisted any decision would be based on the strength of the evidence, not on political considerations. His office declined comment Thursday.

More than 75 women have accused Weinstein of wrongdoing. Several actresses and models accused him of criminal sexual assaults, including film actress Rose McGowan, who said Weinstein raped her in 1997 in Utah, "Sopranos" actress Annabella Sciorra, who said he raped her in her New York apartment in 1992, and the Norwegian actress Natassia Malthe, who said he attacked her in a London hotel room in 2008. Another aspiring actress, Mimi Haleyi, said Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her in his New York apartment in 2006.

New York City police detectives said in early November that they were investigating allegations by another accuser, "Boardwalk Empire" actress Paz de la Huerta, who told police in October that Weinstein raped her twice in 2010.

McGowan said she was "in shock" at the news that Weinstein would face charges.

"I still have very guarded hopes. The justice system has been something very elusive. And I hope in this case it works. Because it's all true. None of this was consensual." she said. "I hope this gives hope to victims and survivors everywhere, that we are one step closer to justice. Because one win is a win for all of us. It shows that it can be done."

The statute of limitations for rape in New York was eliminated in 2006, but not for attacks that happened prior to 2001.

Several filed a federal lawsuit claiming his efforts to prey on women and cover up complaints amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Authorities in California and London are also investigating assault allegations. Britain has no statute of limits on rape cases; some of the allegations under investigation there go back to the 1980s.

Harvey and his brother Bob Weinstein started his now-bankrupt company after leaving Miramax, the company they founded in 1979 and which became a powerhouse in '90s indie film with hits like "Pulp Fiction," and "Shakespeare in Love." The Weinstein Co. found success with Oscar winners "The Artist" and "The King's Speech."

Even in a Hollywood where some film producers have long enjoyed outsized power, Weinstein stood out as someone who could make or destroy careers — a factor that kept many of his accusers, and people aware of his problematic conduct with women, from speaking out.

The public allegations against Weinstein helped prompt a broad public reckoning about sexual misconduct.

Major figures in media and politics have lost their jobs or had their reputations tarnished by allegations that they subjected women to unwanted advances or outright assaults. They include TV hosts Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, comedian Louis C.K, Democratic Sen. Al Franken, chef Mario Batali, casino magnate Steve Wynn and, most recently, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.

Scenes cut from 'Show Dogs' over resemblance to sexual abuse

Two scenes are being cut from the family movie "Show Dogs" after complaints that they resemble real-life sexual abuse, the movie's distributor has announced.

In the movie, a police dog goes undercover at a dog show to catch animal smugglers.

In one scene, the dog is told to go to his "zen place" when he objects to having his testicles touched by a show judge.

In another scene, the dog is urged to overcome his resistance to being touched to become a champion.

Parenting bloggers first raised objections to the scenes, which they said resemble tactics used by abusers.

"During the movie, I kept thinking, 'This is wrong, it doesn't need to be in a kids movie," wrote blogger Terina Maldonado. "Everything else in the movie is good fun except for this.'"

Distributor Global Road Entertainment said in a statement Wednesday it "decided to remove two scenes from the film 'Show Dogs' that some have deemed not appropriate for children."

The statement added: "We apologize to anybody who feels the original version of 'Show Dogs' sent an inappropriate message. The revised version of the film will be available for viewing nationwide starting this weekend."

Maldonado said she was especially disturbed that her daughter said one of the scenes was her favorite part of the movie.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation had also objected to the scenes, and urged that they be cut.

The film starring Will Arnett and the voice of Ludacris was released last weekend and was the No. 6 film at the box office after earning $6 million.

Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman apologized on Thursday to anyone who may have felt "uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behavior, after CNN reported that multiple women have accused the A-list actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on movie sets and in other professional settings.

"Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy," the actor, now 80, said in a statement sent to The Associated Press by his publicist, Stan Rosenfield. "I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent."

Freeman won the 2005 Oscar for best supporting actor for "Million Dollar Baby." He was nominated four other times, including for "Driving Miss Daisy" and "The Shawshank Redemption," and is renowned for his prolific voiceover work.

Earlier this year, he was honored by SAG-AFTRA with a lifetime achievement award. In a statement to The Associated Press, the organization, which represents actors, journalists and others, called the allegations "compelling and devastating" and contrary to its attempts to make sure working environments are safe in the industry.

"Any accused person has the right to due process, but it is our starting point to believe the courageous voices who come forward to report incidents of harassment," the statement read. "Given Mr. Freeman recently received one of our union's most prestigious honors recognizing his body of work, we are therefore reviewing what corrective actions may be warranted at this time."

The CNN report includes the account of a production assistant on the 2017 heist film "Going In Style," who detailed an incident in which the actor repeatedly tried to lift up her skirt, and asked if she was wearing underwear. She alleged that Freeman subjected her to unwanted touching and comments on a near-daily basis on the film.

