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international news _ Jonty Skrufff _ 17th June 2005

New York's Sound Factory Beats The RAVE Act

Sound Factory owner Richard Grant has been acquitted of charges that he ran the New York superclub as a designer drug 'stash house', in a development the New York Times suggested will be a 'surprising upset for federal prosecutors'.

Mr Grant could have faced decades in jail though was found not guilty after the court heard how the Fed's chief witness Ronald Coffiel, the club's former chief of security, stole $40,000 from the club from ticket sales, shattering the credibility of his claims that he'd kept Mr Grant fully informed of drug dealing at the club.

Lawyers for the club pointed out after the case that US authorities had got their way anyway in shutting one of America’s biggest nightclubs, via the sinister RAVE Act laws which remain in place.

"This statute is so vague that anyone who opens their door to young people who like music has to fear being prosecuted," Mr Grant's lawyer Camille M. Abate told the Times. "The case was started by an attorney general (John Ashcroft) who frowns on dancing."

The original federal indictment issued on March 4 2004 was savage in its depiction of the mainstream New York superclub accusing the venue's management of 'showing no regard for the lives they destroy'.

"Club owners and managers who allow their premises to become dangerous drug markets are no different from those who run crack houses- and they'll be prosecuted as such," New York Attorney David N Kelley boasted on the written indictment. "Sound Factory's days as a drugs factory are over."

(Jonty Skrufff/Skrufff.com)