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Entries in Trial (52)

Wednesday
Jun062012

Judge Rules "Happy Days" Merchandise Lawsuit Can Proceed

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Several members of the cast of the TV series Happy Days had a happy day in court Tuesday when a judge ruled their lawsuit seeking merchandising revenue from the sitcom can go to trial, Variety reports.

Happy Days regulars Marion Ross, Anson Williams, Erin Moran, Donny Most and Tom Bosley’s widow Patricia filed a lawsuit against the show’s owner, CBS, last year.  The actors claim they are owed royalties from the use of their images in merchandise that includes shirts, scrapbooks, cards, games, lunch boxes, dolls, DVDs, magnets and even slot machines.  The stars’ images appear on many of the items.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White on Tuesday refused to grant CBS a summary judgment motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

A trial is scheduled to begin July 17.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
May112012

William Balfour Found Guilty in Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial

(CHICAGO) -- A jury has found William Balfour guilty of murdering actress Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008.

Balfour, 30, was accused of killing the three in a jealous rage, believing that his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, Jennifer Hudson's sister, was dating another man.

The jury found Balfour guilty of all counts against him after some 18 hours of deliberations over three days.

Balfour, charged with three counts of first-degree murder and additional charges including kidnapping and burglary, pleaded not guilty. Convicted on all counts, he now faces life in prison.

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Jennifer Hudson, her fiance and her sister, Julia Hudson, entered the courtroom shortly before the verdict was to be read. The verdict came shortly after the jury told the judge that it was split, prompting the judge to tell jury members to resume deliberations in hopes of reaching an agreement.

The trial began on April 23 in Chicago. Prosecutors called more than 80 witnesses over two weeks, and the defense rested its case after 30 minutes, calling only two witnesses to the stand. Balfour did not testify.

Prosecutors alleged that Balfour fatally shot Hudson's mother Darnell Donerson, 57, in her living room, and then shot Hudson's brother Jason Hudson, 29, as he lay in bed. He then kidnapped Hudson's nephew Julian King, who was 7. Investigators believe the boy was shot in the head as he lay behind the front seat of an SUV.

Prosecuting State Attorney Veryl Gambino said Balfour was in a state of rage over Julia Hudson's dating another man, and said Balfour had issued several threats against her and her family. Balfour allegedly was enraged Oct. 24, 2008, after he saw balloons another man sent to Julia Hudson and punched them.

The killings happened in the family home in Chicago's tough Englewood neighborhood, where Jennifer Hudson grew up.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

Jury Deliberations Underway in Hudson Family Murder Trial

Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic(CHICAGO) -- The jury in the Chicago trial of the man charged with murdering three of Jennifer Hudson's family members began deliberations Wednesday.

The case was handed to them about 4:47 p.m. local time, and they deliberated until about 9:30 p.m.  Their deliberations will resume at 9:30 a.m. local time Thursday.

Earlier Wednesday, the prosecution said during its closing arguments that Hudson's former brother-in-law, William Balfour, was "fueled by his obsession, his jealousy, his determination to catch his wife, Julia Hudson, with another man" when he allegedly murdered the Oscar-winner's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008.

The defense argued that the prosecution failed to prove that Balfour was responsible for the murders.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Jennifer Hudson Gives Tearful Testimony at Murder Trial

John Shearer/WireImage(CHICAGO) -- Jennifer Hudson took the stand for nearly an hour Monday afternoon as the first witness in the Chicago trial of the man charged with killing her mother, brother and nephew.

"None of us wanted her to marry William," she said of her sister's marriage to defendant William Balfour, her voice cracking with emotion. "We did not like how he treated her."

Crying on the stand at one point, Hudson, who has vowed to attend every day of the trial, paused for a few seconds to compose herself. The award-winning actress and singer choked up when asked about her relationship with her mother, saying, "I slept with my mom until I was 16 years old." Hudson also testified she would sign blank checks and leave them for her mother, so that she could pay the household bills. 

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Hudson, 30, described the last time she saw her mother, a few days before the killings in the family home. She said she remembered it vividly because it was one of the few times that the entire family came over to share a meal. "Thank God I got that," she testified.