Several women alleged that he made frequent comments about their bodies, or would stare at them in ways that made them feel uncomfortable. CNN spoke to 16 people about Freeman; eight said they had experienced harassment or inappropriate behavior, and eight said they had witnessed such conduct. Seven of them described harassment or inappropriate behavior at Revelations Entertainment, a company he co-founded with Lori McCreary.

The CNN report also cited accounts by three entertainment reporters of inappropriate remarks they allege Freeman made at press junkets, including the report's co-author, Chloe Melas, who describes Freeman shaking her hand, "not letting go while repeatedly looking her up and down and saying more than once a variation of, 'I wish I was there'" — and also "You are ripe."

Paltrow: Brad Pitt threatened Harvey Weinstein

Gwyneth Paltrow says ex-boyfriend Brad Pitt threatened producer Harvey Weinstein after an alleged incident of sexual misconduct.

The 45-year-old actress told "The Howard Stern Show" on Wednesday she was "blindsided." Paltrow claimed she was 22 when Weinstein placed his hands on her at a hotel and suggested they go to a bedroom for massages.

Paltrow said she told Pitt what happened and the actor confronted Weinstein at a Broadway opening. Paltrow said, "It was like the equivalent of throwing him against the wall."

Paltrow said Pitt leveraged his fame and power to protect me at a time when she didn't have fame or power.

The two, who were briefly engaged, broke up in 1997.

Representatives for Weinstein and Pitt did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Michelle Obama unveils cover for upcoming memoir

Michelle Obama has a picture to share.

On Thursday, the former first lady unveiled the cover for her upcoming memoir, "Becoming." She posted that image, a smiling close-up shot taken by portrait photographer Miller Mobley, on her Instagram account. She wrote on Instagram that working on the book has been "meaningful and illuminating" and urged others to tell their stories.

"Becoming," one of the year's most anticipated books, comes out Nov. 13.

'Arrested Development' co-stars apologize to Jessica Walter

Jason Bateman and Tony Hale are apologizing for comments they made in defense of their "Arrested Development" co-star Jeffrey Tambor, who has been accused of harassment on the show's set.

In a series of tweets Thursday, Bateman says his comments were "wrong" and that it seemed like he was "condoning yelling at work." He adds that he's "incredibly embarrassed."

Bateman was reacting to a cast interview in The New York Times in which actress Jessica Walter alleged Tambor verbally harassed her on the set.

Bateman responded in the interview that "a lot of stuff happens in 15 years." He later tweeted "I realize that I was wrong here." Hale also apologized Thursday, tweeting that his words "served to minimize Jessica's pain."

Netflix scrapped plans for the "Arrested Development" cast to meet fans in London on Friday, saying it had decided "not to move ahead with promotional activity."

Tina Fey makes surprise visit to her former high school

Tina Fey has made a surprise visit to her former Pennsylvania high school.

District officials say Fey stopped by Upper Darby High School in Upper Darby Wednesday to film a promotional video for her Broadway musical "Mean Girls."

Fey graduated from Upper Darby in 1988, and she previously said her time there loosely inspired the 2004 "Mean Girls" film.

The district welcomed the actress in a Facebook post, saying "Once a Royal, Always a Royal."

Fey spoke with students who had seen the musical during her visit, and she was serenaded by the school's Encore Singers. Fey called the singing, "beautiful."

"Mean Girls" has received 12 Tony Award nominations, including Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical.

The awards will be given out in June.

Bartoli returns to La Scala for 3-year Baroque project

Mezzosoprano Cecilia Bartoli is returning to Milan's famed La Scala opera house next year for a three-year Baroque music collaboration, the opera house announced Thursday.

The program is part of general manager Alexander Pereira's focus on bringing neglected Italian musical traditions back to La Scala's stage, this time leveraging on his long friendship with Bartoli and her love of Baroque music repertoire.

"Baroque music has been in a certain sense somewhat forgotten in Italy. We live in Baroque cities. We breathe Baroque in Italy. For this it is interesting to bring back to light compositions and authors of Baroque musical scores," Bartoli told The Associated Press.

She called Baroque music, composed from the 17th century through the first half of the 18th, Italy's "cultural treasure, our immense treasure."

"When we think of Verdi, when we think of Puccini, we shouldn't forget that these composers became what they were, thanks to those who came before them," Bartoli said. "It is true, Mozart was a genius. But he had a composer like Hayden who was a big inspiration for him."

The Baroque program begins in 2019 with Handel's "Giulio Cesare in Egitto," followed by his "Semele" in 2020 and "Ariodante" in 2021. Pereira said he wants to bring the three productions to other Italian opera houses, in particular the San Carlo theater in Naples, known for its Baroque tradition.

