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Bill from King's lawyers questioned

It was a reasonable question.

"Why are two hours of Mr. King's birthday party compensable?" asked U.S. District Judge John G. Davies.

The response, from Steven Lerman, Rodney King's chief attorney, made him laugh: "The time of Mr. King's birthday party was spent discussing his cake _ discussing his case."

King's lawyers want the public to pay them $4.4-million for representing their client. That includes the time they spent driving him to the Oprah show and attending his birthday party.

King was awarded $3.8-million over his 1991 police beating. He is allowed to seek payment of lawyers' fees.

Lerman also billed for time spent on his own commute.

"No wonder," Davies said Monday, "lawyers have such a bad name."

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