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Protest in works for founder of Dragon Con
Hundreds of supporters expected to attend sit-in at justice center

LAWRENCEVILLE - Linda Bruce is a 51-year-old mother of three who swears she'll go to jail for Ed Kramer.

And she's not alone in her conviction.

Bruce is spearheading a planned sit-in protest this October in support of Kramer, the Dragon Con founder accused of child molestation in Gwinnett County seven years ago.

Freed on bond in 2000, Kramer remains on house arrest in Duluth while a motion to dismiss charges against him is mulled by the Georgia Court of Appeals.

Bruce anticipates hundreds of Kramer's supporters - both Dragon Con buffs and not - will flock to the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center from as far as New York.

They'll be peaceful, says Bruce, but stern. They'll be here Oct. 20, she says. They'll call it the "Free Ed Sit-In."

The Wookie and warlock costumes will likely be left at home.

Bruce is fielding about 40 e-mails a day from Kramer devotees pledging to come, she says. She befriended Kramer prior to Dragon Con's launch, when the "soft-spoken, very patient" Jewish man headed a gaming group and would buy Christmas presents for her kids, she says.

"I just have such absolute faith in this man," said Bruce, of south Georgia. "I would willingly go to jail for him, no problem. If we could get some publicity and somebody to listen to this (case), it'd be worth it."

James Anderson III, an environmental consultant from Ohio, is equally avid.

Anderson says he'll make the 14-hour drive to Gwinnett in October, offering vacation time to any of his employees who agree to tag along.

"We need to boycott Gwinnett County and Georgia and let people realize they're losing money because of this stupidity," said Anderson, a guest writer at the first Dragon Con. "Even if (Kramer) was entirely guilty, this issue would be inexcusable."

Danny Porter, Gwinnett County District Attorney, maintains that Kramer's right to a speedy trail has never been denied, as a local court ruled in February prior to Kramer's appeal. The delays, said Porter, have mostly been Kramer's doing.

One court date in 2003, Porter concedes, was pushed back when a prosecutor had a family emergency.

"Over the years, the amount of half-truth and spin put upon this case to try to prove (Kramer) blameless - or as some sort of victim - has been beyond the scope of my experience," Porter said.

Though media shy, Kramer has continually maintained his innocence. His attorney, Walt Britt, did not return phone calls this week.

Courtroom drama

The last 20 years of Kramer's life have played out like a geeky fantasy turned dark.

In 1987, the former science-fiction editor founded Dragon Con, now a huge multigenre convention held annually in Atlanta.

Thirteen years later, Kramer was charged with molesting two brothers, ages 13 and 15, at his Duluth home.

Three years after that, a third teen and family friend came forward alleging that Kramer abused him between 1996 and 2000.

Kramer has been in and out of jail - or on electronic house arrest - since the first allegation. He was originally released on $75,000 bond nearly seven years ago, when defense attorneys successfully argued his frail health didn't agree with jail.

Since his August 2000 arrest, Kramer's case has sprawled into a marathon court saga dotted with evidence disputes, a re-indictment and slippery trial dates.

In 2002, Kramer filed a civil suit against the county for injuries he said he suffered in jail. The court eventually ruled against him, said Porter, when the injuries were traced back to a vehicle accident.

To this day, Kramer remains in the confines of his Duluth home - under the watchful eye of a video camera - aside from court-approved medical trips or rare visits to religious services the court allows. He faces up to 60 years in prison.

Porter is unsure when the appeals court will rule on Kramer's case. The case ranks with the longest he's seen between arrest and trial, he said.

"This one hasn't been as constant" as one other prolific Gwinnett case, Porter said. "This one's kind of had fits and starts."

Meanwhile, a Web site called www.edkramer.org that blasts Gwinnett government estimates Kramer's legal fees have topped $225,000. The site directs Kramer supporters to a defense fund established for him in 2001.

Since his 2000 arrest, Kramer has received more than 1,000 medical treatments, according to the site.

Like many Kramer proponents, Gainesville resident Belinda Couch feels the man's decrepitude is a result of his prolonged dealing with the child molestation charges.

Couch said she owes Kramer, a former Dragon Con chum, her participation at the October sit-in.

"Last time I spoke with (Kramer) he was on so much pain medication he was barely coherent," Couch said. "Ed's the type of person to build people up. This whole thing is a sham."