A Manhattan federal judge made it official: Marilyn Monroe was a New Yorker. This effectively ends years of litigation between the golden girl’s estate and the heirs of the photographer who took some of the most memorable shots of the star.
The decision “is a major victory for the children of Sam Shaw, the deceased photographer who captured countless pics of MM, including the iconic shot of the sexpot in a billowing white dress over a New York City subway grate.”
If considered a Californian, Monroe’s estate would have had rights to a cut of the proceeds from merchandise sold featuring photos of Monroe. However, the recent ruling that she was officially a Big Apple resident benefits Sam Shaw, who has been selling T-shirts with her image, “from state laws that prevent anyone from licensing the rights to dead celebrities.”
The judge in this case justified the decision by taking into account that “her last income-tax filing was from New York, as well as the fact that she kept a fully furnished Manhattan pad.” Court papers also state that Monroe once told a friend that her time spent in California was merely for business purposes.
Legal sources close to the case, however, contend that the decision was really based on an obscure legal theory called the “Iconic Lover Domicile Doctrine,” which provides, in pertinent part, that if you have sex with enough legendary figures from a particular city, you are, ipso facto, a resident of that city. Since Miss Monroe allegedly slept with such prominent NY institutions as Joe DiMaggio, Arthur Miller and Frank Sinatra, the decision in this case was particularly easy. [New York Post]
Reports out of California have confirmed that a former Catholic priest and San Francisco radio talk show host, Bernie Ward, was sentenced to more than seven years in prison late last week for distributing child pornography after dozens of pornographic images of kids as young as three were found on his home computer. Ward, a father of four, was fired from his nightly radio show when the indictment was made public in December.
Ward’s attorney, Doron Weinberg, has argued for a lower sentence for his client, citing Ward’s “volunteer work” and the “numerous letters of support” he received after pleading guilty. So how, then, you may ask, does such an upstanding servant of the community come to have a computer full of kiddie porn? According to his lawyer, “Ward downloaded the child porn for journalistic research.”
Of course. And we can only assume his book, How to Get Ass-Raped in Prison in 6 Easy Steps, will be hitting the shelves at Barnes & Noble any day now. [CNN]
A small town in Vermont has repealed its 32-year ban against fortune telling. While soothsaying is prohibited in some communities across the country —mainly because tarot card reading, clairvoyance, and other attempts to predict the future are thought to be fraudulent—St. Johnsbury has decided to re-allow such activities for profit.
“When the ordinance was lifted, I actually felt a large weight lifting from my shoulders,” said Maria Pawlowski, a local tarot card reader. “It was very oppressive to have to refrain from something that was as natural to me as breathing.”
St. Johnsbury lifted its ban in July at the urging of psychotherapist Jean O’Neal, who said the law outlawed her practice of feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of harmonizing one’s environment for health and financial benefits. Now permitted to practice feng shui, she has also opened her space to Pawlowski to offer card readings.
When reached by Bitter Lawyer for comment about their plans for the immediate future, O’Neal said she had “no clue.” Pawlowski, on the other hand, firmly stated, “I just plan to stay in the present. Live in the moment. Day by day, minute by minute.” [AOL News]
Quick headlines from the Bitter Newsroom:
Ohhhh, so it’s porn that Duchovny’s addicted to, not sex. Whew. For a while there, we were starting to think he was some kind of pervert. [HuffPost]
What does a Harvard Law grad have in common with that guy you dated in college—you know, the one in that band, who lived with those six guys, in that two-bedroom walk-up somewhere out in Astoria? Turns out more than you think—at least when it comes to furniture. [ABA Journal]
It’s now official: Billionaire clients aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be. Just ask hot-shot L.A. lawyer Terry Christensen, who was convicted Friday of conspiring with private investigator Anthony Pellicano to wiretap billionaire Kirk Kerkorian’s ex-wife during a bitter child custody dispute. [ABA Journal]
Attention little girls everywhere: Role model alert! Role model alert! Role model aler…oh, wait. [NY Post]
A Nigerian man with 86 wives has been ordered to divorce all but four of them, according to local authorities. And you thought your alimony payments were a pain in the ass. [BBC News]
Police in Wisconsin are reporting that a man who broke into several women’s homes and made off with their underwear was charged last week with five counts of felony burglary. The man, Christopher Sullivan, allegedly broke into the women’s residences, stole some bras and panties, and then, as The Smoking Gun reports, he would later “superimpose the women’s images onto pictures taken from pornographic magazines and mail them to the women along with other creepy pictures that used Barbie dolls as props.”
After searching his home, police recovered at least three headless Barbie dolls with metal rods through their knees, along with a handwritten confession admitting “Recently I sent some threatening letters to; did damage to some property; and stole from some people that made me angry and frustrated.”
When asked why he would do such things, Sullivan responded that one of his victims, his upstairs neighbor, apparently “had very loud sex,” which “angered” him—and another had “caught his attention” while riding a lawnmower in a bikini. He also told police that while he would indeed classify himself as a “sexual predator,” his religion prevented him from crossing the line into raping or murdering because that would be a “grave sin.”
When reached for comment, Sullivan refused to elaborate on what religion that is, exactly, but rumor has it that David Duchovny has recently requested information on its requirements for membership. [The Smoking Gun]
Looking for a new “SeXXXercise” class to tone your abs? Don’t look in Pennsylvania. A woman, Stephanie Babines, is suing Adams Township, Pennsylvania for refusing to allow her to open a dance and fitness studio that features pole-dancing, power lap dance, strip tease, and, of course, “SeXXXercise” classes on the grounds it’s a sexually oriented business.
Babines explains in her lawsuit that the classes at her studio, Oh My You’re Gorgeous, are taught and performed fully clothed and no spectators are allowed. “My classes are a specially designed exercise for women that allows them to have fun, feel confident about their bodies and express their sexuality,” Ms. Babines noted to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “This is not a strip joint or gentleman’s club. This is a dance and fitness studio just like hundreds of others that have recently opened around the country, including here in the Pittsburgh area.”
It remains unclear why exactly Babines’s permit was turned down, but a spokesperson for Adams Township has indicated, “We have too many legitimate businesses around here seeking permits. Good, honest businesses like liquor stores and gun shops. To accept Miss Babines’ application would, in effect, deny one of these honest operations a permit for their business. That’s a risk we couldn’t take.” [WSJ Law Blog]