ABA Journal



DA Calls News Conference to Admit His Adult-Film Past; Credits Include ‘Bedroom Bedlam’

Nov 19, 2012, 12:45 pm CST


"Cortland County District Attorney Mark Suben admitted that the charges are true. . ." The "charges"? For acting gigs more than 30 years ago? GIve me a break.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 19, 1:18 pm CST

More importantly, other than extremely humiliating for him now, it doesn't seem like there's any allegation he actually broke the law. I wonder if he adequately disclosed his career past on the C&F portion of his bar application though.

By OKBankLaw on 2012 11 19, 2:58 pm CST

Who knows? Maybe "tricking women into bondage sex" is considered a plus up in his neck of the woods?

By Fred on 2012 11 19, 7:57 pm CST

"His opponent, lawyer Keith Dayton, told the Syracuse-Standard that Suben’s acting past isn’t his biggest concern. “I think the more important part is the lying,” he said."

Of course there's nothing here about whether the opponent believes it's admirable for people to work at any available employment to pay off their student loans, rent and other debts, instead of defaulting. The guy admitted he was an actor. I fail to see how the specifics of a DA's employment prior to becoming an attorney are relevant to his current job.

What other pre-professional occupations will be considered questionable for attorneys: Tending bar? Washing dishes? Working construction? Packing fish? Picking crops? Modeling? Pole dancing? Perhaps the ABA should compile a list of "socially unacceptable" professions so that undergraduates who had the misfortune to choose the wrong summer employment gigs won't waste any more money on law school.

By BMF on 2012 11 19, 10:07 pm CST

1. Surprisingly missing from the story was Suben's party affiliation: Democrat.
2. When confronted by this allegation on the eve of the election not only did Suben deny the allegation, but he accused his opponent of spreading lies. Given the fact that Suben was elected on false pretenses he should do the honorable thing and resign immediately.
3. I found BMF's argument that being a porn star is an honest and honorable way to earn a living particularly humorous given the fact that Elizabeth Warren, a senior member of the Political Left wasn't shy about attacking Senator Scott Brown for once being a male model - - - something that Brown never tried to hIde.

By Yankee on 2012 11 19, 10:58 pm CST

Maybe the lying was important, or maybe he was a standup kind of actor.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 20, 12:14 am CST

Yankee @ 5:

1. Some of us really don't automatically look for the little "D" or "R" when choosing candidates for elective offices. So I fail to see how Suben's party affiliation is relevant.

2. Suben's biggest mistake, IMO, was not owning it before the press could have a field day. IF he had simply said, "Yeah, so what? Obviously one ages out of some professions," it wouldn't have been much of a weapon. If Suben's opponent indicated that Suben was somehow lacking in morality because he acted in porn films, then perhaps he WAS lying. By the 1970's porn began going mainstream, viewers demanded better quality, and the days when hookers and junkies could just walk onto a set and get a role were pretty much over.

3. Uhm, Yankee, some of us don't even live in Warren's state, let alone share her views. Besides, as a former female model, I would be hypocritical if I agreed with her assertion RE Brown's former job. And just so your brain doesn't explode from all of this, let me tell you about the sexytime FUN!!! of having been one of those barea$$ nekkid, "artsy fartsy" models in front of a class comprised predominately of pre-meds, all of whom thought Mr. X's figure drawing class would be an "easy 'A'" because they "aced" comparative chordate anatomy! After being prodded by the professor into the position I humorously referred to as "the dying swan" with a 3 foot pointer, I would hold that position for 20 minutes at a time, then break, then do it again, for 2.5 hours. It's not as easy as it seems. While this was going on, I had to listen to instructive comments made by the professor, such as: "breasts are round, not square," or "What is that indistinct thing supposed to be at the end of her foot! Those are NOT toes! These [POINT, POINT, POINT] are toes!" And I couldn't snicker. During breaks, I would check and see what people were drawing--and the stuff that Professor X. didn't comment on made me pray that none of these guys was considering a career in cosmetic surgery: The oversized eyes; the extra ribs; the missing knee joints; and the one guy who drew me with a six pack that The Incredible Hulk would have envied. The gig paid more than 3 times the minimum wage my part-time day job paid, and enabled me to save up money toward graduate applications and interviews, without sacrificing study time.

