Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

November 2010 Archives

Willie Nelson Facing at Least Six Months in Jail for Pot Bust

County music legend Willie Nelson is a vocal advocate for the legalization of marijuana. His advocacy also extends to some public displays of smoking the plant. Perhaps this is not the best approach since doing so remains illegal. After his latest pot bust, the 77-year-old singer may now face at least 6 months in jail.

Nelson was en route from California to Austin, Texas when he was stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint in West Texas. The smell of marijuana coming from the van was an easy clue for Border Patrol officials who eventually discovered six ounces of marijuana and took the singer to the local jail until he paid the $2,500 bail, according to The Guardian.

Guns N' Roses' Axl Rose Sues 'Guitar Hero' for $20M over Slash

Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses has filed a $20 million lawsuit against the maker of Guitar Hero. Why? Because they put Slash in the game.

So then shouldn't Slash be the one suing? That's how it usually works. Nevertheless, Rose filed suit against Activision, claiming that they violated the terms of the deal where Guns N' Roses licensed the song "Welcome to the Jungle." According to Rose, Activision broke its promise not to include ex-guitarist Saul Hudson, better known as Slash.

MSNBC Sued by Paparazzi over Penelope Cruz photos

The unwanted pictures snapped by celebrity paparazzi are a popular target for privacy lawsuits. Suddenly camera-shy celebrities are quick to file suit when they feel intruded upon.

A lesser-known suit in the photo mix is when media outlets use paparazzi photographs without the photographer's permission. The latest example of this is the recent suit against MSNBC for the company's use of a paparazzi's pregnant Penelope Cruz photos.

Celebrity photo agency Mavrix Photo alleges copyright infringement against MSNBC for their use of the copyrighted images of Cruz while on set of the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise. Much more important than the movie was the fact that the images proved some much speculated gossip about the actress -- her pregnancy.

Christina Milian Gets $4M Divorce Settlement

It wasn't only just a dream, that marriage. So on to a settlement we go. Pop singer Christina Milian will indeed receive a big-time divorce settlement, just as FindLaw's Celebrity Justice recently reported.

The singer was married to R&B producer/performer The Dream for just months, but will walk away with a substantial settlement that could last for many years. The couple has one child: a daughter, Violet.

Milian has focused on keeping the uglier details of the divorce out of the media for the sake of her daughter, reports AoL's The BoomBox. The exact numbers reported by BoomBox and the Chicago Sun-Times are a lump sum settlement of $4 million and child support payments of $5,000 per month. The pay-back for this pay-out is that Milian may make no public comment regarding the not-so-dreamy Dream or their relationship.

Charlie Sheen Sues Porn Star Capri Anderson for Extortion

Thank you Charlie Sheen for teaching the FindLaw public all about: divorce, child protective services, domestic violence, marriage, drugs, alcohol, and hotel room etiquette. To add to the growing list: extortion. Actor Charlie Sheen has sued porn star Capri Anderson for extortion stemming from their recent New York hotel room incident that found the actor drunk, wallet-less, and naked.

A series of text messages sent between the 45-year-old actor and the porn star (real name: Christina Walsh) were published by none other than media outlet TMZ. More than sextings, the text messages discuss a $20,000 sexual transaction that was supposed to take place between the pair. The Charlie Sheen extortion suit comes after Anderson filed her own suit against the actor over the bizarre set of events that occurred at the Plaza Hotel in October.

'Ugly Betty' Actor Michael Brea Decapitates Mom With Sword, Cops Say

Ugly does not even begin to describe the homicide scene "Ugly Betty" actor Micheal Brea left behind after allegedly decapitating his mother with a sword. Police say the 31-year-old actor was said to be screaming bible verses and demanding that his mother "repent" before ultimately inflicting deadly lacerations on Yanick Brea, 55.

Police were called to the Brooklyn apartment where the slaying took place and ultimately arrested Brea (bible in hand) in a nearby room. Since news of the gruesome murder broke, ABC has insisted that Brea was by no means a star on their hit series. Rather they have characterized Michael Brea as a "guy in the background in one episode."

Conan O'Brien Stalker-Priest Arrested Again

So he's no longer a priest, but still a stalker?

