July 05, 2012
By DAVID PORTER |
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Eight-time Grammy-winning singer Lauryn Hill pleaded guilty Friday to not paying federal taxes on more than $1.5 million earned over three years.
Appearing in U.S. District Court in Newark, Hill admitted failing to file tax returns from 2005 to 2007. She faces a maximum one-year sentence on each of the three counts. She was charged three weeks ago.
Dressed in a dark jacket, white button-up shirt and a long reddish-orange skirt, Hill declined to comment after Friday’s hearing. During the hearing, attorney Nathan Hochman indicated that Hill planned to pay back the taxes she owes.
U.S. Magistrate Michael Shipp initially scheduled sentencing for early October but agreed to delay it until late November to give Hill time to make repayment.
Hill admitted she didn’t pay taxes on about $818,000 earned in 2005, $222,000 in 2006 and $761,000 in 2007. The money was earned by four corporations she owned.
The 37-year-old South Orange resident got her start with The Fugees and began her solo career in 1998 with the critically acclaimed album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”
She then largely disappeared from public view to raise her six children, five of whom she had with Rohan Marley, the son of famed reggae singer Bob Marley.
After the charges were brought, Hill posted a long statement on her Tumblr page that decried pop culture’s “climate of hostility, false entitlement, manipulation, racial prejudice, sexism and ageism.” She explained that she hasn’t paid taxes since she withdrew from society to guarantee the safety and well-being of herself and her family.
Hill hinted Friday that she might expand on those comments at her sentencing. When Shipp asked her if anyone had directly or indirectly influenced her decision to plead guilty, she replied, “Indirectly, I’ve been advised my ability to speak out directly is for another time, at sentencing.”
July 05, 2012
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court decided Friday not to consider reinstating the government’s $550,000 fine on CBS for Janet Jackson's infamous breast-baring “wardrobe malfunction” at the 2004 Super Bowl.
The high court refused to hear an appeal from the Federal Communications Commission over the penalty.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals twice had thrown out the fine. The second time came after the Supreme Court upheld the FCC's policy threatening fines against even one-time uses of curse words on live television.
The appeals court said FCC’s policy of excusing fleeting instances of indecent words and images appeared to change without notice in March 2004, a month after Jackson’s halftime act. The judges said that made the agency’s action against CBS “arbitrary and capricious.”
But now, the FCC clearly has abandoned its exception for fleeting expletives, Chief Justice John Roberts said.
“It is now clear that the brevity of an indecent broadcast — be it word or image — cannot immunize it from FCC censure,” he said. “Any future ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ will not be protected on the ground relied on by the court below.”
In addition, Roberts said that calling it a “wardrobe malfunction” when Justin Timberlake ripped away part of Jackson’s bustier “strained the credulity of the public.”
CBS said it was grateful for the court’s decision.
“At every major turn of this process, the lower courts have sided with us,” the network said in a statement. “And now that the Supreme Court has brought this matter to a close, we look forward to the FCC heeding the call for the very balanced enforcement which was the hallmark of the commission for many, many years.”
July 05, 2012
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Naomi Campbell and a perfume company have settled a sour dispute that started over a fragrance line and became part of the backdrop of former Liberian President Charles Taylor’s war crimes trial.
Dueling lawsuits between the supermodel and an entity called Moodform Mission were closed Thursday, Manhattan court records show. Moodform Mission’s lawyer, Daniel R. Bright, said Friday his clients “are happy with the settlement,” but he wouldn’t disclose details. Campbell’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.
The dispute involves Campbell's longtime former modeling agent, Carole White, who joined with a Miami Beach, Florida-based cosmetics company to form Moodform Mission in the 1990s.
Her New York court fight with the model was mentioned at Taylor’s 2010 war crimes trial, at which White contradicted the model’s testimony about some alleged blood diamonds — gems used to finance wars — she received from the former Liberian president. Taylor was convicted of arming and supporting murderous rebels in Sierra Leone in return for blood diamonds; he was sentenced in May to 50 years in prison. He plans to appeal his conviction.
At his trial in the Netherlands, Campbell said she didn’t know the source of the stones presented to her after a dinner at former South African President Nelson Mandela’s mansion in 1997, or even that they were diamonds. She gave them to a friend to donate to charity.
When White took the stand and insisted that Campbell knew Taylor had provided the stones, Taylor’s lawyer accused White of lying to further her lawsuit over the perfume fallout. White denied it.
In the perfume suit, Moodform Mission said it was unfairly squeezed out of its share of millions of dollars in profits from such scents as Naomi Campbell, Cat Deluxe and Seductive Elixir after working for years to line up a 1998 fragrance deal for Campbell.
The agreement called for regular payments to Moodform Mission once the scents went on the market in 2001, netting Campbell millions of dollars over the years, according to the company’s lawsuit. It said Campbell violated the contract by inking a new fragrance-licensing agreement in 2008.
The new deal “was a fraudulent scheme arranged by (Campbell) for the purpose of avoiding her obligation to pay Moodform Mission the money required to be paid to it,” said the suit, filed in 2009.
Campbell, meanwhile, said she wasn't given full information before signing her deal with Moodform Mission. She said she didn’t know for years that White — her chief agent from 1993 until about 2006 — had a stake in the perfume partnership.
“If White had told me that she was a principal in (Moodform Mission), I would not have blindly trusted her advice to sign the documents that she brought to me,” Campbell said in a sworn statement last year. “... White held a position of trust and confidence in my life, and I expected her to act in my best interests (and never to benefit if this would be detrimental to my interests).”
Campbell, now 41, became one of the world’s highest-paid models after being discovered at age 15. She is British.
She has also been known for her feisty temper. At various points, she pleaded guilty to cursing and kicking at police officers in a rage over missing luggage at London’s Heathrow Airport, hurling a cellphone at her maid in New York because of a vanished pair of jeans and beating an assistant who said the model whacked her on the head with a phone in Toronto.
She was released without punishment in the Toronto case and sentenced to community service in the others.
November 08, 2012
Two of the most powerful women in media — Oprah Winfrey and Arianna Huffington — are joining forces.
The two launched “HuffPost OWN,” last week, a new section on the Huffington Post website that will feature material from the Oprah Winfrey Network and Oprah.com. The new online destination will focus on lifestyle advice and personal inspiration.
Winfrey said she was “delighted to join the conversation” at the Huffington Post. In a blog post, Huffington said Winfrey is “made for the Internet,” given her qualities of engagement and authenticity.
There are now nearly six dozen niche sections on the Huffington Post.