At the start of his charity reading at the New York Comic Con tonight for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, author Neil Gaiman announced that all charges have been dropped in the three-year-old case against Rome, Georgia, comic book store owner Gordon Lee.
On Halloween 2004, Lee’s comic shop, Legends of Rome, was participating in a trick-or-treat event and gave away free comics, one of which included depictions of artist Pablo Picasso painting in the nude. After discovering the error, Lee made several public apologies. Regardless of it being an unintentional error, Lee was arrested and ultimately charged with two counts of distributing material depicting nudity or sexual content, which is a felony; and five misdemeanor counts of unlawful disposition of materials to minors.
According to Gaiman, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has spent over $100,000 defending Gordon Lee from a nearly unbelievable set of circumstances including 18 months of prosecution testimony being based on the wrong victim, intentional mistrials, and a nearly maniacal vendetta by the Rome District Attorney.
After making the announcement about the charges being dropped, Gaiman said, “We are so fucking relieved! It’s been very, very long. It’s been hard. It’s been incredible stressful for Gordon, and it’s over. And that is wonderful. And it’s thanks to people giving money, becoming members of the Legal Defense Fund, that he’s not in prison, that his business didn’t close, that he wasn’t bankrupt[ed]. So thank you all.”
Without the aid of the CBLDF, Lee’s fate would most likely have been much darker. So you see, comic geeks like you and me CAN make a difference.
For more details on Gordon Lee’s trial, visit the CBLDF archives.
Also, you can visit the following links to learn more about donating your time or money to the CBLDF.