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Photographer pleads guilty to ground zero arrest charge

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    NMU         NEW YORK         Newsgathering         May 9, 2002    

Photographer pleads guilty to ground zero arrest charge

  • Free-lancer who faced criminal charges for impersonating a firefighter agreed to surrender rights to Sept. 11 photos, which will be donated anonymously to Library of Congress.

A free-lance photographer arrested twice after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York City for posing as a firefighter agreed, as a condition of a plea agreement, to surrender all rights to the photographs he took.

The pictures of the devastation will be donated anonymously to the Library of Congress, according to his attorney.

Stephen Ferry, a 41-year-old photographer who was on assignment for Time magazine, made the agreement as part of a guilty plea to a charge of possession of a forged instrument. Police arrested Ferry on the felony charge on Sept. 13 after he presented an altered New York driver’s license as identification.

Jack Litman, Ferry’s attorney, said his client altered the driver’s license so he could work abroad in Columbia.

“And it was changed solely for the purpose of traveling, so he could work in a dangerous country,” Litman said.

Ferry’s first arrest came on Sept. 11 after police officers found the photographer wearing New York Fire Department coveralls, a hard hat and boots and carrying a toolkit when he was arrested on Sept. 11. Those misdemeanors charges were dropped as part of the agreement.

On May 7, state Supreme Court Judge Leslie Crocker Snyder gave Ferry a sentence of 1,200 hours of community service and a five-year probation. Litman said Ferry plans to offer photography lessons to underprivileged children to satisfy his service requirements.

Litman also said Ferry was happy with the agreement because the photographs would finally be in public view.

“They did not want these photos in the public record,” Litman said. “It would have taken months, probably years, to litigate so Stephen could get these photos.”

(New York v. Ferry; Media counsel: Jack Litman, New York City) PT

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