Did a talented Miami lawyer get shafted by Trump’s DOJ for his love of Jeb! or his expertise in foreign corruption violations, tax evasion & money laundering? Also: Miami Apprentice contestant out too

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Poor Jeb Bush. Not only did he fail to beat his bully to the White House, but now his name is seemingly preventing an aspiring Miami-based US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida from reaching that brass (or is it orange?) ring. Former assistant US attorney at the DOJ John Couriel, who lost his bid for a seat in the Florida legislature, was a die hard Jeb! fan. So what, right? Well, Couriel, now a partner in Miami law firm Kobre & Kim, whose boyish looks draw comparisons to another guy he’s seemingly a fan of–Marco Rubio, was never overtly against Donald Trump, but he was no fan either, telling the LA times in November, “Our Republican base hasn’t known quite what to do with Donald Trump.”  Couriel, a Harvard law grad, wouldn’t say whether he was voting for Trump in a June Tampa Bay Times article, which also noted that he “avoids talk of Trump.” So what then? It’s not like the guy bashed the now-prez, but, says our Swamp rat (no, not Kellyanne), just by being Jeb’s biggest fan made him blow his bid for US attorney, well, bigly. It’s hard to believe that had anything to do with him getting passed over for the gig. You would think the fact that when he was a federal prosecutor in 2009, Couriel prosecuted several public corruption conspiracies, including a ring of fraudsters at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles who were generating valid Florida driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, would have been an asset in this administration. But here’s the rub: in his current gig as partner at Kobre & Kim, he specializes in Latin America with—wait for it– a focus on allegations of foreign corruption violations, money laundering and tax evasion. A ha! See: #TrumpRussia.

Couriel isn’t the only one allegedly out of the running. Miami Dade County Commissioner Jose Felix Diaz, an attorney at Akerman, Chairman of the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Florida House, and, probably his most impressive qualification to this president, a season 5 “Apprentice” contestant who sources say has been telling people he was a shoe in for the job, “bombed on his interview with the DOJ” and is out. Now they’re back to square one and two, with two new Miami names thrown into the ring for the job.

“This is a new era, this is the Trump era,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told border patrol agents on Tuesday.

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Buenos Aires-based Rascasuelos cancels Miami gig because of, in short, Trump

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Remember the days when bands couldn’t perform in the United States because of Fidel Castro? Well now bands can’t play in America because of the tangerine tyrant, our so-called president, Donald Trump. That’s right, Buenos Aires-based band Rascasuelos was slated to perform in Miami March 22, but had to cancel due to “visa issues.” We contacted the band and asked outright, “Was it because of Trump’s travel ban,” to which a member replied, “You got it.”

The band,  composed of seven classically and rock trained musicians, was also slated for a gig at SXSW. Not anymore. “Here in the band, there are many people who have been playing for years in the U.S.,” said Jeremy Hutton, the manager for the band. “This is the first time that we have to canceled a trip due to the migration situation that could jeopardize our career.”

After some thought, he clarified, saying “Rascasuelos were not victims of the ‘Trump Travel Ban’, rather victims of an environment that is not conducive to culture and the arts. It is, after all, a mission of the Right to eradicate creative endeavour since it takes the form of political activism, therefore contravenes their program. In this sense, there are certain parallels between what is occurring now in the US and in Argentina around the turn of the century. Although perhaps not so much economically as politically and culturally. Yet emerging from the crisis in Argentina post 2001 was an explosion of creativity within the Arts . . .it was due to the changing environment for the arts and international travel, accompanied by stricter enforcement of rules at US ports of entry.”

Potatoes, potahtoes. We didn’t have this with Obama.

The band is applying for work visas in the coming months, but still. Cutting arts funding and preventing renowned bands from playing in the United States is doing anything but making America great again. What a travesty.

