The Fix

Did Jackson's accuser target Leno? Plus: J.Lo's fur-trimmed SS trooper look.

By Salon Staff
Published March 1, 2005 12:27PM (EST)

Turn On:
After 12 years on the beat, ABC's "N.Y.P.D. Blue" signs off once and for all Tuesday night at 10 p.m. EST. And PBS airs a documentary on the women's movement, "Sisters of '77" (check local listings).

Morning Briefing:
He said; he said: In the opening statements made by each side in the Michael Jackson child molestation trial yesterday (the defense continues its opening statement today), the defendant was painted in two completely different ways -- as was his accuser. Most of what was said we've all heard before -- the porn mags with fingerprints on them, the alcoholic beverages in Coke cans, etc. -- but the defense did make one surprising allegation: that the alleged victim's mother had worked her way through a series of celebrities -- Jay Leno among them, prompting him to call the police -- in search of someone who would financially help her family. The prosecution's biggest surprise: the allegation that Jackson's people made death threats against the alleged victim's family in order to scare him into silence. Transcripts are summarized in depth here. (Associated Press, The Smoking Gun)

Fur's flying: J.Lo's fashion sense is under fire from two directions. As she releases her new album, "Rebirth," activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are staging a protest outside a Lopez record signing at Virgin Records in Times Square. PETA feels she wears entirely too much fur, and objects to her including so much of it in her new clothing line, "Sweetface" -- so they're planning to show her fans footage of animals being skinned alive in China for their fur. What's more, the performer has raised hackles by appearing on German TV wearing a jacket decorated with an Iron cross, a lightning bolt and two skulls, redolent of the "death's head" patches worn by World War II SS troopers. (MSNBC's Scoop, Newsday via Drudge)

Also: Although preliminary figures released yesterday indicated that the Oscars had their best ratings in five years, subsequent figures reveal that two million fewer viewers actually tuned in than last year. The later figures take into account a profound drop in viewership in rural areas. (Associated Press) ... An NBC special called "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of 'Diff'rent Strokes,'" which will feature commentary by Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges, begins shooting this month. (N.Y. Post via Fox News) ... There's speculation afoot that Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz might rekindle their romance after they ran into each other at Vanity Fair's Oscar party at Morton's the other night. Cruise made a low-key/high-impact arrival by cruising up to the restaurant's back door on a motorcycle. (N.Y. Daily News) ... PR princess Lizzie Grubman is being sued by her good friend and former employee Brenda Loughery, who claims that Grubman has stiffed her out of $6 million. (N.Y. Daily News) ... Halle Berry has won a three-year restraining order against a security guard who has been sending her threatening emails and letters and has also been phoning her. (Page Six) ... Martha Stewart has lost 20 pounds in jail. (Page Six) ... "Lord of the Rings" trilogy director Peter Jackson is suing New Line Cinema over profits from the films. (Associated Press)

Money Quotes:
Dan Rather, via a spokeswoman, on his friends-turned-detractors: "I'm not going to respond to that." (N.Y. Daily News)

Joan Rivers while working the red carpet outside Elton John's post-Oscars AIDS benefit: "I've reached the depths of my career tonight. Paris Hilton snubbed me. Now the only way to go is up." (TV Guide Channel via Page Six)

-- Amy Reiter

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