Celebrity Justice - The FindLaw Celebrities and The Law Blog

May 2016 Archives

Actor Michael Jace Found Guilty of Murdering Wife

Actors are necessarily dramatic people and so it is perhaps not surprising that their personal lives are full of drama, too. Today, for example, Michael Jace, an actor who played a policeman on the hit television series "The Shield," was found guilty of murdering his wife in 2014.

His trial in Los Angeles lasted a week. The jury -- six men and six women -- deliberated for two hours before finding him guilty of second-degree murder. He will be sentenced on June 10 and could be convicted to life in prison. There are conflicting media reports about the minimum sentence Jace faces, varying between 40 and 50 years in prison.

Meet Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Divorce Lawyers

The acting couple Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are getting divorced after only 15 months. She reportedly filed papers only a few days after Depp’s mother died, spurring rumors that the Depp family hated Heard, his newer younger wife, according to the Daily Mail.

While some media outlets are focusing on the family — most notably the fact that Depp’s sister and production company manager has spoken out about the divorce —- others are focused on the divorce lawyers. People noted that Depp is represented in the divorce by Laura Wasser, whose name is becoming almost as common as the many celebrities she represents, while Heard is represented by Samantha Spector, who is less famous but a rising star.

Bill O'Reilly Wants $10M from Ex, Claims Cheating and Misrepresentation

Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly is suing his ex-wife for fraudulent misrepresentation, saying she lied during their divorce for financial gain. According to Gawker, the O'Reilly filed papers in Nassau County Court in New York accusing Maureen McPhilmy of hiding her extra-marital affair to induce a consensual divorce from O'Reilly.

He says she used money from the divorce to finance her extra-marital affair, and that she got more money because she pretended to be loyal. Now O'Reilly is demanding $10 million, saying he paid McPhilmy based on her material misrepresentations that she was not cheating. Let's consider this from a legal perspective.

Judge Finds Enough Evidence for Bill Cosby Criminal Trial in PA

A criminal case against Bill Cosby is going forward in Pennsylvania. The comedian is charged with three counts of felony indecent assault and faces 10 years in prison if convicted, reports CNN. Cosby's accuser, who was not in court today, was the first woman to publicly come forward and complain to police about the comedian's conduct in 2004. Police declined to prosecute the comedian then, claiming the evidence was insufficient.

But in the dozen years since Constand gave her statement to the cops, about 50 women have spoken out and new evidence has come to light. There is no trial date set yet. Cosby is expected back in court on July 20.

Tom Brady's Legal Hail Mary: QB Files for Rehearing on Deflategate

Quarterback Tom Brady wants to play ball. He's filing for rehearing of an appeals court decision reinstating his four-game suspension over claims he deflated a ball during an important game for the New England Patriots in January 2015. This scandal is known as "Deflategate."

Now Brady has filed for rehearing in federal court, a legal long shot. But Brady's lawyers argue that he's doing this for the team, not just NFL players but all unionized workers like him. They say, according to USA Today, that the appeals court decision last month harms all union workers and management by allowing labor arbitrators to "go rogue."

Alba Silent on Suit Targeting Honest Co Organic Baby Food

Jessica Alba was perhaps setting herself up for trouble when she called her business the Honest Company. The company makes a range of products touted as clean and pure -- honest, as it were -- but it has repeatedly been the target of complaints and lawsuits from consumers. Most recently the actress faced questions about Honest Company's organic baby food, the subject of another suit while on a panel at a conference.

Alba was inspired to start the company after her baby's birth made her conscious of chemicals in household products, and Honest has made a big name, very fast, based no doubt on the actress's great success. But it is the company transparent? Is it honest?

Ciara and Future's Custody Battle Resolved

Future and Ciara are celebrities, so naturally they are involved in lawsuits. The couple is public about their spats, airing grievances on social media that then spawn more lawsuits. But this week joint custody was awarded to the two, reports The BoomBox, despite mom's efforts to obtain sole custody of their young son.

A defamation suit Ciara filed against Future, based on his insulting tweets and demanding $15 million, has yet to be resolved. He says she's not famous enough to be defamed, a somewhat outrageous legal and factual claim about his ex made even as she sues him for his outrageous statements.

Music Guild Settles Antitrust Allegations With DOJ, Pays $1.75M

You probably don't know the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), but your favorite songwriters may be members of the organization. This week, ASCAP entered into a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, paying $1.75 million to resolve allegations that it was involved in anti-competitive practices.

The organization did not admit guilt, but it has promised to reform its ways. ASCAP was accused of signing exclusive contracts that interfered with the individual members' ability to directly license their songs in violation of a previous court order.

Property of the Rich and Famous: Taylor Swift's $25M Mansion

So you want to be Taylor Swift and you wish you could live her life. Well, you probably can't but you can peek at how the young superstar is living by taking a tour of her $25 million mansion.

