Top Story: Judge Could Dismiss Lawsuit Against Jackson
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge said Monday she would consider a request by Michael Jackson‘s lawyers to dismiss a lawsuit that threatens to expose personal and financial details of the former King of Pop’s life, Reuters reports. Jackson‘s former business adviser, Myung-Ho Lee of South Korea-based Union Finance and Investment Corp., claims the singer owes him $12 million in back pay, but Jackson argues he owes nothing because Lee and the company were not licensed investment advisers in California. Superior Court Judge Andria Richey is also expected to consider a request from news organizations to televise the court battle if it goes forward as scheduled on June 18. Jackson‘s lawyers, however, urged Richey to ban cameras from the courtroom because the coverage of his November trial in California seemed focused more on the singer’s face than anything.
Ingmar Bergman Honored
Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman was honored at a ceremony in Sweden Monday for his work in preserving and restoring aging color films. Bergman, whose drama Fanny and Alexander won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1984, received the Film Preservation Award from the Brussels-based International Federation of Film Archives, The Associated Press reports. Bergman, who is still active in Sweden with stage productions and occasional TV shows, made some 60 films before retiring from the industry.
Martha Stewart Could Face Indictment
Martha Stewart could face criminal charges in an insider trading scandal that has tainted her image as the guru of tasteful living, the AP reports. According to a statement issued by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., Stewart is the target of a criminal investigation by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, which “intends to request the grand jury to return an indictment against her in the near future.” Stewart, 61, has been under investigation for selling shares of biotechnology company ImClone Systems Inc. in December 2001–just before news surfaced that the FDA was not approving an ImClone-produced drug.
Beyoncé Knowles’ Debut Album Gets Jump Start
Columbia Records has pushed up the release date for Beyoncé Knowles‘ solo debut album Dangerously in Love from July 8 to June 24 in an attempt to thwart Internet piracy and capitalize on its lead single featuring Jay-Z, “Crazy in Love,” Billboard reports. The album also features guest appearances by Luther Vandross, Missy Elliott, Sean Paul, and Outkast’s Big Boi. “Crazy in Love” is Billboard’s Hot 100 fastest growing single, having moved from 27th position to 13th place this week.
Judge Feels Duped by R. Kelly
The Chicago Sun Times reports that prosecutors believe singer R. Kelly misled the judge handling his child pornography case. The singer asked Judge Vincent Gaughan to travel this past weekend to New York where he was said to be a featured performer at a concert. But the radio station hosting the event said R. Kelly wasn’t scheduled to perform. According to the AP, prosecutors have opposed Kelly’s efforts to travel for performances and promotional appearances since his indictment on 21 counts of child pornography, but so far, the judge has granted all of Kelly’s requests to travel.
Weiland Pleads Innocent to Drug Charges
Scott Weiland, the former frontman for Stone Temple Pilots, pleaded innocent Monday to drug charges in California, Reuters reports. Court officials said the 35-year-old singer would enter a rehabilitation program again to try to kick persistent heroin and cocaine habits. He was also scheduled to return to court July 11 to set a preliminary hearing. Weiland was arrested on May 17 in Burbank, California, after police allegedly spotted drug paraphernalia inside the car he was riding in. He and the driver, 29-year-old Jennifer Lynn Sires, were charged with cocaine and heroin possession and released on $10,000 bail.
Role Call: Cruise Kills in Collateral, Goyer Helms Blade III
Ali direct Michael Mann will helm the drama Collateral for DreamWorks. The pic, expected to start in October, will star Tom Cruise in the lead role of a contract killer … David Goyer, who wrote all three installments of the Blade franchise, will also take the helm for Blade III. Goyer and star Blade star Wesley Snipes have not met to sign off on dates, but New Line Cinema expects to start production in Vancouver this summer. Goyer and Snipes previously worked together on ZigZag … Brittany Murphy has signed on two Warner Bros. projects, the comedy Major Movie Star and the CGI-animated project Happy Feet. Both films call for Murphy to sing.