August 7, 2007, - 12:06 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Not everyone associated with Hustler publisher and master sleazebag Larry Flynt believes his anti-government rantings and conspiracy theories. Nor do they all subscribe to his hatred of Christianity.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes on the whereabouts and doings of Gene Reeves, his former lawyer in the First Amendment pornography/obscenity case. Reeves was shot along with Flynt in March 1978:
Reeves felt the movement of a bullet tearing through his insides, then looked down at his dress shirt and saw the blood. A bullet that grazed Flynt’s side had torn into Reeves’ arm, ricocheting and ripping through his spleen and liver and into his pancreas.
The two critically injured men where rushed to then-Button Gwinnett Hospital, where both underwent emergency surgery.
Police believe a serial killer motivated by racism ‚Äî- not a disdain for pornography ‚Äî- targeted Flynt on that sunny spring day in downtown Lawrenceville. Nearly three decades have passed since the double shooting on March 6, 1978. . . .
Reeves, who is now a 77-year-old senior magistrate in Gwinnett County, said he has put the shooting behind him, but those who know him best say it has profoundly changed him. . . .
Reeves, known for his tenacity and dramatic flair in the courtroom, told Flynt he thought Hustler was “filth,” but he agreed Flynt had a constitutional right to publish it. Flynt laughed at Reeves’ candor and retorted: “You’re the first honest lawyer I’ve met. You’re hired.” . . .
Flynt remains paralyzed from the waist down. Reeves spent 20 days in a coma. After he came to, he ripped a breathing tube out of his throat in a panic when he couldn’t breathe. That required surgery to repair damage to his esophagus.
Flynt paid Reeves’ $18,000 medical bill and called to check on him even though the two only knew each other for about a week.
As the years wore on, Reeves said Flynt would sometimes call him and ramble on about conspiracy theories explaining the shooting. At one point, Reeves said Flynt was convinced they fell victim to a government plot. . . .
Reeves agreed with investigators that the gunman was serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist who claims he was enraged by an interracial nude photo in Hustler. Franklin, who was already serving life in prison when he confessed to shooting Flynt, wasn’t prosecuted for the Lawrenceville shootings, which Reeves said he understood. Franklin remains on death row in Missouri for shooting Jewish worshippers in 1977 as they left a synagogue. . . .
Reeves, who only gave religion a passing nod, now has a deepened faith. And he has become more involved in his community. . . .
However, there has been one negative consequence of his association with Flynt.
Reeves said that when he has run for public office his opponents have mentioned his representation of Flynt. Reeves said voters didn’t seem to know or care that he wasn’t a fan of the porn Flynt peddled.
“I was forever tied to him,” Reeves said. “Every time someone thought of something sleazy, they thought of me and Larry Flynt.”
Despite everything, when asked if he would still represent Flynt if he had to do it again, Reeves replied: “Sure.”
Tags: Button Gwinnett Hospital, Coma, first honest lawyer, Gwinnett County, Gwinnett Hospital, Joseph Paul Franklin, Larry Flynt, Lawrenceville, Missouri, senior magistrate, surgery, USD