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Paris Hilton flew in from Dubai and wore a conservative black-and-white outfit Thursday as trial opened in Miami federal court on a receiver’s demand that her company pay more than $8 million for a less-than-stellar promotional campaign to introduce one of her box-office bombs. Inside Track: Judge makes Paris feel comfortable, even in killer heels Slideshow: Paris arrives in court Bryan Thomas West, a Tew Cardenas partner representing the court-appointed receiver, said in his opening statement that Hilton would come up with any excuse to not fulfill her contract. “Ms. Hilton and her handlers think the rules don’t apply to them,” West said. “They wanted nothing to do with this film.” Hilton and her team did not follow through on nine publicity requests for “Pledge This!” including appearances with late-night hosts Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel and in Austria and Japan. Hilton said in a deposition that she preferred Dave Letterman to Leno because she doesn’t like his questions. Hilton’s Los Angeles attorney Michael E. Weinsten rejected West’s logic on reserving a celebrity’s time. “To say to Paris Hilton ‘you are our insurance policy’ because she didn’t do these interviews, it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Weinsten said. “The reasons that she could not fulfill publicity requests for the movie is they would ask her to do a talk show in Los Angeles when she was in Tokyo and Sydney.” The jetsetting star can’t do everything for everyone, he said. “This is a very difficult life,” said Weinsten, a partner with Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor. “She lives a schedule of chaos. That’s why she has handlers. She just flew in from Dubai and got in at 11:30 last night after filming 23 of 24 days in the Middle Eastern nation.” U.S. District Judge Federico Moreno, who is hearing the civil case without a jury, asked why she couldn’t do a promotion for the film now while she’s in Miami, and Weinsten said she had other commitments. The judge interrupted West’s opening remarks to ask him to explain the difference between a reasonable and unreasonable publicity request. When West struggled for a quick answer, the judge asked if it would be reasonable to ask Hilton to stroll down the Champs-Elysées with a sign that read “Pledge This!” Hilton smiled and appeared to chuckle at Moreno’s remark. “Where do we draw the line?” he asked. West said Hilton refused to do interviews with two British magazines that didn’t live up to her standards. “Whatever those standards would be,” the judge quipped. He also offered the observation that the contract was poorly drafted. The celebrity heiress is expected to take the stand Friday in defense of her Paris Hilton Entertainment contract with the National Lampoon movie producer, Worldwide Entertainment Group. The company was seized by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2006 as yet another South Florida Ponzi scheme. The company’s receiver, Akerman Senterfitt shareholder Michael Goldberg of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., filed suit against Hilton’s company last year in an effort to recoup money for 3,300 jilted investors. Hilton’s appearance attracted cameras outside the courthouse, but she received no special perks from the court. The trial is expected to focus on her handlers and a series of e-mails that criticized the movie and Hilton’s involvement. Hilton, 28, said in a deposition that she implicitly relies on her handlers, saying she had never even seen one of her own cellphone bills until attorneys showed her a copy. The one-time star of the reality TV show “The Simple Life” said she went the extra mile to plug the movie, which made only about $2.9 million worldwide on just 25 theaters screens, according to court documents. Hilton said she did promotional events at the Cannes Film Festival in France, appeared at the movie’s Chicago premiere and generally mentioned it publicly whenever possible. “Any chance I got, any red carpet, any press, if I was doing something for another product, even if I wasn’t asked about it, I would just bring it up,” she said in the deposition. Hilton, who was paid $1 million to act in the movie, says she actually is one of the victims of Worldwide Entertainment Group, never getting paid a promised $125,000 bonus. Even though “Pledge This!” received limited theater distribution, there was big 2006 holiday season DVD blitz with as many as six shelves dedicated to it at some Blockbuster outlets. The movie centered on Hilton as a sorority president at South Beach University who takes a group of freshman girls under her wing. The DVD cover pictured Hilton, whose name sells perfume, cellphones and other products. “She does have the Midas touch when it comes to promoting things,” West conceded. Moreno has split the trial into two phases: liability and damages. If he finds Hilton’s company liable, he will schedule the second phase for later this summer. The SEC claimed Worldwide Entertainment was a multimillion-dollar fraud and won a civil judgment against its Miami concert and theater promoter Jack Utsick and several other associates. Utsick is listed as a producer of “Pledge This!” He once was a high-flying concert promoter, setting up tours for the likes of Elton John, Shania Twain, Ricky Martin, Santana, the Pretenders and Aerosmith. The SEC claimed in a 2006 lawsuit that Utsick promised unreasonable returns while pocketing money to fund a lavish lifestyle and paying off older investors with cash from new ones. Since then, Utsick has refused to leave Brazil, where he moved, to give a deposition in the SEC lawsuit, contending through his attorneys that he’d be arrested in the U.S. No criminal charges have been filed against him. Utsick claims the SEC allegations are wrong and plans to appeal, said his lawyer, Richard Kraut, a Dilworth Paxson partner in Washington. Utsick “wants it known to all that he operated a large, worldwide business with legitimate operations,” Kraut said. U.S. District Judge Paul Huck took a different view in the SEC case, ordering Utsick to cough up more than $4.1 million in ill-gotten gains and assets that afforded him a rented luxury Miami condominium, yacht and vintage cars. Any money recovered from Utsick or the Hilton lawsuit would go to defrauded investors. The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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