NEW YORK – New York’s “Naked Cowboy” is looking for some new exposure as a presidential candidate.

Robert Burck is familiar to any Times Square tourist as the man standing in the heart of the “Crossroads of the World,” playing a guitar and wearing only tighty-whiteys, boots and a cowboy hat.

But he wore a suit and tie Wednesday as he announced his intention to run for president in 2012 as a member of the conservative tea party movement.

He proclaimed he was running “in defense of individual liberty” and criticized President Obama for the direction of the country.

“America is rapidly transforming into a government-run enterprise,” the tourist attraction said, adding that “American politicians are selling out America and its most cherished institution, that being capitalism.”

For the big announcement, the hat was off — perhaps symbolically tossed into the ring. Burck said he was registered as a Republican in Ohio.

Is he serious? He says yes. But this isn’t his first flirtation with public office. He announced a mayoral run in 2009 and later dropped out.

His news conference attracted a throng of media, as well as curious onlookers.

Gibson’s ex: ‘I thought he would kill me’

LOS ANGELES – Mel Gibson’s ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva said she feared the Academy Award winner might kill her during a fight earlier this year, giving her first public account of an argument she claims turned violent.

The Russian-born musician accuses the “Braveheart” star of hitting and choking her and claims he had a gun during the January confrontation.

“I was scared for my life and my daughter’s,” she told People magazine in a story published Wednesday. “I thought he would kill me.”

Grigorieva also told the magazine she did not leak now-famous tapes purportedly of the actor in a series of racist and misogynistic rants.

Judge sides with Swift over fake merchandise


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Swift has won a court fight against 16 individuals she claimed violated trademark by selling counterfeit merchandise bearing her name and picture.

Court documents said a federal judge in Nashville granted a default judgment last week permanently barring 16 individuals from making or selling Taylor Swift merchandise.

Swift claimed in the suit that her merchandise enforcement team found numerous individuals selling fake goods across the country during her 2009 tour, including T-shirts with her image on them.

A message left for Swift’s attorney on Wednesday was not immediately returned. Court records indicated that the accused individuals had no attorneys listed and they had not responded to the lawsuit.t

Stone gets gem of a role


NEW YORK – Emma Stone will play Gwen Stacy in the next “Spider-Man” movie.

Stone will star opposite Andrew Garfield, who plays Spidey and alter-ego Peter Parker. The announcement was made Tuesday by Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Columbia Pictures.

Director Marc Webb says the chemistry between Stone and Garfield was “stunning,” which made the 21-year-old actress the “clear choice” to play Gwen.

Stone’s screen credits include “Easy A” and “Superbad.”