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Actress Asia Argento denies sexually assaulting young actor — and says Anthony Bourdain paid him off

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On Tuesday, actress and director Asia Argento issued a statement categorically denying all accusations that she had sexually assaulted actor Jimmy Bennett. The alleged assault occurred when Argento was 37 and the actor was 17, below the legal age of consent in California.

“I am deeply shocked and hurt by having read news that is absolutely false,” she wrote. “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennett.”

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Argento goes on to claim that the payment of $380,000 she made to Bennett, in exchange for a photo that allegedly shows them in bed, was meant to help the economically struggling actor.

Argento also said her boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, had insisted on paying Bennett to prevent “further intrusions” into their lives.

As TMZ reports, the payment was made in exchange for a photo showing Bennett and Argento in bed together. TMZ notes that the photo is not necessarily of a sexual nature, but could be interpreted as post-coital.

Argento has been an outspoken representative of the #metoo movement and was one of the first women to come forward against Harvey Weinstein.


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Susan Collins skipped Trump’s visit to Maine after president threatened colleague Lisa Murkowski

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Protesters were expected to meet President Donald Trump on his Friday afternoon visit to Maine, but Senator Susan Collins, caught in the middle of a hotly contested re-election race this fall, did not.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Instead, the embattled Republican senator will be in Washington, where she has "several federal and non-federal events on her schedule," a Collins spokeswoman told NBC News.

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HBO’s Maher taunts Trump fans over president hiding in a bunker from protesters: ‘Is America great enough for you yet?’

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In his opening monologue on Friday night, HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher both ridiculed Donald Trump and taunted his fans over reports the president was whisked away to an underground bunker to protect him from anti-police brutality protesters.

According to the HBO comedian, "As soon as some shit started outside the White House he went straight to the bunker, five floors below ground. He says he wasn't hiding, he said, I love this, it was more of an inspection -- and he didn't piss himself, he was watering his shoes."

"I tell you, deranged authoritarians and bunkers, always a winning combination," he added.

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Bill Barr and Trump desperately want to blame Antifa for violence — but they’re coming up dry so far

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President Donald Trump has turned his wrath on Antifa during the George Floyd protests, demanding Antifa be labeled a terrorist organization and accusing the movement of committing acts of violence at demonstrations. But journalists William Bredderman and Spencer Ackerman, in the Daily Beast, threw cold this week on efforts to blame the leftist group.

They found that “none of the 22 criminal complaints representing the first wave of protest charges mention Antifa in any way.”

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