New York judge tells Melba Moore to take her act to jail after violating court’s gag order

New York judge tells Melba Moore to take her act to jail after violating court’s gag order

Melba Moore, who went from Tony Award-winning Broadway star to welfare recipient, recently was told by a New York judge to take her act to jail after she was found in contempt of court for talking about her divorce.

Ms. Moore, 49, admitted she violated the court’s gag order when she discussed ex-husband/manager Charles Huggins and their divorce on WKRS-FM radio in New York on May 22, 1994.

State Supreme Court Justice Elliott Wilk said as an alternative to Ms. Moore’s suggestion she be jailed for two weeks, she could go to a women’s prison and entertain the inmates.

“I was beautifully shocked,” Ms. Moore said after the hearing, saying she would like to make a tour of the women’s prisons. “I think he caught my spirit.”

Ms. Moore’s Broadway resume includes Hair and Purlie, a 1970 musical for which she won a Tony for best supporting actress. She earned gold records, and had her own television show and a recurring role on “The Cosby Show.”

Huggins’ lawyer, Jay Butterman, protested that Moore was using the hearing and the prospect of jail as a publicity stunt. He said his client only wanted a declaration that she violated a court order and a $1,000 fine.

Ms. Moore, who has said she earned tens of millions of dollars, alleged her former husband left her and their 17-year-old daughter, Charlie, penniless after a nasty divorce and custody battle. In a tape of the radio interview that was played in court, Ms. Moore said she had to declare bankruptcy and go on welfare as a result of the legal proceedings, (JET, Dec. 27, 1993).

COPYRIGHT 1995 Johnson Publishing Co.

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