Richard Gere & girlfriend were moved by the Miami Film Festival–literally

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Richard Gere, 67, who opened Friday night’s Miami Film Festival with his latest, Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,  was supposed to stay with his girlfriend, 34-year-old Spanish socialite Alejandra Silva, at One Hotel South Beach but it didn’t happen. “Who knows what happened,” says our spy, “but as soon as they walked into the hotel, they decided they wanted to stay somewhere else.” Solution: the Miami Film Festival relocated the couple to the Faena, where Pedro Almodóvar’s famous muse, Rossy de Palma,was also staying with her kids as a guest of the festival. Gere’s girlfriend, meanwhile, has ties to Miami. She’s the cousin of Paulina Rubio‘s ex husband, Nicolás Vallejo Nágera, known in Miami social circles as “Colate,” not to be confused with the stool softener Colace.

“Moonlight’s” mini stars, music director meet the Miami Heat

“Moonlight’s” mini-iest stars and Miami’s own, Jaden Piner and Alex Hibbert, were at Wednesday’s Miami Heat win against the Philadelphia 76ers along with the movie’s music director Tanisha Cidel. The trio was honored during the game and they got to meet the Heat’s own Liberty City legend, Udonis Haslem, who signed a pair of his shoes for them.

Ralph Lauren pressured into dressing Melania Trump for inauguration

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What does the woman who wore a Gucci Pussy Bow shirt to her husband’s presidential debate wear during the inauguration? An outfit designed by a pussy designer who was afraid to say no to the wife of the future president because of a few things starting with I, R and S, perhaps? So says our snitch, who has confirmed this information to us exclusively. But before people go off on Ralph Lauren, give him props for putting his well heeled foot down and saying he’d only dress her for the actual inauguration. No fancy ball gowns, no evening wear, no frills, none of that. Not a recent decision, RL made up his mind to “only do a day outfit” sometime in late December. She called him. The decision was no prance on the polo field either. “He’s freaking out that it’s gonna blow up,” says the source, adding “He was scared shitless to say no.” This is definitely worse than his Olympic gaffe, that’s for sure, but yet, we’re not crying for the former Ralph Lifshitz. Not at all.

Justin Bieber balls it up with Odell Beckham, Jr. while a Kardashian makes out with another athlete

Noticeably absent from his team’s flight home was Odell Beckham Jr. who finally got his New Year party on Sunday night at LIV. The Giants’ wide receiver chose to forego the jet ride home with his teammates instead partying until the early hours on Monday morning drinking Don Julio 1942 and dancing on top of the DJ booth and hanging out with Justin Bieber.

Also noticeably onsite for the second night in a row of partying was Johnny Manziel who was spotted drinking at a large table with a group of friends and a few ladies.

Across from Bieber’s table, Khloe Kardashian was spotted snuggling up to boyfriend Tristan Thompson in between sipping champagne and dancing along to performances by Fabolous and Trey Songz.

But the party didn’t stop there, moving on to E11EVEN, where Bieber, Beckham Jr. Victor Cruz, Fabolous, Trey Songz and Jeezy were among a group of 40 escorted through the club’s back door around 5 a.m.  They went directly to a large section in the party pit where Bieber, wearing a grey hoodie, drank Stella Artois, as the rest of the group ordered multiple bottles of Dom Perignon and Hennessy. The group partied for two hours, eating pizza and chicken sliders before leaving out the back entrance at 7:00 a.m.
Around 5:30 a.m. another VIP group of 15 people rolled in including Jamie Foxx wearing a Roger Staubach jersey but not, unfortunately, Katie Holmes (rumors about whom we are starting to believe as much as the president-elect’s alleged competency to take office this month). The group ordered Don Julio Tequila and Ciroc Mango and nibbled on chicken wings and empanadas.  They partied and danced until 7:30 a.m. (Photos/WorldRedEye)

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(Photo/Adi Nayev)

Things are working out for David Barton

Despite (or, perhaps because of) all his gyms closing down abruptly Christmas week, David Barton, who gave up the rights to his eponymous meathead empire in 2013, was having a fine time at ex-wife Susanne Bartsch’s annual, trippy, Technicolor-tinted New Year’s Eve party at Nina’s House at The Confidante Hotel. Co-hosts included transgender icon Amanda Lepore, burlesque performer Dirty Martini, who likely still subscribes to Barton’s #LookBetterNaked mantra, and makeup artist and photographer Ryan Burke, among others, who, according to revelers, had nothing short of a gay old time. (Photos/WorldRedEye)