"The biggest Baroque musicians and composers have passed through Naples," Bartoli said, citing as examples Nicola Antonio Propora and Domenico Scarlatti.

To woo Bartoli, Pereira said he first set up a group of La Scala musicians with period instruments, something the pair had done for a similar project when he was director of the Zurich Opera House.

Bartoli sang several times at La Scala in the 1990s; her last appearance was in 2012, when she was booed by the upper balconies of the tiered theater.

She said her long absences were due mostly to scheduling difficulties and commitments elsewhere, and the fact that the La Scala repertoire until recently focused largely on the 1800s.

"I already had many commitments in Salzburg, Zurich, Vienna. To be able to speak of a multi-year project, it is clear it couldn't be done right away," she said. "From 2019 I found free time."

Spain issues arrest warrant for rapper convicted over lyrics

Authorities in Spain issued arrest warrants Thursday for a Spanish rapper sentenced to prison for lyrics that praised terror groups and insulted the royal family.

Jose Miguel Arenas Beltran, a 24-year-old rap singer and composer from Palma de Mallorca best known as Valtonyc, was being sought, a prosecutor's statement said.

The rapper was supposed to turn himself in voluntarily to serve a two-year sentence, the statement said, adding that Spanish, European and international arrest warrants have been issued in his name.

Lower courts ruled that he distributed songs online that praised terrorism, insulted Spanish royals and threatened a Spanish politician with violence.

In February, the Supreme Court rejected Beltran's argument that he was expressing his right to free speech and that rap songs aim to be provocative.

Valtonyc's case became a cause celebre in Spain among organizations who claim Spanish authorities are cracking down on free speech rights. One of them, the Platform for Freedom of Information, said Thursday the court rulings were "a clear violation of fundamental rights and fly in the face of international principles on freedom of expression which Spain has signed up to."

Beltran had announced that he would be disobeying the court summons to go to prison. "Tomorrow they will knock down the door to my house to put me in prison. For a few songs," the rapper wrote in a tweet on Wednesday.

"I'm not going to make it so easy. Disobeying is legitimate and a must before this fascist state," he said, adding that Spain was "once again making a fool of itself."

Others expressed little sympathy with his plight, including the parliamentary spokesman for the pro-business Citizens party, who tweeted, "Brave when breaking the law, cowardly when it's time to accept the consequences."

Scottoline has new publisher, writing book inspired by Roth

Lisa Scottoline, the best-selling crime writer, has a new publisher and is working on a different kind of book.

A book inspired in part by Philip Roth.

G.P. Putnam's Sons told The Associated Press on Thursday that it had reached a six-book deal with Scottoline, who previously published with St. Martin's Press. The deal includes her first historical fiction, a planned trilogy set in Italy during the fascist reign of Mussolini. The first novel in the series is called "Eternal," and Scottoline is citing Roth, who died Tuesday at age 85, as a reason for writing it. In the 1970s, she studied under Roth while attending the University of Pennsylvania, taking seminars on the "Literature of Desire" and the "Literature of the Holocaust."

"In both courses, we did a close, almost line-by-line, analysis of the books he chose for us, evidence of Roth's famous saying that he became an author because he 'liked sentences,'" she told the AP in a recent statement. "I myself became an author because of him, his seminar and his books, especially his survey of the harrowing first-person accounts of the Holocaust. Roth admired very much the books of Primo Levi, notably his 'Survival in Auschwitz,' which haunted me for decades to follow. I knew that someday I would write about the Holocaust in Italy and have been researching and studying it since then."

"I owe it to Philip Roth," she added. "I will mourn him always."

Financial terms for her book deal were not disclosed. With Putnam, Scottoline also plans three domestic thrillers "centered on strong female characters up against impossible odds." The first work, "Someone Knows," is scheduled for next spring. Scottoline, 62, is known for novels such as "After Anna" and "Final Appeal."

Rockwell work at center of controversy gets $8M at auction

One of the two Norman Rockwell paintings at the center of a Massachusetts museum's contentious decision to sell 40 works of art has been sold at auction for more than $8 million.

"Blacksmith's Boy — Heel and Toe," also known as "Shaftsbury Blacksmith Shop," was sold by Sotheby's in New York on Wednesday for $8.1 million, within the expected $7 million to $10 million range.

Rockwell gave the oil painting to the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield in 1966 as a gift when he was living in nearby Stockbridge.

The decision by the struggling museum to sell 40 works drew widespread condemnation and sparked legal challenges.

Under a deal, another Rockwell painting, "Shuffleton's Barbershop" was sold to the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art in Los Angeles for an undisclosed price.

'Survivor' final vote deadlocks, tiebreaker vote needed

History was made on the CBS reality series "Survivor."

For the first time in 36 seasons, the season finale ended in a deadlock, and a tiebreaker was needed to crown a champ.

