- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Kelly skips court date

R&B; star R. Kelly had an emergency appendectomy Sunday while in Miami for the Super Bowl and missed a status hearing yesterday in Chicago for the state child pornography case against him, his lawyer said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Mr. Kelly, who was in Miami to perform at a Super Bowl party last weekend, was taken to a hospital emergency room for a burst appendix and was operated on the same day, said his lawyer, Terence Gillespie. The singer remains hospitalized and is in good condition, Mr. Gillespie said.

Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney Shauna Boliker said Mr. Kelly, 40, had been expected to appear yesterday before Judge Vincent Gaughan for a status hearing on his child pornography case. Prosecutors, however, were notified Tuesday that the defendant would not be appearing because of his medical condition, Miss Boliker said.

Miss Boliker and Mr. Gillespie said Mr. Kelly had received permission to travel to Miami.

Family feud continues

The battle between Ryan O’Neal and his son Griffin that led to the actor’s arrest at his Malibu home last weekend turned into a war of words in law offices yesterday as their attorneys each charged that the other side was responsible for the fight in which a fireplace poker was swung and a gun fired.

Griffin O’Neal, 42, and his pregnant girlfriend, Joanna Berry, who had bandages around a bruised and swollen left eye, appeared but did not speak at a press conference called by attorney Gloria Allred.

“We vigorously reject any assertion that the injuries suffered by Joanna and Griffin were as a result of Ryan O’Neal’s acting in self-defense,” Miss Allred said in a prepared statement.

The actor’s attorney, Mark Werksman, countered quickly.

“Ryan O’Neal is the victim and was attacked by his own son, with his own poker,” Mr. Werksman said.

Asked if Griffin O’Neal was under the influence of drugs the night of the fight, Miss Allred said he was not. Mr. Werksman said he and his client believe Griffin O’Neal was drunk at the time and became violent when his father asked him to leave.

Bound for Chi-town

Washington Ballet Executive Director Jason Palmquist is leaving the capital city for the Windy City.

Mr. Palmquist, who will exit the D.C. ballet company in May after three seasons, will become the new executive director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Washington Ballet Board President Kay Kendall announced yesterday.

“Jason has been a wonderful presence at the ballet,” Ms. Kendall said. “He is intelligent, charming and extremely knowledgeable about dance and arts management; we will certainly miss him.”

During his tenure, Mr. Palmquist helped the Washington company introduce its satellite location at THEARC in Anacostia, assisted in bringing challenging and sophisticated additions to the company’s repertoire, achieved the company’s most successful season to date in ticket revenues and effectively negotiated a collective bargaining agreement with the company’s dancers and its union, the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA).

Before his time with the company, Mr. Palmquist worked for the Kennedy Center for 11 years, most recently serving as vice president for dance administration.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse and Jean Battey Lewis from staff and wire reports.

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