Robin Thicke’s blurred life: ‘I was high and drunk’ all last year

— Summer 2013 was blurry for Robin Thicke, according to what the “Blurred Lines” singer told lawyers in April.

“Every day I woke up, I would take a Vicodin to start the day and then I would fill up a water bottle with vodka and drink it before and during my interviews,” Thicke said in a deposition transcript made public Monday.

Being high and drunk appears to be Thicke’s defense in a high-stakes lawsuit filed by Marvin Gaye’s family against Thicke, producer Pharrell Williams and hip-hop artist “T.I.” Clifford Harris Jr.

The lawsuit filed last fall contends Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” is an illegal rip-off of Gaye’s “Got to Give It Up.”

“It is a musical impossibility,” he said in in the April 23, 2014 deposition. “They’re two complete different syncopations and note choices and different keys. One’s a minor key and one’s a major key.”

Fans, journalists and music experts immediately recognized similarities between Gaye’s 1977 hit and the 2013’s summertime smash, Gaye’s heirs contend.

New York Times writer Rob Hoerburger wrote that the “Blurred Lines” bass line “came right from” Gaye’s song.

Musicologist Judith Finell, an expert hired by the Gaye family lawyers, said she identified a “constellation of at least eight substantially similar compositional features between the two works. … The signature phrase, vocal hook, backup vocal hook, their variations, and the keyboard and bass lines” are substantially similar and they share “departures from convention such as the unusual cowbell instrumentation, omission of guitar and use of male falsetto,” she said.

If it was stolen, Thicke was too high and drunk to do it, his testimony suggested. “I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio,” Thicke said.

“I walked in and he [Pharrell Williams] started singing me some ideas he had and the song happened very quickly,” he said. “I jumped right into the booth and started singing whatever he said.”

Thicke does claim creation of the melody and four-part harmonies in the second verse, but otherwise Pharrell Williams “geniused the whole thing.”

Several print and video interviews Thicke gave last summer tell a different story of Thicke being thickly involved in creating writing and producing the hit.

“Pharrell and I were in the studio making a couple records, and then on the third day, I told him I wanted to do something kinda like Marvin Gaye’s ‘Got To Give It Up,’ that kind of feel ’cause it’s one of my favorite songs of all time,” Thicke told Billboard Magazine for a story published in July. “So he started messing with some drums and then he started going ‘hey, hey, hey’ and about an hour and a half later we had the whole record finished.”

Thicke now says he was lying to interviewers, partly blaming drugs and alcohol.

“With all due respect, I was high and drunk every time I did an interview last year,” he said in the deposition. “So there are some quotes I don’t remember saying, but I do generally remember trying to sell the public on the fact that ‘Blurred Lines’ was my idea in some way.”

His lies were elaborations he “thought it would help sell records,” he said.

“I thought that it being my song — my idea would make it more personal because my music has always been so personal, that this was the first time I had a song out that wasn’t personal and had nothing to do with me, and yet it was my biggest successful, which, you know, was very tough for me. And so I lied in my story so I could at least make it seem like, hey, I’m the guy who came up with this great idea.”

Thicke denied the lawsuit’s contention that he has a “Marvin Gaye fixation.”

“I’ve been called ‘the white Marvin Gaye’ since I got started,” he said. “So I think I’ve embraced that, consider it an honor.”

Thicke said that he was not drugged or drunk during the April deposition. In fact, he had been sober for the previous two months, he said.

“I’ve actually only been sober off the pills, off of Vicodin,” he later said. “I still drink.”

“When your wife leaves you, it gives you good reason to sober up,” he said. Thicke and his wife, Paula Patton, publicly announced that they had separated in February.

“Sorry,” he told the lawyer. “That’s why I’m starting to feel a little sad, because I had a tough year.”

Thicke, who has a 20% writing credit for “Blurred Lines,” said he didn’t know how much money he’s made off the huge hit, since he let’s his business manager take care of his finances.