By BMF on 2012 11 20, 12:55 am CST

Where DO we draw the line anymore? Would it be a problem if Mr Suben had been a "Rhinestone Cowboy"? Is the line breaking the law?? What is the "appearance of impriopriety" and "moral turpitude" and now anyway - in the anything goes 21st Century???

Or might it perhaps be the case that we are fast reaching the point in our society where even "judmentalism" with respect to "victimless crimes" like prostitution can no longer be tolerated - especially by all those who demand total tolerance of everything exCEPT the "intolerance" of old-fashioned moralists... Christians in particular (who are, of course, invariably "repressed" - when not downright hypocritical).

I attended law school with a very likeable fellow who let me know as a 1-L early on that he'd decided to give up a job as a well-paid "male dancer" after starting law school. He said it really "hurt" to give up his "art". I might add that he drove one of the hottest cars in the parking lot.

PS We all know that ever since Clinton's reign & Monicagate it is no longer a crime to lie about and/or cover up something one should never have been investigated for in the 1st place.

PPS Too bad Scott Brown wasn't also Cherokee... Anyone think Elizabeth "It Takes a Village" Warren will ever now be pursued for her long-term pornographic practice of law in MA w/out an MA license?

By Lex Claritas on 2012 11 20, 1:36 am CST

1. Although normally I would agree with you, had Suben been a Republican his party affiliation been mentioned.
2. Although it isn't my business what people do within their home, I hate to think porn that has gone "mainstream" (maybe it has; who knows) - - - porn really does corrupt the soul.
3. Your modeling story was very funny. Thanks for sharing.

By Yankee on 2012 11 20, 2:07 am CST

New Drinking Game:

Every time Yankee tries to interject his delusion that individuals are only identified by party affiliation when they are Repubicans, everyone playing takes a drink!



More than once you've made the assertion that the ABA only mentions party affiliations when it's Republicans, which is patently untrue. Sometimes they mention party affiliation and sometimes they don't, regardless of party.

I'm surprised though, given your defense of Senator Brown's profession, that you are defending Mr. Dayton's spurious attack on the former profession of his political rival. When Senator-elect Warren did it, it was wrong, so surely it was also wrong when Mr. Dayton did it. As far as "lying" about it. People lie about embarassing things all the time, and while even you will surely agree that acting in pornography is not presumptively illegal, it is embarassing. And while lying is wrong, I'd give this lie an Understandable rating.

By OKBankLaw on 2012 11 20, 7:36 pm CST

@11 You realize, of course, that Senator Brown and District Attorney Suben were in a decidedly different professions. There is a qualitative different between accepting a role in Deep Throat Part II, and a photo shoot in Cosmo.

By Yankee on 2012 11 20, 9:44 pm CST

Yankee @ 12: "Cosmo?" You're right about that "qualitative difference." Cosmo argued that they represented wholesome views of modern, liberated women--with catchy sub-headers like: "How to look thinner during sex," or "Top 10 male turn-ons!" At least porn doesn't pretend to be something it's not. However, if you wrap a rolled Cosmo in duct tape, it makes a good weapon. Those old porn tapes--not so much.

By BMF on 2012 11 20, 10:06 pm CST


Please elucidate, what is the qualitative difference?

I mean, there are some places that by the standards of the community Cosmo is technically obscene, and has to be sold in a black wrapper.

By OKBankLaw on 2012 11 20, 10:15 pm CST

@13/@14 You ask: "Please elucidate, what is the qualitative difference?"

They sell Cosmo at the check out line of my local Piggly Wiggly.

Can't say the same about Deep Throat Part II.

By Yankee on 2012 11 20, 10:52 pm CST

You still haven't said why you think starring in an Adult Film disqualifies someone from public office.

By OKBankLaw on 2012 11 21, 3:29 am CST

After all, screwing people is screwing people, whether ye be Republicrat or Democan.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 21, 6:10 am CST

None of this makes any sense to me. What is the brouhaha all about? Why can't a porn actor become a lawyer?

By Peter C. Lomtevas on 2012 11 21, 11:51 am CST

to #17 Or a lawyer

By Bloomlj on 2012 11 21, 11:56 am CST

At the risk of coming late to this party......

