Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 13 News List

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US singer Madonna has felt the pain of childbirth.

PHOTO: AFP

Madonna says criticism over her adoption of a Malawian boy hurt so much that she compared it to birthing pains.

“It was painful, and it was a big struggle, and I didn’t understand it,” Madonna told reporters at the Cannes Film Festival last week. “But in the end I rationalized that, when a woman has a child and goes through natural childbirth, she suffers an enormous amount.

“So I sort of went through my own kind of birthing pains with dealing with the press on my front doorstep accusing me of kidnapping or whatever you want to call it,” she said.

Madonna was at the Cannes Film Festival to attend a gala benefit dinner for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, and to show I Am Because We Are, a documentary she produced and narrated that shows poverty, AIDS and other diseases devastating Malawi’s children.

Madonna, 49, has been raising David Banda, now 2, since 2006, when she met him while in the southern African nation establishing charity projects there.

Critics have said Madonna used her celebrity status to circumvent Malawian adoption laws — allegations she denies. Malawian law is fuzzy on foreign adoptions. Regulations only stipulate that prospective parents undergo an 18-to-24-month assessment period in Malawi, a rule that was bent when Madonna was allowed to take David to London.

The singer said she was “happy to be the guinea pig” for Malawian adoptions.

“Hopefully, after we get through this adoption, it will be easier for people to adopt children,” she said.

David’s mother died when he was a month old. His father has said he believed he could not care for him alone and that placing him in an orphanage was the best way to ensure David’s survival. The father has said he did not object to Madonna adopting David.

In California, a judge who is waiting for a state Supreme Court decision on whether he will preside over Phil Spector’s second murder trial went ahead on Thursday and scheduled it to begin in September.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler said a trial date is needed, whether he presides or not. Lawyers for the music producer are challenging Fidler on grounds that he is biased against Spector.

Spector’s first trial ended in September with a deadlocked jury.

Spector, famed for his revolutionary “Wall of Sound” recording technique, is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion on Feb. 3, 2003.

Fidler set a trial date of Sept. 29, and also set a hearing on motions for July 29.

Spector’s lawyer said it would be a week or two before the Supreme Court makes a decision.

Clarkson, 40, best known for her role in the cult film Barbarian Queen, was working as a hostess at the House of Blues when she met Spector and went home with him.

Spector, 69, attended Thursday’s hearing with his wife, Rachelle.

He was decked out in one of his signature frock-coat suits and wearing a large button on his lapel that read “Obama Rocks.” Clarkson’s mother, sister and a family lawyer sat in the front row of the courtroom. They are waiting for resolution of the criminal case before they pursue a wrongful-death lawsuit against Spector.

In its Supreme Court brief, the defense argued that Fidler’s rulings toward the end of the first trial were designed to ensure Spector’s conviction, in part to counter media reports that a celebrity could not be convicted in a Los Angeles court. Fidler has denied that and turned down a bid to remove himself from the second trial.

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