Novel Defense: Man Claims that He is Gay in Hate Crime Case

In a variation of the famous “I am Spartacus” scene, defendants appear to be jumping up and screaming “I Am Gay” as a defense to a hate crime against gays. Michael Sandy is a gay, black man who was beaten and robbed by The suspects were a group of young whites males. The prosecution has alleged that the men ran out of money and drugs and set up Sandy using an online chat room. Now, at least one of the defendants has claimed that it could not have been a hate crime because he is gay. Anthony Fortunato testified that he has had gay impulses and one-night stands since he was a teenager. Thus, he argues, this could not be a hate crime — perhaps a self-hate crime. It raises an interesting defense. It is not obvious that a gay man cannot commit a hate crime under the definition of these laws if the victim was selected for his status as the target. It is a defense that others may try in other cases, but Fortunato appears to have witnesses to back up his claim. here

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