San Francisco writer Laura Albert—who pretended to be a former male prostitute named "JT LeRoy" in various autobiographical articles and novels, including 1999's The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things—has been found guilty of fraud by a Manhattan jury, awarding the production company behind the film adaptation of the same name $116,500 in damages. (Albert's extensive use of the pseudonym—and the whole crazy story behind how she was found out—is far too long and detailed to get into here, so we suggest you check out this Wikipedia entry if you're not familiar.) Albert testified that she "had been assuming male identities for decades as a coping mechanism for psychological problems brought on by her sexual abuse as a child," and that to her, "LeRoy was real." The prosecution argued that Albert had stepped over the line by signing contracts and obtaining copyrights under the name. Though she accepted the ruling, Albert also admonished it, saying:
"This goes beyond me. Say an artist wants to use a pseudonym for political reasons, for performance art. This is a new, dangerous, brave new world we are in."