Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

April 2016 Archives

Phil Spector, Behind Bars, Breaks Silence and Files for Divorce

For those who do not know, Phil Spector is a songwriter and music producer credited with great artistry, who created a thing in pop called the "Wall of Sound." The Spector story got less glorious in 2003 when he was arrested for murder. But that is also when he met his current wife, Rachelle Short Spector, who he is now divorcing from prison.

Spector, 75, is serving a 19-year prison sentence in Stockton, California for murder. He is concerned, reports Celebrity Net Worth, that his wife is spending all of his money while he's locked up. Spector will be eligible for parole in 2028.

Making Sense of Michael Jackson Estate's Tax Troubles

Michael Jackson was a unique man and musician and now his death has spawned a tax battle unlike any other. The Internal Revenue Service claims that, based on the value of his name and likeness, Jackson's estate was worth more than $400 million when he died. The estate claims it was much lower -- more like $2,000.

The tax authority and the estate are expected to have a showdown in court in 2017, but according to The Hollywood Reporter , neither party has much information about how the other arrived at the figures they cite. Let's look at the issues.

Prince's Heirs: Star's Sister Says He Died Without a Will

When pop powerhouse Prince died last week at age 57, it came as a shock to fans. But it seems that the musician was also not expecting such an early demise, as his sister this week filed documents saying he died without a will.

"The Decedent died intestate," Prince's sister, Tyka Nelson, wrote in her petition to the courts for the appointment of a special administrator to deal with Prince's estate, according to USA Today. It's still possible that Prince does have a will somewhere -- his attorney has not responded to reporters' requests for comment. But Nelson says she does not know of one. Let's take a look at intestacy, in light of her filing.

Only "The Good Wife" could use a coming together to show just how far its characters are fracturing apart. Howard and Jackie's Ketubah signing at Alicia's condo becomes a discussion of divorce, decampment, and a dissolving criminal case. Who's in love with whom? Who's in Diane's new female-led firm? Who's out on their own, and who's out of the woods in Peter's corruption investigation?

Here are the legal ins and outs of last night's episode, "Party."

Reality TV Star Sued for Weed Stink From Apartment

Scheana Shay's neighbor is not happy about the scent emanating from her apartment, and filed a lawsuit over her weed smoking, according to Page Six. If you don't know who Shay is or how she made headlines over a neighborly dispute, you must not be up on your Bravo shows.

Scheana Shay is a reality TV star who appears on "Vanderpump Rules," a show about a restaurant in LA, which is run by a real housewife of another reality television show. In real life, Shay and her husband live in a building in LA and are facing complaints over their habits.

What Money Can't Buy: Young Actress Busted at Coachella for Fake ID

Some people, like Disney star Kelli Berglund, 20, seem to have it all, and when they are so young! But what Berglund doesn't have, at least not now, is 21 years on the planet.

Without that, no amount of fame or fortune entitles her to legally consume alcohol in California, not even at the festival of the year. The young actress Berglund had to find this out the hard way, getting arrested at Coachella last week, before the music festival even got started officially.

Prince Is Dead: Who Owns the Music?

Halt your red corvettes. Remove your raspberry berets. Take a moment of silence in the purple rain. Prince is dead.

The pop royal was tiny in stature, but he was a hugely influential musical figure, and died relatively young, quite suddenly. Prince was only 57 years old. He leaves behind a lot of music and presumably a sizeable estate. What happened to him and what happens next?

Kanye Tricked Fans to Save the Life of Tidal, According to Lawsuit

Kanye West makes many wild claims and who can blame him? He gets a lot of attention and people do listen, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit filed against him in federal court in San Francisco. The suit targets Kanye and the music streaming company Tidal, demanding $5 million in damages, and saying the defendants tricked 2 million people into subscribing to the service.

Early this year, Kanye and Tidal promised prospective users a free one-month trial and that his latest album, The Life of Pablo, would be on the streaming service exclusively. But six weeks after its release, the album was available for download on Apple's iTunes and on Kanye's own website, and Tidal now has valuable data on millions of people lured by Kanye's false promise. The plaintiffs call this a bait and switch tactic.

"So we're right back where we started." Yeah, Peter, we are. Mr. Florrick is facing a scandal, and there's Mrs. Florrick, standing resolutely by his side: "I am standing by my husband again."

Only some big things have changed over the past seven years, to the point that Alicia might finally know exactly what she wants. But is she any closer to getting it? Can she keep her (as of now at least) husband out of jail? And who has criminal jurisdiction in international airports? Here's a legal rundown of the recent episode, "Landing."

Lawsuit Claims Kendrick Lamar's Song 'I Do This' Is a Total Copy

Apparently Kendrick Lamar didn't do much on "I do this." The rap star is being sued for use of a 1975 song in work he produced before he was huge. Mattie Music Group, the company that claims ownership of Bill Withers' original "Don't You Want to Stay," says Lamar did not get permission to use the song.

