Another lawyer dumps Blake

Los Angeles -- Soon there won't be any lawyers left in Burbank to defend actor Robert Blake. Because Blake, 69, is demanding to set up a jailhouse interview with Barbara Walters, a second defense lawyer has asked to leave his case. Jennifer Keller said Blake had been visited by Walters last week and was in the process of arranging an on-camera interview when Keller and co-counsel Thomas Mesereau Jr. found out about it from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The actor is accused of shooting his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley to death in his car near a restaurant where they had dined May 4, 2001.

The first defense lawyer to quit did so after learning that the star of the old "Baretta" TV show had tried to arrange an interview with Diane Sawyer.

Queen Latifah reaches plea deal

Los Angeles -- A plea of no contest to reckless driving was entered on behalf of actress and Grammy-winning rapper Queen Latifah, and in exchange, prosecutors dropped two misdemeanor drunken-driving counts.

"I'm very pleased for her," said defense attorney Blair Berk, who entered the plea Tuesday. Latifah, whose given name is Dana Elaine Owens, was not present.

The charges came from the 32-year-old performer's arrest on Nov. 20 in the Universal City area.

A Superior Court judge sentenced her to three years probation. She also must pay a $300 fine and participate in a 12-hour alcohol education program, said city attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan.

Hart gives her heart to rocker

Los Angeles -- Melissa Joan Hart, television's "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch," is engaged to rocker Mark Wilkerson of the band Course of Nature.

Wilkerson proposed the day after Christmas, and no wedding date has been set. It will be the first marriage for both.

Wilkerson, a former University of North Alabama football player, formed Course of Nature after a broken leg ended his athletic career. The group has released the album "Superkala" and toured with Creed.

Hart, 26, began acting in commercials as a child. Before the long-running "Sabrina, The Teenage Witch," she starred in the popular Nickelodeon children's show "Clarissa Explains it All."

Brit Awards announce nominees

London -- Bruce Springsteen and Eminem are among the nominees for best international male solo artist at this year's Brit Awards.

The veteran rocker and young rap star will compete against Beck, Moby and Nelly. The awards, run by the British Phonographic Industry Ltd., an industry association, will be presented Feb. 20 in London.

Most winners are selected by a vote of more than 1,000 industry members, including representatives from record companies, the press, retailers, record producers, disc jockeys and promoters.

Nominees for best international female solo artist are Missy Elliott, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Pink.

Foo Fighters, Nickelback, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Royksopp and the White Stripes are nominated in the best international group category.


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