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Paula Abdul: Free To Gush Again

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 12, 2005

Well, the investigation of Corey Clark's claims about Paula Abdul is done. And it doesn't exactly exonerate her -- mainly saying there's not enough evidence against her. Here's the official statement from the production companies and Fox:

Upon hearing allegations made earlier this year about an improper relationship between “American Idol” judge Paula Abdul and former contestant Corey Clark, FremantleMedia, N.A., Inc., Fox Broadcasting Company and 19 Entertainment immediately launched an internal investigation.  This decision to begin an inquiry was motivated by a profound commitment to preserve the integrity of the “American Idol” competition. 

The inquiry was jointly conducted by outside counsel Marcellus McRae, a partner at the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and a former federal prosecutor, and Ivy Kagan Bierman, an entertainment and labor partner at the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Both have particular expertise in handling Entertainment Industry matters and extensive experience in handling investigations of this nature.

The investigation required almost 600 hours of legal work and spanned over three and a half months.  43 individuals were interviewed, including Ms. Abdul and Mr. Clark.  An extensive review was also conducted of records and materials provided by Mr. Clark and Ms. Abdul.

After completing the inquiry, the investigators concluded:

·        Mr. Clark’s allegations that he and Ms. Abdul had a sexual relationship have not been substantiated by any corroborating evidence or witnesses, including those provided by Mr. Clark, and Ms. Abdul expressly denies that any such relationship ever existed.

·        Mr. Clark’s allegations that Ms. Abdul provided him any special assistance regarding his performance during the competition (including, but not limited to such things as song or wardrobe choice) have not been substantiated by any corroborating evidence or witnesses, including those provided by Mr. Clark himself, and Ms. Abdul expressly denies these allegations.

·        Ms. Abdul acknowledges that she had telephone conversations with Mr. Clark while he was a contestant.  Their accounts of those conversations, however, differ greatly and no evidence was uncovered to resolve the conflicts in their accounts.  Ms. Abdul expressly denies that any of these conversations related to Mr. Clark’s claims of special assistance.

We have determined, based on the findings of this thorough and detailed inquiry, that there is insufficient evidence that the communications between Mr. Clark and Ms. Abdul in any way aided his performance.  Further, we are confident that none of these communications had any impact on the outcome of the competition. 

Paula Abdul, therefore, can continue as a judge on “American Idol.”

Regardless of these findings, and to further protect the integrity of the competition, we are implementing an enhanced non-fraternization policy aimed at preventing any future incidents that could even appear to call into question the relationships between contestants and judges or any other individuals working on “American Idol.”

We appreciate the cooperation of Mr. Clark, Ms. Abdul and others who participated. As the inquiry relates to matters of a personal nature, and in order to protect the privacy interests of the individuals contacted in the course of this investigation, no further information regarding the identity of witnesses or details of the inquiry will be disclosed.

We thank the fans of “American Idol” for their patience and support.

Here, too, is Abdul's statement:

I'm grateful this ordeal is over, and I'm so looking forward to getting back to the job I love. Once again, I thank my fans from throughout the world for their undying love and support.

So our long national nightmare, 2005 edition, is over. Clark's claims did not seem all that strong when ABC aired them, at least to me. Here's some of what I posted (on my old blog site) at the time:

I think (Clark)'s a publicity hound trying to take advantage one last time of his only claim to fame -- being on ''Idol.'' I thought a lot of the ABC report was slimy, including the way that Clark's claim was presented to other former contestants in a dragged-out segment that seemed like a blend of one of "Idol's" after-the-break teasers and a reveal from ''Trading Spaces.'' Yes, the phone records bother me. But I'm still more inclined to look for alternate explanations than to accept what Clark is saying. Time could prove me wrong, but that's where I am right now.

(end old posting)

So now Abdul is free to go back to calling mediocre singers "shining stars,'' to refusing to say whether one singer is better than another, and to dance to covers of songs done far better elsewhere.

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