Here’s an update on the ultimate out come of the felony case against KET in NYC. For more info, first hand account of the ordeal, & more upcoming events please see KET’s website at SupportKet.org
3 time felon, A letter from Alain.
“As many of you might have heard in the news I have plead guilty to each case against me. After a year of dealing with this ordeal it’s almost over. I plead guilty to one charge in each case only. The deal that my lawyers worked out yielded the following: Three (3) felony convictions on my record $15,000 in fines and restitution. A mural as community service to be painted by me for Brooklyn A 3-year conditional discharge.
It’s a tough deal but one that involved no prison time.
Many of you might want to understand why I would even take a deal since I have maintained my innocence during this process. First I must explain that having three cases running simultaneously is huge and costly. Having three trials back to back would have cost me in excess of $150,000. That’s $150,000 that I do not possess. Second, the risk was too great for me to go to trial. Odds are that if I would have gone to trial I would lose at least one and get hit with the max and do state prison time. I did not want to risk my freedom it seemed crazy and stupid. Lastly, the circumstantial evidence against me was too strong. I do go by the name Alan Ket or just Ket. Regardless if I painted anything or not that fact remains that since I am known by these names a jury might very well convinced that it was me that painted all the alleged crimes. Instead my lawyers and I worked for weeks with the Manhattan DA to come to a solution, a middle ground that I could live with.
So where I am today is home, as a convicted felon, happy to be free and done with the courts but owing them lots of money and in debt. I have my beliefs about graffiti and public art intact. Yet, now I know a great deal more about the justice system here and the corruption that exists on all its levels. And of course I am angry, angry that this had to happen to me in this way. That all this money was spent, better yet wasted, when there are so many more important things to spend our collective time and energy on. But the system needs to be fed, so there I was, food for the system and a great way to get back at me for my past work. A good scapegoat for the press I guess.
What’s next for me is the big payoff. I will be raising money to finish paying off my legal bills, fines, etc. This will be done in the form of another art event and online auction. Many people have approached me to help and I have great new art from fantastic artists to sell. Besides that I will be launching a few initiatives to raise awareness and challenge the way New York City deals with these “art crimes” and at the same time help others in my situation. Especially now that the norm will be to break into artist’s homes and harass them with phony allegations (be careful with what’s on your computers and on your web pages).
I hope that the support that you have given me to date continues. I do need your help in purchasing art. I also need your help and support and raising awareness about over prosecution of art crimes and petty crimes by New York City’s DAs. And lastly, I need your continued support of this art movement. The creators of this art form need to be accepted not criminalized, they need opportunities to sell art and display it publicly and not be imprisoned. I have hope that you will be down with it and with me.
Please continue to check the site for event listings, artwork, and updates. And in the words of Andy Warhol, “art is anything you can get away with.”
PS- In the coming weeks I will post my legal motions, court documents, etc… on this site in order to help out people with similar cases.
These motions cost over $10,000 each so why spend more money when plenty of research has already been done and paid for by my case.
The past week, month, and year have been very hectic for Alain and his family. He has done his best to deal with the cases against him and the pressure from DAs and lawyers to get this behind him. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of bullshit and emotion that I woudn’t wish on anyone. We have witnessed his outrage and frustration during the months and have been thankful that he has been able to remain positive and strong considering the situation.
Today the DA announced in The Daily News that a deal is done. And it would appear as though it is but, Alain would like to set the record straight since the papers don’t have it exactly right. He has agreed to plead guilty to three counts of criminal mischief in the 3rd degree as part of a global deal worked out with all three DAs. The plea deal satisfys the DAs thirst for a conviction in each borough while guaranteeing that Alain does not go to prison. In addition, Alain is forced to pay over $13,000 in fines and restitution. And in what we feel is a weird and ironic twist, paint a mural in Brooklyn as his community service. Alain still needs to make further court appearances to finalize it all but that’s basically the deal in a nut shell. Of course, Alain and his family are relieved that he does not have to go away to prison and serve time. But on the other hand we believe that the punishment does not fit the crime. Do artists and journalists have to be punished with felony convictions? We feel like he is being used by the city to make an example for all to see. His public humiliation and conviction supposedly sends a message to the community of intolerance but what we read it as a message of over prosecution.
Alain took the best deal he could before going to trial. He didn’t want to continue for a variety of reasons, among them the exhorbitant legal costs and the possibilty of losing one of the cases and having to do prison time. He weighed the cost of the trials (over $150,000) versus the possibility of losing just one case and ending up in prison away from his children. His lack of confidence in the the jury selection process and the legal system speaks to a greater problem of course.
Lastly, the Daily News quotes an unidentified law enforcement official stating, “if he takes another pinch, he’s going to jail.” This is true. An additional condition of Alain’s plea is a conditional discharge for three years. Any arrest can land him in jail for up to five years. Again, quite a heavy deal to be handed especially for someone who is involved in protests and comes into contact with police on a regular basis.
Thank you for your continued support. Stay tuned for more updates. Its not over….