Judge Holds Court in Parking Lot for 500-Pound Fraud Defendant

May 5, 2008

A suburban New York music shop owner accused of selling knockoff Gibson Les Paul guitars has been arraigned in a pickup truck in a courthouse parking lot after his lawyer said the 500-pound defendant could not walk into the courthouse.

State Supreme Court Justice Robert Doyle said the man’s “severe weight problem” prompted the unusual proceeding in Riverhead, New York. A defense lawyer also had given the court a doctor’s letter saying the defendant suffers from osteoarthritis.

The shopkeeper has been released without bail after pleading not guilty to trademark counterfeiting and criminal simulation. He says the case and health problems have forced him to close his store.

He is accused of selling bogus Gibsons for $1,500 to buyers who thought they were far more valuable genuine versions of the classic electric guitar.

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