The former priest accused of stalking late-night personality Conan O'Brien has shifted his sights a bit further down the celebrity food chain, but is still in legal trouble for his actions. Former priest David Ajemian, 49, allegedly violated the restraining order taken out against him by Anthony Everett, the anchor of a Boston nightly news show, Chronicle.

Ajemian was removed from his priestly duties after he allegedly began writing to O'Brien back in September 2006, reports the Boston Globe. He was arrested in 2007 after trying to get into the studio where O'Brien was taping Late Night even after being warned to stay away by NBC Security. Ajemian pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

'Teen Mom' Amber Portwood Charged with Felony Domestic Violence

Amber Portwood, star of MTV's hit reality show "Teen Mom," has been charged with two felony counts and one misdemeanor count of domestic violence and battery. The now twenty-year-old mom's alleged violent on-camera behavior against father Gary Shirley, 24, let to the charges.

The felony charge stems from the fact that Amber Portwood committed the alleged acts in the presence of a child. If Portwood is convicted on all counts, she would face up to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

Did Tony Parker Cheat With Former Teammate's Wife Erin Barry?

Oh no he didn't.

According to celebrity news reports, Tony Parker's "other woman," was the wife of former Spurs teammate Brent Barry, Erin Barry. Parker's wife, Eva Longoria filed for divorce after reports came out that Parker was texting (or sexting) with another woman. Adding even more fuel to the story is news that Brent Barry, who now works as an NBATV analyst just filed for divorce on October 29, 2010. Perhaps he knew the news before Longoria?

Parker and Longoria released nearly identical statements saying that, "It is with great sadness that after 7 years together, Tony and I have decided to divorce. We love each other deeply and pray for each other's happiness." The couple didn't have any children, but the Barrys have two sons. It's an understandably complicated situation.

Celeb Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot Dead in Beverly Hills

It reads like the opening scenes of a classic Hollywood noir. Mercedes, driven by a successful woman pulls away from a star-studded premier. Minutes later, the car careens into a light pole after shots are fired, killing the driver. No one knows how, why, or who.

Real life, messier and more painful than movies, may not tie up this whodunit in a neat bow. Police are stumped by the killing of Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, a woman called a "beloved, iconic figure," reports CNN. Chasen was shot while driving home from the party celebrating the opening of the film Burlesque.

Eva Longoria Files for Divorce from Tony Parker

Eva Longoria and Tony Parker are getting a divorce. Of course that's supposed to be a big rumor that we can all get excited about and speculate, speculate, speculate. Except TMZ kind of takes the mystery out of the whole thing when they just post the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage online. The Eva Longoria divorce petition was filed by Longoria in Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles.

The petition cited irreconcilable differences. Longoria is seeking spousal support. They had been married since July 7, 2007, over three years. (That's equivalent to 17 years in Hollywood.) The couple does not have any children. The petition was filed under seal, but that didn't seem to have much of an impact on TMZ's ability to get a hold of it.

For Michael Douglas' Ex-Wife: Greed Isn't Always Good

Chalk one up for Gordon Gekko.

A Manhattan judge has dismissed Diandra Douglas' lawsuit against ex-husband Michael Douglas. Diandra Douglas wanted a part of the earning from the sequel of "Wall Street," but the judge found that the case belongs in California. Their original multimillion-dollar divorce agreement was made in 2000 in California. They had been married for 23 years. Douglas is now married to actress Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Diandra Douglas argued that she should get half of Michael Douglas' share of "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" under the terms of their original divorce settlement, which entitled her to a portion of proceeds from movies completed while they were married. According to Diandra, their settlement also entitled her to proceeds from "spinoffs." The Wall Street sequel has grossed over $100 million.

Palin Email Hacker Gets One Year In Custody

The judge in the Sarah Palin email hacker case has proved to have the wisdom of Solomon. U.S. District Judge Thomas W. Phillips' sentence navigated a middle course between the prosecution's and defense's request. The judge sentenced 22-year-old David Kernell to a year and a day in custody and three years probation. Judge Phillips also recommended a halfway house instead of prison. Both the prosecution and the defendant's father support the sentence.

As discussed in a prior post, David Kernell was a former University of Tennessee student who hacked into Governor Palin's email account during the 2008 campaign. He somehow guessed the answers to Palin's "security" questions and gained access to the account. According to the Associated Press, Palin and her daughter Bristol testified at trial that Kernell had given out a password and Palin family telephone numbers to others, which caused them emotional hardship.