“Blurred Lines” stayed at the top of Billboard’s pop chart for a record 16 weeks this summer and sold more than 6 million copies, according to court documents.

Gaye’s heirs also accuse Thicke of stealing from their father’s 1976 hit “After the Dance” when he recorded “Love After War” in 2011. Those tunes “contain substantially similar compositional material in their choruses, including the melodies of their hooks,” the Gaye filing contends.

‘Django Unchained’ actress claims she was cuffed for showing public affection

— “Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts says Los Angeles police allegedly detained her because they thought she was a prostitute.

Watts, who is African-American, and her white boyfriend accuse police of racism for questioning them after they were seen showing affection in public.

An LAPD spokesman told CNN Sunday that officers from its North Hollywood precinct were responding to a citizen complaint.

“There was an indication on the radio call that a male white and female black were involved in a sexual act inside a Mercedes with the vehicle door open,” Officer Sally Madera said.

Her boyfriend — Brian James Lucas but better known as celebrity chef Cheffy Be*Live — wrote in a Facebook post that police “saw a tatted RAWKer white boy and a hot bootie shorted black girl and thought we were a HO (prostitute) & a TRICK (client).”

“Two people were briefly detained, but it was revealed no crime had been committed,” Medera said.

The man was not handcuffed, but the woman was, according to the couple.

The alleged racial-profiling incident happened on a sidewalk near the gate of the CBS Studio Center in Studio City on Thursday.

The neighborhood is an upscale area and is home to many celebrities, including George Clooney, Miley Cyrus and Steve Martin.

The couple posted a short video clip and several photos showing Watts in handcuffs talking to police. One image shows a cut on her wrist, which she said was caused by the tight handcuffs.

Watts, who acts in the FX show “Partners,” said the officers “accosted me and forced me into handcuffs” after she refused “to agree that I had done something wrong by showing affection, fully clothed, in a public place.”

Lucas said when an officer asked for their identifications, he showed his that but Watts refused “to give it because they had no right to do so.”

“So they handcuffed her and threw her roughly into the back of the cop car until they could figure out who she was,” he wrote. “In the process of handcuffing her, they cut her wrist, which was truly NOT COOL!!!”

She was released “quite quickly when they realized we were right outside CBS and that she was a celebrity and I was a celeb chef,” Lucas wrote. “Before they figured out who she was they were threatening calling an ambulance and drugging her for being psychologically unstable, SO NOT COOL WHATSOEVER! “

Watts and Lucas said they initially decided to forget about the incident, but then they decided they needed to speak up.

“We still forgive, love and bless them … just not putting up with this for our own freedom and heart space,” Lucas wrote.

The couple has contacted lawyers, the ACLU and the NAACP, he said. “Our publicist has us in contact with media about it, too, and we’re supposed to hear back.”

Watts, a native of Atlanta, made her feature film debut in 2012 as Coco in the Oscar-nominated “Django Unchained.” Her biggest television role is on “Partners,” in which she plays Martin Lawrence’s daughter.


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Kanye West gets probation in paparazzi attack

— Kanye West is paying a price for not ignoring a swarm of paparazzi surrounding him at an airport this past summer.

West’s lawyer entered a no contest plea Monday on behalf of the rapper to a misdemeanor count of battery against a photographer.

A contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea for purposes of the sentencing.

Judge Alan Rubin sentenced West to serve two years’ probation for the misdemeanor battery conviction. He must attend 24 anger management sessions, perform 250 hours of community service and pay restitution to the victim.

Rubin said he will review the community service to make sure he is getting no special treatment.

Photographer Daniel Ramos told the judge he wanted West thrown in jail.

“I was only doing my job, and he broke the law,” Ramos said. “I believe that if I did what he did to me, I would have been put behind bars.”

The incident was caught on camera, leaving West with the prospect of a tough trial and the possibility of jail unless he accepted a plea deal from prosecutors that included probation.

West was not required to appear in court since the charge was just a misdemeanor.

