50-year-old John E. Brennan, who grabbed headlines back in April when he stripped naked in front of TSA screeners at Portland International Airport, was acquitted of public indecency after a Multnomah County judge ruled his act a protected form of protest.
"It is the speech itself that the state is seeking to punish, and that it cannot do," Circuit Judge David Rees said, agreeing with the defense that protest overrides nudity laws.
"I know the irony of taking off my clothes to protect my privacy," Brennan told the court. "They're getting close to seeing us naked, so I thought I'd up the ante."
Nicknamed "Sir Godiva" by his friends, Brennan explained that his decision to remove his clothes was not premeditated. "The machine went off, and I asked what it was and he said 'nitrates' which I know from Oklahoma City is one of the explosive ingredients," Brennan, a high-tech consultant and frequent flyer, told KGW. "And I was not interested in being hassled so I took off my clothes to show them I was not carrying any explosives."
A spokeswoman for the TSA said Brennan was being "purposefully disruptive" and affecting its ability to "screen all passengers safely and efficiently." Indeed, although he is free and clear of indecent exposure, Brennan could still be fined up to $11,000 if it is determined by the TSA that he interfered with the screening process.
He also faces being put on the Department of Homeland Security's no-fly list.
[photos via AP]