The minute I heard Mr. Suben had covered up his sexual past as he did, I knew he was a Democrat.


Because the sex he was covering up was hetro. And consensual.

By The Saint on 2012 11 21, 1:42 pm CST

Mr.Suben's prior profession gives a whole new meaning to the term: "laying down the law."

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2012 11 21, 2:17 pm CST

Generally speaking I don't see what his porn career 35-40 years ago has to do with being the DA now. It seemingly was brought up to embarrass/humiliate him and possibly to turn voters against him. That said, there is little excuse for having lied about it and if he really felt no shame for what he had done then he should have simply owned up to it and pointed out that his opponent must truly have nothing substantive to offer if he has to rely on ancient history to secure votes.

It seems clear that Suben was ashamed of his past and that is why he lied about it initially and quite frankly he should have been ashamed. I mean Deep Throat II! That was a terrible movie! Sure the original is an absolute classic but the sequel? Get real!

By Rob on 2012 11 21, 2:48 pm CST


I actually laughed out loud at that. And got very funny looks from the people near enough to hear.

By OKBankLaw on 2012 11 21, 3:50 pm CST

Must have a long johnson. Lucky guy.

By Eric on 2012 11 21, 4:01 pm CST

Subin was absolutely wrong for lying, regardless of the topic. He should have just taken the same position as "The Contender" ( I have to agree with #2. If the C&F portion of the application requires complete disclosure of all prior work experience, and if Suben did not disclosed that experience, the State Bar should get involved. That would be my position regardless of the nature of the job omitted. The omission is a misrepresentation and that DOES bear on one's fitness to practice law.

The real question is: Just how extensive is the porn collection of the person (Dayton?) who made the allegation in the first place?

By RHC on 2012 11 21, 4:18 pm CST

Did someone call a plumber- I mean DA?

By Cal1218 on 2012 11 21, 4:36 pm CST

I just want to know whether, over the years, he used the phrase "Hard on Crime" in his campaign ads.

By AndytheLawyer on 2012 11 21, 4:36 pm CST

Only a bunch of lawyers could overlook the opportunity for some seriously tasteless jokes and have a political fight over this story. McLeod, I expected more from you.

Let's shift the discussion. How about we all conjure up some titles for legal-themed porn movies?

"Justice is blind-FOLDED!"
"Pure Dicta!"
"Actus ReCTus!"
"The In Camera Sessions!"
"In Flagrante Delicto!"
"Jus Primae Noctis!"
"Lex Posterior!"
"Writ of MANdamus!"
"Nudum Pactum!"
"Nunc pro Junk!"
"Bi Curiam!"
"Pro boner!"

Come one people; help me out here. These are bad, but you can do better! (The exclamation points are mandatory, by the way.)

By Lighten up on 2012 11 21, 4:37 pm CST

Agreed with #7 his biggest mistake was lying and not owning it before the media could have a field day.

Being a porn star actor is not illegal (right?) so it doesn't sound like this should have been a real issue (other than with other people's personal views about whether they approve), but for his denying the truth.

By Dirk on 2012 11 21, 5:08 pm CST

Also #7 BMF: hilarious sexytime fun story, thanks for sharing! :)

By Dirk on 2012 11 21, 5:13 pm CST

#28 -- If the actresses aren't skankalicious, perhaps "Attractive Nuisances!"

By AndytheLawyer on 2012 11 21, 6:04 pm CST

In Suben's defense, he was just another working stiff.

By Yankee on 2012 11 21, 6:22 pm CST

I think the questions to ask are:

If lawyers are supposed to have a high moral character in order to be admitted to the bar, should he be excluded for having a past in pornography?

And, did he disclose his previous occupation in his application to the bar?

While the first question may be hard to answer, the second one isn't.

I wonder if the New York bar will review his application for truthfulness in light of this revelation?

By Lygeia on 2012 11 21, 11:06 pm CST

No. 28, did you mean "Nudum Pactum" or "nude 'n packed 'em"?

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 21, 11:54 pm CST

Lygeia @ 33:

Why should an otherwise qualified attorney be excluded from admission to the bar in any jurisdiction for having acted in porn films in the past? A definition of high moral character that excludes such actors would seem to eliminate persons who have taken appropriate steps to improve their character. It would also be difficult to justify when one considers that all jurisdictions have probably admitted (--or readmitted--) their share of former felons to the bar.

