Why did artist Shepard Fairey suddenly admit Friday to fabricating and destroying evidence to cover up the truth about which photograph he used to create his iconic “Obama Hope” poster? Because he got caught red-handed, according to a lawyer representing The Associated Press in its copyright dispute with Fairey over the celebrated image.

Kirkland & Ellis partner Dale Cendali says the fuse that set off Fairey’s bombshell revelations was lit two weeks ago. That’s when The AP’s legal team, which also includes Kirkland’s Claudia Ray, confronted Fairey’s lawyers with “trace evidence” that the artist wasn’t being entirely forthcoming in the discovery process. In short, Cendali says, something that was turned over indicated that other items were being withheld.

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