SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Two men were cleared Monday of trying to blackmail Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe.
Judge John Williams ordered a jury at Coffs Harbor District court to acquit the men, saying prosecutors failed to prove they demanded money from Crowe in return for destroying a video of the star brawling outside a bar in the eastern Australian town.
Philip Cropper and Malcolm Mercer, both 38, had pleaded innocent to charges of trying to extort money from Crowe using the video, which showed the "Gladiator" star fighting with a man and arguing with a woman outside a nightclub in 1999.
Crowe, 38, wasn't present during the trial and did not immediately comment on the outcome.
Elton John loses case
LONDON (AP) -- Elton John lost his case Monday at the Court of Appeal, which he'd hoped would revive his multimillion-dollar negligence claim against his former accountants.
John claimed that his manager, not he, should pay the costs for tours -- which amounted to $10.5 million. He sought to revive a suit against PricewaterhouseCoopers for allegedly failing to advise him that he was paying touring costs.
O'Donnell feels sting
MIAMI (AP) -- Rosie O'Donnell said she's begun to feel the sting of leading the fight to allow gays and lesbians to adopt children in Florida. She said a medical association recently rescinded an invitation to speak at their convention.
"They said they were afraid of protesters," O'Donnell told 200 women Sunday at the two-day Wise Women Weekend retreat in Miami Beach. "I'm not used to being considered controversial."
O'Donnell also responded to her opponents' criticism that her crusade is a gay issue. "I have no homosexual agenda," she said. "I have a child agenda."
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