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Legal Woes in Aftermath of Beatle's Death

January 16, 2002

George Harrison's widow, Olivia Arias Harrison, has filed a civil suit against her former brother-in-law, Carl Roles, and his current wife, Carol, for allegedly stealing Harrison memorabilia and attempting to sell it the day after the former Beatle's death.

On Friday, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge issued a temporary restraining order to prevent Roles from selling the property.

According to the suit, Roles called an unnamed reporter in Arizona on Nov. 30, trying to hawk 10 boxes of photographs (including one featuring Harrison with former President Gerald Ford), records and clothing that he had taken from a house that Harrison owned in Los Angeles.

Roles allegedly told the reporter that "there was a lot of money to be made from memorabilia related to George Harrison, given his recent death."

But the reporter told Gavin de Becker, a security expert who works for Harrison's estate. He, in turn, notified the FBI. An undercover agent, posing as a memorabilia collector, met with the Roleses, while de Becker watched from another room.

Carl Roles admitted during the meeting that he had taken the boxes of items, one of which was labeled "GH $tuff," but he and his wife refused to return the belongings to Harrison's family, according to the suit.

Roles had access to the items when he was married to Olivia Harrison's sister, Linda Arias. The couple, who later divorced, lived rent-free at the property owned by the Harrisons on the condition they would take care of it.

The house was destroyed by a mudslide around 1980. Roles said he had taken the belongings at that time, according to the suit.

Robert Chapman, an attorney for the executors of Harrison's estate, said the value of the memorabilia is unknown because "we don't know everything he has. We've only seen a very little bit of it. He tells us that he has a least 10 boxes' worth."

A spokesman for the Harrisons said that the family is "extremely pleased" with the restraining order and that it wishes "to do everything they can to preserve Harrison's property and his memory."

The Roleses could not be reached for comment.

The suit, which seeks damages and a permanent injunction, is scheduled for court early next month.

Monica Is Back

Just when you thought Monica Lewinsky had lost interest in the media (after all, she is a successful purse designer), she takes the podium this afternoon at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Pasadena before a roomful of TV critics and reporters to discuss the making of a new HBO documentary on (what else?) her White House experience. "Monica in Black and White," which debuts March 3 on HBO, was taped live at Cooper Union in New York City and features audience questions along with news footage. The film's producer/director team, Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey, is also known for documentaries on Tammy Faye Bakker ("The Eyes of Tammy Faye"), male hustlers in Los Angeles ("101 Rent Boys"), the porn industry ("Pornography: The Secret History of Civilization") and Ellen DeGeneres ("The Real Ellen Story").

The former White House intern, whose affair with former President Bill Clinton made her a household name, is set to talk to the TV Critics Assn. at the group's semiannual gathering.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani also is scheduled to appear to discuss an upcoming HBO documentary, ''In Memoriam: September 11, 2001, New York City."

Trouble Backstage

Things got dicey backstage at the Muhammad Ali 60th Birthday Celebration at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood on Saturday between "Ali" co-star Jamie Foxx and Mariah Carey's older brother Morgan. According to our spies, just moments before Carey was scheduled to perform "Happy Birthday" onstage for Ali, Foxx, who was commenting about his performance notes, used the word "breakdown," prompting laughter from people nearby. (Last summer, Carey was hospitalized after suffering an emotional and physical breakdown.) Morgan overheard the laughter and told Foxx: "That's not funny." Then Morgan and Foxx started cursing each other. Security separated them.

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