Superior Court Judge Thomas Trent Lewis’ ruling means Howard and his ex-wife, Michelle Ghent, will now have to renegotiate the financial terms of their divorce.
“The evidence of extortion or duress was unrebutted,” Lewis said, according to the Associated Press.
Howard claimed he signed a 2012 settlement to end his marriage to Ghent out of fear she would leak private details about him, including phone sex recordings with other women and a video of him dancing naked in a bathroom.
The agreement entitled Ghent to a share of Howard’s earnings, which would include a portion of his salary from the hit Fox series “Empire.”
Ghent’s lawyers have said she denied extorting the actor in a deposition and argued he didn’t prove threats she made in 2011 forced him to sign the agreement a year later. She was not allowed to testify at a recent hearing because her attorneys did not file a sworn declaration from her before the proceedings began.
Howard’s four-day hearing revealed numerous private details, including that he had cheated on Ghent during their engagement, he was physically violent with his first wife, and he has already divorced his third wife.
Lewis also heard a 2011 call in which Ghent berated Howard and threatened to sell private information about him if he didn’t pay her money by the end of the day. Howard’s accountant sent Ghent $40,000 in response to the call, which he called “hush money.”
The actor called it “blood money.” He told Lewis that leaking the information at the time would have ended his acting career.
Ghent has accused Howard of multiple instances of domestic violence and has an active restraining order him. But Howard denies he abused Ghent.
Work on the show’s second season continues. Howard spent four days in court during a recent hearing, testifying for portions of three of those days. According to the AP, his absence didn’t impact the show’s shooting schedule.
Columbus Short can’t seem to stay out of the headlines.
The former “Scandal” star was pursued and detained by bounty hunters and sheriffs in Los Angeles as the actor was hosting his album release party.
According to TMZ, Short was bum-rushed inside of a club at Universal Studios City Walk…just as he was about to do a soundcheck. Turns out he failed to appear in one of his domestic violence cases, and the judge issued a bench warrant to force him in.
In the video (seen here), Short is seen arguing with one of the bounty hunters … saying they freaked him out and he was afraid for his life. We’re told the bounty hunters were there because they’ll get a cut of his $500,000 bail. We’re told the bounty hunters swooped in because they believed Short was about to flee the county.
Ray Rice’s wife believes the country needs to move past what he did to her in that elevator.
Janay Rice told ESPN’s Jamele Hill that the abuse she suffered at his hands that night had “never happened before, and that’s not him. He’s been made out to be this monster and he’s not a wife beater. He’s someone who made a mistake, he’s human.”
She added, “He’s done everything he’s supposed to do to redeem himself.”
Ray Rice, meanwhile, told ESPN he now understands the seriousness of domestic violence. The former running back is hoping to be picked up by an NFL team.
Watch an excerpt of Janay’s “Outside the Lines” interview below:
Ray Rice is apologizing to Baltimore for punching his girlfriend-turned-wife.
The former NFL running back, who was suspended last season by the NFL after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancée Janay in a hotel elevator, wrote a letter of apology Friday morning to the city and to Ravens fans.
“The last seven years that my family and I have spent in Baltimore have by far been the best of our lives,” Rice said in a letter issued to The Baltimore Sun. “From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown my family and I throughout my football career. We’ll always be grateful for the love we’ve received from all of our fans and supporters, and for winning a Super Bowl.
“To all the kids who looked up to me, I’m truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it’s helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue.”
The Sun reported that Rice plans to move to New York as he attempts to return to the NFL.
Commissioner Roger Goodell initially suspended Rice for two games, but after video showing Rice punching Janay Palmer, his current wife, was made public, the commissioner said he made a mistake and suspended Rice indefinitely.
Rice later appealed the suspension and won. The three-time Pro Bowler was reinstated by the league in November but has not signed with a team.
He went on to thank the Ravens organization, owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh.
“I love you all very much, and I’ll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens,” Rice said in the letter to the Sun.
One of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s neighbors reported a domestic dispute at her address just eight days before she was found face-down in a bathtub, according to a 911 call released Tuesday, reports Atlanta’s Fox5.
A security guard for Ellard Village in Roswell called 911 on January 23 after a neighbor reported “some kind of domestic dispute” in the parking lot outside Brown’s unit. “Just had a neighbor call and report that there was, uh, people hitting each other and swinging outside in front of their–it’s the townhomes in Ellard Village,” said the guard, who identified himself as Rick.
Roswell Police said when they arrived, no one was home.
Brown, the only child of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston, was found face-down in a bathtub at the townhome on Jan. 31 and has been hospitalized in Atlanta since.
Three years ago, on Feb. 11, 2012, Houston was found face-down and unresponsive in about a foot of water in a bathtub in the Beverly Hilton hotel just before the Grammys. She later died, and authorities concluded that she had accidentally drowned. Investigators found a dozen prescription drug bottles in the suite and listed heart disease and cocaine use as contributors to her death.