The video recorded the following exchange:

“Kanye! Kanye! Talk to me, Kanye!” a photographer shouted outside of a Los Angeles International Airport terminal on the night of July 19, 2013.

“Now come on, Kanye, I don’t want to fight with you.”

“I told you, don’t talk to me, right. You’re trying to get me in trouble so I step off and have to pay you like $250,000.”

West is then seen rushing the photographer and attempting to wrestle his camera from his hands. West retreats after about 15 seconds of scuffling with the photographer.

“I simply asked him a question, and I didn’t use any vulgar language,” Ramos told the judge Monday. “In fact, I gave him a compliment and told him that he was cool.”

Lawyer Gloria Allred has filed a civil suit against West on behalf of the photographer.

Beverly Hills Police investigated an incident in January in which West was accused of assaulting a man at a Beverly Hills chiropractor’s office. West avoided criminal charges by reaching a civil settlement with the man.


™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Dolphins owner to meet with Jonathan Martin: ‘We want to get to the bottom of it’

— Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross will meet with Jonathan Martin on Wednesday to learn why the player left the NFL team.

Martin’s sudden departure two weeks ago ignited a controversy over locker room hazing, perceived bullying and racial slurs among professional football players.

“We want to get to the bottom of it,” Ross told reporters in Miami on Monday. “We want to get to hear what the real facts are. There’s been so much said and done to date that I don’t think anybody really knows what has happened, because nobody has really spoken with Jonathan Martin directly.”

Martin, 24, left the Dolphins last month because of “harassment that went far beyond the traditional locker room hazing,” his lawyer said. Days later, the team suspended veteran lineman Richie Incognito, 30, for conduct detrimental to the team.

Incognito insisted in an interview over the weekend that his vulgar text messages and voicemail to Martin were misunderstood because “people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another.”

“The world has changed, with social media and everything today, but one thing that will not change, there will be no racial slurs or harassing or bullying in that workplace, in that locker room and outside the locker room,” Ross said.

Ross, a real estate developer, has exchanged his own text messages with Martin in recent days, he said. As a result, he will fly on his private jet to an undisclosed location on Wednesday to talk with his former player.

“I would like to hear from him, what had happened, why he felt that way, the whole origin, what we did or what we could have done to really prevent something like this from happening,” Ross said.

He’ll go there with “an open mind,” Ross said.

“I want to hear the facts,” he said. “From the facts, I can then say ‘Hey, were we right? Were we wrong?’ and what have you. You can’t just deal with speculation, and I will not deal with speculation.”

Incognito acknowledged in an interview aired on “Fox NFL Sunday” that he used racist and vulgar language in voicemails and text messages to Martin but said it was “coming from a place of love.”

“No matter how bad and how vulgar it sounds, that’s how we communicate,” he told Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer. “That’s how our friendship was.”

“For instance, a week before this went down, Jonathan Martin text me on my phone ‘I will murder your whole F-ing family,'” Incognito told Glazer. “Now, do I think Jonathan Martin was going to murder my family? Not one bit.”

While Martin has not spoken publicly since the controversy erupted, his attorney David Cornwell broke the silence on his behalf with a prepared statement last week.

Martin tried “to befriend … teammates who subjected him to the abuse with the hope that doing so would end the harassment” — something Cornwell called “a textbook reaction of victims of bullying.”

The taunting did not stop, however, the lawyer said. He cited “a malicious physical attack on him by a teammate and daily vulgar comments,” and a threat of a group sexual assault against Martin’s sister.

“Eventually, Jonathan made a difficult choice,” Cornwell said of Martin leaving the Dolphins. “… Jonathan looks forward to getting back to playing football. In the meantime, he will cooperate fully with the NFL investigation.”

Ross said he called for the independent investigation by the NFL because he knew the objectivity of a team investigation could be questioned.

“We need to look at ourselves,” Ross said. “We have to examine everything internally. I know that this is so appalling to me.”

But Ross also said he wanted to avoid overreacting. He formed a committee to help guide the changes, including former Dolphin coach Don Shula and quarterback Dan Marino.

