* Diebold with a vengeance. [MSNBC]
* SLAPP me baby one more time. [WSJ Law Blog]
* Snoops, he did it again. [CNN]
* I smell a red tree vole. [AP via How Appealing]
* Maybe we should get some folks from the Carter Center involved. [CBS News]
- Celebrities, Defamation, Election Law, Environment / Environmental Law, Morning Docket, Politics, Rap
* Diebold with a vengeance. [MSNBC]
And aficionados of direct-to-video movies rejoice. UPI reports:
Hollywood actor Wesley Snipes will avoid any time in jail on tax fraud charges as part of a recent settlement with the Internal Revenue Service.
The 44-year-old star of the “Blade” film trilogy had been wanted in connection with his attempt to claim $12 million in tax refunds in 1996 and 1997, but worked out a deal that helped him avoid jail while setting up a payment plan, Daily Variety said.
So if you were hoping to hear about Snipes demonstrating his martial arts abilities on Bernie Ebbers, Jeff Skilling, and Walter Forbes, we’re sorry to disappoint you.
(But Snipes getting off without a prison sentence shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Or at least it doesn’t to Ted Frank, who predicted as much last month.)
Snipes Avoids Jail Time with IRS Settlement [UPI]
Snipes Settles with IRS [Variety]
Snipes Settles Tax Fraud Charges, Will Avoid Jail Time [TaxProf Blog]
Earlier: White Men Can’t Jump — But They Can Nab You for Tax Evasion
A familiar paradox about leftist celebrities in the entertainment industry is that their embrace of progressivism almost never includes a wholehearted embrace of progressive taxation, i.e., the principle that the richer you get, the larger the percentage of your income you ought to pay in taxes.
The latest example is U2′s Bono, a committed and unusually sophisticated anti-poverty crusader, who is taking surprisingly little heat for the decision by his band, U2, to relocate its music-publishing business from Ireland to the Netherlands in order to shelter its songwriting royalties from taxation.
The difference in taxation regimes is worth millions to Bono and his bandmates:
After Ireland said it would scrap a break that lets musicians and artists avoid paying taxes on royalties, Bono and his U2 bandmates earlier this year moved their music publishing company to the Netherlands. The Dublin group, which Forbes estimates earned $110 million in 2005, will pay about 5 percent tax on their royalties, less than half the Irish rate.
But, just as there is with pretty much every legal and policy issue, there’s a counterargument. Check out some of the comments over at TaxProf Blog:
“The fallacy in the argument that Bono is a hypocrite for avoiding Irish income taxes is the assumption that the Irish government can do more good with the money than Bono can.”
“The subtext — political progressives should leave tax dollars on the table, rather than take advantage of planning opportunities?”
Okay, that’s more than enough substance for an ATL post. Did we tell you about our Bono sighting in New York a few weeks ago? It was the highlight of the hour-and-a-half we spent waiting for a table at The Spotted Pig (which was shorter than the two-hour wait we were quoted, and worth it).
Bono, of course, did not have to wait for a table. And we’re fine with that. We love celebrities!!!
Bono, Tax Avoider [Slate]
Slate: Bono, Tax Avoider; The Hypocrisy of U2 [TaxProf Blog]
Bono, Preacher on Poverty, Tarnishes Halo With Irish Tax Move [Bloomberg]
Angelina Jolie may soon be defending a lawsuit — and not from Jennifer Aniston alleging alienation of affection. Reuters reports:
A Cambodian charity threatened on Wednesday to sue Angelina Jolie for breach of contract, saying the Hollywood star had reneged on a promise to give $1.5 million over five years to wildlife conservation.
Some of you may recall, from first-year Contracts, that a promise to make a charitable contribution may be enforceable without consideration (under certain circumstances).
How worried should Jolie be about this possible legal action?
“I have been asking Jolie and her lawyer to give me an appropriate answer, but so far no answer,” [Cambodian Vision in Development head] Mounh Sarath told Reuters from the western town of Battambang.
