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Gwyneth Paltrow's stalker is convicted

Plus, the FTC permits the AOL Time Warner merger, Eminem and his wife reconcile, and more

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Gwyneth Paltrow
Paltrow: Nick Elgar/Image Direct

CRIME Dante Soiu, 49, has been convicted of stalking Gwyneth Paltrow and ordered to a lockdown psychiatric ward until he recovers. The ”Bounce” star testified at the trial — after filing court orders under the name ”anonymous.” She told the jury that Soiu’s attentions gave her nightmares and made her feel sexually assaulted. The Ohio native had been sending her letters, pizzas, and pornography, and had been found lurking outside her home. Upon his conviction, Soiu shouted: ”If a man gives a woman unconditional love, she is blessed,” according to ”Entertainment Tonight.” Yet another inspiring real crime tale for the USA Network.

BIZ Speaking of unions, it looks as though AOL Time Warner is a done deal. Federal antitrust authorities approved the Internet behemoth’s $111 billion purchase of Time Warner (EW.com’s parent) Thursday. Of course, the biggest merger in U.S. history didn’t happen without a few concessions. Under a consent decree, the companies agreed to offer a choice of at least three Internet Service Providers when customers use the media giant’s high speed connection service. ”Our concern was, and has always been, about access,” FTC chairman Robert Pitofsky told the Hollywood Reporter. ”We wanted to make sure that these two powerful companies could not injure competitors of AOL and competitors of Time Warner.”

The ISP decree — which expires in five years — was critical to those who opposed the union. ”I believe this was an illegal merger that was remedied by this agreement,” said Richard Parker, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. ”Had the commission not found the settlement adequate, we were prepared to try the case.” The two companies hope to finish the deal by late December. In a joint statement, they said that consumers would benefit from the action. The ”commitment to consumer choice embodied in the FTC agreement will become a model for other cable systems throughout the country,” it said.

UNION ”Kim” aside, it looks like Eminem and estranged wife Kim are getting back together. The couple’s lawyers said yesterday that the two have agreed to halt divorce proceedings that were initiated last summer after Em famously found Kim in a nightclub parking lot with another man. ”She’s a very strong woman and a great mother. There’s been very public ups and downs, but she sees very positive things about Marshall and I have to respect that and take her at her word,” Kim’s lawyer Neil Rockind told Reuters.

”Kim is pleased that she and her husband have been able to set their differences aside, particularly for the sake of their daughter, Hailie Jade,” he added…. Meanwhile, the Slim Shady appears to have quite a bit to say about the alleged assault charges he now faces from that fateful night in Warren, Mich. On a track titled ”Restless” from the new Xzibit album, Em raps about the incident. ”You wonder why I carry every gun under the sun/ Whether it’s unloaded … or a unregistered one,” he says. ”Just got in a feud in some parking lot with a dude over Kim and she just slit both of her wrists over this sh–.” The tune is about Em and Xzibit’s quest for privacy. ”Every day I wake up, another drama/ It’s a wonder I’m alive surviving this karma/ If I can hold onto my private life for five minutes longer I might get my wife to let go with this knife,” he raps. Prosecutors have yet to comment on the song.

SPLIT ”Laverne & Shirley”’s Cindy Williams, 52, has filed for divorce from William L. Hudson, her husband of 18 years. Hudson was once married to Goldie Hawn, and is the father of ”Almost Famous”’s Kate Hudson.

BIRTH It’s a boy for Fatboy Slim. His wife, British TV and radio personality Zoe Ball, gave birth a son early Friday named Woody. C’mon, that’s too easy! Woody Ball?! Slim Woody?!

FREEBIES Rage Against the Machine has struck out against their management’s previously reported decision to block their fans from Napster. The group posted 15 free downloadable tracks on their website yesterday — a move that could rustle some feathers at their MP3 wary label, Sony Music. Several of the tunes have yet to be released. ”We make music first and foremost for our fans, and we want them to have access to it,” guitarist Tom Morello said in a statement. ”We want to apologize to our fans, and it is important to us to make it right.” Sony Music could not be reached for comment.

BOX OFFICE The ugly green ”Grinch” will battle a well known hunk for the box office’s top spot this weekend. The Mel Gibson date flick ”What Women Want” is likely to draw enough couples to knock the Dr. Seuss tale off its four week roost at No. 1. Teens, however, will probably head off to see the slapstick amnesia flick ”Dude, Where’s My Car?”, while Disney’s latest animated offering, ”The Emperor’s New Groove,” feeds on the families that have already seen Jim Carrey‘s blockbuster grimace more than once. The Juliette Binoche/ Johnny Depp film ”Chocolat” opens Friday in limited release, along with ”Pollock” and ”South of Heaven, West of Hell.” All three features are opening before the New Year in the hopes of garnering Academy Award attention.

SUPER BOWL Hey, if Bush is president, why shouldn’t the Backstreet Boys be our melodic national representatives? The National Football League has tapped the Boys to sing ”The Star Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001. Or, maybe CBS just wants to ensure they grab the pre- teen demographic along with the rest of us.

AILING Tim McGraw went under the knife for an emergency appendectomy on Thursday morning. He expects to be fully recovered in time for an appearance at the American Music Awards in January.