Hudson's voice cracked with emotion almost every time she spoke about her mother. At one point a deputy brought her a box of tissues and a cup of water.

Hudson testified that she knew something was wrong on the day of the killings in 2008 because her mother didn't text her that morning as she usually did by 9 a.m.

Despite her powerhouse of a singing voice, Hudson had to be instructed more than once to speak louder on the witness stand, even with a microphone in front of her.

Hudson said she learned of the killings from her sister, Julia, and flew back to Chicago to identify the bodies of her mother and brother at the medical examiner's office. She did the same thing a few days later for her 7 year-old nephew, for whom she said she had often babysat.

On cross examination, the defense asked Hudson about brother Jason Hudson's being shot in the past. The defense's opening statement painted a portrait of Jason, 29, as a drug dealer who "brought danger" to himself and his family.

After testifying for about 50 minutes, Hudson, who used a private entrance to gain access to court, sat in the gallery with fiance David Otunga and a bodyguard, in addition to two deputies who guarded the bench on which she sat.

Showing little emotion, Julia Hudson testified later that she knew Balfour was a drug dealer. "I eventually fell for him, after him being so persistent," she said of their relationship. They were married Dec. 30, 2006. She didn't invite or tell her mother, brother Jason or sister Jennifer about the wedding.

She testified that their relationship took a tumble after she returned from a trip to Japan with Jennifer promoting Dreamgirls in February 2007. She said she realized in the year after Japan that Balfour was having relationships with three other women. "It was not a secret, they would call, I would answer," she said.

She said her mother and Balfour "didn't get along."

"He was jealous," she said. "Wouldn't like anybody to do anything. Everything was a problem."

The jealousy apparently extended to her son from a previous relationship. "Julian couldn't kiss me. 'Don't kiss my wife,'" she said Balfour would tell her then-six-year-old son, Julian.

Balfour's trial opened Monday morning with State's Attorney Veryl Gambino recounting the defendant's alleged threat to his estranged wife, Julia Hudson, in the weeks preceding the killings: "If you leave me, I'll kill you. I'll kill your family first and then I'll kill you."

Gambino went on to describe Balfour as being enraged that Julia was dating another man and said he had issued several threats against her and her family, despite his being involved with two other women. Balfour allegedly went into a rage Oct. 24, 2008, after seeing balloons sent to Julia Hudson by another man and punched them.

After fatally shooting the actress' mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, in her living room, prosecutors allege, he shot Hudson's brother, Jason, as he lay in bed, before kidnapping her nephew, Julian. Investigators believe the boy was shot in the head as he lay behind the front seat.

Balfour has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder. His trial is expected to last a month.  

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr232012

Opening Statements to Begin in Jennifer Hudson Family Murder Trial

Debra L Rothenberg/FilmMagic(CHICAGO) -- Opening statements will be made Monday in the trial of the man charged with murdering Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew.

Prosecutors say William Balfour brutally murdered 57-year-old Darnell Donerson, Hudson’s mother; 29-year-old Jason Hudson, her brother; and 7-year-old Julian King, her nephew, in October 2008 in Chicago.  He is the estranged husband of the actress’ sister Julia Hudson.

Balfour, 30, has been charged with three counts of first degree murder and one count of home invasion.  He has pleaded not guilty.

Jennifer Hudson, 30, is expected to attend the trial every day, and she may even take the stand at some point.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Apr192012

New Trial in Nicollette Sheridan's Lawsuit Scheduled for September

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- A new trial in former Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination lawsuit against ABC has been scheduled for Sept. 10, according to Deadline.com.

Last month, a Los Angeles judge declared a mistrial in the case after the jury reported it was deadlocked 8-4 in favor of Sheridan.  She has claimed she was fired from Desperate Housewives because she complained about a September 2008 incident in which, she alleged, series creator Marc Cherry struck her on the head during rehearsals.

A battery claim against Cherry was dismissed during the initial trial.

A motion by the defense to dismiss the case was rejected by a judge on Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar202012

Mistrial Declared in Nicollette Sheridan-"Desperate Housewives" Case

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- A Los Angeles judge on Monday declared a mistrial in Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination case against ABC after the jury remained deadlocked.

