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Trials & Litigation

Writer Testifies About Troubled Childhood

Posted Jun 21, 2007 9:03 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The writer who called herself JT Leroy took the stand yesterday in a dispute over film rights.

Antidote International Films Inc. paid $45,000 for rights to Sarah, a book said to be the autobiography of a young man from West Virginia who was a truck stop prostitute. The company says the contract is void because the author is actually a Brooklyn woman named Laura Albert.

Albert told the jury that she wrote through JT Leroy, assuming his identity, the New York Times reports.

“He was my respirator,” she said. “He was my channel for air. To me, if you take my JT, my Jeremy, my other, I die.”

Albert told of her own troubled childhood. She was sexually abused by a family friend and her mother’s boyfriend, and took a lot of teasing for her weight. The kids called her “Fat Albert.” She had her own childhood experience with a trucker who spanked her and offered to pay her a dollar and a chocolate for a kiss.

Albert ran away from home and eventually landed in San Francisco, where she adopted the identity of teenage boys when she called suicide hotlines. One of them was Jeremy, an early version of JT Leroy.

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