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Shepard Fairey to face criminal investigation in Associated Press case

January 26, 2010 |  5:48 pm

Fairey  

A judge in New York revealed today that artist Shepard Fairey is facing a criminal investigation in connection with his admitted misconduct in the ongoing legal case with the Associated Press, according to reports.

Alvin K. Hellerstein, a federal district judge, reportedly made the revelation today as part of a hearing where lawyers for Fairey and the AP were present.

A spokesman for the AP said in a statement issued this evening that the news organization has received a grand jury subpoena related to Fairey's misconduct during the case.

A lawyer representing Fairey did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In October, the L.A. artist admitted that he knowingly submitted false images and deleted others during the case in an attempt to conceal the fact that the AP had correctly identified the photo that Fairey had used as a reference for his "Hope" poster of then-Sen. Barack Obama.

In February, the AP claimed that Fairey violated copyright laws when he used one of its images as the basis for the poster.  In response, the artist filed a lawsuit against the AP, claiming that he was protected under fair use. 

At the time, Fairey claimed that he used a different photo as the inspiration for his poster. He has since admitted that the AP is correct about which photo he used.

Following today's hearing, the AP published a report stating that the judge revealed the grand jury probe in a handwritten note denying a request by a Fairey attorney that a hearing relating to a copyright lawsuit be closed.

-- David Ng

RELATED:

Shepard Fairey says honesty is essential to his art despite his 'slip' over a disputed Obama poster

Photo: Shepard Fairey. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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