“We all know that the football locker room is a different workplace than most of us are accustomed to,” Ross said. “Basically, I don’t want to make any excuses. I want to know that our workplace going onward will be the best workplace that you can find in the NFL.”

Ross said he had “total confidence” in head coach Joe Philbin.

The only issue that Incognito “sidestepped and wouldn’t answer” in his Fox Sports interview concerned the allegation that Miami coaches had ordered a “code red” instructing the veteran to “toughen up” the younger Martin, Glazer said.

Incognito said “legal issues” prevented him from answering.

“The face of bullying in America”

“Right, wrong or indifferent, because of all this, you’ve become the face of bullying in America,” Glazer told Incognito. “Someone thinks of a bully, they think of Richie Incognito.”

“This isn’t an issue about bullying,” Incognito said. “This is an issue of my and Jon’s relationship, where I’ve taken stuff too far, and I didn’t know it was hurting him.”

A profanity-filled voicemail from Incognito to Martin that has been made public was intended to shock him so “his buddy” would call him back, he said.

“I understand why a lot of eyebrows get raised,” Incognito said, “when people don’t know how Jon and I communicate to one another.”

Incognito: “I’m not a racist”

“When it’s on the screen it sounds like I’m a racist pig, it sounds like I’m a meat head,” he said. “It sounds like a lot of things it is not. And I wanted to clear the air just being saying that I’m a good person.”

He acknowledged using the n-word in his communications with Martin, who is African-American.

“I’m not a racist and to judge me by that one word is wrong,” Incognito said. “It, in no way, shape or form, is ever acceptable for me to use that word, even if it’s friend to friend in a voicemail.” He said “it was a joke.”

The word is “thrown around a lot” in NFL locker rooms and it’s “a word that I’ve heard Jon use a lot,” he said. “There’s a lot of colorful words thrown around in the locker room that we don’t use in everyday life.”

Martin was his “best friend” on the team, Incognito said.

“You can ask anybody in the Miami Dolphins’ locker room, who had Jon Martin’s back the absolute most, and they’ll undoubtedly tell you me,” he said.

Incognito said he was “miffed” by “how I missed this and I never saw it coming.”

Glazer asked Incognito what he would say to his former teammate today if he were in the room.

“I think I would give him a big hug right now, because we’ve been through so much and I’d be like ‘Dude, what’s going on? Why didn’t you come to me?'” he said. “If he were to say ‘listen, you took it way too far, you hurt me.’ You know, I would just apologize and explain to him exactly what I explained to you. And I would apologize to his family that they took it as malicious. But I never meant it that way.”

CNN’s Dan Moriarty contributed to this report.

Chris Brown heads to rehab; seeks ‘insight’ into his behavior

— Chris Brown is reaching into Lindsay Lohan’s playbook for avoiding jail: Go to rehab before your court date.

The singer’s arrest Sunday on an assault charge put him on a path toward a possible prison sentence, but he will be in a rehabilitation facility as his next court date approaches.

“Chris Brown has elected to enter a rehab facility,” said a statement Tuesday night from his representative. “His goal is to gain focus and insight into his past and recent behavior, enabling him to continue the pursuit of his life and his career from a healthier vantage point.”

There has been no indication that Brown, 24, has a substance abuse problem. The behavior that has landed him in legal trouble over the past several years has been anger management.

Brown’s brutal attack on former girlfriend Rihanna on the eve of the Grammys in February 2009 resulted in a felony domestic violence conviction that carried a lengthy probation period. A judge found him in violation of that probation in August because of discrepancies in proving he fulfilled the court-ordered 1,400 hours of community labor. He imposed another 1,000 hours of work.

The Los Angeles County district attorney appears in no mood to cut Brown any breaks, which suggests that prosecutors will ask for jail time for him because of the arrest early Sunday in the shadow of the White House. While the simple assault charge in Washington is a misdemeanor, it could trigger a probation revocation.

