LOS ANGELES – A judge declared a mistrial Monday in Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination trial after the jury deadlocked, leaving an unresolved finale to a two-week trial that focused on the behind-the-scenes intrigue and personalities of TV’s “Desperate Housewives.”

Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White excused the panel after it deadlocked 8-4 in favor of Sheridan’s claim.

Sheridan strolled out of the courthouse after the decision without speaking to reporters.

Sheridan had been seeking roughly $6 million from her former employers. She claimed her role as Edie Britt was eliminated because she complained that series creator Marc Cherry struck her in the head during a September 2008 on-set dispute.

ABC attorneys denied all wrongdoing and presented witnesses who said Cherry received permission from top studio and network officials to kill Britt four months before his dispute with Sheridan.

Cherry denied hitting the actress, claiming he tapped her on the head for artistic direction.

The jury of nine women and three men was presented conflicting evidence and testimony throughout the trial. A vote of at least 9-3 was required to reach a verdict.

Defense attorney Adam Levin said Sheridan’s account of Cherry striking her had grown “progressively more exaggerated” over the years, and pointed to the testimony of numerous witnesses who supported Cherry’s testimony that he killed off the actress’ role for creative reasons. Sheridan’s attorney Mark Baute accused ABC’s witnesses of lying and destroying evidence.

Sheridan sued Cherry in April 2010, claiming he hit her and later killed off her character after he was exonerated by an ABC human resources investigation.

Initially, the Britt character had only been expected to appear in the show’s pilot, but Cherry said he urged ABC to make her a regular on “Desperate Housewives” and later lobbied for Sheridan to receive a share of the show’s profits. The primetime comedy/soap opera was a ratings hit in its early seasons, but viewership has dwindled.

By the show’s fifth season, during which Britt was killed off, the show’s producers were under pressure to cut costs, and Cherry said all storytelling options for Sheridan’s character had been expended.

Actor Penn honored for relief work in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Actor Sean Penn is being honored by a group of Nobel laureates for his relief work in Haiti following the country’s devastating January 2010 earthquake.

Penn is to receive the 2012 Peace Summit Award at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates. The event will be held in Chicago next month and is expected to draw luminaries such as Poland’s Lech Walesa and the Dalai Lama.

Penn arrived shortly after Haiti’s quake and established an aid organization now known as J/P Haitian Relief Organization. The group has provided schools, medical care and housing to thousands of people displaced by the quake.

Limbaugh honor leaves paper trail

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – A women’s rights group has delivered more than 500 rolls of toilet paper to the office of Missouri House Speaker Steven Tilley to protest his selection of Rush Limbaugh for induction into the Hall of Famous Missourians.

Members of the state chapter of the National Organization for Women protested briefly at the Capitol on Monday. They said the toilet paper was part of a “Flush Rush” campaign aimed at getting Tilley to change his decision to honor the conservative talk show host.

Geragos settles over Jackson plane recording

LOS ANGELES – Celebrity attorney Mark Geragos and his law partner have settled a lawsuit for $2.5 million against the owner of a defunct charter jet company that secretly recorded the men and Michael Jackson as they flew from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara for the pop star to turn himself in on child molestation charges.

Jeffrey Borer tried to sell the video, which contains no audio, of the flight to media outlets after Jackson’s surrender. Geragos, partner Pat Harris and their attorney Brian Kabateck have argued that the lawyers had an expectation of privacy on the private jet that flew them and Jackson from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara in November 2003. The video has never been released.