Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Unless it was written by the late Doug Ireland-- or me-- the coverage of the Lawrence Brose case has been pretty shoddy. Today in the Buffalo News Colin Dabkowski gets it right, reporting just the plain facts. For those just tuning in, Brose has been fighting the charges against him since 2008. He is an experimental filmmaker and a former arts administrator who has exactly the resources you would expect someone with those credentials to possess-- along with the support of a few friends. He is a high-profile defendant charged under a merciless statute, being dogged by a prosecutor's office that has, for all practical purposes, the essentially infinite resources of the United States government. One federal court judge has already recommended that the charges be dismissed, and as the case has unfolded it has become more and more apparent that the government's case is nothing like as clear-cut as was initially thought. Since the government's case is weak, the government's best play is to double down-- if the case were to go to trial tomorrow Lawrence would likely win, but at what cost? His reputation has been trampled on, his savings exhausted. If the case were to go to trial in the ordinary course-- probably about a year down the road the way it is looking-- the result would be the same. Frankly, at this point, even in the unlikely event of a conviction the government will have accomplished it's goal. It has already won by crushing the guy.

It is very easy to talk about artistic freedom when you are standing in a gallery holding a glass of white wine. Standing with Lawrence Brose is a truer measure of one's beliefs. Dorothea Braemer and the other artists who have assembled tomorrow's Censorship Show have my utmost respect.

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