- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mum’s the word

R. Kelly told the judge in his child pornography trial Tuesday that he doesn’t plan to testify in his own defense.

After Judge Vincent Gaughan told Mr. Kelly he had a right not to testify, the R&B; singer leaned forward at the defense table and - speaking for the first time at the trial - responded: “I decided not to testify.”

The jury wasn’t in the room at the time, Associated Press reports.

Mr. Kelly, 41, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he videotaped himself having sex with an underage girl. Mr. Kelly and the reputed victim, now 23, have denied being on the tape.

Prosecutors are scheduled to call two rebuttal witnesses, and closing arguments are likely to be delivered Thursday, AP said.

Questions about Newman

Paul Newman’s recent public appearance did little to stop reports that he is in poor health.

The screen legend, 83, appears to have lost weight as well as some of his hair in the past few months, says the New York Daily News. Martha Stewart recently posted a photograph on her blog, taken last weekend, of herself with the actor at a luncheon to benefit Mr. Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camps for children fighting cancer and serious blood diseases.

Speculation about the actor’s health has increased since the tabloids reported in January that Mr. Newman had undergone surgery for cancer in a New York hospital. His publicist denied the report and quoted the actor as saying, “I’m being treated for athlete’s foot and hair loss … maybe the doctors know something that I don’t!”

However, there was a new concern Monday, when Mr. Newman didn’t make it to an event for Hole in the Wall. At the time, Mr. Newman’s publicist told the Daily News: “He’s having back problems. He has to stay off his feet for a couple of weeks.”

Mr. Newman reportedly was forced to pull out of directing a production of John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” in May because of ill health.

Getting on the wagon

Rodney King, who in 1991 garnered scores of headlines after his videotaped beating by four Los Angeles police officers was broadcast worldwide, has signed up for the second edition of VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.”

The series, hosted by Dr. Drew Pinsky, follows real-life celebs as they struggle to overcome their addictions at a treatment center in the Los Angeles area. The second edition will premiere in October.

The show also will continue to follow the recovery of “Grease” co-star Jeff Conaway as he checks back into rehab after a series of back surgeries, setbacks and subsequent reliance on pain medications. Joining Mr. King and Mr. Conaway in rehab are rocker Sean Stewart (Sons of Hollywood), model-actress Amber Smith, season one “American Idol” finalist Nikki McKibbon, rock drummer Steven Adler (Guns N’ Roses) and actress Tawny Kitaen.

Name game continues

Sean Combs must be feeling nostalgic.

The nickname-friendly hip-hop mogul, whose “official” alternate moniker has metamorphosed over the years from Puffy to Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to Diddy and so on, has decided to take a cue from his past, notes Y! Music.

Although his rep has denied reports of a name change, Mr. Combs has indicated on his MySpace site and via a guest appearance on a new single that he is reclaiming Puff Daddy, a handle he hasn’t used since 2001.

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