Sugarland Settles Suit With Ex-Member Kristen Hall

If you follow country music at all, you may have been wondering for the last several years, what the heck happened to Kristen Hall? Recall please, that the now famous country duo Sugarland started out as a trio, comprised of lead singer Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush and Hall. The duo is doing quite well, thank you, netting the Country Music Association Vocal Duo of the Year award last week and winning Grammies for best performance by a group or duo and best country song last year.

So what happened to Kristen Hall? Did she go gently into that good night of solo songwriting and performing? Not quite, reports CNN. Hall left in 2005, sending a reminder of her existence to her former band mates two years ago, when she filed a lawsuit seeking her share of the profits from the group, based on her part in founding the group and writing for their debut album.

Gerard Butler Sued by His Own Evil Twin

Does movie actor (and former lawyer) Gerard Butler have an evil twin, and if so, is he being sued by him? The answer is no. And, yes. Gerard Butler does have an evil twin, better known as "Evil Twins" and it is his production company started with business partner Alan Siegel. The problem is, Evil Twins also has an evil twin, better known as "Evil Twin Prods.," a promotional company started in 1996. Evil Twin Prods. is suing Evil Twins for evil trademark infringement.

Still there? Good. Evil Twin Prods. was started in the mid-nineties by owners Kristen Armfield and Harri Mark and is a company that produces promotional spots for clients like High School Musical 3, The Dark Knight, and Coldplay's last album, according to THR, Esq. Evil Twin Prods. reportedly has registered the trademark "Evil Twin" and is seeking an injunction and either actual damages or $2 million in statutory damages for the infringement caused by Butler's Evil Twins.

Christina Milian and The Dream: Divorce Settlement Reached

Did pop/R&B singer Christina Milian receive a dream divorce settlement? Milian's soon to be ex-husband, producer The Dream, might say no. But some news sources say yes, to the sweet tune of $4 million in a lump sum, a number disputed by Milian herself.

What might be the long term outcome of this short marriage? Milian and The Dream were married in September 2009, according to HipHopWired. The couple will be filing the settlement agreement with a judge in Fulton, Georgia in the near future. The couple has one child, a daughter, who was born just about the time divorce papers were initially filed.

Mel Gibson Faces Custody Battle, Costa Rica Land Issues

These days, Mel Gibson is juggling a few legal issues at once. On November 10 he was in a Los Angles court for what news reports say is his first courtroom appearance in the on-going custody battle over his one-year-old daughter Lucia with ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva.

Gibson and Grigorieva currently share custody of their daughter with an every other day exchange and one overnight visit per week for Gibson, reports People.com. Shared physical custody usually incorporates shared legal custody as well. Legal custody allows a parent to participate in the major decisions that affect the child's upbringing such as schooling, religious, or health decisions.

'America's Next Top Model' Judge Sued for Sexual Harassment

Former America's Next Top Model judge Nole Marin is being sued for sexual harassment by an aspiring model that claims the fashion expert wanted him to do more than just strike a pose. Nicholas Hamman-Howe alleges that the unwanted sexual advances date back to 2007 and continued until 2010.

In the suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, the aspiring model alleges that he never considered modeling as a career until meeting Marin who complimented his physique. Marin told Hamman-Howe that, "modeling is a very sexy industry and it is all about who you know." Hamman-Howe claims that Marin touched him on multiple occasions and also promised him stardom in exchange for sex, according to the Styleite.

Full of Grace: Nancy Grace Suicide Suit Settles

Nancy Grace has settled with the estate of former interviewee Melinda Duckett. The wrongful death suit was set to go to trial, after many delays, next month, but the parties have instead reached a settlement which seems to be very much in Grace's favor. The terms of the settlement, which include a payment of $200,000 into a trust fund, were filed in federal court November 5 in Ocala, Florida.

In 2006 Nancy Grace, host of the "Nancy Grace Show," interviewed Melinda Duckett, a 21-year-old mother whose son, Trenton, had disappeared. The day after the interview, Duckett committed suicide. In December of 2006, the family of Melinda Duckett filed their wrongful death suit against Grace and CNN saying that the harsh interview contributed to Duckett's death.

