Friday, December 12, 2003

George Clinton pleads not guilty

Tallahassee, Fla. -- Funk musician George Clinton filed a not guilty plea to drug charges Thursday, according to court records.

Clinton's lawyer, Tim Jansen, filed the plea and the case was assigned to Circuit Judge Thomas Bateman. No trial date has been set.

Jansen didn't return a call for comment.

Clinton, whose age is listed as 62 or 63, was arrested over the weekend and charged with possession of cocaine and drug paraphernalia. He was released on $2,650 bail.

Police said he was sitting in a car in a parking lot and when approached, volunteered that he had cocaine in his pocket.

Jackson's parents defend son

New York -- Michael Jackson's parents say he's innocent of the child molestation allegations against him, and have offered to adopt his children if they're taken away from him.

"Some people are trying to accuse him of being a pedophile, and that is not true," Katherine Jackson said in an interview airing at 9 p.m. today on ABC's "20/20."

"You know, he was strong; he said, 'Mother, don't worry, it's not the truth,"' Mrs. Jackson said. "But I told him, you don't know these wicked people, the people are just mean and wicked."

The pop singer was booked Nov. 20 on suspicion of molesting a boy at his home outside Santa Barbara, Calif. He has denied the allegations and was released on $3 million bail. He has not been charged.

When asked whether they would try to adopt the two boys and a girl if that happens, his mother said, "Oh yes. Oh yes."

Joe Jackson added, "Well ... they're my grandkids. I have to."

Sundance Awards set for Jan. 24

New York -- Zooey Deschanel and Jake Gyllenhaal, who played discontented discount store employees last year in the independent film "The Good Girl," will team up again as co-hosts of the Sundance Film Festival Awards.

The ceremony is scheduled to air live from Park City, Utah, at 8 p.m. Jan. 24 on the Sundance Channel.

The Sundance Film Festival is set for Jan. 15-25. Among the films playing are "The Woodsman," starring husband and wife Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, and "We Don't Live Here Anymore," with Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts.

Hillbillies casino hits roadblock

Carson City, Nev. -- Max Baer Jr. has gone to court in an effort to build his proposed $54 million Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino in a shopping center he shares with The Glenbrook Co. and J.C. Penney.

Plans for the casino include a 200-foot flaming oil derrick, 30,000-square-foot casino with 800 slot machines and 16 game tables, a 240-room hotel and restaurants -- all keying on "The Beverly Hillbillies" TV series, in which Baer, 66, played Jethro Bodine.

Standing in the way of Baer's plans are restrictions barring development of a theater, bowling alley, nightclub or other place of recreation or amusement at the mall.