Filmmaker Michael Moore is in the news again, this time as the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols. An attorney for James Nichols argued in a Friday hearing that Moore's 2002 documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," falsely portrays his client as an accomplice in the April 1995 attack. Kenneth McIntyre claims Moore incorrectly stated that James Nichols had been arrested in connection with the bombing when really he was only held as a material witness. He also took umbrage at Moore's use of the term "practice bombs" to refer to explosive devices the Nichols brothers built with Timothy McVeigh.
The film opines that federal agents decided not to prosecute James Nichols because they couldn't "get the goods" on him.
Moore attorney Herschel Fink urged Judge Paul D. Borman to drop the case, which Fink called "the perfect storm of libel suits." He argued that his client reported only the truth and his constitutionally protected opinion.
Neither Nichols or Moore were present at the Detroit federal court hearing. Borman said he will issue a decision after reviewing the case.
Terry Nichols is serving two life sentences without parole for his role in the bombing. McVeigh was executed in 2001 for masterminding the attack, which killed 168 people.
Lawyers for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks are asking for legal fees in her settled lawsuit against Grammy-winning rap duo OutKast.
The defamation suit, filed in 1999 and settled in April for an undisclosed amount, claimed that OutKast wrongly used her name in a song title from the 1998 album "Aquemini." Parks, 92, who has suffered from dementia since at least 2002, will receive money for her care as part of the agreement.
On Thursday, Detroit lawyer Gregory Reed, who sued OutKast on Parks's behalf, asked U.S. District Judge George Steeh to award his law firm $220,000 and to divide another $70,000 among three other firms.
So far, according to court records cited by the Detroit News, the settlement fund has paid out $150,000 to cover fees and costs to date.
Besides the cash payments, OutKast and co-defendants Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Arista Records LLC and LaFace Records will collaborate on educational programs about Parks's life and legacy, including a TV show. Sony will also release a tribute album that will include OutKast.
Parks, a pioneer in the civil rights movement, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a Montgomery, Ala., bus in December 1955. Her arrest led to a landmark 381-day boycott of the bus system organized by Martin Luther King Jr.
* A Chicago judge told prosecutors Friday to be more specific about when they believe R&B star R. Kelly allegedly had sexual relations with an underage girl. Following a half-hour meeting, Judge Vincent Gaughan made it clear that prosecutors must be more precise than simply saying the crime took place sometime between November 1997 and February 2002. Kelly, who appeared in court with his attorney Friday and had pleaded innocent, is charged with 14 counts of child pornography in connection with a 15-minute video that appeared online in 2002. Cook County state's attorney's office spokeswoman Marcy Jensen contends that prosecutors should not have to narrow the time frame. "Our burden is to prove the people on the tape are the defendant and the victim and that the victim is under 18." Gaughan said he will hold a hearing on the issue on July 20.
* Actor Vincent Pastore, known to fans of "The Sopranos" as gangster Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday as a judge presided over a plea offer in his alleged assault of former girlfriend Lisa Regina. Pastore has pleaded not guilty to four misdemeanors -- two counts of assault and one count each of attempted assault and harassment. His lawyer, Dominic Barbera, wouldn't comment on whether his client would accept the deal, which includes 10 days of community service and participation in a domestic abuse program. Pastore is free without bail pending a Sept. 26 trial. If convicted of all counts, he could be sentenced to up to a year in jail. His "Sopranos" character sleeps with the fishes.
-- Compiled by Michael Cotterman
from staff and wire reports