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Stone backs Kid­man on new Pres­i­dent Har­ris in court for lat­est trial

Sunday Herald Sun - - News - ELLEN WHINNETT LON­DON SARAH BLAKE LOS AN­GE­LES sarah.blake@news.com.au CALL­ING DON­ALD, PAGE 31

AS Aus­tralia’s un­of­fi­cial Los An­ge­les am­bas­sador, celebrity chef Cur­tis Stone has a mes­sage for any­one pan­ick­ing about the new US Pres­i­dent: give Don­ald Trump a chance. The laid-back ex­pat Mel­bourne chef, now a house­hold name in the States as a TV host and owner of two suc­cess­ful Los An­ge­les restau­rants, echoed re­cent com­ments from fel­low ex­pat Ni­cole Kid­man. She said peo­ple should ac­cept the Trump pres­i­dency be­cause he was demo­crat­i­cally elected. “My granny al­ways taught me you should never talk about re­li­gion and pol­i­tics — and for the first time I prob­a­bly un­der­stand why,” said Stone, who is not a Trump sup­porter. “We all have opin­ions on what Trump means, but we won’t re­ally un­der­stand un­til it hap­pens. Much as it is re­ported in the me­dia, noth­ing here has changed yet in our day-to-day lives,” he said. “Yes, there are some re­ally un­set­tled peo­ple. But in some ways I re­ally like the fact that we are all talk­ing about it, at least, be­cause if you don’t talk about it then noth­ing can ever be fixed or changed.” Speak­ing at his new LA butch­ery and restau­rant called Gwen, on Sun­set Strip, Stone was busy last week host­ing a stream of Aussie vis­i­tors in town for G’Day USA and Aus­tralia Day. Stone is one of the more prom­i­nent mem­bers of LA’s “gum­nut mafia” af­ter win­ning over Amer­i­can au­di­ences with reg­u­lar ap­pear­ances on Oprah Win­frey’s lon­grun­ning TV talk show. He now co- ROLF Har­ris has ap­peared in court at his own trial for the first time, and a ver­dict is likely next week.

Har­ris, 86, has pleaded not guilty to six counts of in­de­cent as­sault and one of sex­ual as­sault against seven women and girls in Lon­don be­tween 1971 and 2004.

For the first three weeks of his trial he has ap­peared via vide­olink from Stafford Prison in ru­ral Eng­land, where he was hosts an Amer­i­can ver­sion of My Kitchen Rules.

“Peo­ple were say­ing that the stock mar­ket would plum­met once Don­ald Trump took of­fice, yet it’s going through the roof right now,” he added.

“That cer­tainly doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean it’s a good thing, by the way, it could be a bad thing, but the anal­y­sis is tricky,” he said.

Stone said he wor­ried for his two Amer­i­can-born chil­dren in a coun­try strug­gling with deep di­vi­sions.

“I think it’s scary, I am not going to lie to you,” he said of the cur­rent cli­mate.

In a sign of how fe­ro­ciously any com­men­tary on Mr Trump is de­bated, Kid­man was slammed re­cently on so­cial me­dia and had to deny she en­dorsed the con­tro­ver­sial new pres­i­dent. She said on the red car­pet while pro­mot­ing new movie Lion: “So I just say, he’s now elected, and we as a coun­try need to sup­port who­ever is the pres­i­dent be­cause that’s what the coun­try’s based on.

“What­ever, how­ever that hap­pened, he’s there, and let’s go. For me, I’m very, very com­mit­ted to women’s is­sues.”

She later said her com­ments were mis­con­strued. “I was try­ing to stress that I be­lieve in democ­racy and the Con­sti­tu­tion, it was that sim­ple.” jailed af­ter be­ing con­victed in 2014 of in­de­cently as­sault­ing four women and girls.

But with the new trial wrap­ping up much quicker than the six weeks that were sched­uled, he has been moved closer, and is ap­pear­ing in per­son in South­wark Crown Court.

The Aus­tralian-born en­ter­tainer con­tin­ues to main­tain he is in­no­cent of the charges on which he was pre­vi­ously con­victed.

The de­fence yes­ter­day called or read state­ments from wit­nesses who had been at the same events where com­plainants al­lege Har­ris had touched them in­ap­pro­pri­ately.

The wit­nesses, in­clud­ing vet­eran English ac­tor Rula Len­ska, said they had no knowl­edge of any­thing un­to­ward hap­pen­ing.

Cur­tis Stone in­side his new LA butch­ery and restau­rant, Gwen, and (be­low right) with an­other Aussie TV star, Larry Em­dur, who dropped in on Aus­tralia Day . Pic­tures: GLEN McCURTAYNE

Mr Say­ers asked the cop if he was cer­tain the radar gun cap­tured the speed of his ve­hi­cle and not an an­i­mal, when he ap­pealed his fine.

A Newburyport District Court judge asked Mr Say­ers: “You’re not con­tend­ing the radar picked up the deer?”

Mr Say­ers replied any­thing was pos­si­ble, but the fine was up­held.

Deer have a top speed of about 48kmh. Rolf Har­ris

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