Legal documents filed by the company say Kendrick's 2009 track is a total copy of the original, according to TMZ, and it "consists of nothing more than new rap and hip hop lyrics set to the pre-existing music." But Stereogum reports that the suit is likely to be a bust because Lamar added substantially to his production and didn't make money off his song.

Judge Sides With LA Archdiocese: Katy Perry Could Own Convent

Pop star Katy Perry has been trying to buy a convent in Los Angeles, but the five nuns who live there opposed the sale. Meanwhile, the local archdiocese says they decide who buys. Now a judge has sided with church officials and Perry seems primed to buy the property.

According to a CNN report with a remarkable number of the star's song titles, LA Superior Court Judge Stephanie Bowick threw out a prior sale by the nuns. But they say they may appeal, so Perry's deal is not quite sealed.

Drew Barrymore's Third Divorce Likely to Avoid Court

Drew Barrymore is getting divorced ... again. This will be the actress's third split from a husband. The guy this time is Will Kopelman, and the couple has been married since 2012.

So what can we expect from Barrymore's third divorce? Some attorneys say not much -- she's unlikely to end up in court.

Ivanka Trump Flops: Flammable Fabrics and Civic Forgetfulness

Apart from manufacturing cheaply made goods in China for import to the US, Ivanka Trump is helping her dad in his campaign to Make America Great Again (that's a trademarked phrase). Reportedly, she's struggling with both.

The daughter of the Donald and former model Ivanka Trump, a businesswoman, had 20,000 scarves recalled for flammability. Meanwhile her voter registration lectures turned out to be hypocritical, and neither Ivanka nor her brother Eric are registered to vote in the upcoming New York Republican primary. Let's take it one flop at a time.

LAPD Investigates Charlie Sheen on Talk of Killing His Ex

Stories about Charlie Sheen are rarely wholesome and this one is no exception. The actor is under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department after allegedly abusing his ex-fiancée and stating that he would pay $20,000 to have her head kicked in, writes the New York Daily News.

This gem about his former porn star and ex-fiancée — Scottine Rossi, also known as Brett Rossi — arose while Sheen was reportedly speaking with a different woman confronting him about his failure to reveal that he was HIV-positive. Although an LAPD source did confirm that Sheen is being investigated for possible felony charges, representatives have warned that these are still just allegations.

Vanessa Hudgens Faces $5,000 Fine for National Park Vandalism

A resolution may be near on the star Vanessa Hudgens’ red rock carving case. The actress and her boyfriend, Austin Butler, expressed their love by carving their names into a heart on a red rock in a federally protected national forest in Arizona on Valentine’s day. According to Billboard, the actress was recently contacted by the US Attorney’s office in Flagstaff and is now weighing her legal options.

Hologram Law: Electronic Resurrection for Biggie Smalls?

If you missed seeing Biggie Smalls live, you may still get your chance with a hologram. The Notorious BIG's widow, singer Faith Evans, reportedly said recently that she is working on developing a hologram and is considering performing "live" with the electronic replica of her husband, according to CNN.

Biggie Smalls or the Notorious BIG, born Christopher Wallace, died in an unsolved shooting in 1997, but his memory and music live on. People may still pay to see him, even if only electronically, and he is but one of many stars whose images are being considered for contemporary touring. Let's look at the growing business of hologram entertainment and legal issues it raises.

Madonna Sues Her NYC Co-Op for Kids

Lately Madonna and her New York neighbors have not been getting along, as evidenced by a lawsuit she filed against her co-op last week. The international pop icon sued the Upper West Side property group, claiming it changed her proprietary lease without notice, blocking her from using her apartment as she intended.

Madonna's suit says no one notified her of the vote on the co-op's lease change, according to Courthouse News Service. The change bars her kids from being in the co-op with caretakers if she is not around. Let's look at what she seeks in terms of relief.

Celebrity Gossip After Gawker's Hulk Hogan Privacy Trial

Last month a Florida jury awarded former wrestler Hulk Hogan $115 million in damages in an invasion of privacy suit against Gawker Media. The case was about exposure of a sex tape and now the media is asking what this verdict means for the culture.

Is it a sign that the Internet's wild west days are over and that the standards of online journalism will be raised? Does it show that social media has taught everyone, even those of whose actions would normally go unreported, the importance of privacy? Gawker is going to appeal, so the case is not quite over. But the web is changing our expectations from reporters, celebrities, and one another, so let's look at privacy law.

Elon Musk and Talulah Riley Divorce Again

Actress Talulah Riley and Elon Musk thought they were meant to be together forever a couple of times, but they are finding it's not working out. The couple got married in 2010 -- Musk already had five kids from a previous marriage -- then got divorced in 2012 and then got married again the following year. The last marriage happened in 2013 and now Riley is seeking another divorce reportedly.

If you are worried, they are committed to remaining friends, which appears to be the extent of the commitment they wish to have to each other for now. But who knows? If things go the way they did last time, we may find ourselves reading about yet another Musk and Riley marriage, not too long after the divorce filing is approved.