The defense rests in Snipes tax fraud trial

The defense rests
in Snipes tax fraud trial

OCALA, Fla. — The defense in the tax fraud trial of Wesley Snipes unexpectedly rested Monday. Snipes and two co-defendants are charged in an eight-count indictment that could put the actor in prison for up to 16 years. He allegedly stopped filing federal tax returns, then started demanding back some $11 million in taxes previously paid. Snipes’ attorneys say he was the victim of unscrupulous tax advisers. Closing arguments were scheduled for Tuesday.

Olsen won’t be questioned
in Heath Ledger’s death

NEW YORK — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says Mary-Kate Olsen will not be questioned by detectives about Heath Ledger’s death. “There’s absolutely no indication investigators were going to speak to Mary-Kate Olsen,” Kelly said at a news conference. “They determined that they had all the info needed from witnesses who were on scene: That’s the cleaning woman, the masseuse.” Police are waiting for toxicology reports on the 28-year-old Australian actor before they decide whether to charge masseuse Diana Wolozin for practicing without a license, Kelly also said Sunday. Police have said Wolozin made three calls to Olsen before dialing 911 for help, then phoned the 21-year-old actress a fourth time after paramedics arrived.

Hollywood directors
board urges ratification

LOS ANGELES — The board of directors of the Directors Guild of America has voted unanimously to recommend ratification of a deal with Hollywood studios. The three-year collective bargaining agreement reached Jan. 17 establishes key provisions involving compensation for programs offered on the Internet. “We achieved our three primary goals: jurisdiction in new media, which was absolutely essential; compensation for the use and reuse of our work in new media; and significant gains on issues of real importance for our work in traditional media,” DGA President Michael Apted said in a statement Sunday. The deal between directors and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents studios, has been lauded by top executives from eight major companies, including News Corp.’s Fox divisions, Paramount Pictures Corp., The Walt Disney Co., CBS Corp., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Warner Bros., MGM and NBC Universal. The ballot will now go to the DGA’s 13,500 members for ratification. The issue of compensation for internet distribution has also been a key sticking point between striking writers and the studios, which broke off talks on Dec. 7.

Today’s birthdays

Actor John Forsythe is 90. Actor Tom Selleck is 63. Rhythm-and-blues singer Bettye LaVette is 62. Actress Ann Jillian is 58. Rock musician Tommy Ramone (Ramones) is 56. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey is 54. Country singer Irlene Mandrell is 52. Olympic gold-medal diver Greg Louganis is 48. Rock musician Eddie Jackson (Queensryche) is 47. Actress Heather Graham is 38. Actor Jason James Richter is 28. Blues musician Jonny Lang is 27.