Courtroom Showdowns for Baldwin and Spector
By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
Alec Baldwin is taking legal action to find out who leaked to TMZ.com a message that he left for his 11-year-old daughter on an answering machine.
Baldwin has filed documents in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking a court hearing to determine whether his ex-wife Kim Basinger and/or her lawyers should be held in contempt.
"Petitioner [Basinger] is the only parent with custody, possession, and control of the minor child's telephone voicemail message that was disseminated to Harvey Levin and TMZ.com . . . it had to come from someone connected to the proceeding, and it was not me," Baldwin's filing indicated.
The "30 Rock" actor's visitation rights were temporarily taken away by a California Superior Court judge after she heard a cell phone recording that he had left for his child.
TMZ.com posted the audio recording on the Internet, and Baldwin's repugnant rant was then blasted throughout the media.
In the three-minute recording, Baldwin berated his daughter for failing to pick up her phone when he called. His spokesperson believes that Basinger and her lawyer leaked the tape to the media.
"The mother and her lawyer leaked this sealed material in violation of a court order. Although Alec acknowledges that he should have used different language in parenting his child, everyone who knows him privately knows what he has been put through for the past six years," the spokesperson said, adding that "in the best interest of the child, Alec will do what the mother is pathologically incapable of doing keeping his mouth shut and obeying the court order."
TMZ refuses to comment on how it obtained the recording, as has been the case for other recent troubled celebrity stories the Web site has reported on.
The Specter of Phil Spector
On another celebrity court case note, one of the jurors chosen for the Phil Spector murder trial is a "Dateline NBC" producer.
A second NBC employee, who is an electrician at the network's Burbank studio, will serve on the jury as well.
The jury consists of nine men and three women. It also includes a senior vice president of marketing for New Line Cinema.
According to a written juror questionnaire, the producer-juror has covered the O.J. Simpson and Michael Jackson trials and has been researching Spector's case for several months.
The "Dateline" producer also noted that he has met with Michael Baden, a forensics expert working for the defense, who is the husband of one of Spector's lawyers, Linda Kenney Baden.
Because jurors are not allowed to discuss the case outside of court, the producer will not be able to turn his experiences into a "Dateline" special until after the trial is finished. However, in the meantime his experience will likely make him the leader of the jury and probable foreman.
During the selection process, jurors were asked if they believed celebrities in Los Angeles are treated differently by police; six jurors said yes, five said no and one had no opinion.
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