The lifetime First Amendment crusader passed away on Saturday, March 23, 2024. 

ED Industry News by Larry Kaplan

Editor’s Note: This story will appear in print in the ED May issue.


lyde DeWitt, a pioneering attorney in the adult industry, passed away on March 23rd in Las Vegas after a prolonged battle with cancer at the age of 75. Despite a period of remission, his cancer returned following a recent liver transplant, which precluded chemotherapy due to the anti-rejection medication required.

Beginning his specialization in adult industry litigation in 1980, DeWitt spent 27 years as a partner at the Los Angeles law firm Weston, Garrou & DeWitt. His practice encompassed a wide array of cases, from obscenity trials to trademark and copyright disputes and unfair competition suits.

His clientele included gentlemen’s clubs, adult retailers, adult video production companies, and adult internet sites addressing topics ranging from obscenity issues and adult zoning to emerging hurdles involving trademarks, copyrights, unfair competition, business considerations, and other critical legal problems plaguing adult business owners.

In 2010, DeWitt gained recognition through an episode of the CBS drama The Defenders, which depicted the Las Vegas criminal defense firm Cristalli & Saggese, where he served as “of counsel.” Veteran actor Bruce Jarchow portrayed DeWitt, donning his distinctive glasses and hat, while Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell portrayed the firm’s partners.

DeWitt was a director, former president, and national chair of the First Amendment Lawyers Association (FALA). He is the only person to ever receive both an AVN lifetime achievement award and induction into the ED Hall of Fame.

DeWitt is survived by his wife, Cherie Lee Williams-DeWitt, who announced his passing on Facebook, expressing sadness and gratitude for his impactful life and dedication to defending First Amendment rights. She plans to hold a celebration of his remarkable life in the future.

“Clyde was truly a lawyer’s lawyer,” explained noted First Amendment attorney, J. Michael Murray. “He was so knowledgeable on so many legal issues. And he advanced the cause of freedom of expression, not just for the adult industry, but for all Americans. Just as important, he was a wonderful person of high integrity and character.” 

Larry Kaplan has been the Legal Correspondent for E.D. Publications for 22 years. Mr. Kaplan is a broker in the sale and purchase of adult nightclubs and adult retail stores and the Executive Director of the ACE of Michigan adult nightclub state trade association. Contact Larry Kaplan at 313-815-3311 or email

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