Almost a year after being indicted for fraud and perjury in his claims that DreamWorks Animation stole his idea for Kung Fu Panda, a federal jury today found Jayme Gordon guilty. With sentencing to come on March 30 net year, the result could find the amateur cartoonist behind bars for up to 25-years and paying out fines over $500,000 plus restitution to DWA after his attempt to defraud them.
It took the Massachusetts jury just three-hours to come back with their determination that Gordon lied under oath and committed wire fraud in a case where reality and fact seemed to often be fluid from the defendant’s point of view.
Having start out with allegations in 2011 that DWA lifted the idea for the Mark Osborne and John Stevenson co-directed 2008 blockbuster and hence its two sequels from a pitch he submitted, the multi-million dollar settlement seeking Gordon was forced to drop the case in 2013. Having rejected Gordon’s attempt at getting $12 million plus piece of all of all future Kung Fu income, DWA lawyers revealed that they discovered that he had backdated and changed documents and actually copied his supposed original drawings from the early 1990s from a 1996 Lion King coloring book.
After having cost the now Comcast-owned DWA over $1 million in legal fees plus $2 million from their insurance company, Gordon soon that even though he had withdrawn his case, the feds’ alarm bells were wildly going off.
Deleted and damning files erased from his computers, playing fast and loose with the truth during depositions and under oath, and the emails from Gordon’s lawyers to DWA seeking cash were all presented as part of the government’s case. Doing himself no favors, the cartoonist actually took the stand at the trial to claim that the evidence was part of a larger plan to swindle him out of what was rightfully his from the hugely successful Jack Black led franchise by an consortium of animation studios.
The jury obviously didn’t buy it.