Security video may support Winona's case. Plus, news about Puddle of Mudd, Connie Francis, David Letterman, Ted Koppel, Sally Jessy Raphael, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Isaac Asimov, and others

By Gary Susman
March 14, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST
Winona Ryder: Gregg DeGuire/London Features

LEGAL BRIEFS Here’s another reason to wear a ”Free Winona” T-shirt: the surveillance videotapes from the Beverly Hills department store where she was arrested for shoplifting may support her side of the story. For a story prepared for Tuesday’s edition of the TV show ”Extra,” producers say they have obtained more than an hour of the security footage of December visit to Saks Fifth Avenue and went through it frame by frame, and that it appears to show her trying on hats, putting on lipstick, and being assisted by store clerks — but not swiping merchandise or snipping off anti-theft tags, as she is alleged to have done. She has pleaded not guilty to charges of shoplifting about $4,800 worth of merchandise and possession of drugs without a prescription. A scheduling hearing is set for later this week….

Their name is mudd. Puddle of Mudd singer Wes Scantlin, 29, and his fiancée, Michelle Rubin, 31, were arrested on Sunday in Fillmore, California on domestic violence charges. They were on their way to a video shoot for the single ”Drift and Die” when they allegedly scuffled on the road shoulder. Scantlin allegedly forced Rubin into a Jeep Cherokee, where the struggle continued. Both were jailed on suspicion of inflicting injury and were released on $20,000 bond each. They are due in court on March 15….

Sixties pop siren Connie Francis is going to make Universal Music sorry now. The ”Where the Boys Are” singer is suing the label for licensing some of her songs to two movies fraught with sex and violence, an action she considers insensitive and traumatic because of her well-known experience surviving a rape at knifepoint in 1974, an assault followed by years of depression and mental illness. She accuses Universal of breach of contract for licensing the songs against her wishes to the 1999 teen black comedy ”Jawbreaker” (starring Rose McGowan), in which an oral sex scene is scored to Francis’ ”Lollipop Lips,” and to the 1994 movie ”Postcards From America,” a film about a gay male hustler starring Michael Imperioli. Based on the memoirs of artist and AIDS activist David Wojnarowicz, the movie uses ”Among My Souvenirs,” ”Silent Night,” ”Follow the Boys,” and ”Don’t Break the Heart that Loves You,” and contains a homosexual rape scene. The lawsuit contends that the use of these songs in movies she considers ”vile” and ”pornographic” has tarnished her wholesome image. It also accuses Universal of underpaying her on royalties. Francis, 62, seeks $45 million in damages and the return of her master tapes. Universal has not commented on the suit.