To the public, JT LeRoy was the author of Sarah, a story about a male truck stop prostitute. A production company was so intrigued by the autobiography that they purchased the movie rights to the novel believing it was based on LeRoy’s life. When JT LeRoy turned out to be San Francisco native Laura Albert, however, the outraged company took her to court to sue for damages.

On Friday, a Manhattan jury ordered Albert to pay Antidote International Films Inc. $116,500 in damages. U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff promised to later detrmine whether attorneys’ fees would be awarded as well. The jury was quick to make their decision in the case. After all, Albert had gone to great lengths to make her identity believable. Her friends wore wigs and attended book signings as LeRoy. They also made up stories about LeRoy’s life as a teen male prostitute. Albert herself even made phone calls to a psychiatrist as the troubled character.

When the verdict was read, she was not surprised. When she took the stand, she said that she had a tendency for taking on male identities for years as a result of the psychological problems brought on by sexual abuse as a child. LeRoy was a real person in her mind. She says that the exposure of her true life story during the trial will be something she can financially benefit from now that she’s over $100,000 in the hole.

For related articles visit

http://www.cnn.com/2007/LAW/06/23/literary.lawsuit.ap/index.html and http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/artandlife/1404AP_Literary_Lawsuit.html.

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