Legal History

Larry Flynt's lawyer and others recall March '78 shooting near courthouse


Larry Flynt. s_bukley

No one, of course, would want to be shot by a man armed with a .44 magnum “elephant gun.”

But there were a few slight benefits that resulted when he and his client, Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, were attacked on their way back to the Gwinnett County, Ga., courthouse from lunch on March 6, 1978, attorney Gene Reeves tells the Daily Agenda blog of Atlanta magazine.

Flynt, who took the brunt of the attack, was left paralyzed. However, the misdemeanor obscenity charges he was facing were subsequently dismissed.

And, Reeves, who was in the hospital for 26 days, unable to smoke, gave up his three-pack-a-day habit when a nurse finally told him it was OK to light up. “I haven’t had one since,” says the retired county magistrate, now 83. He credits Flynt both for giving him name recognition and for paying his $18,000 hospital bill.

Another individual who wasn’t prosecuted after the attack was the suspected shooter. Although he initially faced aggravated assault charges, it was decided the expense and the danger of taking the case to trial outweighed the benefits of prosecution once he was convicted in an unrelated death-penalty case in Missouri, explains county district attorney Danny Porter.

A 1997 article in the New York Times (reg. req.) provides additional details about the suspect and his other crimes.

However, Flynt himself wondered if the CIA wasn’t involved, according to Porter. “As far as I know, he never came back to Gwinnett County,” the DA said of Flynt.

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