Archive for Tuesday, July 21, 2009

People in the news

July 21, 2009

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Father suggests foul play in Jackson’s death

Los Angeles — Joe Jackson said in a televised interview Monday that he’s taken his son Michael’s death “very hard” and believes the doctor who took care of him could be behind the singer’s demise.

The patriarch of the Jackson family appeared on “Larry King Live” and implied his son’s personal doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray, may be to blame for the death.

“The doctor gave him something to make him rest, and then he don’t wake up no more. Something is wrong there,” Jackson said. He did not refer to Murray by name.

A phone listing for Murray could not be found, and two messages left with his attorney, Edward Chernoff, on Monday night were not immediately returned.

The family is awaiting the coroner’s toxicology report to determine how Michael Jackson died at the age of 50. The results are expected next week.

Investigators obtained a search warrant and removed several bottles of the powerful anesthetic propofol from Jackson’s home, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation. The person is not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Jackson suggested Murray couldn’t be found following his son’s death on June 25.

“This doctor, he ran away. They had to look for him three days to find him. To me that is foul play,” Jackson said.

Police interviewed Murray two days after Jackson’s death. Authorities say he is a not a suspect, though the cardiologist is a key figure in the investigation because he was with Jackson in the mansion and tried to revive him. His car has been seized after police said they believe the vehicle may contain drugs or other evidence.

Chris Brown apologizes for Rihanna beating

Los Angeles — Chris Brown on Monday publicly apologized for the beating of Rihanna, saying in a two-minute video that he’s still seeking help and wants to live his life as a role model.

Brown released the video on his Web site, apologizing to fans and saying he is sad and ashamed of his conduct. He also tells viewers that he has repeatedly apologized to Rihanna.

Brown was arrested Feb. 8, hours after he fought with his then-girlfriend in a rented sports car after a pre-Grammy party. According to a police affidavit, Brown tried to push the 21-year-old Barbados-born singer from the car and repeatedly hit her and choked her.

He left the scene and later turned himself in to authorities during the Grammy Awards, where he and Rihanna had been slated to perform. He was later charged with assault likely to cause great bodily harm and making criminal threats. He pleaded guilty to the felony assault charge last month and faces sentencing Aug. 5.

He is slated to serve five years of probation and perform six months of community labor.

Brown says on the video he wanted to speak out earlier, but was advised not to by his lawyer.

Paula Abdul faces ‘Idol’ speculation

New York — Paula Abdul might not be around to dole out much-needed hugs and kind words of encouragement during the new season of “American Idol.”

The kooky, feel-good judge, whose sweetness tempers the tart-tongued Simon Cowell, is reportedly unhappy about her status on the top-rated talent competition — and she wants her frustration known. Abdul’s manager, David Sonenberg, dropped an “Idol” bombshell Friday when he told The Los Angeles Times’ Web site that the longtime judge may not be returning to the upcoming ninth season.

The reason? According to Sonenberg, she had not yet received a proposal for a new contract.

Abdul seems to be healing her wounds on Twitter. After Sonenberg’s public statements, a campaign of support sprung up on the site, where “KeepPaula” became a hot trending tropic.

Representatives for Fox and the show’s producers — 19 Entertainment and FremantleMedia — declined to comment on Abdul’s situation. Abdul’s publicist, Jeff Ballard, directed The Associated Press to Sonenberg, who did not respond to requests for comment.

Sony bids $50M for Jackson rehearsal film

Los Angeles — Sony Corp.’s movie studio has bid $50 million to acquire the worldwide distribution rights to a film based on rehearsal footage for Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” comeback concert series, according to a person familiar with the bid.

The person said Monday that the bid came after several studios, including Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox, were shown footage starting early last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the bidding had not been completed. None of the studios would comment on the record.

The winning studio would produce the film with Jackson’s concert promoter, AEG Live, and his estate. It would go a long way to helping AEG Live recoup some of the $30 million to $32 million it spent producing the concert before Jackson died June 25.

The bidding was reported earlier by the Los Angeles Times and industry blogger Nikki Finke.

Sony Pictures has a leg up on other bidders because Sony Music distributes Jackson’s music and is in a 50-50 partnership with his estate in Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

The estate and AEG Live are also negotiating with several television networks and pay-per-view outlets on a TV special that would be a stage show featuring Jackson’s music and dancing. It would be directed by “This Is It” director Kenny Ortega.

The selling price being discussed for the rights to show the TV special is also in the tens of millions of dollars.

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