Brown is in a vulnerable position. The Los Angeles judge overseeing his felony probation could order him to complete as many as four years in prison for the beating of Rihanna if he is found in violation of probation.

Brown is due in a Los Angeles court on November 20 for a probation status hearing. Prosecutors have declined to comment on if they will seek to put him behind bars.

The U.S. attorney in the District of Columbia charged Brown and his bodyguard with simple assault for a brawl over the weekend in which a 20-year-old Maryland man suffered a broken nose. Brown spent 36 hours in a Washington jail and was taken to court in shackles Monday afternoon. He was released and ordered to report to his California probation officer within 48 hours.

The probation officer’s job is to prepare a report for the Los Angeles judge who will decide if Brown will be found in violation of his probation.

Going to rehab — as his rep said “to gain focus and insight into his past and recent behavior” — could allow Brown lawyer Mark Geragos to argue that the entertainer is getting proper help for his core problem.

The statement from Brown’s rep did not disclose where the singer is going for rehab, how long he intends to stay, or what might be a “healthier vantage point” for him.

CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.


™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

AEG not liable in Michael Jackson’s death, jury finds

— A Los Angeles jury decided Wednesday that AEG Live hired Dr. Conrad Murray, but also concluded that the concert promoter was not liable for Michael Jackson’s drug overdose death.

The jury decided that Murray was competent, so even though AEG Live hired him, it was not liable for Jackson’s death and didn’t owe the Jackson family millions of dollars in compensation.

“I counted Michael Jackson a creative partner and a friend,” the company’s CEO Randy Phillips said. “We lost one of the world’s greatest musical geniuses, but I am relieved and deeply grateful that the jury recognized that neither I, nor anyone else at AEG Live, played any part in Michael’s tragic death.”

The verdict brings the five-month-long trial to a close.

“We have said from the beginning that this case was a search for the truth. We found the truth. AEG hired Dr. Conrad Murray, the man who is in jail for killing Michael Jackson,” according to a statement from family matriarch Katherine Jackson and her lawyers. “All options regarding the balance of the jury verdict are being considered.”

The jury accepted AEG Live lawyers’ arguments that the company was not negligent because its executives had no way of knowing that Murray — licensed to practice in four states and never sued for malpractice — was a risk to Jackson. The singer was a secretive drug addict who kept even his closest relatives in the dark about his use of propofol to sleep, they contended.

Jackson’s mother and the singer’s three children sued AEG Live in 2010, arguing that the company’s negligence in hiring, retaining or supervising Murray was a factor in the singer’s June 25, 2009, death.

Jackson died of an overdose of the surgical anesthetic propofol, which Murray told investigators he was using to treat the singer’s insomnia so he could rest for rehearsals. Murray is set to be released from jail later this month after serving two years for involuntary manslaughter.

Jackson died just days before his comeback tour — promoted and produced by AEG Live — was set to debut in London in the summer of 2009.

“We felt (Murray) was competent” to be Jackson’s general practitioner, said juror Greg Barden. “That doesn’t mean we felt he was ethical.”

Barden said jurors thought the second question — which said, “Was Dr. Conrad Murray unfit or incompetent to perform the work for which he was hired?” — was confusing and took some time, and several votes, to work out. In the end, they voted 10-2 to answer “No.”

He said one of the key pieces of evidence was the contract between Murray and AEG.

“The jury’s decision completely vindicates AEG Live, confirming what we have known from the start — that although Michael Jackson’s death was a terrible tragedy, it was not a tragedy of AEG Live’s making,” attorney Marvin Putnam said in a written statement.

Murray’s lawyer, Valerie Wass, let out a gasp when she heard the decision and was visibly shaken.

Because jurors concluded that AEG Live was not liable, they did not consider other questions on the verdict form that would have determined how much in damages the promoter would have paid Katherine, Prince, Paris and Blanket Jackson.

Jackson lead lawyer Brian Panish suggested a range between $1 billion and $2 billion to replace the earnings lost by Jackson’s death at age 50 and the non-economic — or personal — damages from the loss of a father and son.