By BMF on 2012 11 22, 12:22 am CST

They are just jealous of him. He's had many beautiful gals.

By Anna Gray on 2012 11 22, 12:48 am CST

"Duh" is what's lacking here.

Hasn't it occurred to ANYone yet that he would have lied so as not to embarrass or hurt his teenagers, or whatever family he has that would've cared?
And hasn't it occurred to anyone yet that he probably assumed lying about an irrelevant matter, while not under oath, would probably lay (sorry) the whole issue to rest?
And hasn't it struck anyone yet that he apologized sincerely, promptly and evidently truthfully for having lied?

The story was over before it hit. The "issues" every comment seems to debate are meaningless. (Except for B.McLeod's comments, of course - there's always room for scintillation.)

By Avon on 2012 11 22, 1:18 am CST

In his new role as DA I guess he will be asking for "stiff" sentences.

By Noel Prosequi on 2012 11 22, 1:29 am CST

This topic never had a chance. It was bound to degenerate into teenage humor.

By Redwood on 2012 11 22, 2:17 am CST

@#37 "And hasn’t it struck anyone yet that he apologized sincerely, promptly and evidently truthfully for having lied?"

Promptly you say? He lied on at least two occasions, including before the election. He is only now coming clean just as his past has gotten added attention, including an expose by a local news station. His past isn't the issue... his present pattern of lies is far more concerning, methinks.

By The Artist Formerly Known As Bakes on 2012 11 22, 4:22 am CST

No. 40, you seem perpetually envious. I assume in this case you begrudge Mr. Suben the penetrating insights he may draw from his long and hard endeavors of stage and screen. Do you personally claim not to have "lied on at least two occasions"? Really?

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 22, 5:39 am CST

@#28--How about "The Legal Grind!"
@# 32---Very Good!

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2012 11 22, 1:50 pm CST

McLeod... you would have to troll after me in perpetuity to opine on anything that I do "perpetually"... but then again, that would be asking answers, wouldn't it? You also ASSume too much at the expense of simple comprehension: "[h]is past isn’t the issue…" No reading between the lines is necessary, what he did in the past is immaterial. Yet you somehow conclude that I am "envious" of his sexual exploits?

I also never "personally claim[ed] not to have lied", but your blinkered focus on the messenger obscures your ability to decipher the message. I've never held public office, nor do I aspire to. As the Ohio Supreme Court states in disciplining the State's former AG "Like judges, the attorney general has a heightened duty to the public by virtue of his elected office." Suben holds an analogous office as Courtland County DA, and by extension, he owes the same heightened duty to the public which elected him.

Perhaps residents of your parallel universe consider it appropriate for your jurisdiction's chief legal officer to publicly lie, and lie about something which arguably impacts his fitness for office, but I am certain that a majority of reasonably prudent persons would find such behavior objectionable.

By The Artist Formerly Known As Bakes on 2012 11 22, 2:30 pm CST

Artist - so what is the heightened duty? Is it a porn star's duty to avoid running for public office? Or a politician's duty not to lie while in office? If the latter it would be rare indeed that an incumbent would qualify for reelection under your standard.

By Redwood on 2012 11 22, 4:15 pm CST

Is this disclosure?
Or bragging?
I would like to claim I was a porn star, but I'm not up to it.

By Ralph Blasier Blasier on 2012 11 22, 4:21 pm CST

No. 44, I concur that we allow politicians more than a few lies (although used-to-be Bakes seems to acknowledge he is way over the line to qualify even so).

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 22, 4:42 pm CST

Bakes @ 43: "Perhaps residents of your parallel universe consider it appropriate for your jurisdiction’s chief legal officer to publicly lie, and lie about something which arguably impacts his fitness for office, but I am certain that a majority of reasonably prudent persons would find such behavior objectionable."

You're right. A chief legal officer in any jurisdiction's alternate universe shouldn't lie. In reality, though, most of them are elected. This means most of them are making promises along the lines of "balancing fiscal budgets," "increasing efficiency," and "bringing law and order to the Realsville of your choice." Every time I hear these promises, my b.s. detector works overtime, and it's pretty objectionable; but, like most people, I suppose I've resigned myself to the fact that it is an inherent part of politics.

