*New developments have surfaced regarding Michael Jackson‘s wrongful death suit against AEG, sources say.
Randy Phillips, the AEG Live chief executive officer, insists they bore no liability in MJ’s death, claiming accusations that AEG hired disgraced Dr. Conrad Murray and failed to do a background check on him was an attempt made by Katherine Jackson to extort money from the company.
During the trial, Phillips was also confronted with content from emails he wrote which, essentially, flew in the face of AEG’s defense that legal or financial checks on Murray were unnecessary, because the doctor was personally hired by the late King of Pop.
In one email, Phillips told Kenny Ortega not to worry after the director voiced his concerns over MJ’s frail condition.
“I had a lengthy conversation with Dr. Murray, who I am gaining immense respect for as I get to deal with him more. He said that Michael is not only physically equipped to perform and, that discouraging him to, will hasten his decline instead of stopping it,” Phillips said in his email. “This doctor is extremely successful (we check everyone out) and does not need this gig so he [is] totally unbiased and ethical.”
Phillips continued, “I wrote it in the e-mail that I thought at the time he had been checked out,” he claimed, adding he said Murray was successful “because that’s what I was told.” “In retrospect, it’s not 100% true,” the executive uttered. “There’s what I thought at the time versus what I learned afterwards.”
Read more at Ace Showbiz.
Former Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, Basketball Coach Mike Rice, and maybe former President Robert Barchi are leaving Rutgers, but not without bringing down Eric Murdock who shocked the country with video footage of Rice’s abusive coaching techniques.
*On April 4, we reported on the abuse that former Rutgers’ basketball coach Mike Rice, was doling out to the Scarlet Knights basketball team.
But when Athletic Director Tim Pernetti, saw Rice hurling anti-gay slurs, kicking, punching, and throwing things at his players, he only slapped him on the wrist with a $50,000 fine and a three-game suspension.
Well, once video of Rice in action surfaced on ESPN, we expected that Pernetti was going to get the same pink slip that the university eventually gave to Rice. But, we had NO CLUE both of them would walk away on a RED CARPET!
Retired Los Angeles Clipper, Eric Murdock, who broke the story with video of Rice’s actions, is also under scrutiny, but we’ll get back to that later in the story. First, let us detail the severance packages given to Mike Rice and Tim Pernetti.
Both the coach and the athletic director were given over $1 million dollar as Rice was FIRED, and Pernetti decided to RESIGN.
Malcolm A. Smith, senator for the 14th district, is at the center of a pay-to-play scandal to get a place on the New York City Mayoral ticket.
*Big metropolitan areas are not strangers to scandal in city government.
Detroit has almost become known for its city’s corruption, but the biggest city on earth is attempting to rival their reputation with a “massive pay-to-play mayor’s race conspiracy.”
New York City’s mayor, Michael Bloomberg is serving his last year as mayor and potential candidates are scrambling for the opportunity to run. Malcolm A. Smith, New York state senator representing the 14th senate district, has been caught trying to buy his way on to the mayoral ticket. Instead of appearing on the ballot, he’s now the face of a criminal complaint.
On Tuesday, Smith, a Republican City Council member from Queens, Daniel J. Halloran III, and two Republican leaders from Queens and the Bronx, Vincent Tabone and Joseph J. Savino were charged with wire fraud and bribery.
The senator was also charged with extortion.
*Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is facing up to 20 years in prison after he was convicted Monday of most of the federal charges against him in his public corruption case, including racketeering, extortion and filing false tax returns.
Kilpatrick is accused of running a criminal enterprise through the mayor’s office to enrich himself through bid-rigging and extortion, and using nonprofit funds for personal gain.
After 14 full days of deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous decision on 40 of 45 counts against Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson. No verdict was reached on the charges of racketeering against Bernard Kilpatrick.
Breaking with typical protocol, the verdict was not read by the jury foreperson. Instead, Judge Nancy Edmunds read the verdicts herself.
The panel of eight women and four men deliberated for close to 100 hours before finally reaching their decisions. The verdict was reached on Friday. The jury decided to go home and sleep on it over the weekend to see if anyone would change his or her mind by Monday morning.
The prosecution wants Kwame Kilpatrick and Ferguson in custody immediately. The judge will decide that during a 1:30 p.m. meeting. The prosecution believes they are flight risks.
*The FBI – which had an 11-year file on Whitney Houston, covering threats against the singer from 1988 to 1999 – has released 128 pages of the heavily-redacted documents, revealing details of an apparently successful blackmail plot, as well as an investigation into an obsessed fan.
Released in response to a freedom of information request, the FBI’s documents show that in late 1992, an unidentified Chicago lawyer wrote to Houston’s New Jersey-based production company stating that unless the singer paid $100,000, his client planned to “reveal certain details of [Houston's] private life … to several publications.” Later the blackmail amount was boosted even higher, to $250,000.
The FBI saw this as extortion. But when agents met with Houston and her father, the singer said she knew the woman who was making the threats, and that she was “a friend … [who] would never do anything to embarrass her.” Officers closed the case, even though Houston’s father had apparently sent the blackmailer a confidentiality agreement and an unknown sum of money.
In addition to the extortion case, officers investigated several cases of over-devoted fans. One Vermont letter-writer claimed: “I start to shake … when I think about you.”
“Over the past 17 months, I have sent … 66 letters to Miss Whitney,” he wrote. “I have tried to stop writing the letters and to give up twice but after a few weeks I had to start writing again … I have gotten mad at [Whitney] a few times [for not replying] … it scares me that I might come up with some crazy or stupid or really dumb idea … I might hurt someone with some crazy idea.”
FBI agents eventually questioned the letter-writer in 1988 and decided he was harmless. The same was true for a Dutch or Belgian correspondent who insisted he had written some of Houston’s songs. The writer further claimed that he was the president of Europe and had purchased the country of Brazil for $66 billion.
*Police have arrested a man in Pennsylvania for allegedly threatening to release evidence that retired NFL star Hines Ward paid women for sex, reports TMZ.
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Cops nabbed 26-year-old Josh Van Auker yesterday after he allegedly demanded $15,000 from the former Pittsburgh Steelers superstar in exchange for materials that he claims would prove Hines patronized prostitutes.
According to police, Van Auker claimed Ward used to hook up with his girlfriend, though it’s unclear if she is one of the people he claims Ward paid to have sex with.
Van Auker was arrested during a sting operation in which he made the cash-for-evidence handoff with Ward’s personal assistant, who was working with detectives.