Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

December 2012 Archives

Are Fake Celebrity Twitter Accounts Legal?

The one thing about the Internet is that it is relatively anonymous. So 12-year-old girls can pretend to be Chuck Norris online, and 12-year-old boys can pretend to be the Queen of England. But with many people coming up with fake online personas, California has taken a stand by cracking down on fake celebrity Twitter accounts.

The California law, in effect since 2011, prohibits impersonating another individual online for the purposes of "harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding a person," reports Entertainment Weekly. Violating the law is a misdemeanor.

But if you just started your fake celebrityTwitter account to be funny, could you still go to jail?

Top 10 Celebrity Legal Stories From 2012

Just like 2011 and the year before that, 2012 was a year full of celebrity legal disputes.

Some were funny, some were scary, but for the most part, these celebrity legal disputes were just plain silly.

Here is our list of the Top 10 celebrity legal stories from the past year:

NBC's David Gregory Under Fire for Gun Clip on 'Meet The Press'

NBC's David Gregory is coming under fire after he showed what appeared to be a 30-round gun clip on Sunday's "Meet The Press."

During an interview with the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre, Gregory displayed what looked to be a 30-bullet gun magazine. The interview was contentious, as Gregory pressed LaPierre about whether fewer children would have been killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre if the gunman hadn't had the ability to shoot so many bullets in rapid succession, Politico reports.

While Gregory tried to make a point with his prop, the "Meet The Press" moderator may potentially have violated the law as well. That's because Washington, D.C., has several laws in place that restrict the type of guns and ammunition that someone may possess, reports Politico. One of these restrictions prohibits 30-round gun magazines.

Charlie Rose Unpaid Intern Lawsuit Settles for $250K

TV talk show host Charlie Rose will pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by unpaid interns.

Rose and his production company were sued in a wage and hour class action lawsuit. The interns were reportedly "unpaid summer interns," which are common in the TV business, and in other industries as well. But the reality is that many of these interns perhaps should be paid, according to the law.

Instead of taking the unpaid intern issue to court, Charlie Rose and the interns decided to settle the lawsuit. The payout amounts to about $1,100 for each of the 190 former interns, reports the New York Daily News.

Rapper Fat Joe Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

Fat Joe, a rap artist famous for his public feud with 50 Cent, pleaded guilty to tax evasion on Thursday.

The rapper, whose given name is Joseph Cartagena, appeared in federal court in New Jersey and admitted to not paying his taxes for two years, namely 2007 and 2008. Federal prosecutors had claimed that he failed to pay taxes from 2007 through 2010.

It doesn't matter how much money you owe, the IRS will find you. But for someone like Fat Joe, the amount is significantly higher.

What Is 'Swatting'? Boy, 12, Busted for Bieber, Kutcher Pranks

What is "swatting"? For Hollywood stars who've been victims of swatting, it's a potentially dangerous, high-profile prank. It's also illegal.

Just last week, police busted a 12-year-old boy for celebrity swatting pranks that targeted Justin Bieber and Ashton Kutcher, TMZ reports. Prosecutors are considering whether or not to pursue criminal charges.

So what exactly takes place in a celebrity swatting prank? It's similar to a prank call. But instead of calling the celebrity, the caller calls 911 or the police.

Newsman Sam Donaldson Gets DUI in Delaware Beach Town

Sam Donaldson, the veteran ABC news anchor and political correspondent, got pulled over for a DUI earlier this month.

Donaldson was driving in the beach town of Lewes, Delaware, on Dec. 1, when police noticed that he was driving on the shoulder of the road. After a field sobriety test, which Donaldson failed, he was arrested for a suspected DUI.

Donaldson was later charged with driving under the influence and released to await his court date. Now he'll have to face a judge.

Trump Wins $5M From Miss Pennsylvania in Miss USA Lawsuit

Instead of handing out money to beautiful women, Donald Trump will be receiving money from one after winning a Miss USA lawsuit.

Last year, former Miss Pennsylvania Sheena Monnin accused the group that oversees the Miss USA pageants of fixing the contests.

After losing the Miss USA contest, Monnin said that the Miss Universe Organization, which oversees Miss USA, was "fraudulent, lacking in morals, inconsistent, and in many ways trashy," reports The Huffington Post. Monnin claimed that the organization already had a preconceived list of five finalists before the event even began.

Celebrity Hacker Christopher Chaney Gets 10 Years in Prison

Christopher Chaney will spend the next 10 years in prison after being convicted of hacking into the personal email accounts of Hollywood starlets and posting revealing photos he found on the Internet. The celebrity hacker had faced up to 60 years in prison.

Chaney's trial made national headlines. Actress Scarlett Johansson even told the court in a video statement she felt humiliated and embarrassed that nude photos of herself, meant for then-husband Ryan Reynolds, were leaked online, reports CBS News. Johansson called Chaney's acts "perverted."

Along with hacking celebrities like Johansson, Mila Kunis, and Christina Aguilera, Chaney also targeted ordinary women. Chaney was accused of hacking a former co-worker's account and sending nude photos of the woman to her father.