While the law may prohibit lying, equity demands that punishment for similar offenses not be disproportionate or arbitrary. It is disproportionate and arbitrary to kick someone out of office for lying about his distant past to protect his family and his livelihood, when we arguably gave Clinton a pass for doing the same thing regarding a recent affair. It is possible to condemn the act, while recognizing that the individual is still otherwise qualified to perform his/her position.

By BMF on 2012 11 22, 5:18 pm CST

@#44 What is the "heightened duty" that a prosecutor owes the public? Is that a trick question? How about integrity in office? He chose to run for office knowing about his past... a past which he strove to keep secret, and which secret he lied to preserve. He is no mere politician... he's the County DA, lest we forget.

@BMF... again, he is no mere politician and this is no white lie, or unkept campaign promise. You elided over the key part of the lie as I see it, he lied about something that <i>arguably</i> would impact his fitness for office. I am not saying that acting in a porno 40 years ago affects his fitness for office today, but that properly should have been the call of the voters who elected him to office. In other words, he was asked about it before the elections and he should have come clean then.

You are assuming that he lied to protect his family, although we have no proof of this... his family may have known all along, we don't know. Not that it matters. The decision to lie about something which he felt threatened "his livelihood" is "far more concerning" than his porno past in my book, because then it raises questions about his character. Another prosecutor in his position could have been blackmailed for instance, which then might compromise the integrity of the office. Thankfully it never came to that in this instance, but the potential was there, and this is why the lie is an even bigger issue, as I see it.

As for kicking him out of office and all of that... I never made any prescriptive or punitive suggestions. I don't know what would be equitable or proportionate, that would be for the citizens of Courtland County and or the State's disciplinary board to contemplate. My initial comment was more in response to the notion that a) he fessed up immediately, and b) there is nothing wrong with him lying about it.

By The Artist Formerly Known As Bakes on 2012 11 22, 6:19 pm CST

So many words. Obviously so envious (notwithstanding has-been-Bakes's denials, which are nullified both by their nonsensical nature and Bakes's acknowledgement of personal dishonesty on a scale that precldes a political career). Please.

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 23, 7:51 am CST

McLeod... your level of immaturity is superseded only by the scope of your over active imagination.

By The Artist Formerly Known As Bakes on 2012 11 23, 10:39 am CST

It's obvious that Suben should not have been elected. Only by revealing and airing his past employment could he have achieved full disclosure. Also, voters should have had an opportunity to determine whether he was at all acceptable as an actor or was just another stiff.

By Faulhaber on 2012 11 23, 5:20 pm CST

His tough on crime campaign slogan could have been: "I carry a big stick"

By ShastaDuck on 2012 11 23, 6:00 pm CST

Subin is still a big fan of gag orders.

By Patenator on 2012 11 23, 9:12 pm CST

If telling lies is disqualifying for any elected official, the halls of congress would be empty--perhaps they should be and save us the mischief. Let's pass a law that any one who tells a lie while seekihng elected office is guilty of a felony which, if proven, would bar him/her from political office. We wouldn't need term limits. But I wonder what political ads would look like.

By anywherebuthere on 2012 11 23, 10:49 pm CST

@#53--that's ball and gag orders
As one punster to another --and proud to admit it--McLeod--don't let them rain on your (very witty) parade!

By NOW JERRY BROWN on 2012 11 24, 1:38 am CST

Based on his credits, I suspect Suben would support almost any kind of restraining order as well. And the rain? Hardly even noticeable when limited to Mr. Don't-you-know-who-I-used-to-be. (I hope I will never be rediced to that).

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 24, 7:57 am CST

"acted in porn films in the 1970s"

Ahh! The Golden Age of Porn! Back when there were actual scripts, plots, dialogue and, most of all, ACTING!!! Alright, not the best of acting but it was acting nonetheless! And there were FILMS, not videos! Nowadays, it's all just rutting, no plot, no purpose, just non-stop sex. Ron Jeremy is a pale shadow of his former self! Where are the Kay Parkers? Where are the Aunt Pegs, the Mai Lins, the Honey Wilders? This man should be praised for his contribution to America's Cultural Heritage, not condemned!
I salute you for your service to this Nation, Mr. Suben!

