Janet Jackson “wardrobe malfunction” back in court

Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ in 2004 will be back in court tomorrow (11 September), as the CBS television network once again tries to overturn its $550,000 (£273,000) fine for indecency.

US firm Davis Wright & Tremaine is geared up to represent CBS in the network’s second appeal showdown with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The legal battle came about after America was stunned three years ago by a flash of Janet Jackson’s right breast after her top ripped while on stage with Justin Timberlake during a halftime performance at the Superbowl.

In its brief filed to the third US Circuit Court of Appeal, CBS argues that the FCC, “failed to turn up even a shred of evidence” to suggest that anyone at CBS had participated in the wardrobe malfunction.

CBS also claims that the FCC should not consider an “unscripted, unauthorized and unintended” long-distance shot of Jackson’s breast, “for nine-sixteenths of one second”, as indecent.

It also argues that Jackson and Justin Timberlake “independently and clandestinely devised the finale”, without the network’s permission.

The case will be argued in Philadelphia, although the majority of lawyers hail from Washington DC. They include CBS’s lawyer, Robert Corn-Revere of Davis Wright, one of two lawyers representing CBS directly.

Fox Television Station has also come on board as an interested party, advised by Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin.

The circuit judges to preside over the case will be Julio Fuentes, Marjorie Rendell and chief judge Anthony Scirica.