For The Record: Quick News On Michael Jackson, 50 Cent And Cassidy, Black Eyed Peas, Mandy Moore, Xzibit & More

Jackson defense opts out of rebuttal, rests; Cassidy plans to poke fun at 50 Cent; Talib Kweli to join Peas on the road.

There was stunned silence in the courtroom on Friday (May 27) when both sides in the Michael Jackson trial announced that they’ve rested, even ahead of the schedule that was announced earlier the same day. The prosecution finished their rebuttal, contingent upon a motion that will be heard Tuesday, by playing a videotape of the accuser’s first interview with the police. The defense opted out of their rebuttal case altogether, resting unconditionally. As for the videotape, Judge Rodney Melville instructed the jury to only observe the “demeanor, manner and attitude” of the accuser, and that the accuser’s statements were “not to be considered for the truth of the matter stated.” Observers witnessed at least two alternate female jurors holding Kleenex after the video was screened. After adjournment, Jackson stood on the side all alone, until his defense team came over to comfort him: Robert Sanger touched him on the arm, Thomas Mesereau shook his hand and embraced him, and Susan Yu hugged him tightly.

Remember when Cassidy said a few weeks ago that he would gladly take on a battle with 50 Cent? Well, stay tuned — according to a source close to the project, in his new video for “B-Boy Stance,” Cassidy is going to be parodying 50. Word is that Cass pokes fun at the “21 Questions” video and will have an oiled-up G-Unit general look-alike in his clip. …

Nearly 36 years after a young man was stabbed to death during a Rolling Stones concert at Altamont Speedway near San Francisco, investigators have finally closed the case, The Associated Press reports. After a two-year renewed investigation, authorities concluded the assailant acted alone. Eighteen-year-old Meredith Hunter was killed by a member of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle gang — hired by the Rolling Stones to work as security — during the December 6, 1969 show that drew a crowd of 300,000 people. The ill-fated concert — and stabbing — were captured on tape and featured in the 1970 documentary “Gimme Shelter.”… Talib Kweli, who joins Cameron Diaz in Tanzania on the Monday episode of her MTV reality show, “Trippin’,” has another trip he’s about to embark on — with the Black Eyed Peas. He’s just announced he’ll be joining the hip-hop group on its upcoming summer tour, which kicks off June 11 at Atlanta’s Music Midtown Festival. …

Xzibit doesn’t just want to pimp your ride anymore — he’s starting a shoe line called (what else?) Pimp Your Kicks. The collection will include his trademark silver “X” insignia and will come in a variety of styles, colors and fabrics. The rapper’s shoes will hit stores in August. … Mandy Moore posted on her Web site that she’s planning on going into the studio “around June 10 or so” in Los Angeles, but will have to juggle her schedule around a film that starts shooting in July. “I’m really excited about that,” she wrote. “I am so ready to go into the studio and get this record going!” …

Tommy Lee’s band Mötley Crüe is suing NBC for a “lifetime ban,” but that doesn’t mean the drummer’s reality show won’t see the light of day on the network. “Tommy Lee Goes to College” will premiere on August 16 with two back-to-back episodes starting at 9 p.m. ET. The six-episode show follows Lee’s studies and extracurricular activities at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, such as finding a roommate, trying out for the marching band and cramming for finals. Lee is also one of the producers of the series. … Emo-rockers Sparta have lost a member. According to the band’s Web site, guitarist Paul Hinojos has decided to leave the fold, but the band plans to continue working on its next record — as it has been since mid-April, when a ruptured disc in Hinojos’ back forced the cancellation of the group’s spring tour. Sparta have no immediate plans to replace Hinojos. …

Henry Rollins is going on yet another USO tour to bolster the morale of the troops, this time to the Pacific. He’s heading to stations in Japan, Korea and Guam between June 13 and June 23, where he will meet with service members, tour a variety of job posts and sign autographs. The beefy singer has visited troops in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Honduras and several other locations in the past. … Southern rap sextet the Nappy Roots will release The Humdinger, the group’s follow-up to 2003’s Wooden Leather, on August 16. The collective previewed some of its newest material, including the album’s first single, “Rewind,” on Thursday night at New York’s members-only club NA. …

Norah Jones is among a handful of celebrities who have autographed a VIP gift bag that will be auctioned off on eBay to support the 20th annual AIDS Walk in New York. Bidding on the package, which has a retail value of $1,800, begins on May 30 and wraps June 9. Other celebs who donated their John Hancock for the event’s cause are Hal Sparks of “Queer as Folk”; Ted Allen, Jai Rodriguez and Kyan Douglas of “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”; and John Spencer of “The West Wing.” …

05.26.2005

Corey Clark isn’t laughing at the spoof “American Idol” aired Wednesday night poking fun at his claims about judge Paula Abdul. His spokesperson issued a statement saying that instead of mocking Clark, the show has “made a mockery of their viewers, their sponsors and the FCC,” by wasting time on “diversion tactics” instead of investigating the accusations, despite promising to take the claims “very seriously.” “FOX is betting that public sentiment in favor of the show will override their duty to act responsibly and with integrity,” Clark’s rep, Jed Wallace, said. “This is a blatant misuse of power to seemingly cover lies, broken promises from the highest-level executives and their abuse of the trust bestowed upon them by the American people. Ratings or no ratings, where is your professionalism, honor and integrity?” …