The damage award, however, would have been reduced by the percentage of blame jurors decided Michael Jackson shared in his death. The Jacksons lawyer suggested in closing arguments that they assign 20% of the liability to Jackson.

AEG’s lawyers had contended Jackson chose Murray, who had treated him for three years as a family physician, but Jackson lawyers had argued the promoters chose to negotiate their own contract with the doctor so they could control him.

The case is unlikely to end with the jury’s verdict because Jackson lawyers have said they have grounds for an appeal, which could take years to decide.

Jurors appeared engaged and entertained during the 21-week trial that included dramatic testimony by Jackson’s mother, son and former wife.


™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Author Tom Clancy, master of the modern-day thriller, dead at 66

— Spy thriller writer Tom Clancy, whose best-selling books became blockbuster films, has died, his publisher said Wednesday. He was 66.

Clancy’s publisher, the Penguin Group, said the author died in Baltimore on Tuesday. The written statement did not indicate the cause of death.

Clancy’s 1984 novel “The Hunt for Red October” propelled him to fame, fortune and status as a favorite storyteller of the American military. Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin brought the Cold War drama to life in the big screen in 1990.

“Spending time with Tom prior to shooting was the best part of that whole experience for me,” Baldwin said Wednesday. “Tom was smart, a great story teller and a real gentleman.”

Harrison Ford took the big screen role of CIA analyst Jack Ryan in “Patriot Games and “Clear and Present Danger.” Ben Affleck was cast as Ryan for “The Sum of All Fears.”

“I’m deeply saddened by Tom’s passing,” said Penguin executive David Shanks, who worked with Clancy on each of his novels, quoted in the company’s statement. “He was a consummate author, creating the modern-day thriller, and was one of the most visionary storytellers of our time. I will miss him dearly and he will be missed by tens of millions of readers worldwide.”

“Command Authority,” his last book, is due to be published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons in December, the company said. Putnam is an imprint of the Penguin Group.

“It was an honor to know Tom Clancy and to work on his fantastic books,” said Ivan Held, president and publisher of G.P. Putnam’s Sons. “He was ahead of the news curve and sometimes frighteningly prescient. To publish a Tom Clancy book was a thrill every time. He will be missed by everyone at Putnam and Berkley, and by his fans all over the world.”

A Baltimore-born former insurance agent, Clancy was known for writing meticulous thrillers focusing on political intrigue and military tactics and technology.

Seventeen of his 28 books appeared on the New York Times best-sellers list, according to his website. Many of them reached the No. 1 spot.

His writings also provided the inspiration for the “Rainbow Six,” “Ghost Recon” and “Splinter Cell,” video game series.

His writing gained him a loyal following within the armed forces in the United States and abroad, giving him inside access that frequently informed the plots of his books. But in a 2003 CNN interview, Clancy said he was always careful not to reveal classified information or sensitive details of how the elite troops he often wrote about operated.

“I’ll never decide for commercial reasons to put something in that endangers our national security. You just can’t do that,” he said in a 2003 CNN interview. “There was one thing, I discussed with a friend of mine in the Royal Navy. I told him a story I knew, and he said, ‘Well, Tom, you may never repeat that, as long as you live.’ And I haven’t.”

CNN’s Oliver Janney, Marc Balinsky and Rachel Wells contributed to this report


™ & © 2013 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Mariah Carey hurt in video mishap

— Mariah Carey is “fine” a day after an accident during a video shoot in New York on Sunday night, her representative said Monday.

“Mariah injured herself while filming a video with Jeezy for the remix of #Beautiful, directed by her husband Nick Cannon,” said rep Cindi Berger.

“She was taken to hospital late last night, where doctors reset her shoulder. She is fine.”

She recently released two remixes of “#Beautiful” featuring Miguel.

The release of her new album, which was set for July, has been delayed “in order to have more time on it,” according to her website.

CNN’s Denise Quan contributed to this report.

