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    Nick, Jessica Want Privacy?

    It looks like Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey want some privacy. Only not to reconcile.

    Simpson asked the Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday to remove the judge assigned to her pending divorce from Lachey, TV's Extra reported. The move is viewed as the first step toward having the case heard by a private judge.

    According to reports, Simpson's petition accuses judge Michael P. Linfield of being "prejudiced" against her. Despite the incendiary language, the filing was described as a "formality" by Extra. A call seeking comment from powerhouse Simpson attorney Robert Kaufman was not returned Thursday.

    Citing sources "connected with the case," TMZ.com said both the Simpson and Lachey camps want their split kept off the public docket.

    Private judges, typically retired courtroom judges, are paid for by the involved parties. Such parties are not always celebrities, although in California it seems that they always are. Renée Zellweger and Kenny Chesney (annulled as of Tuesday), Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (divorced as of October) and Michael Jackson and Debbie Rowe (ongoing child custody issues) have all gone the private route.

    Like their uncoupled celebrity brethren, Simpson, 25, and Lachey, 32, have considerable assets to divide. From June 2004 to June 2005 alone, Simpson, the pop singer turned reality TV phenomenon turned Dukes of Hazzard film star, made a cool $8 million, per Forbes. Lachey, the onetime boyband heartthrob, did not make the money magazine's power rankings.

    Simpson filed for divorce from Lachey last Friday after the world's longest denied breakup. The former Newlyweds stars married in 2002.

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