Already the glamorous offers are rolling in: The Pennsylvania-based burger chain Eat’n Park has offered “American Idol” runner-up Bo Bice $10,000 to re-record the jingle to its summer promotion “It’s All Here.” The company said it’s been in talks with “Idol” producers about the gig, but no word yet on whether Bice will take it. … This fall, two of rock’s most respected acts will be joining forces for a U.S. tour. Nine Inch Nails will hit the road with Queens of the Stone Age for a post-Labor Day nationwide trek, according to an Interscope Records spokesperson. No word yet on dates or which cities the tour will hit. …

Prosecutors in the Michael Jackson trial continued calling witnesses to dispute aspects of the defense’s case on Thursday. Judge Rodney Melville decided to allow the prosecution to play a videotape of the accuser’s initial interview with sheriff’s deputies, and he will also allow the defense to call the boy back to the stand afterward. The accuser’s family’s first attorney, William Dickerman, took the stand to talk about how then-Jackson attorney Mark Geragos wouldn’t hand over the family’s belongings, to which current Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau retorted, “You and your client were trying to set up Mr. Jackson for a lawsuit.” Later, during another contentious exchange, Dickerman said, “Well, if you want to get to the truth instead of playing games, we can have a reasonable trial where the facts come out.” Melville cautioned him to just answer the questions. …

Mariah Carey’s friends and label execs threw her a surprise party Wednesday night at Jay-Z’s New York club 40/40, to celebrate her single “We Belong Together” hitting #1 — her 16th song to do so, making her the most successful female artist of all time as far as singles are concerned. Jay, Jermaine Dupri, Patti LaBelle and DJ Clue were among those who helped eat her “surprise” cake, which had the cover of “We Belong Together” on top. … Jessica Simpson wants you to have the shirt off her back — for charity. She’s auctioning off her YogaForce sweatshirt — signed and everything — starting June 2 and running through June 9. All proceeds benefit the Skin Cancer Foundation. For more information, visit yogaforce.com or auctiondrop.com. …

Wiry Boston Red Sox pitcher Bronson Arroyo, known for his four-seamer and awkward cornrows, is releasing a rock record. Much like rival New York Yankee Bernie Williams, Arroyo will release a guitar-driven album called Covering the Bases — and featuring covers of Pearl Jam’s “Black,” Stone Temple Pilots’ “Plush” and the Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” — on July 12. Arroyo will even get a little help from his Sox friends, as several members of the championship team — including Cro-Mag outfielder Johnny Damon — contribute vocal shouts to some of the songs. The album also features the bass work of Alice in ChainsMike Inez. … Britney Spears, watch out — it’s Bobby Brown’s prerogative to do a reality show about his private life, too. However, Brown’s show has been shot documentary-style, instead of as home video, and features the singer’s life over the course of six months and nine episodes. “Being Bobby Brown” will show the singer’s trip to London to meet the Dalai Lama, a trek to the Bahamas, a romantic excursion with wife Whitney Houston to a spa, and one of his many trips to the courtroom. Brown is a co-executive producer (along with his brother and manager, Tommy) of the series, which will premiere June 30 at 10 p.m. on Bravo. …

The Recording Industry Association of America launched a second wave of copyright-infringement lawsuits against users of the high-speed university computer network Internet2 on Thursday (May 26). The latest sting added 20 more schools to the list of universities where the RIAA says students are using the specialized network to illegally download and trade songs. The bust involved action against 91 students at a total of 33 schools, including Boston University, Brandeis, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Indiana University and Princeton. On the same day, the RIAA filed its latest round of lawsuits against individuals — 649 — allegedly illegally distributing music on such P2P services as Kazaa, LimeWire and Grokster. … Beck will be playing a handful of California dates in July with Le Tigre, according to an Interscope Records spokesperson. The dates are July 11 in Santa Cruz, July 19 in Santa Barbara, and July 22-23 in Los Angeles. “We just want to do a bunch more touring of the States, just keep playing shows through September,” Le Tigre’s Kathleen Hanna said. “Because that will be a full year that we’ll have been out [on the road]. That was our goal and it looks like we’re going to make it.” …

Pete Yorn has collaborated with several musicians for his as-yet-untitled third studio album, including Dave Grohl (on drums), the Dixie Chicks and pianist Leon Russell. Yorn, with producers Michael Beinhorn (Korn) and Don Fleming (Sonic Youth), recorded much of the album live with various musicians in a ballroom. The sessions were filmed for an upcoming documentary. … Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy has been tapped to curate a concert that will kick off Wired magazine’s NextFest 2005. The second-annual technology festival will present the most promising advances in entertainment, medicine and security at Chicago’s Navy Pier (June 24-26), while the Tweedy show will take place at the city’s Vic Theatre on June 22. The lineup for the show has not yet been announced. “I love thinking about what the future holds, so I was thrilled to be invited to be part of Wired NextFest and to share my vision of the future,” Tweedy said. “Which is not very futuristic, really, and admittedly a little bleak.” …