Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Adventures of Larry Flynt

Diapered in Old Glory

Book Cover: An Unseemly Man
Book Cover: An Unseemly Man

In the meantime, Flynt came into possession of an audiotape of DeLorean's entrapment. (In his book, Flynt does not explain how he received this one.) On this barely audible tape, DeLorean is heard trying to back out of the drug deal, but the undercover agent threatens to hurt his daughter if he reneges. Flynt called a press conference on the lawn of his California mansion to play the tape for reporters. He claims that in his drug-addled state he lost track of the tape and it disappeared that day.

The judge assigned to the DeLorean case, Robert Takasugi, subpoenaed Flynt to appear in court with the tape. Feeling ornery because of his constant pain, Flynt deliberately ignored the subpoena and was consequently arrested on his 41st birthday by a team of 15 federal marshals. In court, Judge Takasugi ordered him to turn over the tape, but he said it was lost. The judge then ordered him to reveal who gave it to him. Flynt believed the government had no right to ask a journalist to reveal a confidential source and refused to give Judge Takasugi a direct answer. The judge lost his temper and threatened to fine Flynt $10,000 a day until he agreed to reveal his source. He ordered Flynt to appear before him the next day.

Judge Robert Takasugi
Judge Robert Takasugi

Flynt returned to court the following day, dressed in a diaper fashioned from an American flag. He figured if he was going to be treated like a naughty child, he was going to act like one. Surprisingly, the judge did not comment on the flag diaper, but a federal prosecutor had him arrested outside the courtroom. Flynt was charged with desecration of the flag.

His case landed in Judge Manual Real's courtroom where Flynt, in excruciating pain, openly battled with the judge. At one point he spit at Judge Real, who ordered the bailiff to gag Flynt. Someone found a roll of tape and sealed Flynt's mouth. Flynt promised to behave, but when the tape was removed, he shouted obscenities at the judge.

"I'm sentencing you to six months in a federal psychiatric prison!" the judge yelled, according to Flynt's account. "Now get out of my courtroom!"

"Motherf***er — is that the best you can do?" Flynt responded.

"No! I'm making that 12 months!"

Flynt yelled back. "Listen, motherf***er, is that the best you can do?"

"Fifteen months!" the judge declared and stormed into his chambers.

Flynt served his sentence in two different prison facilities: Springfield, Missouri, and Butner, North Carolina. Hardly a model prisoner, the federal correctional system was glad to be rid of him when his time was up.

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