March 18, 2008 in Nation/World

Nation in brief: High court takes on indecency case

The Spokesman-Review
 

The Supreme Court will decide whether it is indecent when a foul-mouthed celebrity drops the “F-word” on live television, stepping into its first major broadcast indecency case in 30 years.

The high court said Monday it will hear arguments in a case over whether the government can ban “fleeting expletives,” one-time uses of familiar but profane words.

The case grew out of a decision by the Federal Communications Commission in 2006 that two broadcasts of the “Billboard Music Awards” show were indecent, though the agency levied no fines.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he was pleased the justices are stepping in.

There was widespread surprise that the court took the case, and there was speculation the justices might take a broader look at the issue of indecency in a media environment that has changed dramatically over the past three decades.

NEW YORK

New governor admits to affairs

Gov. David Paterson, who took over the state’s top job Monday after Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal, has admitted he and his wife Michelle had affairs during a rough patch in their marriage several years ago, a newspaper reported.

Paterson told the Daily News that he maintained a relationship with another woman from 1999 until 2001. He and his wife eventually sought counseling and repaired their relationship.

The couple agreed to speak publicly about their marriage in response to rumors about Paterson’s personal life that have been swirling in Albany since Spitzer resigned, the Daily News reported Monday on its Web site.

Paterson rose from the lieutenant governor’s office after Spitzer resigned last week amid allegations that he hired a call girl from a high-priced escort service.

After his inauguration Monday, Paterson and his wife, Michelle, acknowledged the relationships but did not go into details.

“This was a marriage that appeared to be going sour at one point,” Paterson told the Daily News. “But I went to counseling and we decided we wanted to make it work. Michelle is well aware of what went on.”

LONDON

Heather Mills gets $49 million in split

Money may not buy her love, but Paul McCartney’s ex sure has a lot more of it now.

One of Britain’s bitterest divorces reached a settlement Monday when Heather Mills was awarded $48.6 million – an enormous sum, but a fraction of what she sought and a sliver of the former Beatle’s $800 million fortune.

Mills declared herself “very, very, very pleased” with a payout that amounted to about $34,000 for each day of her four-year marriage. But some legal experts were surprised the former model, who has been widely portrayed in the British media as a gold-digger, did not get more.

“In the scheme of things, it’s quite surprisingly low,” said Patricia Hollings, a divorce specialist with London law firm Finers Stephens Innocent. “It is only offering her about 6 percent of his assets. In terms of high-wealth cases it’s very low.”

A Family Court judge awarded Mills a lump sum of $33 million, plus the assets she currently holds, worth $15.6 million. Mills had sought almost $250 million, according to a summary of the ruling; McCartney had offered $31.6 million, including Mills’ own assets.

Mills, 40, fired her legal team late last year and represented herself in court. Legal experts said that was unlikely to have been a factor in the award.

McCartney, 65, left after the ruling without saying a word. But Mills emerged from the three-hour private hearing for an impromptu news conference on the courthouse steps – railing against McCartney’s lawyer, accusing her ex of underestimating his wealth.

From wire reports


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