Publications refuse to hand over audio in Charlie Sheen case
By Jill Serjeant and Sara Catania
NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Celebrity website RadarOnline.com and the National Enquirer on Thursday refused to hand over material sought by authorities investigating threats that the two related media outlets reported actor Charlie Sheen made against a former girlfriend.
Sheen's admittedly raucous lifestyle, substance abuse, stints in rehab and fondness for dating porn stars have overshadowed for years the career of the former TV star of "Two and a Half Men."
The latest commotion has crossed from celebrity gossip to a battle over press freedom and a possible criminal case.
Los Angeles police have opened a criminal investigation of Sheen, and on Tuesday served a search warrant on the New York headquarters of American Media Inc, the parent company of both RadarOnline and the Enquirer.
The police probe follows published reports by RadarOnline and the Enquirer about audio in which a man, said to be Sheen, is heard saying he would like to see a former fiancee "have her head kicked in." Neither publication has published the audio.
Sheen's attorney and agent did not respond to requests for comment.
Dylan Howard, editor-in-chief of the Enquirer and editorial director of RadarOnline, told Reuters the two outlets had no plans to turn over documents or identify their sources.
He said the search warrant, signed by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, was illegal under both state and federal law that prevents the use of such warrants against media organizations relating to "newsworthy" information. Continued...