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Australian actress Rebel Wilson has Bauer Media libel payout cut

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An Australian court on Thursday slashed a record libel payout for actress Rebel Wilson, saying there was insufficient evidence a series of magazine articles published by Bauer Media prevented her from getting lucrative roles in Hollywood.

The star of three “Pitch Perfect” movies and “Bridesmaids” won A$4.6 million ($3.5 million) in damages from the German publisher last year after a court found a series of articles accusing her of lying about her age, name and childhood events had cost her roles.

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But Bauer, backed by a host of large Australian media companies, appealed the decision in February, arguing the damages bill was too high.

On Thursday, Victorian state appeals court cut Wilson’s payout to just A$600,000.
“For a considerable number of reasons, the critical inferences drawn by the judge could not be upheld,” three judges in the Victorian state appeals court wrote in a judgment.

“There was no basis in the evidence for making any award of damages for economic loss.”

The judge who determined the initial payout had relied on testimony from Wilson and two Hollywood agents that the articles, which were not published in the United States, still would have influenced movie industry decision makers, the appeals court judges added.

Wilson’s legal representatives were not immediately available for comment.

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Bauer said in a statement that it welcomed the court’s decision.

When Wilson won the case last year, it was an Australian record for a case, much higher than the A$389,000 maximum previously set, by using her “global reach” as justification.

Reporting by Nicholas Ford; Edited by Byron Kaye and Robert Birsel

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Joni Ernst accused of involvement in ‘dark money’ re-election scheme: report

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According to a report from the Associated Press, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) has been accused of illegally working with an outside group to help her re-election prospects in a tough 2020 fight with Donald Trump on the ballot.

According to AP: "An outside group founded by top political aides to Sen. Joni Ernst has worked closely with the Iowa Republican to raise money and boost her reelection prospects, a degree of overlap that potentially violates the law."

"Iowa Values, a political nonprofit that is supposed to be run independently, was co-founded in 2017 by Ernst’s longtime consultant, Jon Kohan. It shares a fundraiser, Claire Holloway Avella, with the Ernst campaign," the report continued. "And a condo owned by a former aide — who was recently hired to lead the group — was used as Iowa Values’ address at a time when he worked for her."

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What makes Christmas movies so popular

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If you are one of those people who will settle in this evening with a hot cup of apple cider to watch a holiday movie, you are not alone. Holiday movies have become firmly embedded in Americans’ winter celebrations.

The New York Times reports a massive increase in new holiday movies this year. Disney, Netflix, Lifetime and Hallmark are now in direct competition for viewers’ attention, with both new releases and reruns of the classics.

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Mike Pompeo under increasing scrutiny as as Trump impeachment ramps up: report

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On Saturday, WVAS Radio's Scott Simon profiled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — and how the impeachment investigation is shaping his political situation.

"As the impeachment inquiry against President Trump continues its march through Congress, questions are churning around his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo," wrote Simon. "For example, did he know, as witnesses testified before House investigators, that President Trump sought political favors from Ukraine in exchange for millions in U.S. assistance? Why did he take days to reveal he was on the now infamous July 25 call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy? And does he believe allies of the president who — despite the findings of the intelligence community — claim that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election?"

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