News, Oct. 22: Stewart Appeals Conviction from Prison, Cojo Shoots TV Pilot, MPAA Warns of Piracy Costs, More…

Martha Stewart appeals conviction from Camp Cupcake

Martha Stewart is urging a federal appeals court to overturn her conviction because she claims her trial was “tarred” by suggestions she was charged with insider trading, The Associated Press reports, although she was never with insider trading, only deceiving investigators. But the appeals brief argues prosecutors and the trial judge kept the jury from understanding the difference. “Martha Stewart was never charged with insider trading,” lawyers for the homemaking maven wrote. “But a barrage of pretrial leaks and in-court accusations left the indelible impression that she was guilty of that offense.” Stewart, who was sentenced to five months in prison followed by five months of house arrest, is serving her time at the minimum-security federal women’s prison in rural Alderson, W.Va., also known as Camp Cupcake. She reported to prison Oct. 8 and has posted at least one letter on her Web site saying she is being treated well. Her lawyer, Walter Dellinger, said on NBC’s Today that Stewart is exploring “innovative ways to do microwave cooking” with her fellow inmates. He also said Stewart, who has hinted she may write a book about her experience with federal law enforcement, spends up to three hours a night writing on a typewriter. Stewart will be released from prison in March, but it is unlikely the appeals court will hear the brief by then.

Cojo shoots pilot for one-hour talk show

Style guru and Entertainment Tonight correspondent Steven Cojocaru has shot a pilot for a one-hour talk show. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show features Cojocaru’s colorful commentary of fashion and pop culture trends, combined with celebrity interviews. Star Halle Berry is said to have been a guest on the pilot episode, but the show’s producer, Paramount Domestic TV, declined comment Thursday. Cojocaru, whose memoir Red Carpet Diaries: Confessions of a Glamour Boy was published in March 2003, is a frequent contributor to NBC’s morning show Today. The show’s debut has not been announced.

MPAA warns of the dangers of piracy

The Motion Picture Assn. of America said piracy could cost the movie industry up to $15 billion over the next four years if bold measures are not taken at once, Reuters reports. MPAA chief John Malcolm told a luncheon panel Thursday at the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce that civil and criminal actions needed to be taken to stop the growth of illegal file trading and worldwide DVD bootlegging, otherwise the film industry would suffer as the music business did. Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn said 92 percent of the movies made available for illegal downloading originate from camcorders. Hahn noted the entertainment industry represents a $30 billion slice of the Los Angeles economy, employing about 200,000 people.

Stolen U2 briefcase returned 23 years later

A stolen briefcase full of notes and lyrics intended for U2’s 1981 album October was returned–23 years after it was stolen at a Portland concert, the AP reports. The briefcase was allegedly stolen by some women who joined the band backstage at a now-defunct Portland nightclub. U2 frontman Bono had to rewrite the lyrics to October in the studio, and band members called it their worst recording experience ever. When the band returned to Portland a few years later, Bono asked the audience if anyone knew about the briefcase and asked the question again when the band played at the Rose Garden in 2001. A woman said she found the briefcase in the attic of a rental home in Tacoma, Wash., in 1981 but didn’t know it had been stolen until many years later. She spent much of the past year contacting U2’s management about the briefcase.

Bo Diddley gets toe amputated

Bluesman Bo Diddley canceled a Thursday concert at the Lancaster Performing Arts Center in Lancaster, Calif., because he needed more time to recover from a toe amputation. Scott Free, the musician’s longtime friend and business partner, told the AP Diddley checked into the North Florida Regional Medical Center in Gainesville about two weeks ago because of a hyperglycemic condition. Diddley, 75, is diabetic. Free said doctors kept Diddley for a few nights to make sure they wouldn’t have to amputate his foot. Diddley, whose real name is Ellas Bates McDaniel, popularized rhythm ‘n’ blues in the 1950s with hits including “Bo Diddley” and “Mona.” Free didn’t know whether Diddley would make scheduled performances in Connecticut on Saturday and in Texas on Oct. 31.

Judge rules out Blake defense theory

A judge ruled Thursday Robert Blake‘s lawyer can’t present jurors a theory that others, including Marlon Brando‘s son, Christian, conspired to kill the actor’s wife, the AP reports. “I’ve found there was no link, direct or circumstantial, with Mr. Brando,” Superior Court Judge Darlene Schempp said. “It’s pure speculation.” Last week, Schempp also ruled out as evidence a taped phone call between Brando and Bakley in which he told her she was lucky someone didn’t put a bullet through her head. Blake has pleaded not guilty to the 2001 killing of Bonny Lee Bakley, 44, whom he married after DNA testing showed he was the father of her baby. Schempp said a jury selection for Blake‘s trial, which is expected to last four months, will begin Nov. 15.