November 18, 2002 11:00 AM

JUDGED: Michael Jackson, 44, arriving at a Santa Maria, Calif., courthouse for his third day of testimony Friday in a $21 million breach-of-promise lawsuit (he stands accused of backing out of two millennium concerts), smiled and offered a one-word assessment of the trial thus far: “Interesting.” The trial, reports the Associated Press, is expected to last into December, with a weeklong break for Thanksgiving. Jackson plans to be absent this week while he travels to Germany, where he says he is receiving a humanitarian award for helping children.

CLAIMED: Gardener Kevin Persons says TLC’s Tionne "T-Boz" Watkins and her rapper husband Mack 10 (Detrick Rolison) ordered lots of green last year for their gated home in Moorpark, Calif., but never got around to handing over any green to Parsons’s gardening firm, AP reports. He’s now suing for $15,000 for 50 flats of snapdragons, as well as several other plants, sod, irrigation, lighting and other landscaping materials. Says Parsons of Mack 10: “He’s got more money in cars than what I make in a year.” A hearing is slated for next week.

BORN: Taylor Hanson, 19, the middle brother of the boy band Hanson, and his wife, Natalie, 18, welcomed a baby son on Halloween morning, MTV News reports. Jordan Ezra Hanson weighed in at 6 lbs., 13 oz. His parents have been married since last June. Meanwhile, Ezra’s dad has just wrapped up work on a new album with this brothers, and it should be released come early spring.

SOLD: A wad of the late Elvis Presley’s jet black locks (about the size of a baseball) sold at an auction in Chicago Saturday for $115,120, AP reports. The bidder’s name was not released. The Elvis hair was collected by the King’s former hairstylist, Homer “Mr. Gill” Gilleland, according to Brian Marren, vice president of acquisitions for the MastroNet auction Web site, which handled the sale. Gilleland, now deceased, gave the hair to friend Tom Morgan, who sold it through the auction house. Presley died in 1977 at the age of 42.

HOSPITALIZED: Monaco’s Prince Rainier, 79, widower of Grace Kelly and father of Princesses Caroline and Stephanie and Prince Albert, has been admitted to a heart and chest clinic in the principality “because of a bronchial pulmonary infection,” the palace tells AP. “This condition…will necessitate a stay in hospital of several days,” the statement said, adding that Rainier has improved since his admission to the hospital.

CONFRONTED: “Super Freak” singer Rick James, 54, publicly confronting allegations that he sexually assaulted an unidentified 26-year-old woman at his home last weekend, said outside his lawyer’s office in Los Angeles on Friday that he is the victim of a financially motivated smear campaign, Reuters reports. “Once the smoke has cleared the air, everyone will find out that these are just false allegations,” he told reporters. “I feel good, I’m working on albums. I’m trying to be a father to my son and leave all the drugs alone.”

RESUMED: After a tobacco-free 13 years, James Bond, who put down the butt after 1989’s “Licence to Kill,” has lit up again, reports Britain’s Sunday Times, which ran a shot of Pierce Brosnan in the latest 007 adventure, appropriately titled “Die Another Day,” puffing a stogie. The decision to feature cigars in the film — which premieres in London Monday and opens to the American public on Friday — has outraged the anti-smoking lobby, Reuters reports. When Brosnan took over the role in the mid-1990s, he adopted a strong anti-smoking stance but agreed to smoke cigars in the latest movie because it is set in Cuba, reports the paper, which also said the new movie is so littered with blatant plugs for brand names that critics are now calling it “Buy Another Day.”

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