Official Press Release
On April 3, CBLDF defendant Gordon Lee will appear before the court in Rome, Georgia to begin his trial on two remaining misdemeanor counts of “Distribution of Harmful to Minors Material.” Monday morning’s calendar call will be followed by a full jury trial during the week.
Mr. Lee’s case first came to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund early in 2005 following his arrest for accidentally distributing “Alternative Comics #2,” a Free Comic Book Day edition, to a minor. The comic book at issue included a segment from Nick Bertozzi’s upcoming graphic novel “The Salon” depicting Georges Braque’s first meeting with Pablo Picasso, in which Picasso is shown painting in the nude. The comic depicted no sexual situations. Lee offered apology for accidentally handing out the comic, which was one book out of thousands he gave away during a Halloween promotion. He instead found himself facing a hefty set of charges.
Last year Mr. Lee was charged with two felony counts of “Distribution of Material Containing Nudity or Sexual Conduct” (OCGA §16-12-81), a law prohibiting the unsolicited dissemination of any content depicting mere nudity or sexual conduct, and five misdemeanor counts of “Distribution of Harmful to Minors Material” (OCGA §16-12-103). Mr. Lee’s lawyers submitted a series of motions challenging both the laws at issue and the individual charges. At a hearing last December prosecutors dismissed both felony counts and two misdemeanor counts. Last January the Judge ruled on the motions, dismissing the felonies and two misdemeanors with prejudice and reducing the number of misdemeanors left standing from three to two.
To date, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has spent over $40,000 in defense of Gordon Lee.
CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “From the beginning, we’ve believed that Gordon has been overcharged with crimes he is not guilty of committing. We were vindicated when the Judge dismissed the felonies and two misdemeanors with prejudice. We are eager to take him through his day in court and prove that he is not guilty of the two misdemeanors still at issue.”
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1986 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for members of the comics community. Donations and inquiries should be directed to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund at www.cbldf.org or 800-99-CBLDF.
UPDATE 1:00 PM PDT – According to a report at the Rome News-Tribune, the indictment against Lee has been dismissed “after prosecutors determined the comic book was actually given to the child’s younger brother.” According to the News-Tribune, “The Floyd County District Attorney’s Office will still pursue charges against Lee through a misdemeanor accusation, which does not have to go before a grand jury.” No further details were available at press time.