Michael Jackson

In the News

UPDATED 12/15/2003 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 12/15/2003 at 01:00 AM EST

MICHAEL JACKSON

Accuser Fights for His Life

"Looking at the kid breaks my heart," says L.A. comedy-club owner Jamie Masada of his recent visits with Michael Jackson's 14-year-old accuser. (Masada helped arrange the youngster's initial trip to Neverland.) Though the teen's cancer remains in remission, he now needs a kidney transplant. Says Masada: "I'm just praying that he's going to be okay."

THE LACI PETERSON CASE

Amber's Little Secret

While Amber Frey has been helping prosecutors build their case against her Mr. Wrong, ex-lover and accused murderer Scott Peterson, she's discreetly managed to turn up the heat with a potential Mr. Right. "She said, 'I'm not going to let that guy ruin my life,' " says a source close to Frey. 'I'm not going to not be involved with my boyfriend."

Well, more than just involved: She and 43-year-old Fresno, Calif., chiropractor David J. Markovich are expecting a baby next spring. "I think he's happy about it," the same source says of Markovich, a never-married fitness buff who's "about as eligible as they come." Though he and Frey, 28, met about two years ago at Backworks—the practice he owns and where she was a massage therapist—they didn't get romantic until late January. "He's always been one to help out someone else. That's probably what Amber saw in him," says Markovich's older brother Matt, a freelance TV reporter in Seattle, who declines to comment on any possible marriage plans. "He's probably providing emotional support for her."

Frey could undoubtedly use TLC as she prepares for both the arrival of her second child (her daughter turns 3 in February) and Peterson's trial. In the meantime, she seems baffled by the notion some have suggested, that her second out-of-wedlock pregnancy could undermine her testimony. "It's going to be the same whether I'm pregnant or not," Frey told a friend recently. "What difference does it make?"

KOBE BYRANT

Courtroom Countdown

The next hearing in Kobe Bryant's legal imbroglio won't happen until Dec. 19, but the case continues to simmer with reports that his accuser has checked into an Arizona treatment facility. (A lawyer for the 19-year-old declines comment.) Meanwhile, the prosecution team has added a fourth member: sexual assault case specialist Dana Easter. "This is an acknowledgment that they're feeling overwhelmed," says former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman. Not so, says a D.A. spokeswoman: "Dana being added is not a new development. We just couldn't announce it until recently."

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