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Madonna Ordered to Be in Court

December 22, 1995|ANDREA FORD | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Madonna, the self-described "Material Girl," is a material witness in the case against a man accused of stalking her, and if she doesn't show up in court next month it could cost her $5 million, a judge ruled Thursday.

At issue is whether the superstar entertainer must come to the downtown Criminal Courts Building to testify against Robert Dewey Hoskins, who is accused of threatening her and her employees and invading her Hollywood Hills property, where he was shot by her bodyguard in May.

She doesn't want to, her lawyer says.

But she must, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Rhonda Saunders, because prosecutors have to prove in stalking cases that the target of the obsession was frightened, and they can only do that with firsthand testimony.

This week, a detective who had been trying to serve a subpoena on the singer and actress caught her jogging near her home with her personal trainer and trotted alongside her explaining why she had to come to court Thursday morning. He then stuck the subpoena under her arm.

She failed to show up, however, because she is "tired and sick" after a stay in Europe, her lawyer, Nicholas DeWitt, explained to Superior Court Judge Andrew Kauffman.

Moreover, said DeWitt, Madonna cannot testify because she has to be in Argentina soon to film the movie "Evita."

"Her agreement to testify was always conditional upon her availability and her schedule," DeWitt said.

Unmoved by the lawyer's plea to dismiss two of the five charges against Hoskins that specifically name Madonna, Kauffman issued what is called a body attachment on the entertainer requiring her to be in court for the start of Hoskins' trial, rescheduled for Jan. 2.

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If she is not, Kauffman warned, sheriff's deputies will be ordered to arrest her on sight and she will have to post $5 million bail to be released.

Saunders had sought to have Madonna brought into court immediately or face arrest and $500,000 bail.

DeWitt promised Kauffman that he would get Madonna to court at the appointed time, saying she was "not going to ignore a court order."

"She's already ignored a court order," Kauffman dryly replied, referring to the subpoena.

Of the bail, Kauffman said, "I assume that will encourage her to be here on Jan. 2."

A flabbergasted DeWitt complained, to no avail, that Kauffman's action would turn his client "into a criminal."

Outside court, Saunders said she is adamant about Madonna testifying against Hoskins because stalkers are dangerous to people other than their targets.

She noted that Hoskins is accused of, in addition to threatening to kill Madonna, threatening her bodyguard and an assistant.

"The issue is stalking," Saunders said, "not who Madonna is."

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The charges against Hoskins stem from incidents of alleged stalking at the entertainer's home, where authorities say he showed up threatening to "slice her throat from ear to ear."

The last incident occurred May 29, when Hoskins allegedly jumped the wall at the singer's property near Lake Hollywood carrying a wooden heart bearing the words "Love to my wife Madnna [sic]."

When confronted by guards, he became belligerent and lunged at Madonna's bodyguard, Basil Stephens, authorities said, prompting Stephens to shoot him twice. Hoskins, in court Thursday, has recovered from wounds to his arm and abdomen.

Madonna was not at home at the time of either incident.

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