Archive for Wednesday, December 5, 2001


December 5, 2001


Extortion charges dropped

Los Angeles LeAnn Rimes' former bodyguard and fitness trainer will enter a diversion program rather than face charges of trying to extort money and a luxury car from the country singer.

Robert Lavetta of Burbank could have faced up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine had he been convicted of the two counts of extortion.

Lavetta, 45, allegedly threatened to sell personal information and photographs of the 19-year-old Rimes to the tabloids unless she paid him $2 million severance pay and signed over her Ferrari to him.

Diary mystery solved

London Diaries that Richard Burton kept during his first stormy marriage to Elizabeth Taylor have been returned anonymously to the British Broadcasting Corp., eight months after they disappeared and were presumed stolen.

The diaries were among items that Burton's widow, Sally, lent to the BBC for the filming of a documentary about the actor's life. After the items were returned to her in March, she discovered the diaries were not among them.

A package containing the missing diaries arrived Monday at the BBC production offices.

Burton died in 1984. He was married twice to Taylor between 1964 and 1976.

Pitt an easy prank victim

Los Angeles Well-known prankster George Clooney messed with Brad Pitt's head while they were shooting "Ocean's Eleven," and he didn't have to do a thing to accomplish it.

During filming on the casino-heist flick in Las Vegas, Pitt had loaned a copy of his hotel room key to some of his co-stars so friends could use his room while he was out of town. Then Pitt couldn't get his key back and figured Clooney was using it to set up a practical joke.

"I had to go through this 45-minute ritual every night looking for bugs, cameras," Pitt told The Associated Press. "I was convinced they were taking me down."

It turns out the key simply got lost, and Clooney never pulled off a gag on Pitt.

"He'll go for years on pulling off a prank," Pitt said of Clooney. "His genius in that one was not pulling a prank on me."

Help with homework

London Prime Minister Tony Blair's office denied a report that his wife had phoned defense officials for help with their eldest son's homework.

An article in London's Evening Standard newspaper said the prime minister's wife had called the Ministry of Defense because Euan, 17, was taking part in a school debate about the "nuclear deterrent" and needed some background information.

Blair's spokesman insisted on Monday that Cherie Blair had asked a Downing Street official to help her son who then telephoned defense staff on his own initiative.

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