The ongoing investigation and limited details being provided in Bobbi Kristina Brown’s case have fueled speculation about her condition and the circumstances that led to her hospitalization.
Christopher Brown, Bobby Brown’s Boston-based attorney, released a statement Tuesday railing against several media outlets for publishing “false reports” about Brown’s condition and the family’s plans for her.
“This is a criminal investigation and the integrity of that process requires silence,” Brown said in the statement.
The wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice says team officials “suggested” that she apologize for any role she played in her own beating.
Janay Rice told NBC’s “Today” show — in a taped interview which aired Monday — that she didn’t mean to let her then-boyfriend and current husband off the hook for a vicious knockout, captured on surveillance video at the Revel Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on Feb. 15.
She appeared next to Rice during a press conference on May 23, and appeared to take blame.
“Today” host Matt Lauer asked: “Did anyone at the Ravens say, “Janay, it would be really good if you issue some kind of apology’?”
Janay responded: “They suggested it, yes.”
Janay Rice said the Ravens didn’t put any exact words in her mouth but did giver her “a general script” of what to say. That press conference sparked a mountain of backlash against Rice and his wife.
“And that was frustrating for me, because obviously people took it as, you know, I’m taking light off of what Ray did,” said Janay Rice, who was originally charged with simple assault before that was dropped.
“In no way, I was basically, not doing what I was told. But at the same time, I didn’t think it was completely wrong for me to apologize, because at the end of the day, I got arrested too. So I did something wrong too.”
Janay maintains that if the Ravens hadn’t urged her to apologize by her husband’s side, she would have never made a statement because of the comments she has received in the wake of the incident. When Lauer recalled some people’s comments—”She’s a typical abused woman,” “She’s a woman in denial”—Janay’s mother, Candy Palmer, was quick to defend her daughter, saying that the elevator incident has made them more aware “about the people that are actually living this every day.”
The mother-daughter duo said that they have taken away “so many messages” from what happened with Ray, but Janay asserted that she and her now-husband are meant to be together.
“I feel like God chose Ray and me for a reason,” a teary-eyed Janay told Lauer. “It was definitely bringing awareness to what more people are going through every day. Even though it’s not what I’m going through every day, it’s definitely brought this topic to the forefront.”
Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and the Ravens dropped him from the team. But an arbitrator ruled last week that Rice was unfairly punished twice by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Rice was originally slapped on the wrist with a two-game ban until that second, much more jarring video emerged, prompting Goodell to come down with an indefinite suspension.
Goodell said that Ray was “ambiguous” during his disciplinary hearing about what happened in the elevator and that was why his original ban was brief.
“I can’t say he’s telling the truth,” Janay Rice said of Goodell, according to Pro Football Talk. “I know for a fact that he told — that Ray told the honest truth that he’s been telling from February.”
Janay Rice also told “Today” that she hasn’t watched that second video.
“No, I refuse,” she said. “I’m not going to let the public bring me back there.”
Rice’s wife says he never hit her before or after that night at the Revel.
“No,” there has never been another assault, she said. “He [Rice] knows what he’d have to deal with.”
The running back’s wife repeated her defense of Rice, blaming the public and media coverage for all their problems.
“Everybody makes mistakes,” Janay Rice said. “After this whole situation, you would think we lived in a country full of people who never made a mistake, who have never sinned ever in their life.”
Both Janay and her mother assert that Ray wouldn’t hurt his wife anymore, with Palmer forcefully saying, “There is no next time, and we’ve already made that clear.”
Multiple outlets are reporting that former BALTIMORE RAVENS running back Ray Rice has won his appeal of an indefinite suspension and has been reinstated to the NFL. He’s now eligible to sign with any NFL team.
Rice was suspended indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after a VIDEO of him hitting his then-fiancée was released publicly.
Goodell originally had suspended the running back for two games.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome testified under oath Nov. 6 in Rice’s appeal hearing that he heard the former Baltimore running back tell Goodell during his June 16 disciplinary hearing that he had hit his then-fiancée in a casino HOTEL elevator, sources told “Outside the Lines.”
Rice’s appeal of his indefinite suspension ended Nov. 6 in the OFFICES of Judge Barbara Jones, who decided the appeal outcome. Rice also testified, as did his wife, Janay.
DETAILS of what Rice and his wife testified to Nov. 6 and what Goodell said Nov. 5 were not released because of a gag order that Jones imposed. But sources said Newsome backed Rice’s previous accounts of what he told Goodell. Goodell spent the majority of his time testifying under cross-examination by outside union attorney Jeffrey Kessler, sources said.
Rice, 27, is a three-time Pro Bowler and helped the Ravens WIN Super Bowl XLVII. He rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns in six seasons with Baltimore.