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Obama artist pleads guilty to vandalism

Obama artist pleads guilty to vandalism

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By MELISSA TRUJILLO

Associated Press

BOSTON -- The artist who created the "Hope" poster of President Barack Obama was sentenced to two years' probation Friday after pleading guilty to three vandalism charges. Prosecutors dropped 11 other charges.

Shepard Fairey pleaded guilty in Boston Municipal Court to one charge of defacing property and two charges of wanton destruction of property under $250, all misdemeanors.

The 39-year-old Los Angeles street artist must pay $2,000 to a graffiti- removal organization and cannot possess tagging materials -- such as stickers or paste -- in Boston except for authorized art installations. He also must tell officials when he plans to visit Suffolk County, where Boston is located.

Fairey was arrested in February when he was in Boston for an event kicking off a solo exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art. The arrest came three days after he failed to appear in court on a charge of placing a poster on a Boston electrical box in September 2000.

In the plea deal, Fairey admitted to the 2000 incident and two others last January: placing a sticker on the back of a traffic sign and placing a poster on a private condominium building.

In a separate case, Fairey and The Associated Press have sued each other over the "Hope" poster, which Fairey's lawyers acknowledge was derived from a photo taken for the AP.

The AP has said his uncredited and uncompensated use of the image violated copyright laws. Fairey says he didn't violate copyright law because he dramatically changed the image.

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