By Thorio on 2012 11 24, 4:00 pm CST

@57 ". . . contribution to America’s Cultural Heritage . . ."

I'll agree on the limited point that pornography has indeed impacted American Culture. The fact that Mr. Suben's fellow Democrats did not rise up together and insist that Suben resign from office upon this revelation becoming public is testimony to that reality.

By Yankee on 2012 11 25, 6:24 pm CST

Right, which we normally would have expected them to do because it was hetero and consensual (as the Saint points out above).

By B. McLeod on 2012 11 26, 12:15 am CST


Your post is a perfect example of why the GOP lost the last election. You obviously have not learned from your past mistakes. Please never do.

By Thorio on 2012 11 26, 4:01 pm CST

@60 "You obviously have not learned from your past mistakes. Please never do."

Don't worry: I will never be comfortable with porn.

By Yankee on 2012 11 26, 6:42 pm CST

The group of posters who think it's not a big deal are way funnier than those who are jumping up and down trying to get y'all to think this guy messed up. But seriously, he messed up. The guy lied to get elected. Come on. I'm not saying we kick him out of office, but can't we all agree that objectively, lying to get into office is wrong? Even if others do it too.

By I'm Just Saying on 2012 11 26, 10:38 pm CST

The real transgression in all this is not Suben's -- it is his opponent's publication of Suben's distant past employment (if it was his opponent's instigation that resulted in the publication). Funny how Senator David Vitter is so easily forgiven by his admirers for his recent transgressions, but Suben is beyond redemption for his distant past employment. The hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Here is the big difference: One elected official insincerely spouts all the right (pun intended) platitudes and the other sincerely shrugs the matter off. Cue the "appropriate" outrage from those wrapping themselves in the tight leather undergarments of "family values."

By Paul the Magyar on 2012 11 27, 12:23 am CST

I look at Suben's porn job past as irrelevant, since he did disclose that his job was "actor" and NYS does not inquire as to what the job duties entailed (or at least, NYS didn't when I completed the forms, which was sometime since the 70s).

I look at Suben's lies as irrelevant to his job, and also polite, although far enough from pure integrity to warrant his apologies, for the reasons I said @37. New Yorkers aren't puritan enough, or shallow enough, to keep harping on his "issue" the way commenters here have done: the conservatives (who dominate in Cortland County) recognize bygones and privacy as such; the liberals (who also vote) don't feel the same urge to judge others' personal lives so inflexibly.

Whether Suben was wrong is a valid question. Whether his wrongs are worth debating is also a valid question. But don't think that, therefore, his voters - or his state Bar authorities - care about it. There are too many other valid questions under the sun that are a lot more relevant to their lives and work.

By Avon on 2012 11 27, 12:26 am CST

And, Yankee, try reading this article to understand why your points are not well-taken here:

Anthony Weiner Resigns, Prostitute Enthusiast David Vitter Continues To Be Embraced By GOP Leadership

By Paul the Magyar on 2012 11 27, 12:28 am CST

@61 I will never be comfortable with porn.

Nor will Ted Haggard and Larry Craig ever be comfortable with their homosexuality.

By Thorio on 2012 11 27, 5:57 pm CST

I havent laughed this hard in ages. Nor have I weeped so much at the inflexible, self-righteous arrogant pontificators who apparently will not be satisfied with anything "short" of Suben's castration and public flogging. Wait, I forgot, the hypocrites who say they will never be comfortable with sexual relations between two consenting adults, albeit for profit, probably deep down (real deep) really wish they were in his position, so to speak.
More seriously, as I do not practice in NY, I do not know "the rest of the story" but where is the Bar involvement here? There is no actual evidence that he lied on any application or indicated that he was not an actor. You might not like the type of jobs he took to support himself but I believe he probably was, no pun intended, not satisfied either with the choice of roles available but that does not mean he perjured himself. Please point me to the portion of the article that demonstrates that contention. As to lying in the campaign, surely none of us can be hypocritical enough to say that we would not have done Exactly the same thing. Other commentators above have addressed these points. I will simply say that it is unfortunate that so many are so narrow minded.

By SAGUARO on 2012 11 29, 12:44 am CST

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