Fyre Festival Promoter Billy McFarland Battled Mental illness, Lawyer Says

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
Billy McFarland leaves federal court on March 6, 2018 in New York City.

A lawyer says mental illness caused the promoter of a failed music festival to rip off investors and commit other crimes.

Attorney Randall Jackson urged a Manhattan judge Friday to be lenient at Billy McFarland’s October sentencing.

McFarland pleaded guilty earlier this year to defrauding investors in the 2017 Fyre Festival in the Bahamas and cheating customers in a ticket scam. Without leniency, he faces over a decade in prison.

Jackson cited a psychological report saying McFarland has Bipolar Related Disorder and may sometimes have “delusional beliefs of having special and unique talents that will lead to fame and fortune.”

McFarland earned tabloid headlines after fraudulently enlisting 80 investors to pour $26 million into a festival promoted as “the cultural experience of the decade.” The festival was canceled.