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Archive for Tuesday, January 15, 2008

People in the news

January 15, 2008

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President reportedly marries supermodel

Paris - The French newspaper that brought you the presidential divorce first, followed by the first interview with the former first lady, now reports this:

An unnamed "source close to a witness who attended the ceremony" says that President Nicolas Sarkozy and his supermodel-turned-singer girlfriend, Carla Bruni, tied the knot in a "small, very private" wedding at the Elysee Palace on Thursday.

In response to this latest bulletin from the regional newspaper L'Est Republicain, featured on its Web site Monday, the Elysee Palace denied nothing.

After all, Sarkozy told reporters just last week, "There's a strong chance that you will learn about it after it's already done." "It" being the wedding: the third for Sarkozy, the second for Bruni.

Sarkozy, 52, began dating Italian-born Bruni, 40, in November - a month after he divorced his second wife, Cecilia. At a news conference last week, the president declared the new relationship "serious."

Although French law requires most couples to officially publish wedding banns, or announcements of impending nuptials, it allows exceptions for public figures, such as Sarkozy, and celebrities, such as Bruni, whose folksy pop songs are now playing in cafes and bars across Paris.

Wesley Snipes' trial on tax charges opens

Ocala, Fla. - Attorneys for Wesley Snipes ticked off more than 70 potential character witnesses, including several celebrities, as jury selection began Monday in the actor's tax fraud and conspiracy trial.

Muhammad Ali, Spike Lee, Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Woody Harrelson, Sylvester Stallone and Gus Van Sant were among the names mentioned.

Snipes, 45, and two co-defendants, both known tax protesters, are accused of conspiring to defraud the U.S. of millions of dollars. The actor allegedly first collaborated with Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile in 2000, then stopped filing tax returns.

Prosecutors say he fraudulently tried to retrieve $11 million in paid 1996 and 1997 taxes and directed his movie companies to stop withholding taxes from employees.

Attorneys for Snipes insist he was misled by unscrupulous advisers and didn't know he was doing anything wrong. They have tried, unsuccessfully, to separate the three defendants at trial.

Snipes, who starred in the "Blade" movies, faces as many as 16 years in prison if convicted, while Kahn and Rosile face 10 years.

His case has been delayed twice because of his commitments and the huge volume of paperwork in the case. Jury selection did not conclude Monday, as has been scheduled.

Court won't alter Spears' custody status

Los Angeles- Britney Spears went to a courthouse Monday but abruptly left amid a swarm of paparazzi without attending a hearing in her child-custody battle with her ex-husband, missing a chance to try to persuade a commissioner to restore her visitation rights to her two little boys.

Instead, the Superior Court commissioner heard a day of closed-door testimony from Kevin Federline and witnesses to a bizarre situation this month in which police took the pop singer to a hospital after a standoff in her home when she refused to return the boys to Federline's bodyguard after a visit.

Commissioner Scott Gordon then ruled that a Jan. 4 emergency order suspending her visitation rights and giving custody to Federline would remain in effect. He scheduled another hearing for Feb. 19.

"The word victory is not something Mr. Federline or his counsel would ascribe to this. There is no joy. This is a grave situation for all," Federline's attorney, Mark Vincent Kaplan, said outside the courthouse.

Although Federline thought the ruling was correct, Kaplan said, "his goal, his hope for the future is at some point he will be able to parent the children with the participation of their mother."

Kaplan would not answer questions.

Neither Spears nor Federline were required to attend, but Federline arrived early, sporting a mohawk-style haircut and dressed in a suit. Spears didn't arrive until early afternoon.

Bjork tears into news photographer

Wellington, New Zealand - Icelandic singer Bjork attacked a newspaper photographer shortly after she arrived at New Zealand's Auckland International Airport on Sunday, local media reported.

Bjork, who is in the northern city of Auckland to perform at the Big Day Out concert on Friday, tore New Zealand Herald photographer Glenn Jeffrey's shirt after he photographed her arriving at the airport early Sunday, he told news agency New Zealand Press Association according to a report on Monday.

Jeffrey, a news photographer for 25 years, said Bjork was accompanied by a man who asked him not take photos.

"I took a couple of pictures ... and as I turned and walked away she came up behind me, grabbed the back of my black skivvy (T-shirt) and tore it," he told the agency.

"As she did this, she fell over, she fell to the ground," he said. "At no stage did I touch her or speak with her."

Bjork said nothing throughout the incident but her male companion was saying: "'B, don't do this, B, don't do this,"' Jeffrey said.

The Herald's Web site reported later that neither the newspaper nor Jeffrey plans to file charges against Bjork, and an Auckland police spokesman said it was not investigating the incident.

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