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updated 3/11/2005 8:58:25 PM ET 2005-03-12T01:58:25
Live blogging

Did you lose the remote again?  If you can't watch Keith Olbermann — voted Playgirl's Sexiest Anchorman — at 8 p.m. ET, get your fill online. Live blogs of 'Countdown' are available exclusively at Countdown.msnbc.com.  Click and let the fun begin!

Atlanta courthouse killings — It is not open season on Judges.  But this morning, just 11 days after a disgruntled litigant murdered a judge’s husband and mother, a rape defendant open-fired in an Atlanta courtroom, killing one judge and two others .  The man was brought in to testify in his own defense, a rape defendant who had previously tried to take a homemade knife with him into the court-room.  He over-powered his lone female escort, took her gun and, instead of simply escaping, walked some distance to the court-room in which his trial was being conducted.  He then shot the judge, shot the court stenographer, and as he fled the building, shot another deputy, then car-jacked several vehicles.  It is not a spree — it is a coincidence of timing.  But it is one that underscores the vulnerability of judges, in their homes, or in their court-rooms.And 64-year-old Fulton County Judge Rowland Barnes is dead, as is 42-year-old court reporter Julie Brandau, as is another deputy — as yet, not identified.  The deputy who lost her gun to the suspect is in critical condition tonight with a gunshot wound to the head.  Remarkably, she's expected to survive.  The prisoner in question — Brian Nichols — still at large tonight.  Police describe the suspect as armed, dangerous and with nothing to lose.  If you have any tips, please call the anonymous hotline at 404-730-7983.

Lefkow DNA match — Continuing our coverage of the Atlanta courtroom shooting, the safety of our judges and the security at our trials has come into question.  The fears of the judiciary and their families eased slightly today after a suspect in the Chicago murders has today been positively identified as the killer .  Police have now matched the DNA of Bart Ross to a cigarette butt found at the scene.  He is the same man who sent a letter — and what amounted to a press release — to our affiliate station WMAQ in Chicago confessing to the Lefkow murders.  Ross committed suicide after he was stopped by police in Wisconsin earlier this week.  His intended target Judge Joan Lefkow calls Ross a "very pathetic, tragic person."  She says it is "heartbreaking" that her husband and mother "had to die over something like this."  Last year, Lefkow dismissed a rambling lawsuit that Ross filed over his cancer treatment.

M.J. Monkey business — Amid reports that he is behind on his payroll obligations, amid rumors actually posted on the website of an alleged news organization that he's on a suicide watch (yeah, you guessed right, Fox), yesterday's spectacle of Michael Jackson — the defendant in the blue PJs — began to sink in.  The PJ incident itself provoked questions — is he crazy, or crazy like a publicist's dream by re-directing talk about the trial, from the lurid testimony to his vivid jammies?  That’s right folks, it’s your tax and entertainment dollars in action: Day 480 of the Michael Jackson Investigations.  Get caught up to speed with our daily recap of courtroom Drama-with-a-capital-D in Countdown’s Michael Jackson Puppet Theater.  Jackson and the jury may have had the day off, but, there was more than the chirp of crickets in the courtroom today.  Judge Rodney Melville heard arguments on the admissibility of Jackson's financial records — the prosecution contending the pop star is "on the precipice of bankruptcy ."  They allege this is what ultimately motivated Jackson to hold the accuser and his family at Neverland Ranch — keeping them there and forcing their participation in a video produced in response to the controversial Martin Bashir documentary...The Judge did not rule on the Jackson finance issue today.  But he did come to the relief of comedian Jay Leno.  Melville clarified the gag order that included the Tonight Show host and all other potential witnesses, which forced Leno to use surrogate comedians to deliver Jackson jokes.  Leno still may not speak about specific aspects of the case — the ones he might testify about.  But Judge Melville said that neither Mr. Leno, nor any other subpoenaed witness would be prevented from offering general commentary or comedy about Jackson himself .  He added, "I'd like him to tell good jokes...but I guess I can't control that."  Neither can we.

Gates of Joy — Even Keith could not fortell, nor sought, their grisly fate ...Stuffed into what is called a "granulator"...Six blades and knives — powered by a 150-horsepower motor...Reducing them to pieces three-eighths of an inch, or smaller.  To paraphrase the last of the "Friday the 13th" Movies: The Gates... Go To Hell.  Christos 7500 day-glo orange shower curtains that constituted the project that until the beginning of this week, either glorified or vandalized New York's Central Park are being re-cycled.  They'll wind up as the raw materials for flower pots... and bright orange nylon jackets... or very cheap toupees.

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