“Now I give her one week and if there is still no answer I will a file suit in the local court of Battambang.”
“The local court of Battambang”? Angelina, watch out!
No, seriously. That court is probably more friendly to plaintiffs — and less sympathetic to defendants with deep pockets — than a state trial court in Mississippi.
(We have not addressed the issue of jurisdiction. But given how Angelina likes to cavort through developing nations — including but not limited to Cambodia, birthplace of her adopted son, Maddox — we think that adequte contacts exist.)
Cambodian Charity Threatens Actress Jolie with Lawsuit [Reuters]
* Only those of you who are
heartless very, very jaded will think this is some dated National Geographic-esque gimmick. Some of you may be able to help with the remaining countries… And yes, we’ve already made a call to Madonna’s people about crossing Malawi off the list. [New York Children]
* Not the ideal set-up, but better than keeping them in a car without cracking a window. No one tells her how to raise her kids. [CNN]
* Leave it to Trump to personify garishness even without the gold facades and conspicuous branding.
[AP via Yahoo! News]
* Perez Hilton is getting his karmic retribution for defacing B-list celebrities’ crotches and septa. [Radar]
* Props to Rachel Sklar for working a promissory estoppel joke into a post about the New York Times. The humor may have been lost on many HuffPo readers; but the ATL audience will surely appreciate it. [Huffington Post]
* Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Give three pastors $1.3 million and, chances are, they’re going to use it for more than just bread and wine. [Talk Left]
* If your workplace is all about face-time, then use sparingly. [Call In Sick]
* Let’s clean up our cities. First the pigeons, then the homeless. [Newsweek]
* Wild, wild horses…we’ll ride them someday — a celebrity cause waiting to happen. [Vanity Fair]
* Whatever happened to the good old fashioned kegger? Stick to the toga, and nobody (including the Greeks) gets hurt. [Yahoo! News]
* Sometimes, as I learned this weekend, even a lazy, motion-sick girl sometimes has to bill a few hours en route. Next time, I’ll be prepared with the necessary accoutrements. [JD Bliss]
* And because I can’t ignore that it’s Halloween, I’m going to download this Lindsay Lohan mask, complete with what appear to be collagen-filled lips. [Forbes]
- Art, Celebrities, D.C. Circuit, Eyes of the Law, Fabulosity, Feeder Judges, R. Alexander Acosta, Samuel Alito, Stephen Williams
If you, like us, find Supreme Court justice sightings more thrilling than Brangelina spottings, you would have died from excitement at the portrait ceremony for Judge Stephen F. Williams.
Judge Williams is the brilliant former law professor who now sits on the venerated D.C. Circuit. Back in the day, before he assumed senior status, Stephen Williams was one of the biggest feeder judges in Christendom. He fed huge numbers of his clerks into Supreme Court clerkships, with an impressively broad spectrum of justices.
The Williams portrait ceremony was held last Friday. Stuart Buck, a former Williams clerk, offers a detailed report. Here is an excerpt:
Portrait ceremonies are evidently a big deal: I’d never been to one before, but it was probably the most legal talent that I’ve ever seen in one room. The entire D.C. Circuit was there, as were six members of the Supreme Court (all except Souter, Kennedy, and Alito).
There was a person I didn’t recognize sitting between Justices Stevens and Thomas. Judge Laurence Silberman later said in conversation that it was Judge Louis Oberdorfer — a long-time and highly respected district court judge who has to be in his late eighties now. [Ed. note: Judge Oberdorfer was also a feeder judge in his time -- especially impressive given that he's "only" a district court judge.]
Now THAT is an impressive line-up. It’s the federal judicial equivalent of Ed Limato’s Oscar pre-party, a more star-studded event than the Lori Alvino / Matt McGill wedding — and maybe even than the Ted Olson / Lady Booth wedding. (That second comparison turns on how much weight you assign to SCOTUS justices as opposed to other legal luminaries.)