She shared her home and her thoughts with Vogue and now we all know that she advises getting a good lawyer and that she considers herself "a national lightning-rod for slut shaming." Also, she has a fancy Scrabble board and spatulas with her initials on them, among tons of other junk. Swift may be a pop visionary and an intellectual property hawk angling to own "1989" but her sense of design is very 1942, which is the year her mansion was built.

Joan Rivers Wrongful Death Suit Settled for Bitter Truth, Plus Some

Joan Rivers wanted to talk about things, honestly. She was a funny lady who used her biting humor to rise to the top of American comedy and stay there for decades, amusing generations. Then Rivers died of a sore throat, in a manner of speaking, due to the negligence of her doctors.

Now, reports the New York Daily News, her daughter Melissa has settled a wrongful death suit with the New York clinic where she was treated. The amount of money recovered in the settlement is undisclosed but the doctors did admit guilt, which is rare and interesting. Even after she's gone, Rivers lets no one get away unscathed by her taste for the truth.

Authorities Consider Criminal Case Against Prince's 911 Caller

The man who made the 911 call reporting Prince's death could face criminal prosecution. But the story is convoluted and it is not clear yet that Andrew Kornfeld will be charged for his call or any other involvement in the pop star's death.

A thicket of intersecting and conflicting laws and the specifics surrounding the singer's demise have to be untangled first. Let's take a look at what's known about this complicated story and the many interesting issues it raises.

Pop Star Inspires Law: Minnesota Considers PRINCE Act

Minnesota produces corn mostly and one pop star particularly, a giant who was also tiny, the deceased artist known as Prince. Since the musician died on April 21 last month, there has been much discussion of the man and the myth, even in legislative circles.

This week, a Republican lawmaker from Prince's home state of Minnesota proposed a bill to guard against exploitation of a voice, name, signature, and image of a person for at least 50 years after their death, according to The Hollywood Reporter . The bill is called the PRINCE Act, and it stands for Personal Rights In Names Can Endure.

Memory Lane Trending: Arsenio Hall Sues Sinead O'Connor

Prince's recent death has created a weird media sensation. It's like the eighties all over again as forgotten stars reappear to reminisce about the dead and remind us of their existence. For example, last week singer Sinead O'Connor and comedian Arsenio Hall made headlines, likely for the first time in decades.

O'Connor accused Hall of being Prince's drug supplier in a Facebook post, reports ABC News, and he sued her for $5 million for defamation. It's a blast from the past, only most of the drama is happening online. Let's take a walk down memory lane.

It was probably too much to expect the final episode of "The Good Wife" to wrap everything up with a nice little bow — it was never a show that liked things clean and simple and was self-aware without being self-congratulatory, so a celebratory victory lap in episode 156 was never in the cards.

Still, that final “shot,” so to speak? Not even the most cynical fan could’ve expected the show to end like that. And that doesn’t even address the loose ends in Peter’s Trial of the Century. Here’s a look at the legal angles of last night’s series finale, “End.”

Audacious Vincent Gallo Sues Reporter for Invasion of Privacy

Vincent Gallo is suing a Japanese reporter for invasion of privacy for recording and publishing conversations that were off the record, the actor says. Gallo, best known for his cult hit movie Buffalo 66, which he also wrote, produced, and directed, says that Hikari Takano should pay compensatory and punitive damages.

The artist claims that Takano took material that was off the record, and which Gallo did not know was being recorded, and used it against his express wishes, reports Courthouse News Service. But it seems that the real problem here is that Gallo created an "audacious" interview character who says outrageous things but wasn't amused when that audacious character's views were publicized ... which, frankly, sounds anything but bold.

Fan Sues Bieber for Smashed Camera After Beer Bong Drama

True Beliebers will be disappointed to hear that Justin Bieber is in trouble again. The pop star was accused of smashing a man's cell phone after the man filmed Bieber unsuccessfully chugging from a beer bong in Houston last month during his show after-party.

Robert Morgan filed a complaint in Harris County Court in Texas, reports Courthouse News Service, detailing Bieber's actions that night, and most of it is not nice. The Bieber fan is now demanding punitive and compensatory damages from the pop star for his phone and for a physical attack.

Estate Planning Principles and Drilling Prince's Vault

Since Prince died late last month, little time has been wasted addressing the handling of his estate. His sister filed documents with the Minnesota courts stating that Prince left no will just days after he died, and last Friday, reports ABC News, the singer's mysterious vault was drilled open by the Bremer Trust, appointed the administrator of his estate.

The vault reportedly contains enough unpublished music to release an album by Prince every year for the next century, some of it pre-dating Purple Rain, the album that catapulted him to fame. But for our purposes, the drilling of the vault is interesting for what it illustrates about estate law and keeping precious goods safe.

We've got an intriguing court case with a major player facing serious jail time. And we've got Alicia torn between what she has, what she wants, and what's expected of her. With just two episodes left, "The Good Wife" is getting back to what it does best.

And we've got a couple fantastic cliffhangers setting up next week's series finale. Here's what you need to know about all the legal angles of last night's episode, "Verdict."