- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2007

Sheen speaks out

Martin Sheen says a drug court saved the life of a friend of his who was self-destructing from drug and alcohol abuse.

The actor was in Washington last week to urge Congress to provide funding for drug courts, which provide addicts with lifesaving alternatives to prison.

Mr. Sheen told George Stephanopoulos, in an interview that aired yesterday on ABC’s “This Week,” that he used his friend, whom he did not name, as an example of someone whose addiction could have led to death.

“At a critical point, I had to decide who would speak at the funeral, who should carry the casket,” he said. “You have to be prepared to say ‘I did everything that I possibly could.’

“Well, I had not yet. I had one more option, and that was drug court. That’s what saved his life, and mine,” Mr. Sheen said.

He said a large percentage of prison inmates are incarcerated for committing crimes under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

“So it’s a very serious problem and very costly,” he said. “And the monies that are spent on drug court and training and in rehab, the dollars are the biggest bargain you can possibly get in public health.”

Top-notch advice

Michael Jackson says in a court deposition that the Rev. Jesse Jackson and billionaire Ron Burkle gave him advice to help save him from financial disaster when he was fighting child molestation charges.

The Los Angeles Daily News said yesterday it reviewed seven hours of transcripts and found that the singer believed disloyal advisers took advantage of him financially before a Santa Maria, Calif., jury acquitted him of child molestation in June 2005.

Michael Jackson said in a deposition taken last summer in Paris that the entertainment industry was “full of sharks, charlatans and impostors.”

“Because there’s a lot of money involved, there’s a bunch of schmucks in there,” Mr. Jackson said. “It’s the entertainment world, full of thieves and crooks. That’s not new. Everybody knows that.”

Mr. Jackson testified that during his trial he received wise advice during bathroom-break cell phone calls with Mr. Burkle, the billionaire friend of former President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Burkle brought in Jesse Jackson, who has known Michael Jackson since he was a child, to help with the consultations, the newspaper said.

The deposition was made in preparation for a civil trial expected to begin this week in U.S. District Court. The case against Michael Jackson was brought by a Hackensack, N.J., finance company that claims he cheated the company out of $48 million.

Rod weds again

British rocker Rod Stewart married model Penny Lancaster in a private ceremony Saturday on the Italian Riviera, gathering with a few friends and family in a 17th-century villa, according to Italian press reports.

The couple wed in Santa Margherita Ligure, just outside the posh Portofino resort on Italy’s northwestern coast, according to the ANSA news agency and other reports. His record label was not immediately available for comment.

A few friends and family members attended the small ceremony, according to ANSA and private Sky TG24 news. Afterward, the newlyweds went back to a yacht just off the coast, where they have been staying, ANSA said.

The couple have a son together. It was the third wedding for the 62-year-old rocker, best known for hits like “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?”

{bullet} Compiled from wire reports by Kevin Chaffee.

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