The Olbermann Suspension From MSNBC Ends

Keith Olbermann gets out of the doghouse as of Tuesday night. The famous host of MSNBC's "Countdown" was recently put on suspension for his monetary contribution to Democratic candidates. The Olbermann suspension without pay began on November 5, however, it will end as of November 9, marking what one news source claimed was the world's shortest suspension.

MSNBC has a policy against allowing its employees (at least the ones who appear in front of millions of viewers) to donate to candidates, reports Politico.com. However, Olbermann reportedly told the higher-ups he was not aware of such a policy. Rachel Maddow, fellow left-leaning host on the network, said she was aware of the policy and used this point to delineate the news organization of MSNBC from the "political organization" of other, more conservative networks.

David Cassidy Arrested for DUI in Florida

David Cassidy will not be getting happy anytime soon, after his arrest on DUI charges in Florida. The singer and '70s pop idol, the Justin Bieber of his day, was pulled over by a Florida Highway Patrol officer on November 3 for erratic driving.

The state trooper noticed Cassidy's white Mercedes driving on and off the road as he traveled down the Florida Turnpike, reports TCPalm.com. When officer saw another vehicle "abruptly" brake to avoid crashing into the singer's car, he had seen enough, and pulled Cassidy over.

Federal Judge Declines to Hear Jackson Wrongful Death Case

The suit brought by Joe Jackson, father of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson, has been dismissed from federal court. At a hearing on November 1, Jackson's lawyer agreed to dismiss the sole federal count in the case, leaving the remaining claims in the Jackson wrongful death suit for a state court to cope with. The judge did not fail to lay out for Jackson that he was unlikely to receive any monetary award from the claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act he presented to the court.

The Associated Press reports U.S. District Court Judge John F. Walter noted since the only federal claim in the case was brought under the ADA, other than that, he had no reason to keep the case in a federal court. The rest of the suit, based on the Jackson wrongful death claim, was a "creature of state law," according to Judge Walter. Jackson's attorney agreed to dismiss the ADA claim and re-file the whole suit in state court.

Charlie Sheen's Porn Star Date to File Civil Suit

Charlie Sheen. The actor has been in the news for a slew of legal issues, and this week is no exception. The latest headline to hit the Hollywood star: Charlie Sheen's Porn Star Date to File Civil Suit. Yes, the woman (real name: Capri Anderson) behind his hotel rampage last weekend in New York is now said to be taking legal action against the actor.

Charlie Sheen originally claimed his hotel antics were the result of an allergic reaction to some medication he was taking at the time. Since he usually approaches life differently than common folk, Charlie Sheen's allergic reaction wouldn't be the typical case of hives and nausea, but rather rage and nudity. Capri Anderson seems to disagree. Go Figure.

'Bruno' Star Sued for Inciting Riot at Gay Rally

The controversial comedy "Bruno" was released well over a year and a half ago. Yet the lawsuits just keep coming. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Sasha Baron Cohen is now being sued for inciting a riot at a gay rally in 2008. The suit is being brought by Mike Skiff, a gay cameraman that claims he was assaulted by the Bruno star and his crew at a Prop. 8 rally.

The latest Bruno lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. The Hollywood Reporter fills in some details: "Skiff claims he was injured when Bruno filmmakers deliberately incited a riot at the Prop 8 rally by carrying "Yes on Prop. 8" signs and egging on the participants to enhance the dramatic effect of what they may capture for their film."

Randy Quaid Says Lawyers Are Trying to Kill Him, His Career

Artists must be allowed the creative license necessary to make their art. Sometimes, though, this creative way of viewing the world shifts over into real life. Case in point: artist, producer and potential refugee, Randy Quaid and his wife Evi. Randy and Evi Quai have sought refugee status across the border in Canada from what they term a "criminal conspiracy" to deprive them of their livelihood, and possibly, their lives.

Quaid presented a statement to the press explaining why they had taken refuge in the land of hockey sticks and maple leaves, Reuters reports. According to the Quaids, there exists a plot by former business associates to steal money through secret business deals and court cases. The Vancouver Sun reports the full Quaid quote: "I'm being embezzled by this monstrous ring of accountants, estate planners and lawyers who are mercilessly slandering me and trying to kill my career and, I believe, murder me in order to gain control of my royalties."