Jackson doctor’s case assigned to trial judge
Los Angeles — With Michael Jackson’s mother, father and three siblings looking on, Dr. Conrad Murray began a slow process toward trial Monday with the appointment of a judge and the setting of another hearing to handle pending matters in his involuntary manslaughter case.
Murray made quick back-to-back appearances in separate courtrooms.
A large contingent of Jackson family members had been expected but only five appeared. Jackson’s mother, Katherine, his father, Joe, and siblings Janet, Jermaine and Randy sat quietly in the spectator section and made no comments to the press.
Trina Saunders, a representative of the California attorney general’s office, asked that the hearing regarding the office’s request to have Murray’s medical license revoked be held sooner than June 14. The judge rejected her request and said all pending matters would be handled on that date.
Murray’s attorneys contend the license issue is critical to his ability to pay for his defense.
The doctor has a history of serious financial problems and his attorneys, Ed Chernoff and Joseph Low, said in a recent court filing that the effect of losing his license would be devastating to Murray.
Blagojevich fired from ‘Celebrity Apprentice’
New York — Rod Blagojevich has been fired again.
The former governor, whom Illinois lawmakers ousted from office last year, has been kicked off NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“Apprentice” boss Donald Trump fired him after Blagojevich struggled as team leader in creating an interactive display.
As on a previous episode, technology posed a surprising hurdle for Blagojevich. On Sunday’s show, he had trouble sending text messages and e-mailing.
The 53-year-old Blagojevich explained his difficulties using cell phones and computers on WLS-AM’s “Don Wade and Roma Morning Show” Monday. He says his generation didn’t grow up with what he calls “all that stuff.”
Blagojevich faces a federal indictment alleging political corruption while in office. He’s denied any wrongdoing.
FBI probes threats against Erin Andrews
Norfolk, Va. — The Norfolk office of the FBI is investigating death threats against ESPN sportscaster and “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Erin Andrews, indicating they may have originated in Virginia.
Norfolk FBI spokesman Phil Mann said Monday that no arrests have been made. He declined to comment on a report by the celebrity gossip site TMZ that the e-mails were sent from someone in Newport News.
Andrews’ attorney Marshall Grossman said last week that since September at least a dozen e-mails have been sent to a media outlet threatening his client.
He said the messages discuss the case of Michael David Barrett, who was sentenced last month to 2 1/2 years in federal prison for secretly shooting nude videos of Andrews.
Grossman says the e-mails were at first sexual but the most recent threatened her.
Suit against Leibovitz seeks over $800,000
New York — Photographer Annie Leibovitz is facing new accusations of balking at bills, less than a month after she struck a deal intended to resolve financial problems that had risked her rights to some of pop culture’s most famous images.
Investment firm Brunswick Capital Partners LP said in a lawsuit filed Friday that Leibovitz owes more than $800,000 in fees for its help arranging her recent financing agreement with another firm, Colony Capital LLC. Through a spokesman, Leibovitz declined to comment Monday.
New York-based Brunswick said it “made exhaustive efforts” to link Leibovitz with investors who could help her out of a financial hole that had threatened to cost her control of her life’s work.
Designated a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress, she made but mismanaged a fortune. By last summer, she was struggling to repay a $24 million loan, with her three historic Manhattan townhouses and the copyright to all her pictures on the line.
Judge settles issues in Hopper divorce case
Los Angeles — Dennis Hopper’s estranged wife and daughter can live on his property while the couple resolve their bitter divorce case and the actor fights prostate cancer, a judge ruled Monday.
Superior Court Judge Amy Pellman also ordered the actor to pay $12,000 a month in spousal and child support.
Hopper, 73, did not attend the hearing but was repeatedly described by his attorney as “desperately ill.”
Hopper’s three adult children from previous marriages attended but did not speak.
Pellman sternly told both sides they needed to come together during what appeared to be Hopper’s final days.
The judge noted the couple’s 7-year-old daughter is about to undergo the traumatic loss of her father and the rhetoric should be toned down.
The rulings came after two months of bickering in court filings, including allegations of abuse by both sides, and jockeying for financial position.