In a Department of Justice press release yesterday, the DOJ announced that Gibson has agreed to pay a $300,000 fine, and forfeit the seized rosewood and ebony from India and Madagascar, bringing the case to a close.
While this seems like an admission of guilt, it may have been a clever business move by Gibson. First, it puts the case behind them, stopping the unwanted press and the financial bleeding that comes from hiring attorneys required to fight such a high profile case.
But even more than that, it actually calls into question the DOJ's tactics, since many are now wondering, "Why did the DOJ decline to pursue further prosecution?" The agreement not only calls into question whether just was really served (I don't think it was), but also makes it seem like a company can buy its way out of criminal prosecution if it has the wherewithal.
All I know is that if I were buying a new guitar today, I'd be checking really carefully to see what kind of wood was actually used in creating it. Who knows how spooked guitar manufacturers are after this.
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