Shepard Fairey, the artist whom created Barack Obama's 2008 campaign "HOPE" poster, got off without jail time after being convicted for destroying documents and fabricating others in a civil lawsuit he brought against The Associated Press in 2009.
Fairey, who was credited for creating Obama’s “HOPE” poster, was sentenced Friday to two years of probation and 300 hours of community service by a judge who cited his charity work as a reason he would not sentence him to prison, according to a Reuters report.
The government, in a presentence memorandum, insisted that Fairey, 42, should serve time in prison for “destruction of documents and for fabricating others” in his 2009 civil lawsuit.
No prison time would send a "terrible message" to those who would engage in similar conduct, the memorandum stated.
"After spending a great amount of time, energy and legal effort, all of us at The Associated Press are glad this matter is finally behind us," AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement. "We hope this case will serve as a clear reminder to all of the importance of fair compensation for those who gather and produce original news content."
U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas, Manhattan, was told by prosecutors that Fairey had "both an ideological and financial motive" to alter evidence in his favor after basing his poster on one of the AP's photographs, according to a News Day report. They said he did so over several weeks, engaging in behavior that "cannot be dismissed as remotely impulsive or the product of a moment of bad judgment."