Irish Court Seeks Shady Testimony

By | March 8, 2007 at 8:22 PM

A Dublin High Court judge on Wednesday formally requested that Eminem provide testimony under oath explaining why he scrapped a sold-out gig at Slane Castle in 2005. The rap superstar’s answers are considered a potentially critical part of a civil lawsuit brought by the promoter against three insurance companies that declined to cover the costs of the cancellation.

Eminem had been slated to headline the Sept. 17, 2005 concert as part of the European leg of his Anger Management Tour, but the rapper, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, backed out just weeks before the show, citing exhaustion stemming from other medical issues. He subsequently entered rehab to deal with an addiction to sleeping pills.

The company organizing the show, MCD, was forced to refund more than the 80,000 tickets that had been snapped up in little less than an hour. The concert date was never made up and MCD’s three London-based insurers–Liberty Syndicate Management, Brit Insurance Ltd. and Markel International Ltd.–failed to cover the promoter’s costs. MCD in turn sued the insurers for up $2 million for breach of contract to recover the costs of the cancellation.

Per the Belfast Telegraph, Justice Peter Kelly, who is overseeing the case, wrote a letter to the U.S. District Court of Eastern Michigan in Detroit requesting that the hip-hopster tell his side of the story to a judge in his hometown. Then, the evidence would be forwarded to Ireland, where it would be read into the record in Kelly’s court.

Eminem’s participation seems unlikely at this point. Kelly doesn’t have any jurisdiction in the U.S. and the Irish judge refused to promise to keep the rapper’s testimony secret. Eminem’s attorney wanted the testimony to be filed under seal because the rapper would be questioned about his medical history. Instead, Kelly said he would keep the comments under wraps only until they were entered into the public record at the Dublin proceedings.

Eminem’s publicist could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Court cases aside, the rapper had cause to celebrate earlier this week after signing an exclusive, worldwide administration deal with Universal Music Publishing Group.

Financial terms of the deal were not announced but it’s likely Eminem secured a hefty payday, since Universal’s publishing arm will oversee rights to his most famous tunes, up through his most recent releases, including the greatest hits compilation, Curtain Call, as well as Eminem Presents: The Re-Up , which features artists signed to his Shady Records label. The deal also covers songs he cowrote on 50 Cent’s The Massacre and other collaborative tracks, including the Akon-produced “Smack That.”

Additionally, UMG will launch Shady Music Publishing, a joint venture that will give Eminem and longtime manager Paul Rosenberg the chance to sign other artists.

The nine-time Grammy winner, who has sold over 70 million albums, has repeatedly denied that he has retired from the rap biz. Indeed, after producing protégé Obie Trice’s latest disc, Second Round’s on Me, and shepherding The Re-Up, Eminem is reportedly back in the studio with Dr. Dre for an album due by the end of the year.

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