Sex abuse lawsuits against ‘Elmo’ voice actor dismissed

— Three lawsuits alleging sex abuse by Kevin Clash, the puppeteer who gave Sesame Street’s Elmo his voice, were dismissed by a judge who ruled the accusers waited too long to sue.

Clash, who was suspended and later resigned from his Sesame Street after the first allegations surfaced in November, “can go about the business of reclaiming his personal life and his professional standing,” his lawyer told CNN Monday.

The lawyer who filed the lawsuits vowed to “appeal the decision and continue the fight to be a voice for victims.”

A clerk with Manhattan District court confirmed that three lawsuits filed against Clash were dismissed on grounds that the statute of limitations had run out.

Sesame Street had no immediate comment on the matter.

Each accuser, all adult men, said they were courted and seduced by Clash when they were underage teenagers.

Sheldon Stephens, now 24, was the first to the first to publicly claim he had a sexual relationship with Clash as a teen. Stephens called it an “adult consensual relationship” in November 2012, but filed a lawsuit in March 2013 alleging Clash threw a crystal meth sex party for him in 2004, when he was 16.

Clash, who had provided the high-pitched voice of the iconic furry red Elmo since 1984, acknowledged a relationship between “two consenting adults” when Stephens’ story initially emerged, but he said it otherwise was a “false and defamatory allegation.”

Stephens’ suit, which was filed in Pennsylvania, is still pending.

“We have moved to dismiss,” Berger said.

“I am a gay man,” Clash, 52, said in a statement in November. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.”

Clash’s attorney, Michael Berger, said Monday his client “is pleased by the judge’s decision.”

“As we have maintained all along, our goal has been to put these spurious claims behind him, so that Kevin can go about the business of reclaiming his personal life and his professional standing, which was recently recognized once again by the three Emmys he won last month,” Berger said. “The judge’s decision to dismiss and close the three lawsuits is an important step in that direction. Kevin is looking forward to a time in the near future when he can tell his story free of innuendo and false claims.”

The accusers’ lawyer, Jeff Herman, called it “the first battle.”

“The statute of limitations is an arbitrary timeline that silences victims,” Herman said. “We believe that the victims in this case are within the statute of limitations, but this ruling highlights the need for a window in New York to allow victims to have their day in court.”

In November, Clash issued a written statement saying: “I am resigning from Sesame Workshop with a very heavy heart. I have loved every day of my 28 years working for this exceptional organization. Personal matters have diverted attention away from the important work Sesame Street is doing and I cannot allow it to go on any longer. I am deeply sorry to be leaving and am looking forward to resolving these personal matters privately.”

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, according to its website.

CNN’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.

J-Lo sings happy birthday wishes to repressive Asian leader

Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President” on Saturday to a leader who has been characterized as one of the most repressive in the world.

“We wish you the very, very, happiest birthday,” Lopez said to Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, and then she sang to him at a huge celebration at a resort in the central Asian country.

The singer’s spokesman told CNN Sunday that “had there been knowledge of human right issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended.”

Human Rights Watch, in a report to the U.N. Human Rights Committee, recently called Turkmenistan “a country marked by extraordinary levels of repression.”

“Widely recognized as one of the most repressive in the world, the Turkmen government exercises total control of public life,” the report said.

Lopez spokesman Mark Young said she “and several other artists were invited and performed at a private corporate event for the China National Petroleum Corporation that was presented to their local executives in Turkmenistan.”

The event was not sponsored by the government and not political, he said.

“The China National Petroleum Corporation made a last-minute ‘birthday greeting’ request prior to Jennifer taking the stage,” he said.

“This was not stipulated in her contract, but she graciously obliged the China National Petroleum Corporation request.”

Once part of the Soviet Union until late 1991, Turkmenistan has abundant gas and oil resources. The CIA Factbook says the leadership uses its “gas and cotton export revenues to sustain its inefficient and highly corrupt economy.” The country borders Afghanistan and Iran.

Berdymukhamedov has been chief of state and head of government since February 2007, the CIA Factbook says.

CNN’s Denise Quan contributed to this report.