SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) -- Comedian Paula Poundstone's drinking problem will definitely be a factor in her defense against the child abuse case she is facing, her attorney said Monday.
"Anytime anyone abuses alcohol it clouds their judgment," attorney Steven Cron said. "I can't discuss the facts of the case, but that's a given."
Cron made his comments after a hearing involving charges of lewd acts on a child and child endangerment against Poundstone.
During the hearing Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Bernard Kamins delayed a decision on setting a date for a preliminary hearing for Poundstone until Aug. 27.
Poundstone, 41, lost custody of her three adopted children after she was arrested on three counts of committing a lewd act on a girl under the age of 14, as well as endangering two other girls and two boys. She has pleaded innocent.
Prosecutors have refused to provide details about the case, and Kamins on Monday reiterated a court order sealing all documents to protect the children involved.
La Salle leaving 'ER'
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Eriq La Salle is checking out of "ER."
The actor plans to quit the NBC hospital drama after next season to pursue directing and producing opportunities, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter reported Monday.
La Salle has been with the show since its 1994 debut and earned three Emmy nominations for his role as the brooding Dr. Peter Benton.
La Salle is finishing "Crazy as Hell," his first feature film as a director. He also served as producer on the upcoming thriller "The Salton Sea."
"ER" will enter its 2002-03 season with Noah Wyle as the only original cast member remaining. Sherry Stringfield, another charter cast member, left in 1996 but is returning only for the fall season.
Anthony Edwards already announced he'll leave the show after this season.
Son of Smash Mouth singer dies; shows cancelled
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The rock group Smash Mouth has canceled immediate tour dates after the death of its lead singer's infant son.
Presley Scott Harwell, son of Steve Harwell and Michelle Laroque, died Saturday of complications from acute lymphocytic leukemia, tour manager Scotty Haulter said.
The child, born Jan. 26, became ill Thursday, Haulter said.
The San Jose, Calif.-based group was in Minot, N.D., when members learned that Harwell's son was critically ill at Sunrise Children's Hospital in Las Vegas. Presley died early Saturday morning.
Monday night's performance in Great Falls, Mont., and Tuesday's appearance in Kellogg, Idaho, were canceled.
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