Anyone have pictures from the ceremony? If so, we’d love to see them. You know how we love pictures.
And while we’re on the subject of judicial celebrity sightings, a quick follow-up to our item yesterday about Justice Alito swearing in his former clerk, Alex Acosta, as U.S. Attorney in Miami. David Oscar Markus has a firsthand account of the event, which you can check out at the S.D. Fla. Blog.
Judge Williams’ Portrait [The Buck Stops Here]*
Acosta Sworn In [Southern District of Florida Blog]
Earlier: The Eyes of the Law: Justice Alito Hits South Beach
Lady and Ted’s Excellent Adventure: Wedding Photos That Rock
The Eyes of the Law: Ted Olson’s Star-Studded Nuptials
The Eyes of the Law: Wedding Crashers
* The “s” after “Williams’” is missing in the original. Our views on this dispute are set forth here.
But if you file a lawsuit, you may be able to win money damages. From the New York Daily News:
Rosalie Druyan wants to stick the Rolling Stones between a rock and a hard place with a $51 million lawsuit.
Shattered when Mick Jagger’s sore throat scrapped the Rolling Stones concert Friday in Atlantic City — four hours before its scheduled start — the Stones superfan from Brooklyn is taking the wrinkly rockers to court.
In a class-action suit to be filed today in Manhattan Supreme Court, Druyan contends the late cancelation cost her and other fans big bucks on nonrefundable hotel reservations, forcing them to spend the night together in cold and rainy Atlantic City.
Before you scoff at the $51 million demand, ask yourself: How would YOU like to be stuck in AC on a rainy Friday night?
Brooklyn Stones Fan Seeks 51M of Satisfaction [New York Daily News]
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe have separated. The couple’s rep released a statement to TMZ Monday morning that says “We are saddened to announce that Reese & Ryan have decided to formally separate. They remain committed to their family and we ask that you please respect their privacy and the safety of their children at this time.”
This is too bad. Reese and Ryan were one celebrity couple we actually kinda liked.
Divorce papers haven’t been filed yet, “so there’s still some hope,” say the Popsugar folks. But we’re less sanguine. Per TMZ:
Sources tell TMZ Witherspoon has contacted celebrity divorce lawyer Robert Kaufman, who has represented Jennifer Aniston, Roseanne and Lisa Marie Presley.
Sounds like Reese will be retaining Kaufman any day now (if she hasn’t done so already). And once you’ve retained a divorce lawyer, you’re more than halfway there.
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe Split [TMZ]
Reese and Ryan Split??? [popsugar]
To high-rent family lawyers, keeping secrets quiet is key [Los Angeles Business Journal]
- Antonin Scalia, Biglaw, Celebrities, Dewey Ballantine, English Grammar and Usage, Gay Marriage, Hair, Janice Rogers Brown, Law Firm Mergers, Money, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Paralegals, Reader Polls, Ted Olson, Weddings, Week in Review
marriages legally-cognizable-relationships-that-will-probably-get-called-civil-unions are coming to New Jersey.
* Superstar lawyer Ted Olson, who is not gay, got married — to a lovely lady named Lady. And ATL has the exclusive photos to prove it.
* Law firms are tying the knot too. The latest to head for the altar: Dewey Ballantine and Orrick.
* Things are going less smoothly for celebrities. Country music star Sara Evans is getting divorced. Jane Pauley is filing suit. Naomi Campbell is getting arrested. And Foxy Brown is getting sentenced.
* Paralegal pay ain’t half bad, as long as you work for Biglaw — and put in lots of overtime.
* Think grammar and punctuation are silly and useless? Listen to the cautionary tale of the costly comma.
* Justice Scalia: You like him, you really like him!
* As for your Least Favorite Supreme Court Justice, we’ll keep the polls open over the weekend. To vote, click here.
* And if you’d like to cast a ballot in a more frivolous poll, help Judge Janice Rogers Brown pick a hairstyle. To vote, click here.