By Maria Cramer, Globe Staff, and Matt Collette, Globe Correspondent
Prosecutors announced today that they had dropped 14 vandalism charges against Shepard Fairey, the 39-year-old artist best known for creating the "Hope" poster associated with Barack Obama's presidential campaign.
Fairey, a Los Angeles artist whose work is on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, was arrested and charged with vandalism on Feb. 6. The charges dropped stemmed from a series of stickers Fairey allegedly placed on signposts and other public property in Roxbury, according to Suffolk district attorney's spokesman Jake Wark.
Jeffrey Wiesner, who represents Fairey, said 13 charges, not 14, had been dismissed and that his client was still fighting 15 more. Wiesner had argued that the evidence against Fairey included commercially available stickers featuring images of his work which could have been posted by anybody.
"We're happy that those cases have been dismissed and we're looking forward to others being dismissed as well that rely on the same set of facts that these did," he said.
Prosecutors said Fairey still faces charges for 13 similar offenses, 10 in Boston Municipal Courtís Central Division and another three in the Brighton Division. The charges stem from an incident on Sept. 16, 2000 where Fairey allegedly pasted a poster onto a Brighton Avenue electrical box. Fairey did not appear at his scheduled arraignment the next morning, and police arrested Fairey in February as he was headed to the ICA for his exhibitís opening-night party.
Wark said prosecutors are still going forward with the other charges.
"District Attorney [Daniel F.] Conley recognizes the effect that graffiti have on the quality of life in any neighborhood and he has asked his prosecutors to seek convictions whenever they are supported by the evidence," Wark said.
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