LATEST: THIS IS SPINAL TAP star Harry Shearer managed to escape jury duty in the Robert Blake murder trial by convincing the authorities that he'd be sued if he participated.

Shearer, who also voices a host of characters in The Simpsons, was shocked when he found himself in the jury pool for the upcoming court case.

But he has since been excused after insisting his bosses at TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX would seek compensation for the amount of time he missed at work, while summing up whether Blake is innocent or guilty.

He says, "They said, 'What'll happen if you don't show up?' and I said, 'They'll probably sue me for breach of contract.'

"I assume that they know the Fox people as well as I do because it was, 'You're excused.'"

Shearer admits he's relieved he doesn't have to sit through the court case: "The whole thing reminded me of detention."

Actress Christina Applegate hasn't been quite as lucky - she has been called back for consideration on the jury, but she accepts if she has to do her duty, that's fine.

She says, "I'm a citizen. I have to do what I have to do."

14/01/2004 09:05