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Ex-Sopranos Actor Cleared of Murder

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 23, 2008 at 7:12AM

A jury's decision on Monday to clear a former actor on The Sopranos of killing a New York City policeman during a bungled 2005 burglary has left the victim's sister outraged.

"What message is this sending out to the New York City police officers today? It's wrong," Yolanda Rosa Nazario, sister of the slain officer, said of the verdict handed actor Lillo Brancato Jr., the Associated Press reports.

Convicted of a lesser charge of attempted burglary, Brancato, 32, now faces from three to 15 years in prison – though he could receive credit for time served, having already been incarcerated for nearly three years.

Prosecutors said that in December 2005 Brancato – who played a petty mobster wannabe on The Sopranos – and accomplice Steven Armento broke into a basement apartment to steal prescription drugs after a night of boozing at a strip club.

Off-duty officer Daniel Enchautegui, 28, who lived next door to the apartment, came to investigate and was hit in the heart by Armento, using a .357 Magnum. The dying Enchautegui fired back and wounded both men.

Earlier this year, Armento, 48, was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.

Admits to Drug Problem
Brancato, who admits to having abused drugs and alcohol, claimed no knowledge of Armento's carrying a weapon. He also said he did not directly participate in the murder and was carrying no weapon, reports AP.

Brancato's attorney, Joseph Tacopina, described his client as being relieved with the jury's verdict. "There was never going to be smiles," he said. "This is not a case that warrants that."

Brancato's sentencing is set for Jan. 9. District Attorney Robert T. Johnson said he would seek "the maximum sentence that the law allows." http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20248697,00.html

No Truth to Michael Jackson Lung-Transplant Story

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 23, 2008 at 7:08AM

Claims that Michael Jackson needs a lung transplant because of a rare respiratory disease is a "total fabrication," according to a statement released by Jackson's "official and sole spokesperson, Dr. Tohme Tohme" and issued by Los Angeles firm Scoop Marketing, Reuters reports.

Word of Jackson's supposed condition – that he was suffering from Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency – had circulated after writer Ian Halperin, who's at work on an upcoming biography of the 50-year-old music legend, was interviewed in Britain's Sunday Express newspaper.
– Stephen M. Silverman http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20248694,00.html

Jessica Alba, Cash Warren Celebrate Commitment at Weekend Reception

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 22, 2008 at 7:08AM

Jessica Alba and husband Cash Warren's families came together for the first time on Friday to celebrate the couple at their Beverly Hills home.

Though they officially wed last summer, Friday’s event served as a formal reception to "celebrate their love and commitment to each other," a partygoer told Usmagazine.com.

Guests, including newlywed Without a Trace Star Roselyn Sanchez, were asked to arrive before 7 p.m.

See photos of other star weddings this year!

At the event, both Alba and Warren spoke about their relationship before turning things over to their fathers, who each expressed happiness over the union of the two families. Later, a mariachi band played.

"There were no tears," the partygoer said, "just lots of happiness and love. It felt extremely special for everyone."

The partygoer added that it was Warren's speech, which detailed his pride in his wife and their daughter, that made guests especially emotional.

Before the reception took place, a source said that it would likely be "very romantic" and that tents were already up a day before the event.

"Jessica is so excited," the source told Us before the event. "This is such a happy time in their lives." Adding to their excitement was daughter, Honor, 6 months, who joined the party wearing a gray dress -- designed to exactly match Alba's -- with angel wings attached.

The pair exchanged vows for the first time on May 19 in the Beverly Hills courthouse's ceremony room. The couple had gotten engaged after announcing that Alba was pregnant with their daughter.

"She doesn't want to be pregnant in a dress," a source told Us back in December 2007, which might have explained the couple's privacy with the initial wedding.

Check out the other baby bumps from this past summer.

Alba, 27, and Warren, 29, met on the set of Fantastic Four in 2004 (Warren was the assistant to the film's director).

Yesterday's reception took place at their newly remodeled $4 million Beverly Hills home.

"It's a lot of stress to buy a house, have a baby and get married in six months," she has said. "It's a lot of life-changing decisions. I'm really, really secure and happy in my relationship."


Duggar Family Welcomes 18th (!) Child

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:46AM

Give us another J!

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Tontitown, Ark., had their eighteenth child Thursday – Jordyn-Grace Makiya, who joins the rest of her J-named siblings.

Jordyn-Grace was born via C-section at Mercy Medical Center in Rogers, weeks before her due date of Jan. 1. She weighed in at 7 lbs, 3 oz and was 20 inches long.

"Mother and baby are resting and doing well," says a rep for the Duggar family, whose crowded house is featured on the TLC network show 17 Kids & Counting.

The newest Duggar has a lot of names to keep straight.

The other kids – who range in age from 20 years to 17 months – are Joshua (who married Anna Keller in September and says he is looking forward to the "blessing of children" of his own), twins John-David and Jana, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, twins Jeremiah and Jedidiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah and Jennifer.

Their parents married when Michelle was 17 and Jim Bob was 19. (Her mother had to officially sign permission.) After birth-control pills were blamed for a miscarriage, the couple decided to throw them out. They've had a new baby approximately every 18 months since.

"What really works for me is swaddling a baby and snuggling up," Michelle told PEOPLE in an interview last year. "I love that time of just bonding and nursing a little baby. And, with a new baby, I realize that I don't need as much sleep as I used to think I did. You learn. This time goes by so quickly. I look at my older children and wonder where the time went."

A special on Jordyn-Grace's birth will air Dec. 22 at 10 p.m. on TLC.

