Whatever you think about Jack Thompson, there are times when he can play the media like a Stradivarius. And so it was that he managed to hold the attention of both the mainstream and gaming press for several weeks in 2006 while he sought to block the release of Rockstar’s Bully in Florida.
Thompson’s unusual suit, which charged that the T-rated Bully was a public nuisance, came before Judge Ronald Friedman on the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court. In an early-round win for Thompson, Friedman ordered Take Two to produce the game for an in-chambers viewing prior to its retail launch.
That would be Thompson’s only victory in the case, which quickly turned contentious (anyone surprised?). Thompson blasted Friedman endlessly following the judge’s ruling that he would not grant Thompson's petition to block Bully’s release. Thompson upped the ante by announcing that he would run for Friedman’s seat in 2008. We note that Thompson does not appear to be following through on that claim.
For his part, Judge Friedman wasted little time in filing a complaint against Thompson with the Florida Bar. The Friedman complaint was one of several on which the Bar opted to take Thompson to trial last November. In this multi-part series GamePolitics has been publishing excerpted transcripts from the video game-related portions of the Thompson Bar trial. Today's edition covers the direct testimony of Judge Friedman. Due to the length of Friedman's testimony, Thompson's cross examination of the judge will appear in the next installment.
( In the excerpted transcripts that follow, RF is Judge Ronald Friedman. JT is Thompson, TUMA is prosecutor Sheila Tuma and DT is Judge Dava Tunis, who is presiding over the case…)
TUMA: Can you tell us what Mr. Thompson asked you to do to make the determination of entering an injunction [to bock the release of Bully]?
RF: He wanted me to review the game and prohibit its distribution, which was scheduled a few days later, maybe a week later.
TUMA: Did you entertain his request?
RF: I did... I heard arguments from both sides. The counsel for the defendants [Take Two] did not think it was necessary to do any of this because under the First Amendment, they had a right to make the distribution.