Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lawyers In RLUIPA Case Spar Over "Daily Show" Clip As Evidence

As previously reported, a lawsuit under RLUIPA against Fayette County, Pennsylvania, brought by the Church of Universal Love and Music, is pending in federal district court. The church is seeking rezoning or a special exception so it can continue to use property in an agricultural area for religious concerts. County officials claim that concert venue founder William Pritts did not claim that his organization was a church until zoning problems arose. AP reported on Tuesday that the county wants to introduce into evidence a 2003 comedy segment from the Daily Show featuring Pritts to show that Pritts is not sincere in his claim that the organization is a church. The four-minute segment (video) includes Pritts saying "God never said you can't party on." Pritts' attorneys have filed a motion to exclude the evidence, saying that it is not relevant and that the segment was heavily edited by the show's producers. [Thanks to Brian D. Wassom for the lead.]

UPDATE: On January 22, the court ruled the jury will not be able to view the video clip, but that the court might reach a different conclusion if an unedited version of the entire interview (without a laugh track) were to become available. (Uniontown (PA) Herald Standard, 1/24/09).