Watergate's 'Deep Throat' Dies

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 19, 2008 at 7:38AM

W. Mark Felt – the FBI official who revealed himself as "Deep Throat" in 2005, has died at age 95.

Felt, who brought down Richard Nixon in the infamous Watergate scandal, was suffering from congestive heart failure, family fried John D. O'Connor told the Associated Press.

(O'Connor wrote the Vanity Fair article that unmasked Deep Throat, putting an end to one of the most enduring mysteries of the 20th century.)

A former second-in-command at the FBI, Felt leaked damaging information linking Nixon and his aides to the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters. Although he steadfastly denied being the source for Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, he finally came clean in 2005.

"I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat," Felt said at the time.

Uncomfortable Legacy
In recent years, Felt – seen by some as a traitor and some as a hero – struggled to come to grips with his place in history.

"People will debate for a long time whether I did the right thing by helping Woodward," Felt wrote in his 2006 memoir, "A G-Man's Life: The FBI, `Deep Throat' and the Struggle for Honor in Washington." "The bottom line is that we did get the whole truth out, and isn't that what the FBI is supposed to do?"

Woodward and his partner Carl Bernstein went on to win a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of the Watergate scandal.

Felt is survived by two children, Joan and Mark Felt Jr., and four grandchildren. His wife Audrey died in 1984. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247930,00.html

UFC Fighter Justin Levens Found Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 18, 2008 at 9:58AM

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship participant Justin Levens, 28, and his wife Sarah McLean-Levens, 25, were found shot to death in their Laguna Niguel, Calif., home early Thursday.

According to news reports, law enforcement officials have preliminarily determined the case to be a murder-suicide.

Levens was also a member of the International Fight League and World Extreme Cagefighting organizations.

The deaths come four months after another tragedy in the mixed martial arts world: In September, fighter Evan Tanner was found dead in the desert. Levens lost to Tanner in a UFC match in 2006. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247615,00.html

Scott Ruffalo's Death Ruled a Homicide

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 18, 2008 at 7:51AM

It's official: The death of Mark Ruffalo's brother has been ruled a homicide.

The L.A. County Coroner's Office has determined that someone else shot Scott Ruffalo in the head, spokesman Craig Harvey told the Associated Press.

Beverly Hills police arrested, but later released, Shaha Mishaal Adham, 26. At the time, the woman's attorney claimed that Scott shot himself during a game of Russian roulette.

Scott, 39, was shot Dec. 1 and died a week later. Police have not revealed a motive in the case.
– Kate Stroup http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247584,00.html

Whitney Houston Sued – by Her Stepmom!

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 18, 2008 at 7:41AM

Christmas dinner is gonna be so awkward!

Whitney Houston is being sued by her own stepmother.

According to the lawsuit, Barbara Houston claims the singer pocketed a $1-million life insurance payout from her late father's estate, E! Online reports.

But, Barbara claims, $723,000 of that was supposed to go toward the mortgage on the New Jersey condo she shared with John Houston, who died in 2003. (Once the mortgage was paid off, the suit alleges, the rest of the cash would be given to the stepmother.)

Lawyers for both sides refused to comment on the pending suit, E! said.

Meanwhile, Whitney Houston continues to work on her comeback with music mogul Clive Davis. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247590,00.html

Double SAG Nominations for Kate Winslet

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 18, 2008 at 7:37AM

Heath Ledger (left) and Kate Winslet

Photo by: Lisa Rose / JPI; Tsuni / Gamma USA
Kate Winslet scored two chances to take home a SAG Award when the nominations were announced Thursday morning.

The actress was recognized by her peers in the Screen Actors Guild as both a lead and supporting actress for her current holiday releases, Revolutionary Road and The Reader.

Meanwhile, writer-director John Patrick Shanley's Doubt – starring the nominated Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams and Viloa Davis – led the movie pack, with five nods.

The late Heath Ledger, recently nominated for a Golden Globe for his Joker in The Dark Knight, also joins the SAG best supporting actor category for the role.

Brad Pitt got a special 45th birthday present Thursday: a leading actor nod for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Angelina Jolie was also recognized, for Changeling.

Sean Penn racked up two nominations for Milk.

On the TV side, Christina Applegate and Tina Fey will square off for the lead actress in a TV comedy category (for Samantha Who? and 30 Rock, respectively), while Mad Men, 30 Rock, John Adams and The Closer and their stars generated three nods each.

For a complete list of nominations, click here http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20247588,00.html

Oprah Signs Three Year Deal With HBO

Posted By LolaDub on Dec 17, 2008 at 11:39AM

Just last week, Hollyscoop heard news out of Oprah’s camp that she intends on riding out her contract with ABC to keep her talk show up and running. But now Bossip is reporting that she’s just signed a three-year deal with HBO to develop and produce scripted programming.

The deal will include Oprah-influenced series, miniseries, movies, and documentaries to HBO, and will go into effect in 2009. There’s no word on whether Oprah plans on appearing in any of the projects, but we all know she’s no stranger to the cameras.

Harpo, Oprah’s production company, couldn’t be happier about the deal. Harpo Films president Kate Forte says, "ABC was always incredibly supportive of us, it is much more about the opportunity HBO affords us. There are natural limitations to network television...which obviously HBO does not have to deal with." Oprah also commented on the news, saying, “This is the perfect partnership for Harpo Films.”

We want to know just what Oprah has up her sleeve! The premium cable network doesn't usually make such individual deals with production companies, but network co-president Richard Plepler said that "Oprah personifies excellence and quality in everything she does." She’s a TV god, so anything she does will turn to gold. HBO knows exactly what they’re doing. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in storehttp://tv.hollyscoop.com/oprah/oprah-signs-three-year-deal-with-hbo_1466.aspx