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Fred Willard

Masturbation Law

Won't Stick

7/20/2012 1:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Alleged weenie wacker Fred Willard may NOT have broken the lewd conduct law ... even if he DID masturbate in an adult movie theater.

Here's the long and short of it -- In California, it's not automatically illegal to masturbate in a public place like a movie theater ... it's ONLY illegal if the act occurs within eye-shot of people who "might be offended."  That's the law, folks.

So how does Willard beat the rap? Allow us to make the argument.

Willard's alleged act occurred in a XXX theater, notorious for showing hardcore porno films to patrons who show up to get off.

There were 4 other movie-goers in the house when cops busted Willard -- 4 patrons in a dark, dank theater doing God knows what.  It's a safe bet they weren't particularly offended.  And if they say they were, good luck to them on cross examination.

So Willard had NO REASON to believe anyone there would get their nose out of joint by a little self knob-polishing ... therefore, the lewd conduct law doesn't apply to him.  NOT GUILTY.

Willard's attorney, Paul Takakjian, has already gone on record, saying the 78-year-old actor "did nothing in any violation of any law" ... and he may be right.

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