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HARROWING NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCES SET TO MUSIC!
Weird Nerve Disorders! ODs! Heart Surgery! Michael Jackson! But First… Puffy In Court!
COMBS LAWYER ATTACKS WITNESS
Sean "Puffy" Combs
' lawyer Benjamin Brafman Thursday (1/11) called one of the prosecution's lead witnesses a liar and a fraud during a pretrial hearing in Combs' much-publicized gun possession case, as he unsuccessfully petitioned for the partial lifting of a gag order. Brafman has been prevented by that order from responding in the press to shooting victim Natania Reuben's claim that she saw Combs with a gun during the December 1999 shooting at Club New York that led to his charges. But he used his time in court to address her anticipated testimony as unreliable. "I can [present] 30 witnesses, all with impeccable credentials, who'll say they were in Club New York and this woman is a liar," Brafman said. "This woman is a complete fraud—everything about her is a fraud." Fear not, HITS' own courtroom courier David Simutis will be covering this trial "gavel-to-gavel," he said.

NOT CASHING OUT
Music legend Johnny Cash, recently troubled by an increasing number of medical ailments, has now been diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy, a term doctors use when they don't really know what's wrong with one's central nervous system. According to DrKoop.com, autonomic neuropathy affects about 8 out of 100,000 people and its symptoms include blood pressure problems, body temperature fluctuations, dizziness, unintentional weight loss and nausea. The new prognosis comes after Cash said that he didn't have Shy-Drager syndrome or Parkinson's disease, which he as was previously diagnosed as having. Cash insiders say the Man in Black is immune to human disease and this latest revelation will also pass.

AND HE THOUGHT BREAKING UP WAS HARD TO DO
Neil Sedaka is recovering after undergoing a successful angioplasty. Sedaka had surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital after being treated earlier in the week at Baptist Hospital of East Tennessee. Sedaka was scheduled to perform in Knoxville before falling ill. Sedaka will resume his tour Jan. 25 in Wilmington, DE. Understandably, his doctor has warned him off the heart-breaking tunes for a while.

TURN OF THE SCREW
A combination of codeine from cough medicine, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs caused the November death of hip-hop producer DJ Screw, a spokesperson for Houston's Medical Examiner's office said. "If only he didn't have that cough," friends said. "He'd probably still be with us today."

AND THEN IT'S OFF TO NEVERLAND!
Pop superstar Michael Jackson will address Britain's Oxford Union on the subject of child welfare. The gloved one is slated to speak to the debating society of the prestigious university on March 6. Jackson will be lecturing alongside his new mentor, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on "the fine art of balancing romantic love, familial love and professional dedication." And if the past has taught us anything, it is that Michael Jackson cares about kids' welfare.

BLACKOUT TUESDAY: HOW THE MAJORS RESPONDED
(6/5a)
HARLESTON, HABTEMARIAM LAUNCH UMG TASK FORCE
(6/5a)
SONY MUSIC SETS UP $100M FUND
(6/5a)
10K OPENS FUND TO AID BLACK YOUTH
(6/5a)
BLACK MUSIC MONTH: THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TELEVISED
(6/5a)
WHAT NEXT?
The biz ponders action after some reflection.
GRAMMY SPECULATION
100% guaranteed to be somewhat accurate, probably.
BLACK MUSIC MONTH
...continues.
TRUMP'S IN THE BUNKER
Just to inspect it, though.
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