Host Jeff Probst on Wednesday night revealed jurors on "Survivor: Ghost Island" in Fiji were deadlocked at five votes apiece for Wendell Holland and construction supervisor Domenick Abbate of Nesconset, New York.

It was up to the third member of the final three, Laurel Johnson, to break the tie.

Johnson cast her vote for Holland. The 33-year-old furniture builder from Philadelphia received the $1 million prize.

Historic theater cancels events due to roof damage

A century-old Vermont theater known as a popular stop for performers traveling between Montreal and Boston canceled upcoming events due to roof damage.

The Paramount Theatre in Rutland announced Tuesday it will relocate two dance recitals due to the damage, the Rutland Herald reported . Last weekend, The Oak Ridge Boys' concert was cancelled as was the screening of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte."

Theater officials declined to discuss the nature of the damage discovered during a routine inspection. They said they will do repairs and operations should resume after completion.

"During the inspection, we noticed there were some marks in the balcony area . something that looked different to us," Eric Mallette, programming director, said recently.

"The building, the age that it is, is always being maintained for safety issues," he added.

The 105-year-old building started as The Playhouse with performers traveling by train between Montreal and Boston, stopping halfway to perform in Rutland. It eventually became the Paramount in 1931. In 1975, then a movie theater, it closed and remained vacant for more than 20 years before reopening in 2000 following an extensive renovation.

Mallette said this was the first time he could remember the theater closing due to safety concerns.

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Information from: Rutland Herald, http://www.rutlandherald.com/

The Latest: ABC: Jackson TV special respects copyrights

The Latest on the Michael Jackson estate's objections to a television special about him (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

ABC says its documentary on Michael Jackson airing Thursday night is news that does not infringe on intellectual property.

The network was responding to a statement from the Jackson estate alleging the two-hour TV special "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" has no regard for his legacy or his heirs, who did not sponsor or approve of it.

ABC's statement says the documentary explores the career and legacy of Jackson, who is a newsworthy subject who remains of worldwide interest.

The statement says the "program does not infringe on his estate's rights" but says as a courtesy a specific image was removed from the promotional material for the show at the estate's request.

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11:45 a.m.

The Michael Jackson estate is objecting to an ABC TV special airing Thursday on the end of the life of the late King of Pop.

The estate said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday that "The Last Days of Michael Jackson" is not approved by Jackson's heirs, and will most likely violate their intellectual property rights.

The statement calls the special an unauthorized attempt to exploit Jackson without respect for his legacy or his children.

Representatives for ABC owner Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The estate says ABC was using a copyrighted image to promote the special, but stopped after demands from Jackson attorneys.

It says it understands the show other intellectual property without permission, including music, photos and artwork.

Lawyer: Harvey Weinstein targeted by federal prosecutors

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer said in a court filing that federal prosecutors in New York have launched a criminal investigation into the film producer, in addition to a previously disclosed probe by the Manhattan District Attorney.

Attorney Benjamin Brafman said in a declaration filed on May 3 in the Weinstein Co.'s bankruptcy proceedings that he had been advised that Weinstein was a "principal target" of an investigation being conducted by the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan.

"I am trying my very best to persuade both the federal and state prosecutors that he should not be arrested and or indicted, because he did not knowingly violate the law," Brafman wrote. He said the allegations that Weinstein forced himself on women were "entirely without merit."

"As the court can appreciate, saving someone from unwarranted criminal prosecution is far more significant that having a baseless prosecution implode months or years from now after Mr. Weinstein's life and the lives of his family have been irreparably destroyed," he added.

Scores of women have accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct ranging from inappropriate comments to rape. Weinstein is under criminal investigation in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles and London. He has not been charged with any crimes, though police in New York have said publicly that they believe there is enough evidence to make an arrest.

Two law enforcement officials confirmed that Weinstein has been under federal investigation. The officials were not authorized to speak to The Associated Press and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Brafman did not immediately return a message from the AP on Wednesday but told The Wall Street Journal that he had met with federal prosecutors "in an attempt to dissuade them from proceeding."

Sex crimes, aside from child pornography cases, are usually handled by local prosecutors under state law, but federal charges can be brought under certain circumstances if a person brings a victim across state lines for the purpose of a sexual assault or the attack happens on federal lands.

In the bankruptcy case, Brafman sought access to emails and correspondence under the control of the Weinstein Co. to help him in his defense efforts.

Those documents included emails that he said showed that women who have accused Weinstein of violent assaults later exchanged friendly messages with him. The bankruptcy judge ultimately granted access.

The company sought bankruptcy protection in March.

A Delaware bankruptcy judge approved a private equity firm's purchase of the Weinstein Co. Dallas-based Lantern Capital offered to pay $310 million in cash for the Weinstein Co.'s assets and to assume $127 million in project-related debt. It also agreed to cover obligations related to the assumption of certain contracts and leases.

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