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The daily dish...

Why did Jackson die?...

To hear lawyers for Michael Jackson's physician tell it, the pop star lived his last days in a state of physical and financial desperation. Hooked on Demerol and starved for sleep, he worried constantly about a comeback attempt that offered him one last chance to pay off his mountain of debt and reclaim a place in the music industry, the lawyers have said.

It's a portrayal that attorneys for Dr. Conrad Murray say is vital to understanding what led to Jackson's death, but after a series of court rulings Monday, it is unlikely to be heard by jurors at the doctor's upcoming involuntary manslaughter trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor excluded the testimony of more than a dozen defense witnesses, including Jackson's longtime dermatologist, his business manager and the nanny for his three children.

The defense had hoped the testimony of these Jackson confidants and other insiders would convince a jury that the singer was so drug-addled and experiencing so much pressure to perform that he accidentally overdosed on a surgical anesthetic.

But the judge said these witnesses, some of whose accounts of Jackson's drug use went back two decades, would confuse jurors.


A reluctant star...

Ed O'Neill's new star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame would seem to be in an appropriate spot: in front of a DSW shoe store on Hollywood Boulevard.

O'Neill used to play shoe salesman Al Bundy on the long-running sitcom "Married With Children."

The Emmy-nominated star of "Modern Family" received his sidewalk honor Tuesday. The ceremony included his two TV wives, Sofia Vergara from "Modern," the current ABC hit, and Katey Sagal from "Married," which aired on Fox.

The 65-year-old O'Neill recently told the Vindicator, his hometown newspaper in Youngstown, Ohio, that he almost turned down the Walk of Fame star because he thought it was "kind of weird." But his daughter helped him see it was a point of pride.


Ruling for Britney...

A judge won't give a company suing Britney Spears access to her medical information.

The pop star is still under court-ordered conservatorship after a bout of erratic behavior in 2008. Her father and attorneys control her personal and financial affairs.

Because of the conservatorship, she will not be required to give a deposition in the lawsuit from the company, Brand Sense, which claims it helped negotiate a perfume deal for Spears but was cut out of the profits.

Brand Sense wanted to see medical records proving Spears couldn't testify. But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Reva Goetz ruled Tuesday that Brand Sense Partners has no standing to see medical records.

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