ASPEN, Colo. -- Prosecutors Wednesday dismissed drug and explosives charges against gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, saying discrepancies in the testimony of witnesses would make it difficult to prove the charges in court.
Thompson, who had claimed he was the victim of a witchhunt, quickly proclaimed that a 'celebratory orgy' would be held Wednesday night at the Woody Creek Tavern, his hangout.
'Everyone will be a little safer now because Fourth Amendment rights have been protected,' Thompson said when informed of the district attorney's decision. 'This is a victory for all people.'
Thompson, 52, had faced four felony charges of possessing cocaine, dynamite and other narcotics. But in a written statement issued to the media Wednesday, prosecutors said the 'investigation has been hampered by the refusal of several necessary witnesses to speak with investigators.'
The statement also said there were 'discrepancies in the testimony and sworn statements of several witnesses' that would make it difficult or impossible for prosecutors 'to sustain the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.'
A major discrepancy apparently was evidence given by Gail Palmer-Slater, 35, a pornographic movie producer whose testimony at the preliminary hearing differed from an account she made in a sworn statement.
Thompson, whose tales of drugs and drinking created the gonzo journalism genre, said Wednesday that police 'should have hit me when I was guilty,' apparently referring to his admitted long-time marijuana smoking. 'They came after me at the wrong time,' he said.
Thompson originally was charged with five felony counts of possession of illegal drugs and dynamite and one misdemeanor count of sexual assault. The charges resulted from a visit by Palmer-Slater to Thompson's home in Woody Creek last winter.
Palmer-Slater said she went to his home Feb. 26 to talk about movie rights to Thompson's book 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.' She said she witnessed drug use by Thompson and several of his friends, including Thompson dipping his face into some white powder on a kitchen counter and saying, 'There's coke everywhere I look in this house. That's why I lovethis house.'
Palmer-Slater said Thompson invited her to join him in the hot tub. When she refused, she said he got violent, pushing her and grabbing her breast.
That incident resulted in a misdemeanor sexual assault charge, which was dismissed earlier.
Palmer-Slater's complaint led to an 11-hour search of Thompson's home, in which agents seized cocaine, marijuana, Valium-type pills, LSD, four sticks of dynamite and three blasting caps that led to the felony charges.
Testimony at the preliminary hearing, however, was unclear whether the items belonged to Thompson or to numerous other people who frequented his home. There were no fingerprints on any of the seized articles.