Michael Jackson | 'SNL' Baby Crisis' | Carly Simon
Jacko District Attorney: Sore Loser?
Believe it or not, the Michael Jackson case is not over.
Even though it lost the case, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office is still refusing to return evidence it seized from Jackson's Neverland Ranch in 2003 and 2004.
Papers filed in Santa Barbara County Superior Court, made available late yesterday, indicate that the problem will not be easily resolved.
Attorney Stephen Dunkle, working for Jackson lawyer Robert Sanger, filed a declaration that clearly indicates the prosecution's desire to keep the case going, even after everyone else has gone home.
Dunkle wrote on June 22 that he appeared in court on June 16 and presented the deputy district attorney — who did not take part in the Jackson trial — with a request to return Jackson's property.
"[The deputy district attorney] initially signed the stipulation. However, he eventually withdrew the stipulation and stated that the stipulation needed to be reviewed by the prosecutors who were assigned to the case."
Apparently, hope springs eternal in the prosecutor's office, where, despite the fact that it blew nearly $3 million of taxpayers' money on a deeply flawed case, plans may be afoot to try again one day.
In a response to Jackson's request to get his possessions back, the DA's office wrote in other just-released papers: "Certain of the property seized from Neverland is contraband. Certain of that property may not belong to Mr. Jackson. Other items may have relevance in the event of another investigation."
The last sentence doesn't do much to allay the perception that District Attorney Tom Sneddon is on a vendetta against Jackson.
Sneddon's office writes in a kind of folksy, albeit all-too-personal manner when it concludes in the denial of the request: "One just knows that defendant's counsel would assert that the order [to return Jackson's property] covers photographs taken of Mr. Jackson's person in 1994, in connection with the investigation of his reported molestation [of the boy in the 1994 Chandler case]."
Well, I don't know what's considered "contraband" from the Neverland raid, since Jackson was never charged with having anything illegal in his house. He had pornographic magazines and small dolls that sat on his desk, but none of that was illicit.
As for the Chandler case, Sneddon wasn't able to prove in court that it ever happened, Chandler's mother was considered an unreliable witness and the jury later said that evidence offered from possible previous cases played no part in their decision to acquit Jackson.
Be a man, Tom: Give the stuff back now. It's not nice to be a sore loser.
'SNL' Faces First-Time Baby Crisis
It took 30 years, but "Saturday Night Live" finally has a baby crisis looming.
The word is that both head writer/performer Tina Fey and regular cast member Maya Rudolph are expecting — and just in time for the new fall season.
That's the reason the show's creator Lorne Michaels is heading out to comedy clubs in Chicago and Los Angeles in coming weeks to look over new talent.
"We've never had this problem before," Michaels told me recently. "I don't know how we're going to deal with it."
One cast member who's not going anywhere is Darrell Hammond, whose impersonations of Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, among others, are integral to the show's success.
Hammond is almost an elder statesman at this point, coming into his eighth season this year on the show.
By now, former cast members such as Dana Carvey and the late Phil Hartman would have been long gone.
"But I think Darrell realizes this is a good place for him and his talents," Michaels told me.
He's right, too. Hammond can do no wrong on "SNL," hitting it right week after week.
"A lot of people thought they had to move on," Michaels said, "but Darrell gets it."
As for Rudolph and Fey, even noting their importance — and how they'll be temporarily replaced during their respective (or simultaneous) maternity leaves — marks a significant change in thinking at "SNL."
Back in the mid-'80s and early '90s, female stars like Nora Dunn complained they didn't get equal airtime or material. Dunn even refused to appear on the show when Andrew Dice Clay hosted, calling him sexist.
Times have really changed for the better over there.
Carly Simon's Classy Comeback
It's not like Carly Simon is really having a comeback. She never went away.
But a week from Tuesday, Simon will release her first album-length collaboration with famed producer Richard Perry in roughly 30 years.
I just got an advanced copy of the album, entitled "Moonlight Serenade," and let's put it this way: Rod Stewart must wish he could sing the standards this well.
It was Perry, about five years ago, who had the idea to put Stewart in front of an orchestra. The result was two hit albums that resuscitated Rod's career and made him a star for a new generation.
Now Perry's done it again. He and Carly made a lot of hit singles in the '70s which endure today, such as "Nobody Does It Better," "You're So Vain" and "Haven't Got Time For the Pain."
With "Moonlight Serenade," they've recalled not only the best of their work together, but Carly's two hits '"standards" albums, "Torch" and "My Romance."
More on "Moonlight Serenade" next week. It's going to be a big, big hit on a par with Rod's albums, I'm sure.
In the meantime, you can find it on Amazon.com and all the usual places.
P.S. Why isn't Carly Simon in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Hmmmm....