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Prophet, esq. “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your forefathers who killed them,” Jesus told the lawyers of his day. Television’s latest legal drama marries the legal and prophetic ends of that equation in a show about an associate in a San Francisco law firm. As the character puts it, you won’t have heard of his firm “unless you own a huge company that’s screwed over a little guy.” The show is called Eli Stone, and so is the lawyer. The kind of litigator who berates little old ladies into tears on the witness stand, Eli has everything � a fabulous apartment, an engagement to the boss’s daughter and a spacious, high-floor office with stunning views. He also turns out to have aural hallucinations, and then visual ones. Yes, that’s George Michael singing atop the coffee table. The show posits two explanations for these phenomena: Eli has an inoperable brain aneurysm that’s kinda making him nuts � or else he’s a real, live prophet unto our generation. Or maybe both. Along the way, Eli Stone delivers lessons in such legal matters as ethics � Chinese walls, anyone? Co-creator Marc Guggenheim is a recovering lawyer who has also had a hand in Law & Order and The Practice. Jonny Lee Miller plays Eli, and Victor Garber the boss. The show debuts on ABC on Jan. 31, right after Lost. � Staff Report Shih Tzus can have that effect The allegations could bring down the mayor of Alice, Texas: a faked death, an attempt to hide the evidence from police, a cover-up story. And for what? A Shih Tzu. Mayor Grace Saenz-Lopez was indicted on two felony counts of tampering with evidence related to a dog her neighbors say she took from them. “She loves the little dog,” said attorney Homero Canales, who represents the mayor and her sister, who also is charged. “She told me that if she were a single woman, she would not care if she went to jail for the rest of her life before she would give the dog back.” According to press accounts, Saenz-Lopez had agreed to take care of little Puddles while Rudy Gutierrez and Shelly Cavazos were on vacation. A day after they left, she called to say the dog was dead, but three months later a relative of Cavazos saw Puddles � renamed Panchito � at a dog groomer. Puddles’ family sued and filed a criminal complaint, but the case took a new turn when the mayor filed a police report saying the dog was missing. A television crew found the dog 10 miles from Alice in the home of Saenz-Lopez’s twin, Graciela Garcia. Garcia said a “mysterious lady” had found the dog and dropped it off. Garcia was indicted on a felony count of concealing evidence, said District Attorney Joe Frank Garza. She and the mayor have been released on bond. State District Judge Richard Terrell will decide the custody battle over the dog, said DeeAnn Torres, the attorney for Gutierrez and Cavazos. “We just wanted the puppy back,” Torres said. � Associated Press The last laugh Repackaging thousands of other comedians’ jokes into a series of books? Not so funny. That’s the moral of a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in Los Angeles by Jay Leno and other comedians, plus NBC Studios, against Judy Brown, compiler of a series of joke collections. The action has settled, and Brown has apologized and agreed “never again to publish their jokes without asking their permission.” Brown’s publisher agreed to pull her books off the market and compensate the comedians. Brown, too, will pay. Plaintiffs Leno, Rita Rudner and NBC plan to donate their take to charity. The Los Angeles firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, which represented the plaintiffs, plans to donate its fees. � Staff Report

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