October 8, 2007
A Letter From Alain Ket...
For everybody who's been wondering about what happened with his case, here's an email that he sent out Monday afternoon summing it up... Shouts to everybody who helped support him. It's a fucked up system that we live in and I'm happy to see that he was able to cut some deals and remain a free man...
Dear friends and supporters,
I am relieved and happy to be sending out this email update on my situation. The lawyers have removed the gag order on me and email correspondence, finally. All along their concern was for my freedom and my case being impacted by my writings in public since there are “confidential informants” that have received my emails in the past. In any event I am now free to discuss my cases again.
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 felony convictions on my record, $15,000 in fines, a mural as community service to be painted by me for Brooklyn, and 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 knows 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. 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 and not be imprisoned. I have hope that you will be down with it and with me.
Please check out the site (www.supportket.org) 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 all my legal motions, court documents, etc on the site in order to help out people with similar cases. The motions each cost over $10,000 so why spend more money when plenty of basic research has been done and paid for by me already.