Controversial lawyer exits GTA case

Jack Thompson removes himself from Alabama lawsuit against makers, sellers of Grand Theft Auto III.

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Game Politics is reporting tonight that Florida attorney Jack Thompson has voluntarily removed himself from an Alabama court case against high-profile gaming industry defendants.

Thompson had been representing the families of two police officers and a dispatcher killed in June 2003 by then-18-year-old Devin Moore in a suit against Sony, Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar Games, Wal-Mart, and GameStop. Last week the defense put forth a pair of motions that Fayette County Circuit Judge James Moore had yet to rule on: one asking for the case to be thrown out entirely, and another asking that Thompson be dismissed from the case for violations of legal ethics. The defense in particular pointed to Thompson's numerous press releases and open letters on the subject of violence in games.

One such instance occurred just days before the defense filed those motions. In a press release, Thompson characterized Japanese electronics giant Sony's willingness to allow a game as violent as Grand Theft Auto III to be distributed in the US as "Pearl Harbor 2."

"He can’t proceed with the civility the rules require," attorney for the defense Jim Smith said. "All lawyers have to conduct themselves with honesty, integrity and civility. This isn't a street fight."

But before the judge could decide one way or the other, Thompson stepped aside, telling Game Politics, "The other side wants to make me the issue. The important thing is that the clients be served." Thompson also said it was his idea to step down, and that he wasn't being pressured to do so by the judge.

The suit will go forward for now, although the judge hasn't yet ruled on the motion to dismiss the case. Game Politics also reports that Thompson said his departure from the case was inevitable, as he would likely have to take the stand in the case.

Thompson did not immediately return GameSpot's attempts to contact him for comment.

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