Monday, November 05, 2007

Gordon Lee Update

Today was the trial for comic book retailer Gordon Lee, and it was declared a mistrial - for now.

3 years and $80,000 have gone into this long process and still it might not be over. It all began in 2004 when Lee allegedly handed a minor a copy of Alternative Comics #2, a Free Comic Book Day sampler which featured an excerpt from the critically acclaimed graphic novel The Salon that depicted Pablo Picasso in the nude.

Today's events, according to the CBLDF website:

Lee and his legal team, paid for by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, appeared in court this morning for jury selection and returned in the afternoon to begin the actual trial. Before the jury was brought in to begin the trial, lead counsel Alan Begner argued an oral motion in limine asking the judge to instruct prosecutors that they could not admit statements from their witnesses alluding to Lee’s character and previous legal actions Lee has been party to. Prosecutors assured the court that they had instructed their witnesses not to address Lee’s previous conviction for selling adult comics to an adult. Then during opening statements in front of the jury, prosecutor Tully said witnesses will testify that Gordon was defensive and that Gordon had told police, “I’ve been through this before,” a clear reversal of his earlier statement to the judge that prosecutors would not be entering such statements into the record.

When Tully made his statement, defense counsel stared at each other in disbelief before Begner leaped up to demand a mistrial. Judge Larry Salmon put his head in his hands and called a 15 minute recess.

Upon returning to the courtroom, as a result of Tully’s statement, Salmon declared a mistrial, because the statements alluding to the prior incident contaminated the jury beyond repair for a fair trial.

This poor small business owner has been dragged through the legal mud for years now. Thank goodness for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, because no small business owner could afford what it has been costing for all of this. If you like comics, if you like a comic book store, if you are a comic book store owner, if you are a comic book publisher, creator, artist... PLEASE give to the CBLDF. Even a small donation helps! And, if you donate $30 or more between now and November 22 you will receive a signed print by Jeff Smith (pictured).

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