Top Story: Sizemore Didn't Take the Witness Stand
After Tom Sizemore declined to testify in his abuse trial, his lawyers concluded their case Monday by showing a videotape shot by Heidi Fleiss, Sizemore's former fiancé, who has claimed the actor beat her during their tumultuous relationship and has since threatened her and her family's life. The Associated Press reports the tape was shot in a hotel room where Fleiss and Sizemore were staying during a publicity tour for Black Hawk Down. On it, she declares her love for Sizemore. "I can't wait for Tom to get home to tell him how good he was, how handsome he is, how happy he makes me," she reportedly said on the tape. The defense suggests this contradicts her claim that on the same day Sizemore came to the hotel room and beat her so badly that both of them missed the premiere of the movie. AP reports Sizemore cried at the defense table while the tape was playing. The actor could face up to 13 years in prison if convicted of all the charges, which include making about 100 harassing phone calls to Fleiss, vandalism, threatening to inflict injury to a person or property and corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition.
More on the Ben & Jen Saga
Promoting the new Project Greenlight film The Battle of Shaker Heights, Ben Affleck skirted reporters' questions about his recent visit to a Vancouver strip club in July, Reuters reports. "You can tell your news editors that you are too big for that kind of stuff, that you are better than that, that you rise above it," Affleck joked at the press conference. The affable actor also commented on his upcoming film Jersey Girl, in which his lady love Jennifer Lopez also makes an appearance. "I think Jersey Girl is a really good movie," he said. "Jen is only in it for about 10 minutes, so it's not really like a 'me-and-Jen' movie. In fact, probably after the towering success of Gigli, I suspect Miramax will find a way to sell it as other than a 'me-and-Jen' movie."
Al Franken Sued by Fox Over Slogan
Saturday Night Live writer and political humorist Al Franken is being sued by Fox News to stop using the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of his new book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right, AP reports. Fox filed the suit Monday, claiming they registered "Fair & Balanced" as a trademark in 1995. Franken's "intent is clear--to exploit Fox News' trademark, confuse the public as to the origins of the book and, accordingly, boost sales of the book," AP reports the suit said.
P. Diddy Targeted in Lawsuit
Two men have filed suit against rap mogul Sean "P. Diddy" Combs for $25 million each, claiming they were attacked by a security team at Combs' recording studio, AP reports. Thomas Guest and Damon Jackson filed their suits Monday, alleging that they were assaulted in August 2002 at the Daddy's House studio in New York, where the two men were trying to visit Combs, a friend of Guest. Combs' spokeswoman, Susan Makarichev, told AP the lawsuits were "totally baseless" and "the allegations are ridiculous."
Robert Evans's Wife Files for Divorce
Former model Leslie Ann Woodward filed for divorce Monday from legendary film producer Robert Evans, citing "irreconcilable differences," Reuters reports. The 34-year-old Woodward married the 73-year-old Evans last November, his sixth marriage, and has been separated from him since June. The couple has no children.
Bertrand Cantat Probed in Beating Death of Girlfriend
Bertrand Cantat, the lead singer of the popular French rock band Noir Desir, is close to being charged in the beating death of his girlfriend, Marie Trintignant, AP reports. The French actress was found in a coma in July in a hotel in Lithuania, where she was filming a movie, after she and Cantat reportedly had an argument. AP reports a French judge will travel to the Baltic nation Monday, when Cantat, who has been detained in the country, will be notified that he is under investigation for "fatal blows leading unintentionally to death," officials told AP on condition of anonymity. In France, being placed under investigation is one step short of charges, AP reports. Cantat has maintained the death was an accident.
Coppola Searching for Utopian City
Location scouting for his next film, director Francis Ford Coppola visited the sleepy town of Curitiba, Brazil, as a possible place to shoot Megalopolis, his first film in six years, Reuters reports. The story follows a visionary architect who sets out to design a utopian city. "[Curitiba] is amazing, especially the public transportation," Coppola told Reuters, whose quest for an urban paradise will also take him to cities in India, China, the Netherlands and the United States.
Rap Industry Producer Cuts Deal With Prosecutors
Rap industry player Jon Ragin, who co-produced a recent film marketed by the record label Murder Inc., has quietly cut a plea deal with authorities investigating alleged ties between the Murder Inc. music label and New York City's violent drug trade, AP reports. Ragin, a convicted drug dealer, was arrested in January during raids at various New York locations, including the Murder Inc. offices and a fake tuxedo rental business linked to a 1999 murder. He was accused of using the tuxedo shop as a front for laundering proceeds from stolen credit cards, AP reports. Ragin is also known to be a close associate of Kenneth "Supreme" McGriff, a convicted drug kingpin suspected of secretly bankrolling Murder Inc.--a 50-50 joint venture between McGriff's longtime friend Irv Gotti, and Island-Def Jam Records, a division of Universal Music Group, home to multi-platinum artists Ashanti and Ja Rule, AP reports. Neither McGriff, Gotti nor any of Vivendi's companies have been charged in the ongoing investigation.