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Entries in Conviction (3)

Thursday
Dec082011

Jodie Foster’s Dad Convicted of Grand Theft

Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Jodie Foster’s elderly father was convicted Wednesday of 21 misdemeanor counts of grand theft and nine misdemeanor counts of contracting without a license in a home-building scam, People magazine reports.

Prosecutors in Los Angeles say 89-year-old Lucius Foster collected $5,000 down payments from people with the promise of constructing modular homes out of 40-foot-long shipping containers.  Prosecutors say not a single home was ever built, and the 89-year-old Foster bilked $130,000 from the poor and elderly.

Deputy City Attorney Don Cocek said Foster has been soliciting customers since at least 2005, dubbing him the “Bernie Madoff of Sherman Oaks.”

The elderly Foster acted as his own attorney in the trial and insisted there was no scam, but that he was simply trying to help solve the city’s affordable housing problem.

Foster is estranged from his famous daughter.  Jodie Foster was born a few months after her parents divorced and was raised by her mother with reportedly little involvement from her dad.

Lucius Foster faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct282010

Anna Nicole Smith's Boyfriend, Psychiatrist Found Guilty of Conspiracy

Howard K. Stern leaves a Los Angeles courthouse after his conviction Oct. 28. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Anna Nicole Smith's boyfriend has been convicted of conspiracy in a case in which he and two doctors were accused of helping to illegally provide the late model with prescription drugs. According to the Los Angeles Times, Howard K. Stern was convicted Thursday by a Los Angeles jury of two conspiracy counts of aiding and abetting doctors. He was found not guilty of charges that he obtained and provided drugs to an addict.

Smith's psychiatrist, Khristine Eroshevich, was convicted of four counts of obtaining medication by fraud. The jury was deadlocked on other charges. Another doctor, Sandeep Kapoor, was acquitted of all charges. Stern and Eroshevich, who face prison time, will be sentenced January 6th.

The verdict was the culmination of a nine-week trial. Smith died of an accidental drug overdose in Florida in February 2007.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Oct142010

Gloria Allred Criticizes Oscar-Winner Hilary Swank Over New Film

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- In the new movie Conviction, two-time Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank portrays the real-life Betty Anne Waters, whose brother Kenny was convicted of murdering a Massachusetts woman, Katharina Brow, in 1980.

Now Swank – whose character gets a law degree to help prove her brother's innocence – has suddenly become the film's second victim.

At a press conference streamed live Thursday afternoon on TMZ.com, feminist lawyer Gloria Allred claimed that neither Swank – an executive producer for the movie – nor the film company ever contacted Brow's children.

Allred said that the children – Melrose and Charles, who were also at the news conference – "want to express their disappointment and anger about what they believe is a failure by the producers of the new movie Conviction to show respect and compassion for their family, when it was the brutal murder of their mother that triggered events which are the basis for this feature film which will be released [Friday]."

Allred described Katharina Brow as a loving mother and grandmother, and a victim of "a cold, heartless and brutal murder."  Kenneth Waters spent 18 years in prison while his sister, who did not have a college degree, put herself through law school so that she could fight for his freedom.

Allred said Swank's description of Conviction during a Larry King interview on CNN as "a feel-good movie" is not a description shared by Brow's children and family.

"The release of Conviction and the press tour that accompanies it does not make them feel good, the fact that their mother is mentioned in it does not make them feel good and the fact that neither Ms. Swank nor anyone else connected to the film has had the decency to contact the family about the terrible tragedy they have suffered does not make them feel good," said Allred.

"[The children] should have been asked if they had any questions about the film and they should have been consulted about any portrayal of their mother and her murder," she said.  "They should also have been asked if they wished to attend a private screening."

Allred – spoofed last weekend on Saturday Night Live as a publicity hound, famous for representing women whose plights quickly became media fodder – announced that she has sent a letter to Swank and hopes for "a positive, thoughtful and caring response."

The letter requests a meeting between the children, Swank and the filmmakers.  "[Melrose's] mother was not just a name, and was not and is not a person who should be used as a line in a script or just a way to make a profit for the entertainment industry," Allred wrote.  The correspondence also included questions that Melrose would have asked the filmmakers had she been contacted.

Allred concedes this is not a legal issue, but a moral one.  "It should be for Hollywood producers to reach out," rather than having the burden fall on the victim's family members to get in touch with Hollywood, said Allred. "You have time to make a movie, you have time to make a phone call."

Allred told ABC News a letter to a victim's family is insufficient.  "There needs to be a conversation," she said.  "Filmmakers should have the courtesy to listen to family members' concerns."

Although Allred said she has hopes for a new moral standard in Hollywood associated with this type of issue, not all legal experts think the matter is so simple.

"A film producer may be reluctant to talk to people not central to or depicted in the movie, because it may start a slippery slope," said Jimmy Nguyen, an entertainment and intellectual property lawyer at Wildman Harrold Allen & Dixon in Los Angeles.

Nguyen cites impracticality – there may be too many people to contact.  "Family members contacted also may request monetary compensation, even though legally there is no obligation," he said.  "And the family may make requests that would complicate making the film."

The key question for filmmakers, said Nguyen, should be, "Whose perspective is being shown?" In the case of Conviction, he said, the focus is on Betty Anne Waters and her brother Kenny.  He also added that the information about Brow used in Conviction was public knowledge, used in court documents.

Allred said she doesn't buy into the argument that producers' lives would be complicated if they reach out to the people in their films. "Nothing is more complicated than the life of a murder victim's family," she said.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio