NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — According to Newsday.com, a 21 year old public relations executive named Mark Perro was arrested on August 31 when he tried to buy concert tickets on his way home. The police mistook him for one of the anti-Bush demonstrators during the Republican National Convention.
"I went to the officer and I said, 'I'm not part of this; I'm just on my way home,'" said Perro. "I was told I couldn't leave. I was told if I followed instructions, I'd be able to go."
Instead he was put into a 50 foot by 30 foot holding pen made up of barbed wire and fencing. The enclosure had no running water and one portable toilet for the 500 people incarcerated within.
"It was a very trying experience, very difficult to go through," Perro remarked. "It was just filthy. The conditions were terrible. I was sincerely very wronged and thought somebody should be held accountable for that."
Perro has filed eight claims against the city including intentional violation of his constitutional rights, assault and battery, abuse of process and unlawful imprisonment. He is seeking a total of $800,000 in damages. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers
Bounty Hunters Capture Fugitive Ticket Broker
NEWARK, NJ (AP) — A ticket broker who fled the country when faced with a five-year prison term for cheating customers of hundreds of thousands of dollars is in custody, authorities said Tuesday.
Bounty hunters captured John Forrest in Mexico and the one-time Colts Neck resident was detained by federal agents when they crossed the border into Texas.
Forrest has been on New Jersey's list of 12 most wanted fugitives since January, when he failed to appear for sentencing.
State officials were confirming his identity and preparing extradition papers, said John Hagerty, spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice. He said Forrest was being held at the Hidalgo County Jail.
Forrest, 42, was snared Friday in Cancun, Mexico.
While a fugitive, he traveled to Florida, Brazil and Mexico, and was living in a gated community called Isla Durada in Cancun that had armed guards, Louis Faccone, the Woodbridge-based bounty hunter hired to track him down, told The Star-Ledger of Newark for Tuesday's editions.
Faccone was retained by an insurance company that was liable for Forrest's $1.25 million bail, Faccone told the newspaper.
Forrest had pleaded guilty to five counts of fraud and failing to report and pay state sales taxes on ticket sales from his Old Bridge business, Tri-State Ticket Exchange.
Authorities alleged he billed — and sometimes double-billed — customers for tickets to major sporting and concert events, but failed to provide the tickets.
The plea bargain included a settlement covering at least 47 customers that called for $770,000 in restitution.
FBI To Probe Corruption Claims In Station Fire
PROVIDENCE (AP) — The FBI will review allegations made by the father of a nightclub fire victim that corruption and politics are the reason town fire inspectors were never indicted in the case.
David Kane, the father of 18-year-old Nicholas O’Neill, who died in the February 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, and a candidate for state attorney general, acknowledges, however, that he doesn’t have any evidence to back up his claims of political motivations and corruption.
The Feb. 20, 2003, fire killed 100 people and injured nearly 200 people attending a concert by heavy metal rock band Great White. A state grand jury has indicted club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and Daniel Biechele, the tour manager for the band whose pyrotechnics sparked the fire. Each faces 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter — two counts for each
Kane contends West Warwick fire inspectors — who failed to note the existence of highly flammable foam on the walls of the nightclub or other violations in inspections before the fire — should also have been indicted.
Foam was placed on the walls at the club to muffle the sounds from bands that played at the club.
"I want to know who was it that interfered with them doing their job," he said.
Kane also said he wants to know whether the inspectors were called before the state grand jury, and what they said if they testified. Kane said he’ll run as an independent for state attorney general in 2006, based on his frustration that more people were not indicted.
State Attorney General Patrick Lynch, a Democrat, had just taken office when the fire took place. He did not immediately return a message left with his spokesman on Thursday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard Sullivan, chief of the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island, told Kane in a letter dated Sept. 1 that FBI Special Agent Dennis Aiken will review Kane’s allegations. Sullivan stressed that no formal investigation has been launched.
U.S. attorney spokesman Tom Connell said the office receives thousands of requests, and decides which should be reviewed. He said Kane’s request was forwarded for review "out of respect for the families who lost loved ones" and the fire’s impact on Rhode Island.
Aiken was the chief investigator of the FBI’s probe into corruption at Providence City Hall that led to the conviction of former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci.
Clear Channel Entertainment, PNC Bank Arts Center Sued In Mosh Pit Lawsuit
(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — A concertgoer who attended the Blink 182 concerts at the PNC Band Arts Center in Homdel, NJ on May 24, 2002, is suing the venue and the promoter, Clear Channel Entertainment, and the venue's security company, for injuries suffered in the mosh pit. Noah Brooks, the litigant, claims he was not a mosher but was looking for friends in the pit, where he was struck in the nose and knocked to the ground, according to the Asbury Park Press.
He reportedly suffered fractures around his nose and eyes, with his nose requiring surgery, according to his attorney, James F. Fine. The lawsuit filed September 1 in New Jersey Superior Court, Momouth County, alleges the venue failed to provide adequate security and crowd control and a safe environment for concert patrons.
Clear Channel Entertainment does not comment on lawsuits. — Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen
Mother Of Jackson Accuser Testifies
SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — The mother of the alleged victim in the Michael Jackson molestation case said Friday she did not remember a private investigator telling her that he was working for one of the pop star's attorneys.
The 36-year-old woman, who came face to face with the pop star Friday for the first time since the case began, also claimed she did not know why she was called to testify and that she believed the purpose of the hearing was "just to bring me more torture."
Jackson's attorneys are trying to show that the accuser's mother and prosecutors should have known private investigator Bradley Miller was working for Jackson's then-attorney Mark Geragos when authorities seized items from Miller's office.
The defense wants to exclude those items from evidence on grounds of attorney-client privilege, as well as some items taken from Jackson's Neverland Ranch.
The accuser's mother glanced briefly at Jackson, whom she had called "the devil" at a grand jury hearing earlier this year. Jackson, 46, stared at her throughout her testimony Friday.
Jackson has pleaded not guilty to child molestation, conspiracy and administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol.
The Associated Press, which does not normally name alleged victims of sex crimes, has not identified the woman in order to protect the identity of her son.
During questioning of the mother, Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. referred repeatedly to a transcript of an interview between Miller and the mother Feb. 16, 2003, just days after her young son appeared holding hands with Jackson on a television special.
Mesereau noted the transcript said Miller told her at the beginning and end of the interview that he was a private investigator working for "specifically an attorney named Mark Geragos who works for Michael Jackson."
She would not answer directly when Mesereau repeatedly asked if the document was false.
"I'm not denying it was said. I'm saying I don't remember," she testified.
The woman said she believed Miller was Jackson's private investigator because someone named "Frank" had told her so before she met Miller. She did not further identify Frank, but later volunteered that "Frank, Vinnie" and others were involved in an alleged conspiracy to imprison her family in March of 2003.
Earlier this year, an attorney representing former Jackson employees Vincent Amen and Frank Tyson said he believed his clients would be charged with intimidation of witnesses in the case.
The attorney, Joseph Tacopina, said his clients denied the allegations.
Mesereau occasionally seemed exasperated when the woman said she did not understand some of his questions. When he asked if Miller had told her he worked for Geragos, she repeatedly said of Miller, "He's your guy."
Also Friday, attorneys for both sides presented arguments to the judge over whether authorities went beyond what they had warrants to seize in searches of Miller's office and Neverland on Nov. 18, 2003.
Prosecutors conceded that some items should not have been taken, but said others were related to the case. Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen said six photos of a boy were taken from Neverland.
"It's very apparent looking at those items why we seized them," he said, without elaborating.
Outside court, Mesereau said the singer now regrets paying to settle past claims that he harmed children.
"He should have fought these actions to the bitter end," Mesereau said as fans chanted in support of the "King of Pop," who was dressed in a white suit with an embroidered gold armband.
Mesereau claimed Jackson had been ill-advised by those who profit from his music and were hoping to avoid bad publicity.
Lil' Kim Bodyguard Sentenced To 12 Years
NEW YORK (AP) — A bodyguard for Lil' Kim who admitted firing a gun at least 20 times in a shootout as the rapper left a hip-hop radio station was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch said Suif Jackson, 34, deserved a harsh sentence because society had to be protected from a machine gun-toting man convicted five times of criminal charges, including three times for crimes of violence.
The judge ordered Jackson to finish a state prison sentence, which ends Aug. 7, 2006, before beginning the federal term. The state sentence was for an unrelated crime.
Jackson declined to speak before he was sentenced.
Authorities said the 2001 shooting occurred as Lil' Kim's entourage was leaving the hip-hop station WQHT, or Hot 97, and the entourage of rival rap group Capone-N-Noreaga was arriving. One man in the group's entourage was wounded.
Lil' Kim, whose real name is Kimberly Jones, is awaiting a February trial on charges that she lied to a grand jury investigating the shooting.
Prosecutors say she refused one day after the shooting to tell police the identities of anyone who had accompanied her to the radio station. They said she testified falsely before a federal grand jury three times, including denying that she knew Jackson.
Prosecutors said Lil' Kim thanked Jackson in the notes to one album and expressed her affection for him. They said she and Jackson had been members of the Jr. M.A.F.I.A rap group, formed by the late rapper Notorious B.I.G.
The shootout occurred the same year Lil' Kim, known for her revealing outfits and risque lyrics, won a Grammy Award for her part in the hit remake of "Lady Marmalade."
Defense lawyer Mark Goodman said Jackson believed he was firing in self-defense and believed the victim was part of Capone's entourage.