The street artist Shepard Fairey, whose Hope campaign poster of Barack Obama became an enduring symbol of his last presidential campaign, pleaded guilty Friday to a charge stemming from his misconduct in trying to bolster claims in a lawsuit over which photograph had been used as a basis for the poster.
Mr. Fairey, 42, sued The Associated Press in 2009 after it contended he had infringed on the copyright of one of its photographs in creating the poster. Mr. Fairey had claimed in his suit that he had used a different photograph of Mr. Obama, but later admitted that he had been mistaken and had tried to conceal his mistake, by destroying documents and fabricating others.
“I was ashamed that I had done these things, and I knew I should have corrected my actions,” he said on Friday in Federal District Court in Manhattan. The legal dispute between Mr. Fairey and The AP has been settled.
Mr. Fairey, of Los Angeles, pleaded to one count of criminal contempt and could face up to six months in prison. A prosecutor, Daniel W. Levy, told the magistrate judge, Frank Maas, that the government was likely to seek some term of imprisonment for Mr. Fairey, who will be sentenced on July 16.
His lawyer, Daniel M. Gitner, said later that his client had “cooperated fully” with the government and took “full responsibility” for his actions.
Tom Curley, the president and chief executive of The AP, issued a statement noting that Mr. Fairey had started the case with his lawsuit over copyright fair use issues, and added, “The A.P. hopes that some good may come of this, by alerting judges and parties to the possibility that fake evidence may exist.”