Lawyers say press reports could contaminate Puffy's potential jurors
Plus, 2gether's Michael Cuccione dies at 16, Jodie Foster will lead Cannes judges, and more
THE TRIAL Sean ”Puffy” Combs and his bodyguard Anthony ”Wolf” Jones got bad news Wednesday, when the judge overseeing their trial on gun and bribery charges declined their attorneys’ request to postpone jury selection. Puffy’s legal team feared that unflattering and ”highly prejudiced” press reports about the defendants’ alleged past crimes could contaminate potential jury members. They may have had reason to worry: A report in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times indicates that Jones is a possible suspect in a fatal shooting that took place five years ago in Atlanta.
DEATH Sixteen year old Michael Cuccione, the youngest member of the MTV spoof band 2gether, has died of cancer related respiratory problems. Cuccione, who played Jason ”Q.T.” McKnight on the television show, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease at age 9.
After chemotherapy, the cancer had not returned for five years. But respiratory problems stemming from the treatment forced Cuccione to tape episodes of ”2Gether” with a portable oxygen machine. (His fictional character had ”biliary thrombosis.”) Still, Cuccione’s uncle said his death was a surprise. ”His lungs just gave out,” he told MTV News. ”We weren’t really expecting it.” Cuccione had turned 16 just eight days before he died.
LEGALESE Oh, the audacity! Cindy Crawford‘s Manhattan coop neighbors are none too pleased with their proximity to the supermodel these days. Marina French has filed a lawsuit against Crawford alleging that she regularly hears the ”intimate sounds of daily life” emanating from the professional beauty’s apartment.
”Guests visiting the [French home] have commented on the disturbances and have marveled at the clarity with which activities in the Crawford apartment can be overheard,” French says in court papers. The lawsuit goes on to say that the noise has ”depressed” the value of French’s apartment. Now it’s only worth a paltry few million on the current market.
AWARDS This year we get to blame the always controversial winner of the Palm d’Or on one of our own. Jodie Foster will head the jury at the 54th Cannes International Film Festival, Variety reports. ”Jodie promised me years ago that she would do it,” festival president Gilles Jacob said. ”She has won the highest awards; it was high time she came to Cannes to award some herself.” Steven Spielberg is set to announce the Directors’ Guild of America‘s five nominees for the year’s No. 1 feature filmmaker. The winner has gone on to win the Academy Award for best director in all but four years since the awards began in 1949. And whoever helmed ”Dude, Where’s My Car?” is a shoe in.
REEL DEALS There’s going to be even less ”M” in MTV pretty soon. The network is set to announce its largest ever slate of 10 new original movies–including comedies, sci fi, horror, and drama. Execs say the success of experiments with such full length features as the recent ”Anatomy of a Hate Crime” prompted the move.
”We were very tentative and measured in our first year for movies,” MTV prez Brian Graden told the Hollywood Reporter. ”We just didn’t think it was right for our brand because MTV seems to do better at minievents.” Graden says that while the network is not a ”discount player” in the movie biz, it’s unlikely that they will try to hire any high profile (read: expensive) actors for the flicks. ”I tend to think for the MTV audience it is much more about concept and how it’s relatable (sic) to their own lives,” he said. Unfortunately, they decided long ago that vocabulary lessons weren’t ”relatable” to anyone’s life.