The jury reported it was deadlocked 8-4 in favor of Sheridan, according to Deadline.com.  It told the court that additional closing arguments from both sides would not help it reach a verdict.  The jury began its deliberations last Wednesday and had been deadlocked since late last week.

Sheridan alleged that she was fired from ABC's Desperate Housewives because she complained about a September 2008 incident in which, she alleged, series creator Marc Cherry struck her on the head during rehearsals.

Cherry contended that he tapped her on the side of the head while demonstrating to her what he wanted her to do to another character.  He also testified that he decided to kill off Sheridan's character, Edie Britt, months before the altercation.

Cherry was removed as a defendant in the case after the battery claim against him was dismissed during the trial.

An April 13 meeting has been scheduled in order to determine a retrial date.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

Deliberations Begin in "Desperate Housewives" Trial

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- The jury in the Nicollette Sheridan-Desperate Housewives trial began its deliberations in a Los Angeles court Wednesday afternoon, according to Deadline.com.

Sheridan is suing ABC, claiming she was wrongfully terminated from the show because she complained about an incident in which, she alleged, series creator Marc Cherry struck her on the head.  A battery claim against Cherry was dismissed earlier this week.

In his closing statement Wednesday, Sheridan's lawyer, Mark Baute, called Cherry a "liar" for stating during his testimony that he decided to kill off Sheridan's character months before his altercation with her in September 2008.  He also said that producer Touchstone "is not particularly concerned if a woman gets hit by a man who runs a billion-dollar show."

A defense attorney contended that Cherry was telling the truth, and that it is "desperate" to suggest that witnesses would fabricate the timeline of events that led up to Sheridan's firing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar142012

Nicollette Sheridan's Battery Claim Dismissed

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry is in the clear after a Los Angeles judge on Tuesday dismissed actress Nicollette Sheridan's battery claim against him in a lawsuit.

The judge determined that Sheridan did not meet the standard of proof for battery.

Sheridan's allegation that Cherry struck her on the head during a rehearsal for the ABC series in September 2008 has been the focal point of an ongoing trial in L.A.

Following Tuesday's decision, Cherry told reporters outside of court, "Obviously I'm thrilled by the judge's decision but I'm going to withhold commentary on this matter until the entire case is resolved. ...I'm a very happy man."

Though Cherry is no longer a defendant in Sheridan's lawsuit, she is still pursuing an allegation against ABC that she was wrongfully terminated because she complained about the incident.  Cherry has maintained that he decided to kill off Sheridan's character months before his altercation with her.

Earlier in the day, a construction coordinator for the show, Michael Reinhart, took the stand, just days after he left a voicemail for Sheridan's lawyer that purportedly suggested a cover-up.  In the voicemail, Reinhart said he accidentally was copied on an email asking ABC's IT department to delete references to Sheridan's firing from the network's hard drives.

Deadline.com reports that Reinhart on Tuesday testified he only recalls the words "Nicollette Sheridan," "IT" and "delete" in the email.   He said he immediately deleted the email because he didn't feel it was his "business."

Reinhart said he contacted Sheridan's lawyer about the email over the weekend because it had been weighing on his mind for a long time, and he wanted "equal footing for both parties."  The defense will perform a forensic examination of his computer.

Reinhart also testified that Sheridan's lawyer offered to help him find work following his concerns that he might have hurt his career by coming forward.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar132012

Did ABC Try to Cover Up Nicollette Sheridan’s Firing?

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Nicollette Sheridan's lawyers released surprise evidence in the star's Desperate Housewives trial Monday that could be very beneficial to their wrongful termination lawsuit.

Lawyers for the actress played a voicemail left by a "lower level" Desperate Housewives employee who said he was accidentally added to an email chain sent to ABC's IT department, asking them to erase any reference to Sheridan's firing from the company's hard drives.

The email was sent to senior producers shortly after Sheridan filed her suit on April 5, 2010, Deadline.com reports.

The employee said the email chain was “definitely a conspiracy to cover up correspondence."  The witness reportedly was ordered to appear in court Tuesday.

Sheridan is suing Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry and ABC for wrongful termination, claiming she was fired because she complained about a 2008 incident during which, she claims, Cherry struck her in the head.  She seeks more than $6 million.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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