Still ripping off | Bleader

Still ripping off

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It's troubling news -- a former columnist for the Long Island Press is now stripping at the Admiral on West Lawrence. These are desperate times.

The Admiral is billing Amy Fisher as the "Long Island Lolita," which by coincidence is how she was billed before she went into journalism. The tag goes back to May 19, 1992, the day she rang a doorbell in MassapequaMeassapequa and when the wife of her boyfriend, Joey Buttafuoco, answered, shot her in the face. After seven years in prison and four on the outside, she joined the Press in 2003, assuring readers of her new column that she'd "come a long way from the 16-year-old girl who made worldwide news with one reckless, regrettable and indefensible act."

She came to my attention a couple years later, when she wrote two columns championing Cameron Todd Willingham, a Texas man executed for a murder he probably didn't commit. The problem with Fisher's plucky dispatches was that almost all her facts and quotes seemed to have been lifted without attribution from the reporting of Maurice Possley and Steve Mills of the Chicago Tribune. "This is blatant plagiarism," said Possley in e-mail to the Press.  He threatened legal action.

At the time I thought Possley went a little overboard. Now I think otherwise. If Fisher intended to advance in her promising new career -- her editor told me she'd already won awards -- she needed to know that shooting your boyfriend's wife on her front porch isn't the only thing in life that's verboten. Fisher soon left the Press to pursue other options.

The Admiral has engaged her "live on stage" April 21 through 23.

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