Florida Governor Charlie Crist is moving ahead with plans to seek a posthumous pardon for the late Jim Morrison, 40 years after The Doors singer was convicted of indecent exposure following a controversial 1969 Miami concert.
The Associated Press reports Crist as saying the evidence that Morrison unzipped his pants was flimsy, and prosecutors were trying to make an example of the singer, whose on-stage excesses and appetite for sex and drugs were legendary.
"There's some troubling aspects to it as to whether there was a valid conviction. The more I learn about it, the more I'm convinced a wrong may have been done here. My heart just bleeds for his legacy and his family," said Crist, who leaves office in January and figures "it's sort of now or never."
The Miami “incident” has been hotly debated for years: did Morrison expose himself? Was there a rush to judgment?
"He was baiting the audience, telling them, 'I'm going to do it, I'm going to show it to you. That's what you've come for isn't it?'" Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek told The AP. "The girls were screaming 'Yes! Yes!' Guys were saying, 'No! Don't do it!'"
Manzarek said Morrison put a shirt in front of his crotch and wiggled his hand behind it. He briefly pulled the shirt away and said, "I just showed you. Did you see it?"
"And of course nobody saw it," Manzarek said. He and guitarist Robby Krieger said Morrison had recently seen a stage group called The Living Theater, which was performing plays in which actors disrobed. The concert was his first and only attempt to do something similar, but he didn't follow through with exposing himself, they said.
Morrison was found guilty in 1970 of indecent exposure and public profanity, he was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail. But Morrison never did the time: he was appealing his conviction when he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971, at age 27.
The governor said he plans to ask Florida Cabinet members to support a pardon the next time they meet as the Clemency Board. Crist needs at least two of the three Cabinet members to vote with him.
He has already received dozens of e-mails ahead of the December 9 meeting, his final one as Governor.
The Doors – Jim Morrison gets arrested in Miami (1969)
The Doors – Wild Child
Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour – December 15, 1968