Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rain expected to testify in his Hawaii trial

HONOLULU - Korean pop star and actor Rain is expected to testify in his civil trial stemming from his canceled concert in Hawaii.

A five-man, three-woman jury was selected among a pool of 52 Tuesday. Opening arguments were scheduled to begin Wednesday.

Among the potential jurors who were eliminated was a University of Hawaii student who indicated to the court he was a fan of Rain, but could remain objective.

Rain - whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon - and his producers are being sued over the performer's abrupt cancellation of a June 2007 concert in Honolulu. Attorneys for both sides listed the 26-year-old performer, who was not in court Tuesday, as one of the witnesses they intended to call. He isn't expected to be in court until next week.

Senior U.S. District Judge Alan C. Kay told jurors the trial is expected to last about two weeks.

Hawaii-based Click Entertainment Inc. alleges in its lawsuit that Rain and his producers breached a contract and defrauded the company of more than $500,000 paid in licensing fees. It is seeking additional damages for the cost of staging the event.

The company also claims in the suit that it has lost business opportunities, earnings and sustained damage to its reputation.

The concert was canceled just days before a scheduled June 15, 2007 performance at Aloha Stadium, disappointing many fans who paid as much as $300 for a ticket and flew to Honolulu from as far as away as Japan and Korea.

It was supposed to be the first stop on the "Rain's Coming" U.S. tour.

Performances in San Francisco, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles were also canceled. All ticket holders were offered refunds.

Concert organizers at the time said they called off the performances because of a copyright challenge from Nevada-based record company Rain Corp. A Nevada District Court later dismissed the case.

Also named in the lawsuit are Korea-based companies JYP Entertainment Co. and Star M Entertainment, in addition to other parties.

Rain is widely popular across Asia where his smooth dance moves and sculpted body have earned him the nickname "the Justin Timberlake of Asia". He also gained popularity with his roles in Korean TV drama series, such as the hit "Full House".

He has been dabbling in Hollywood in recent years. Rain is scheduled to appear in a leading role in the upcoming action film "Ninja Assassin", directed by James McTeigue and co-produced by the Wachowski brothers. Rain made his Hollywood debut last year in a supporting role in the brothers' film "Speed Racer".


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