US Man Pleads Guilty to Insulting Thai Royals

Joe Gordon faces up to 15 years in prison; plea made in hope of leniency
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2011 8:48 AM CDT
Joe Gordon, a Thai-born American, speaks to reporters upon his arrival at criminal court in Bangkok earlier today.   (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)

(Newser) – A Thai-born US citizen pleaded guilty earlier today to charges of insulting Thailand's royal family, reports the AP. Joe Gordon, 54, returned to Thailand in March after living in the United States for about 30 years. He was arrested in May for translating excerpts of a banned biography of the king—titled The King Never Smiles—into Thai and publishing them online, in an article that allegedly insulted the monarchy.

Gordon faces up to 15 years in prison; after being denied bail eight times, he decided to plead guilty in hopes of receiving leniency or a pardon. "The fact that his bail requests have been repeatedly denied, that disheartened him and made him want to plead guilty," said his lawyer. "He said he wanted the penalty to be lessened and intended to ask for the royal pardon."

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