Saturday, March 05, 2005

Jay Leno gagged by judge

Perhaps you've been following this. Since Jay Leno has been named as a witness in the Michael Jackson trial, he is bound to abide by the judge's gag order... which means he's not allowed to say anything about Jackson. My word! There goes almost every good joke for his daily monologue!

While I haven't seen it, seems Leno found a way around the gag order:
Jay Leno says he can still write the Michael Jackson (news) jokes, he just can't tell them. So while the "Tonight Show" host waits to hear whether he is exempt from a gag order barring potential witnesses from discussing Jackson's child molestation trial, Leno called on actor Brad Garrett to act as his Jackson joke-telling surrogate.

"As I'm sure you know, I was called as a witness in the Michael Jackson trial," Leno told his audience Friday night. "I'm going to tell the jury the same thing I'm telling you right now. I only rode that llama once. I didn't know it was underage.
His lawyers let that one get by?
"I'm not allowed to tell any Michael Jackson jokes. I can still write them," Leno added before handing the reins to Garrett. The co-star of "Everybody Loves Raymond" then reeled off several one liners, including this one:

"They said this trial will probably last six months, although Michael Jackson asked for some time off to entertain the troops. OK, they're Cub Scout troops, but they're still troops."

Leno, who has been subpoenaed to testify at Jackson's trial, is seeking an exemption to Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville's gag order, citing his right to free speech.

A legal motion filed on his behalf argues Melville couldn't have intended for the order, issued more than a year ago, to limit "public personalities" from commenting on the case.
I'm not sure that Jay Leno's monologue is really "commenting on the case." He's just zinging what most of us are thinking.
On Thursday, one of Jackson's attorneys, Robert Sanger, filed a response, arguing Leno should not be exempted from the order.

"While the need for a protective order is unfortunate and does come at some cost, it is necessary to protect Mr. Jackson's right to a fair trial," Sanger wrote.
Well, while the attorneys roll on drowning the court in paper, I hope the jokes continue to fly, even if Leno must employ a surrogate.

From the BBC, we hear this one:
Among the jokes Leno has already made at the expense of Mr Jackson is: "Today, Michael Jackson's lawyer said that he will not play the race card - mainly because he can't figure out what race Michael is."

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