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  Entertainment - Legal News


New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady could again be facing a four-game suspension for the scandal known as Deflategate after federal appeals court judges spent time Thursday shredding some of his union's favorite arguments for dismissal.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan gave a players' union lawyer a tough time, with Circuit Judge Denny Chin even saying evidence of ball tampering was "compelling, if not overwhelming," and there was evidence to support a finding that Brady "knew about it, consented to it, encouraged it."  

"How do we as appellate judges reviewing an arbitrator's decision second-guess the four-game suspension?" Chin asked attorney Jeffrey Kessler of the NFL Players Association.

The appeals court did not immediately rule, but it seemed to lean heavily at times against the union's arguments, raising the prospect that the suspension Brady was supposed to start last September before a judge nullified it may begin next season instead.

The appeals panel seemed receptive to the NFL's argument that it was fair for Commissioner Roger Goodell to severely penalize one of the game's greatest quarterbacks after concluding he tarnished the game by impeding the league's investigation into deflated footballs, including destroying a cellphone containing nearly 10,000 messages. The league had concluded that deflated balls were used when the Patriots routed the Indianapolis Colts at the January 2015 AFC championship game before they went on to win the Super Bowl.


A lawyer for convicted Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton said Tuesday that a U.S. federal appellate court agreed to a new hearing on his latest appeal.

The Grammy-winning singer is serving a 10-year sentence for convictions on cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges stemming from a 2009 arrest that followed a sting operation. He was convicted in 2011 after his first trial in 2010 ended with jurors deadlocked.

In an email, attorney Charles Ogletree said the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta had agreed to hear oral arguments on the case.

"Mr. Buju Banton was pleased to learn that the 11th Circuit granted a new hearing of his appeal. We too are looking forward to the appellate argument," said Ogletree, a Harvard University law professor who took over Banton's case in February.

In 2012, a panel of the appellate court upheld Banton's convictions. His former defense lawyer had argued that a government informant improperly entrapped the singer.



Broadcasters anticipating a major constitutional ruling on the government's authority to regulate what can be shown and said on the airwaves instead won only the smallest of Supreme Court victories Thursday.

The justices unanimously threw out fines and other penalties against Fox and ABC television stations that violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on television airwaves.

Forgoing a broader constitutional ruling, however, the court concluded only that broadcasters could not have known in advance that obscenities uttered during awards show programs on Fox stations and a brief display of nudity on an episode of ABC's "NYPD Blue" could give rise to penalties. ABC and 45 affiliates had been hit with proposed fines totaling nearly $1.24 million.


A jury should decide whether Nicollette Sheridan's character was unfairly written out of the hit show "Desperate Housewives," a judge ruled Tuesday.

With the actress looking on, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White tossed a couple of Sheridan's claims but said there was enough of a dispute about what led to her ouster for the case to go to trial next month.

Sheridan sued ABC and "Housewives" creator and executive producer Marc Cherry in April 2010, claiming he struck her during a fight in September 2008 and subjected her to sexual and other harassment.

Adam Levin, an attorney for the network and Cherry, argued Tuesday that the decision to kill off Sheridan's character, Edie Britt, was made months before her argument with the show executive. He said the decision was made by Cherry and a small group in May 2008 and kept from others on the show to avoid ruining the surprise.

Sheridan's attorney, Mark Baute, disagreed and said the network's justification that it was a cost-cutting move didn't make sense since Sheridan's character was killed off in a car accident in the middle of the season and she was still owed hundreds of thousands of dollars on her contract.


Michael Jackson's father was "grievously wronged" by a probate court that decided last year not to let him try to replace the administrators of his son's estate, an attorney argued Wednesday.

The arguments by attorney Brian Oxman, who represents Joe Jackson, were heard by a three-judge panel of the California Second District Court of Appeal after a probate judge ruled last November that Joe Jackson did not have standing to intervene in the matter.

The appeals panel did not issue a ruling but did question the legal steps Joe Jackson had taken after being left out of his son's will and whether the moves warranted revisiting the challenge to the administrators.

Associate Justice Laurie D. Zelon asked why Joe Jackson had withdrawn a petition to receive a monthly stipend from the estate before the probate court had a chance to rule on the request.

Oxman said the petition had seemed duplicative after Joe Jackson filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June against a doctor who has pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of the pop star.



The author of a children's cookbook cannot copyright ideas for slipping vegetables into children's food, a federal appeals court said in upholding a ruling in favor of the wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld in a copyright infringement case.

Jessica Seinfeld wrote a cookbook, "Deceptively Delicious," offering tips that were similar to those of author Missy Chase Lapine, author of "The Sneaky Chef." Lapine sued, claiming that Seinfeld had stolen the ideas.

In a ruling announced Wednesday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's judgment there was no copyright infringement.

"Stockpiling vegetable purees for covert use in children's food is an idea that cannot be copyrighted," the court said in its decision.



A California appeals court has denied Roman Polanski's bid to have a special counsel review his decades-old sex case.

Records show the Second District Court of Appeal denied Polanski's petition on Thursday without comment.

The court's decision not to revisit Polanski's case came hours after it denied a request by the Oscar-winning director's victim to have the case dismissed.

Swiss authorities have said they were awaiting the decision by the court on Polanski's appeal before deciding whether to extradite the "Rosemary's Baby" director. He is under house arrest in that country.

Polanski was accused in 1977 of having sex with Samantha Geimer, then 13. He was indicted on six felony counts, but later pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.


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