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Shepard Fairey, the creator of the Obama “Hope” poster, faces a criminal investigation into his behavior during a copyright dispute with The Associated Press over the photo that he used as the source of his iconic image. The Am Law Daily learned of the probe Tuesday afternoon while attending oral arguments before federal district judge Alvin K. Hellerstein.

Fairey’s Jones Day lawyers had asked Hellerstein to close the courtroom for a scheduled hearing on motions that had been filed under seal, but the judge refused. In their sealed motion, Fairey’s lawyers were asking the judge for a six-month extension of the discovery deadline in Fairey’s copyright suit against The AP — in part, in turns out, to allow Fairey to delay his deposition in the face of the criminal investigation.

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