- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 19, 2011

‘Sister Wives’ family describes harm of bigamy investigation

The family from cable television’s polygamous “Sister Wives” reality show has told a federal judge in Utah how much they have been hurt by the threat of prosecution under the state’s bigamy law.

According to the Associated Press, Kody Brown and his wives wrote in new court papers that they lost jobs, were forced to move to Nevada and suffered harm to their reputations after police launched an investigation last year following the fall 2010 premiere of their TLC show.

In July, Mr. Brown and wives Meri, Janelle, Christine and Robyn filed a lawsuit challenging Utah’s bigamy law in Salt Lake City’s U.S. District Court. They contended the law is unconstitutional and applied unfairly to polygamists.

“Because the Browns are open about their polygamist lifestyle, the criminal bigamy statute has the effect of publicly labeling them as presumptive felons,” the Browns’ Washington, D.C.-based attorney, Jonathan Turley, wrote in court papers filed Monday. “The statute further brands them as immoral and societal outsiders.”

The court papers were filed in response to petition by the Utah attorney general’s office asking a federal judge to dismiss the case. It wasn’t clear whether a judge would issue a decision based on the court pleadings or schedule a hearing for oral arguments.

State prosecutors contend the Browns - who haven’t been charged - aren’t facing any real harm and likely won’t face prosecution, because the state rarely has prosecuted individuals for bigamy without also prosecuting underlying crimes, such as underage marriages, abuse or welfare fraud.

But the Browns said the harms to their family are real and that the public statements of Utah County prosecutors support their contention that prosecution remains a threat. In one magazine article, for example, Deputy Utah County Attorney Donna Kelly said “the Browns have definitely made it easier for us by admitting to felonies on national TV.”

Mr. Turley contended that such statements have had a “chilling effect” on the family’s right to free speech, influencing what they can say publicly or on their television show, and curtailing their ability to practice their religion.

Affidavits from Kody, Meri and Janelle Brown detailed the financial impact on the family. Those included a loss of sales accounts for Mr. Brown and the termination of Meri Brown’s employment because her bosses were concerned about the criminal investigation.

Under Utah law, it is illegal for unmarried people to cohabitate or “purport” to be married. People also are guilty of bigamy if they hold multiple legal marriage licenses. The third-degree felony is punishable by up to five years in state prison. Both men and women can be prosecuted under the law, which also applies to unmarried, monogamous couples that live together.

Like most other polygamists in Utah, Mr. Brown is legally married only to his first wife, Meri. He subsequently “wed” Janelle, Christine and Robyn in religious ceremonies, and the couples consider themselves “spiritually married.”

Carson Kressley booted from ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Carson Kressley can go back to evaluating wardrobes and other style choices.

The fashion guru was booted off “Dancing With the Stars” on Tuesday night, leaving seven other contestants. It wasn’t unexpected, given that the judges of ABC’s competition had given him the lowest scores for his 1980s-themed routine a night earlier.

Mr. Kressley, who made his name with the show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” dressed in a cheerleader’s outfit that he probably would have disdained on his own show for his routine with partner Anna Trebunskaya.

He thanked everyone involved with “Dancing With the Stars” before making his exit.

“This has been pure joy for me,” he said. “I hope I can just make people smile and laugh and have a good time.”

The two remaining contestants who came closest to being sent home Tuesday were actor David Arquette and soccer star Hope Solo. Others left in the game are actor J.R. Martinez, reality TV personality Rob Kardashian, activist Chaz Bono, and TV hosts Ricki Lake and Nancy Grace.

CBS to celebrate anniversary of Eye logo

The CBS network is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its Eye logo Thursday, with parent company CBS Corp. saying Wednesday that it will be commemorating the anniversary on air, on CBS.com and on CBSNews.com, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The logo, introduced during the network’s station breaks on Oct. 20, 1951, has changed over the years but remained the company’s calling card.

“From the network to the corporation, the CBS Eye is an enduring asset of our company and a major source of pride for all of us,” said CBS Corp. President and CEO Leslie Moonves. “It is a corporate logo that is known and respected all around the world and continues to be a fitting symbol of CBS’ proud history and ongoing leadership.”

On Thursday, CBS.com and CBSNews.com will replace the current CBS Eye with the original Eye logo. Users can view photo essays of the Eye logos throughout the decades.

The network also said that it would kick off the Thursday prime-time schedule with an on-air spot showcasing the various CBS Eye logos throughout the years. Plus, a network ID featuring the original CBS Eye and the date it was established will be shown at the top of each of the following two hours of prime-time programming.

Actor who plays ‘Glee’ bully an anti-bullying spokesman

“Glee’s” Max Adler is doing his part to speak out against bullying, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The actor, who plays McKinley High’s resident bully on the Fox musical dramedy, has been named a spokesman for City Hearts: Kids Say Yes to the Arts, a nonprofit organization that brings the arts to underprivileged children.

As part of the arts program, Mr. Adler has launched “Max’s A-B-C Initiative - Anti-Bullying Through City Hearts,” a pilot program at Foster Elementary School in Compton, Calif.

Mr. Adler visited the school Tuesday and encouraged students to get involved in the arts, be it literature, acting, dance, photography or more, as an alternative to bullying their classmates.

“If kids understand from an early age that everyone in this world is equal, the thought of bullying others will not even enter their head space,” he said.

*Compiled from Web and wire reports.

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