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TMZ under scrutiny

Associated Press / December 23, 2009

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Coroner’s officials are looking into how the celebrity website TMZ obtained details on prescription drugs contained in an investigator’s report on the death of Brittany Murphy. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter said yesterday he is concerned that other aspects of the investigation could be leaked. Murphy, 32, died Sunday after collapsing at her Hollywood Hills home. Police and the coroner’s office are investigating, but detectives have said their initial inquiry found no evidence of wrongdoing. TMZ’s report stated the investigator noted numerous bottles of prescription medications were found in Murphy’s name at the home where she collapsed. The medications ranged from depression and anti-anxiety meds to painkillers.

FBI tracked Jackson
Police concerns that media-hungry terrorists would attack Michael Jackson’s trial as a “soft target’’ led to a request for federal help, according to FBI files kept on the late pop star. The documents also show that the FBI helped facilitate interviews in the Philippines by California authorities investigating Jackson over allegations that he had sexually abused boys. The FBI monitored Jackson for more than a decade, but the bureau apparently never developed any solid evidence against him.

Rocker gets a warning
Rocker Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones was given a formal police warning yesterday for assault, his spokesman said. David Rigg said that Wood, 62, received the warning, or caution, after he was arrested earlier this month for assault near his home in Esher, in southern England. Rigg said he was unable for legal reasons to give details of who made the complaint against Wood.

Quaids in court
Randy and Evi Quaid appeared in court yesterday and pleaded not guilty to felony charges of defrauding an innkeeper. The couple skipped previous court hearings without explanation after being accused of using an invalid credit card to defraud San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito, Calif., of more than $10,000.

Gervais branches out
Ricky Gervais will be a voice in a 13-episode animated comedy series on HBO next year. The cable network said yesterday that “The Ricky Gervais Show’’ will be based on his popular podcasts. Gervais created and starred in the British TV series “The Office,’’ from which the hit NBC version was adapted.

Walk for charity
Country singer Jimmy Wayne is set to begin a charity walk for the homeless, leaving Nashville on New Year’s Day to cross two-thirds of the country. Wayne said he was occasionally homeless as a child and hopes to raise money for HomeBase Youth services, an Arizona-based charity that helps struggling young adults who leave foster care.

Grammy lineup
Taylor Swift and Beyoncé will perform at the Grammy Awards next month. The Recording Academy said yesterday that other performers will include the Black Eyed Peas, Lady Antebellum, and Maxwell.

Mission fulfilled
"I feel very gratified that I can communicate with many people . . . and make many friends through movies." -- Filmmaker John Woo, after learning he'll receive a lifetime achievement award from the Venice Film Festival.

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