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Internet 'Sting' Trial of Gay Press
Youth Advocate set April 14


Award-Winning California Reporter,
Bruce Mirken, Summoned

Judge Ure Denies Delay
to Allow Students' Character Testimonies

Compiled By GayToday

bmirkin.jpg - 6.19 K Bruce Mirken San Francisco, California--Award-winning gay journalist Bruce Mirken is set to stand trial April 14 on charges stemming from an Internet "sting" operation conducted by the Sacramento Police Department.

On April 6th, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jane Ure denied a request by Mirken's lawyer, Bruce Nickerson, that the trial be delayed so that young people Mirken has interviewed and written about can testify without missing school.

Covering controversial issues throughout the last decade, the award-winning reporter has:

Exposed the mistreatment of queer youth. He documented the stories of Lyn Duff and other lesbian and gay teens who were put in locked mental institutions for forced "reparative therapy." In op/ed columns appearing in such major papers as the Miami Herald, he showed America the suffering that homophobic schools and families inflict on GLBT teens.

Revealed the Boy Scouts' cruelty and hypocrisy. Starting with a 1991 article for The Advocate, Bruce has been virtually the only reporter to regularly expose the suffering the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy inflicts on gay teens in scouting. In 1998 he caught the Scouts violating their own rules when they expelled an adult critic of their ban on gays.

Related Stories from the GayToday Archive:
Bruce Mirken: A Gay Reporter Under Fire

Gay Youth Rescued from Hell

Gay Men Do Have Children

Entrapment Cases - Why Should You Care?

Related Sites:
Bruce Mirken Defense Fund Site
GayToday does not endorse related sites.

Documented anti-gay police abuse. In a series of articles in 1991 he documented the Los Angeles Police Department's crude and unconstitutional attacks on peaceful gay rights demonstrators and the LAPD's flagrant lying to cover up its misdeeds. Since moving to San Francisco in 1993, he's reported several times on the city's failure to adequately discipline SFPD officers who abuse citizens.

Exposed corporate greed and misconduct. Bruce has been relentless in reporting the pharmaceutical industry's exorbitant pricing and ethically questionable marketing of drugs for HIV and hepatitis C. He's pulled back the curtain to reveal the ugly truth behind the recent "gay-friendly" posture of Coors Brewing Company.

Mirken's heart has gone into the dozens of articles he's written affecting young gays and lesbians.

"These gay and lesbian young people are the heart of what this case is about," said Mirken. "They are still the most voiceless, unheard group in American society, and I've spent the last decade trying to tell their stories. The world--and the court--needs to hear what they have to say."

Mirken, who believed he was investigating a possible story about an apparently troubled gay teenager, went to meet the youth--who turned out to be a fictional creation of the police--intending to interview him.

The reporter was immediately arrested for "attempted lewd acts" with the nonexistent minor. Mirken has vehemently denied the charges. "I'm looking forward to finally getting the chance to tell my story and set the record straight," he said.

"But it's a shame that the kids I've worked with, some of whom have to travel a great distance, will have to have their schooling disrupted to accommodate the court's schedule."

mkight2.jpg - 6.57 K Activist Morris Kight wrote a letter of support on Mirken's behalf Californians standing firmly behind Mirken and who call him "a lifelong fighter for our community" include colleagues, pioneering activists, publishers, authors and individuals he's helped. Signatories to a fund raising letter on his behalf are: Kim Corsaro, Publisher/Editor, San Francisco Bay Times, Lyn Duff, Survivor of forced "reparative therapy", Jeff Getty, AIDS activist, John S. James, Publisher/Editor, AIDS Treatment News, Morris Kight, Co-Founder, Los Angeles Gay Liberation Front, Stuart Timmons, Author, The Trouble With Harry Hay.

Mirken's trial is set to begin at 8:30 AM April 14 in Dept. 8 in the Sacramento Courthouse, located on 8th Street between G and H Streets. However, delays of up to a few days are still possible.

Defense lawyer, Bruce Nickerson, is confident of eventual victory. Indeed, at a December 15 preliminary hearing Sacramento Municipal Judge Brian R. Van Camp called it an "extremely close" decision whether the case should even go to trial -- and he made that comment without even hearing the case for the defense! "The evidence is so weak that this judge nearly threw the case out -- using a very low standard of proof," Nickerson notes.

The reporter's friends, colleagues and supporters have joined in raising money to help cover his mounting legal expenses, now approaching $50,000 total. The ongoing legal battle is costing huge amounts of money, money Mirken doesn't have.

Attorney's fees and bail bond costs have already exceeded $30,000, with more bills to come. Because the police ransacked his apartment and seized his computer and other possessions, he's had to rent a computer in order to keep working, adding to exorbitant costs.

It is only because of help from the reporter's parents that he's been able to avoid bankruptcy as he keeps fighting to clear his name. But, he says, "I know that with every check they send I'm spending my nieces' and nephew's inheritance. That tears me up inside."
Information about the Bruce Mirken Legal Defense Fund is available on the Worldwide Web at www.void.org/~claudius/BruceMirken/.

Donations can be sent to:
Bruce Mirken Legal Defense Fund
P.O. Box 14954
San Francisco, CA 94114



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