General News

NEWSMAKERS: Gwyneth and Ben Together Again (in Court)

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Mar 19, 2001 | 11:50am EST

Ben Affleck ("Dogma") wasn't cruisin' in a Batmobile, but the rumored Caped Crusader contender got cozy anyway with the Massachusetts justice system.

On Christmas Eve, Affleck, with ex-girlfriend-turned-just-friend Gwyneth Paltrow ("The Talented Mr. Ripley") in tow, showed up at Southern Berkshire District Court in Great Barrington, Mass., to pay a $135 fine for driving with a suspended license. Affleck was ticketed for speeding in Lee, Mass., on Aug. 11. The 27-year-old actor was reportedly on his way to visit Paltrow, who was acting in a play at the nearby Williamstown Theater Festival.

In their joint courthouse appearance, Affleck and Paltrow posed for pictures and signed autographs, according to the New York Daily News. Affleck's lawyer, David Hoose, said yesterday that the actor had a valid California license but was unaware his license was suspended in Massachusetts, apparently because of unpaid traffic violations.

GONE A' COURTING - Rap mogul Sean "Puffy" Combs is free on $10,000 bail after being formally charged Monday with criminal possession of a weapon and possession of stolen property in the wake of a New York nightclub shooting that left three injured.

All potential charges, meanwhile, against Combs' girlfriend, actress/singer Jennifer Lopez ("Out of Sight"), also in hot water after the shooting, have been dropped.

A court hearing for Combs is set for Feb. 14.

Combs declared his innocence to reporters outside Manhattan Criminal Court. "I do not own a gun," he said. "I do not carry a gun. The charges and allegations against me are 100 percent false, I feel confident that in the next couple of days, I will be vindicated and everything will be all right."

Prosecutors said Combs, 30, got into an argument with other patrons at Club New York in Manhattan shortly before 3 a.m. (EST) Monday. After one patron threw money at him, Combs and Jamal Barrow, a member of his entourage, reportedly pulled out weapons, with Barrow allegedly firing. A woman was shot in the face and two men were wounded in the shoulder; all three were listed in stable condition.

Authorities say Combs sped away from the club with Lopez ("Out of Sight") -- their Jeep chased by police until it was forced off the street. The celebrity couple, Barrow and one other person were taken in for questioning.

Barrow, 21, faces charges of attempted murder and reckless endangerment.

GONE A' PLANTIN' - Sylvester Stallone has a new hobby while waiting for those "Rambo" sequels to take form: gardening.

Stallone has agreed to replant the hundreds of trees and bushes unlawfully cut down on his Miami property by staff members. (Apparently city officials there need to pre-approve trimming plans.)

The action-star's lawyer said Stallone "had no knowledge that the trees had been taken down," according to the Hollywood Reporter. The cost to replace the scrubbed shrubbery has been estimated at between $200,000-$500,000 by nursery owners.

JUST GONE - Singer Dave Matthews ("Crash") will have to wait a while longer to make his feature film debut. Production on a remake of the nature drama "Where the Red Fern Grows," featuring the rocker, has been halted until next month due to financial difficulties.

The $3-$3.5 million film, co-starring Ned Beatty, Dabney Coleman and Mac Davis, ran up debts of almost $700,000, according to the Hollywood Reporter, leaving producers unable to finish the project.

Matthews, who fronts the Dave Matthews Band, recently released "Listener Supported," a double-CD live album.

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