- The Washington Times - Monday, January 7, 2008

Britney’s woes

Television’s “Dr. Phil” McGraw said Britney Spears was released from a hospital Saturday but still needs psychological help, the syndicated programs “Entertainment Tonight” and “The Insider” reported.

The troubled pop star was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center by paramedics Thursday night after police were called to her home because of a dispute involving the two sons she had with ex-husband Kevin Federline.

“My meeting with Britney and some family members this morning in her room at Cedars leaves me convinced more than ever that she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention,” Dr. McGraw told the programs, adding that he planned to talk more about Miss Spears on his daytime talk show this week.

The incident at Miss Spears’ home lasted several hours. A Los Angeles police spokeswoman said Friday that officers at the scene determined that paramedics “needed to be called” but it was unclear why.

At an emergency hearing Friday, a court commissioner suspended Miss Spears’ right to visit sons Sean Preston, 2, and Jayden James, 1. The commissioner also gave sole physical and legal custody to Mr. Federline.

Previously, Mr. Federline had temporary custody and Miss Spears had court-monitored visitation.

Posthumous star

A star honoring “Bewitched” star Elizabeth Montgomery was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a rainy Friday ceremony.

Miss Montgomery “is probably in the heavens laughing at us as we stand in the rain,” said honorary Hollywood Mayor Johnny Grant.

In the television show, Miss Montgomery portrayed a witch trying to live as a housewife. The sitcom ran from 1964 to 1972.

She died in 1995 at age 62. Among those attending the ceremony Friday was her widower, actor Robert Foxworth.

Change of venue

Wesley Snipes is trying again to have his federal tax-evasion trial moved from Ocala, Fla.

Mr. Snipes’ lawyer, Robert Barnes, filed a motion with a federal appeals court in Atlanta on Friday, arguing that U.S. District Judge William T. Hodges erred last month when he denied Mr. Snipes’ motions to relocate and postpone the trial.

The actor’s legal team argued that Mr. Snipes cannot get a fair trial in Ocala, about 80 miles north of Orlando. Mr. Snipes previously filed two motions to dismiss or transfer the trial because of racial prejudice.

Mr. Barnes also filed a motion Friday to put the trial, scheduled to begin Jan. 14, on hold until the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules on the change of venue request.

Federal prosecutors have previously said there is “no basis in reality” for Mr. Snipes’ claims.

A federal indictment charged Mr. Snipes with fraudulently claiming refunds totaling almost $12 million in 1996 and 1997 for income taxes already paid. The 45-year-old star of the “Blade” trilogy and other films also was charged with failure to file tax returns from 1999 through 2004.

Mr. Snipes purportedly conspired to file false refund claims based on a bogus argument that only income from foreign sources was subject to taxation.

Lawyers argued Mr. Snipes had the right to a trial in New York, where he lived in 2005 when the offenses were reported to have occurred, or in Orlando, where he also has a home.

Compiled by Kevin Chaffee from wire reports.

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