Because of security concerns, Michael Jackson will testify today via a live video link rather than appear in the Clark County Courthouse.
Jackson will be video-linked with District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez, who required that he testify at a hearing on his request for a preliminary injunction.
The former pop king wants to halt a May 30-31 auction featuring Jackson family memorabilia at the Hard Rock Hotel, claiming he is the rightful owner.
Sources said Jackson was allowed to testify by video link because of "security concerns expressed by the court, the courthouse administrator and others."
Jackson, who moved to Las Vegas in December, reportedly is concerned about some embarrassing items in the 20,000-artifact collection.
He is represented by Dominic Gentile of Gentile DePalma Ltd.
The New York Post's Page Six gossip column reported Thursday that Florida businessman Richard Altomare, who bought the artifacts from a former Jackson business associate as part of a bankruptcy case, is threatening to put the embarrassing items, including portraits of naked kids and sex toys, in the auction.
Altomare is represented by Jeff Sylvester and Shawn Mangano of Sylvester & Polednak Ltd. He said he expects the memorabilia to fetch $100 million.
RADETICH LEAVING KVBC
KVBC-TV, Channel 3 anchor Nina Radetich informed management Thursday that she is resigning.
Her last day will be June 7, the day of her fourth Nina's Night Out benefit for the Rape Crisis Center. It features Avril Lavigne at The Pearl, the Palms' new venue.
"I just know I need to decompress," Radetich said by telephone. "I had a great 10 years. I came here as a kid. It's been a neat growth experience. I'm so proud of the work I've done here and in the community. I feel very lucky."
KVBC plans to name a replacement for Radetich "very soon," said Carla Rea, the station's public relations/community affairs director.
THE SCENE AND HEARD
Paris Hilton caught a jail break Thursday. Several of them, in fact. It was announced that she will have to serve only half of her 45-day jail sentence and that she won't be incarcerated with the general inmate population. The Hilton Hotel heiress will be doing time because she violated terms of her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case. ...
Omitted from Thursday's item about Elvis body-guard Sonny West's book signing today at Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon: He'll be sharing the stage with Pete "Big Elvis" Vallee from 3 to 7:15 p.m.
MAY I RECOMMEND ...
Bon Appetit Magazine's Culinary & Wine Focus 2007 runs through Sunday, with star-chef events at Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Lake Las Vegas and Wynn Las Vegas. The chef lineup includes: Paul Bartolotta, Joseph Keller, Michael Mina, Guy Savoy, Julian Serrano, Alex Stratta, David Walzog and pastry chef Jean-Philippe Maury. Today at 7 p.m.: The Grand Tasting at the pools at Caesars Palace, with more than 75 wines. For information call toll-free (888) 343-6287 or check the Web site: www.bonappetitfocus.com.
Celine Dion, hosting a backstage four-course dinner Wednesday with seven galpals, including songwriters for her upcoming CD and Julie Snyder, the Oprah Winfrey of Canada. Chef Savoy and his son Franck were among a delegation from Restaurant Guy Savoy (Caesars Palace) who delivered the dinner, which included Dover sole and the chef's legendary artichoke soup. ... Vince Gill and Amy Grant, attending "Spamalot" (Wynn) on Wednesday after dining at SW Steakhouse. ... George Strait, tipping 55 percent ($20 on a $35 tab) after a 4 a.m. breakfast Wednesday at Café Bellagio after the Country Music Awards.
THE PUNCH LINE
"It's been announced that when Paris gets to jail, her cell will only be 8 feet by 12 feet. Which explains why Paris just purchased an 8-by-12-foot ceiling mirror." -- Conan O'Brien