Re: NYC Artist/Activists to stand trial on 6/15/99 (fwd)

rosaphil (
Mon, 7 Jun 1999 12:05:07 -0400 (EDT)

only in new york! "arrest giuiliani?


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Subject: Re: NYC Artist/Activists to stand trial on 6/15/99 wrote:

> Artist/Activists to stand trial on 6/15/99
> A.R.T.I.S.T. members Robert Lederman and Knut Masco are
> scheduled to stand trial on Tuesday 6/15/99 in Manhattan
> Criminal Court #100 Centre Street, Jury Part 7. The two are
> charged with Making Graffiti 145.60 and Possession of Graffiti
> Instruments 145.65 a class A and a class B misdemeanor. They
> are represented by Donna Klett, Legal Aid Society (212)
> 298-5203.
> The activist-artists were arrested on 4/7/97 after allegedly posting
> political leaflets on lightpoles in the SoHo area which criticized
> City Council Member Kathryn Freed and her group the SoHo
> Alliance for their efforts to eliminate street artists. Both
> defendants were plaintiffs in a successful Federal civil rights
> lawsuit decided in June of 1997 that made it legal to sell art on
> New York City streets without a license and declared the City to
> have deliberately violated plaintiffs’ and other artists First
> Amendment rights. Both Lederman and Masco, who between
> them have been arrested more than 60 times for their political
> activities during the Giuliani administration, are also plaintiffs in
> a number of other civil rights suits still pending against Mayor
> Giuliani and the City of New York and have been longtime
> opponents of both the Mayor and Council Member Freed.
> The law under which the two were charged makes it illegal for
> anyone to post leaflets on City property, however, the Mayor,
> City Council Members, their staffs and Community Board
> members are exempted from the law. As a result, while the
> posting of leaflets by political activists, bands, artists and the
> owners of lost dogs have become rare in SoHo there’s been a
> tremendous proliferation of leaflets posted by Council Member
> Freed and the SoHo Alliance, a Freed controlled group whose
> director, Sean Sweeney, is one of Freed’s Community Board 2
> appointees. Most of those leaflets are directed at drumming up
> community support for eliminating or preventing the introduction
> of bars, hotels, clubs, street artists, vendors, trucks, Asian food
> wholesalers, student housing and other “undesirable elements” in
> SoHo.
> The case scheduled for trial on 6/15 is unusual for a number of
> reasons not least of which is that it’s been in Criminal Court for
> almost three years. Initially, Lederman and Masco were also
> charged with Criminal Mischief in the 4th Degree and Unlawful
> Posting. Those charges were eventually dropped and all of the
> arrest evidence in the case was suppressed by a hearing judge last
> year. That ruling was later overturned by another judge without
> holding a hearing or issuing a decision. The remaining charges
> consist of an allegation that the defendants intended to damage
> the City-owned lightpoles by using Elmer’s school paste to
> attach the leaflets. A brief submitted in the case on 4/30/99 by
> assistant D.A. Susan Callan Gyves [(212) 335-3832] claims that
> if the defendants had attached the leaflets to the lightpoles with
> yards of clear plastic tape in the same manner the SoHo Alliance
> and Council Member Freed’s office do, they would not have
> been charged. Elmer’s School Paste is a biodegradable temporary
> glue that can be removed with water or by rainfall and is
> deliberately formulated to be edible. The clear plastic tape used
> by the Alliance to post its leaflets is permanent, remaining on
> surfaces for years.
> Lederman has previously been charged many times with posting.
> All of the previous charges were dismissed.
> Lederman and Masco believe their arrest was ordered by Council
> Member Freed in order to silence their speech and to prevent the
> voters in SoHo from learning of her deep involvement in having
> artists arrested. Depositions and documents in a separate Federal
> civil rights suit show Council Member Freed and the Alliance
> making numerous complaints about Lederman and the street
> artists directly to Mayor Giuliani, former NYPD Commissioner
> Bratton and Manhattan D.A. Morgenthau among others, and to
> years of concerted effort to pressure the First Precinct to have
> them arrested for selling their art, leafleting, public speaking and
> protesting.
> Despite the plaintiffs having won a sweeping victory for artists
> rights, on 6/24/99 the Street Vendor Review Panel will hold a
> public hearing and is expected to affirmatively vote on a proposal
> to totally ban street artists from every street in SoHo. Freed has
> also been actively working with the BIDs (Business Improvement
> Districts) and Mayor Giuliani to create a new vending ordinance
> [Intro. #511) which would result in the elimination of street
> artists from the entire City.
> In addition to the leafleting arrest Lederman is scheduled to
> stand trail on 6/7/99 for Disorderly Conduct and Resisting Arrest
> charges stemming from three different protests against Mayor
> Giuliani. Numerous witnesses and evidence show the arrests and
> the charges to have been false. The attoney for those three
> Criminal cases is John Upton (212) 431-7267.
> Lederman will be arraigned on 6/30/99 at #346 Broadway on a
> Disorderly Conduct charge stemming from his being arrested
> outside the 5/26/99 Federal Civil Rights hearings. As the Mayor
> left the hearing and entered his car Lederman held up a painting
> depicting Giuliani as a Hitler-like dictator and is alleged to have
> said, “Arrest Giuliani”.
> For information on this and other artist arrests and the Federal
> lawsuits contact:
> Robert Lederman, President of A.R.T.I.S.T.
> (Artists’ Response To Illegal State Tactics)
>  (718) 369-2111
> Council Member Freed (212) 788-7722
> Donna Klett, Legal Aid Society
> (the attorney in the leafleting case)
> (212) 298-5203

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