Top Story: Document May Back Jackson’s Defense
A confidential document posted on The Smoking Gun Web site indicates authorities in Los Angeles cleared Michael Jackson of sexual allegations involving the same boy months before the singer was arrested on molestation charges in Santa Barbara, Calif., on Nov. 20. The internal memo says a confidential investigation by LAPD and child welfare officials concluded in February that allegations Jackson sexually abused a cancer-stricken boy were “unfounded” and that the minor “denied any form of sexual abuse” and said that he never “slept in the same bed as the entertainer.” The investigation was launched in response to a complaint filed by an official from the Los Angeles Unified School District. Smoking Gun editor Bill Bastone told ABC News’ Good Morning America he called Santa Barbara investigators and told them about the document before releasing it on his Web site. “They were very surprised and basically said California law does not allow them to comment on any degree of the investigation,” Bastone said. “They essentially confirmed that the document is real as we already knew but beyond that they couldn’t talk about it, which is what we expected.” Jackson, who was booked last month on multiple counts of child molestation after the 14-year-old boy alleged the singer sexually abused him during visits to his Neverland Ranch two years ago, has called the allegations “a big lie.”
Three Charged in Great White Nightclub Fire
Three people were charged Tuesday with involuntary manslaughter in the first criminal counts stemming from a blaze that killed 100 people and injured some 200 at a performance by the band Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island. According to Reuters, club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian, along with Great White’s former road manager Dan Biechele, were each charged with 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter with criminal negligence, and 100 counts of involuntary manslaughter in violation of a misdemeanor. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The club went up in flames Feb. 20 during a pyrotechnic display at the start of a Great White concert. It was the fourth-deadliest nightclub fire in U.S. history.
George Clinton Arrested for Drug Possession
Funk music pioneer George Clinton was arrested Saturday in Tallahassee, Fla., and charged with drug possession, The Associated Press reports. Clinton, 63, was arrested after a police officer noticed a man sitting alone in the passenger seat of a car in a gas station parking lot at about 2 a.m. When the officer got to the car, the man, later identified as Clinton, tried to hide an item he was holding by dropping it between the seats. When the officer asked him if he had anything in his pocket that might be dangerous, Clinton allegedly responded, “I’ve got a little cocaine.” Clinton was charged with one felony count of cocaine possession and a misdemeanor count of possession of a crack pipe–the item he is accused of dropping between the seats. He was later released on bond.
“Average Joe” Loses to Hot Guy
Contestant Melana Scantlin picked Jason Peoples, the hunky 27-year-old waiter from California, over Manhattan trader Adam Mesh on Monday night’s two-hour finale of NBC’s reality series Average Joe. “When I look at you I see a future with you … and I’m excited about that,” Scantlin told Peoples. “I’m really excited to spend more time with you. I think you’re amazing.” The former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader was first presented with a group of average looking guys to choose from on the show, but the network later added a twist by throwing some good-looking guys in the mix.
A Bachelor Still
The Bachelor‘s Andrew Firestone and Jen Schefft have broken up-just six months after the heir to the Firestone tire and wine fortune proposed on the ABC dating show. The reality TV couple released a statement to the syndicated entertainment series Extra Monday, saying they were no longer together. “This is a decision we made together through long and thoughtful discussion,” Firestone said. “It is totally amicable and, though we care for each other deeply, we have come to realize that our future goals are different.”
Activist Rosa Parks Takes on OutKast
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that civil rights activist Rosa Parks may proceed with her lawsuit against OutKast and three Bertelsmann AG units– LaFace Records, Arista Records and BMG Entertainment–over the rap duo’s 1998 hit single, “Rosa Parks.” The lyrics to the Grammy-nominated song, from the 1998 album Aquemini, do not mention Parks by name, but the chorus says, “Ah, ha, hush that fuss. Everybody move to the back of the bus.” Parks claims the use of her name without permission constituted false advertising and infringed on her right to publicity, as well as defamed her character and interfered with a business relationship, Reuters reports.
GLAAD Announces 2004 Noms
Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and HBO’s Angels in America are among the nominees for the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s15th annual Media Awards. The Media Award honors fair and accurate portrayals of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community in the media. Some of the nominees for film and television include Under the Tuscan Sun, Bend It Like Beckham, ESPN’s Playmakers and Showtime’s A Boy Named Sue. Julianne Moore, Megan Mullally, John Waters and Clive Barker are among those to be recognized for their “commitment to gay and lesbian visibility and equality.” GLAAD will host three separate awards kudocasts in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the spring, Variety reports.
Bowie Postpones North American Tour Dates
British rocker David Bowie has had to postpone the kickoff for “A Reality Tour,” his first North American tour in eight years after doctors ordered him to remain in bed for a few more days to fight off a bout of influenza, Reuters reports. The tour was initially delayed last week after Bowie‘s illness forced him to cancel shows in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. But now the legendary singer has postponed two more shows, including Tuesday’s show at Boston’s FleetCenter and Wednesday’s performance at Philadelphia’s First Union Spectrum. Clear Channel Entertainment said Monday it now expects the tour to kick off Friday in Toronto The earlier dates are expected to be rescheduled and tickets for the postponed shows would be honored.
Role Call: Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie, MC Hammer Gets Sitcom
Jerry Seinfeld is embarking on his first major project since he retired his top-rated NBC sitcom in 1998. According to Variety,