Don't Let 'Gangnam Style' Kill You, Doctor Warns

Not everyone can live the "Gangnam Style." And if you try, it could result in a "Gangnam Style" death, as recently occurred in England.

Eamonn Kilbride, a 46-year-old father of three, was having so much fun at his office Christmas party that he decided to break out some popular dance moves, made famous by South Korean rapper PSY.

But as Kilbride galloped on his imaginary horse, he suffered chest pains, collapsed, and died. His death prompted a British doctor to warn middle-aged men not to attempt the international dance craze, reports The Independent.

Justin Bieber Murder-Castration Plot: Alleged Hitmen Arrested

Never say never Beliebers, but for now it seems that the Justin Bieber murder-castration plot has been foiled and the pop icon is safe.

Police announced Thursday that they'd uncovered a plot to kidnap Bieber, castrate him, and murder him. Luckily, or unluckily depending on your personal view of Bieber and his music, the bizarre plot ended almost before it started.

Mark Aaron Staake and his nephew Tanner Ruane were arrested for plotting to kill Bieber. But it turns out the real mastermind was someone else.

Sarah Palin's Son on Divorce Track, But Must Watch Video First

Calling all single Alaskan ladies: It looks like Track Palin, Sarah Palin's son, is headed for divorce.

Track and his soon-to-be ex-wife filed for divorce this week. The couple married in 2011 and they have a 1-year-old little girl named Kyla. Track, 23, is the oldest of Sarah Palin's children and is an Army Reservist, just so you know ladies.

Perhaps more interesting than the news of Track's divorce is what it's revealed about Alaska's divorce laws, since that's where the papers were filed.

'Storage Wars' Lawsuit Claims Show Is Rigged

First came allegations that cable TV's "House Hunters" may have been staged, and now possibly "Storage Wars" too, if a new lawsuit is to be believed. Is nothing sacred on reality television anymore?

Many of the valuables hidden inside abandoned storage lockers, as seen on the hit A&E program, were actually planted by TV producers to enhance the drama of the show, former cast member David Hester claims.

Hester says producers have planted items like a BMW Mini and newspapers chronicling Elvis Presley's death to make the show more interesting, reports The Christian Science Monitor. It's apparently worked, as the show about abandoned storage units has surprisingly become one of the highest-rated cable TV shows.

Jenni Rivera Killed in Plane Crash

Jenni Rivera, the Mexican-American singing sensation, is presumed dead after her plane crashed in Mexico early Sunday.

Rivera, 43, had finished a show in Monterrey, Mexico, and was aboard a plane bound for the city of Toluca when it disappeared from radar. While the Mexican government has not officially confirmed her death, it appears there were no survivors of the crash.

News of Rivera's death has rocked the entertainment industry. The singer's fame and fortune will now make it a bit complicated to deal with her estate.

Notorious B.I.G.'s Autopsy Released After 15 Years

Notorious B.I.G.'s autopsy has finally been released to the public, 15 years after the rapper was killed.

The autopsy reveals several interesting facts: Biggie was shot four times, including a shot to his scrotum. All the bullets went through the door of the Chevy Suburban he was riding in, according to the report. And medical examiners who conducted the autopsy considered him "morbidly obese," reports Examiner.com.

The rapper, whose real name was Christopher Wallace, was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997. His killing followed the murder of rival rapper Tupac Shakur.

Kate Middleton Radio Prank Leads to Nurse's Apparent Suicide

The nurse involved in a radio station's Kate MIddleton prank call has apparently died in a suspected suicide.

Jacintha Saldanha was found dead this morning near the UK hospital where Middleton was being treated for severe morning sickness, reports USA Today. Middleton was released from the hospital Thursday.

A day earlier, Saldanha was the nurse on duty who answered a prank call by two Australian DJs. As a result of the prank, some medical information regarding the princess' pregnancy was disclosed to the public.

Shakira's Ex-Boyfriend Seeks $100M for Making Her Famous

Shakira is being sued by her ex-boyfriend, Antonio de la Rua, for a whopping $100 million.

De la Rua, the son of former Argentine President Fernando de la Rua, claims that he helped increase the singer's level of fame and that the two had a verbal commitment that he would receive a part of her earnings should she become famous, reports Fox News.

Well, Shakira became famous. And after the "Hips Don't Lie" singer made it big, she moved on and is currently expecting a baby with soccer star Gerard Pique.

Katt Williams Fight Leads to Comic's Arrest

Katt Williams was arrested following a bar fight in Seattle. The Katt Williams fight is just the latest in a series of bizarre incidents involving the comic as he seems to be going through his Charlie Sheen meltdown moment.

On Sunday afternoon, Williams allegedly exchanged words with some patrons at the World Sports Grille in Seattle. During the fight, the comic is said to have brandished a pool cue at the bar's manager and refused orders to leave the bar, reports The Post-Standard.

During the incident, TMZ reports that Williams followed a family outside to their car where he threw a rock at the car and flicked a cigarette through the car's window, hitting a woman just below her eye.