Shepard Fairey, 42, the man who created the epic Barack Obama "HOPE" poster, entered a plea of guilty Friday in federal court to criminal contempt. Fairey said he made a "terrible decision" in 2009 to destroy some documents and fabricate others in a civil lawsuit pertaining to The Associated Press photograph he relied upon to make the poster.
Fairey’s guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge carries a maximum potential penalty of up to six months in prison. Sentencing was set for July 16.
Fairey told the court:
"Violating the court's trust was the worst thing I have ever done in my life. I was ashamed as I did all these things, and I remain ashamed."
The case originated after the artist acknowledged he had fabricated information in a lawsuit he brought against the AP in February 2009. The lawsuit sought a court declaration that he did not violate AP's copyrights when he made the Obama image.
The AP countersued, saying the un-credited, uncompensated use of its picture both violated copyright laws and was a threat to journalism.
That case was settled last year.