Fairey faces jail in Hope poster case

AP Photo

Shepard Fairey poses with the iconic poster that brought him fame and legal trouble.

Skateboarder and internationally acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey is facing time behind bars and a stiff fine after pleading guilty last week in his criminal case with The Associated Press that involves his famous Hope poster of Barack Obama.

The 42-year-old, Los Angeles-based artist, whose Hope imagery rose to iconic ubiquity during Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, pleaded guilty of destroying documents and manufacturing evidence, allegations he admitted to in 2009 after the news organization accused him of copyright infringement for using an AP photograph of Obama for the poster rendition. Fairey maintained that he was protected by fair-use laws and sued the AP.

A year ago, Fairey and the AP settled that long-running civil case out of court, but not before the artist had admitted that he had misstated which photo he had used for the Obama portrait and destroyed others, according to The New York Times. These legal wrongdoings launched the criminal investigation that ended last week with Fairey's guilty plea in a New York courtroom.

"I was ashamed that I had done these things, and I knew I should have corrected my actions," Fairey said on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan.

Fairey is scheduled to be sentenced July 16. He faces a maximum six months in prison and $5,000 fine.

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