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Madonna Is a No-Show at Trial; Death Threats Told

From Times Wire Services

A court official said today that death threats had been made against pop superstar Madonna and possibly were the reason she canceled her scheduled appearance at a civil trial over a dispute with a neighbor.

“Sheriff’s deputies said one of the attorneys in the case told them there were some death threats (made against Madonna),” said Rebecca Kuzins, public information officer for the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Deputies beefed up security at the trial, searching everyone entering the courtroom with a metal detector. Kuzins said the increased security is common practice when a celebrity is expected in court and was not necessarily prompted by the reports of death threats.

Madonna had been ordered by Superior Court Judge Sally Disco to appear in court for the start of the civil trial today, but she did not appear. The judge rescinded the order after attorneys for Madonna and her next-door neighbor in the Hollywood Hills, real estate broker Donald Robinson, agreed to use a sworn deposition Madonna previously gave in lieu of her testimony.

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Robinson testified that Madonna violated a written agreement to keep her hedges and trees trimmed to a level that would not interfere with the view from his multimillion-dollar home.

He said Madonna’s brother, Chris Ciccone, met with him when she bought the house below his in 1989 and agreed to keep the shrubbery under control. But instead, he said, Madonna planted more trees and totally obscured his view.

“My intention was to protect my property value, my view and to enjoy my home,” said Robinson, who estimated his loss at $1 million.

Madonna’s lawyer, Meghan Serwin, maintained that the star has complied with the agreement to keep the greenery trimmed and claimed in her argument that Robinson allowed his guests to peer through the hedges to spy on Madonna.

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