Gov. Charlie Crist's crusade to let the late Doors rocker off the hook for the 1969 incident at a Miami concert will finally be won Thursday, after Crist got a commitment for enough votes from the other members of the state's Board of Executive Clemency to approve a pardon for Morrison.
An announcement is expected sometime Thursday after Crist and the other three members of the Clemency Board meet to finalize the pardon in Tallahassee.
The Morrison pardon comes nearly 40 years after the rebel rocker was found dead in Paris in 1971 and a day after he would have turned 67. Morrison, who was facing six months behind bars, was in the process of appealing the conviction when he died.
Morrison was allegedly drunk when he supposedly displayed his penis and began yelling at the crowd during the wild March 1, 1969 show at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Coconut Grove.
Band members say Morrison never exposed himself but was drunk and only teased the audience.
"It never actually happened. It was mass hypnosis," said Ray Manzarek, The Doors' keyboard player.
Manzarek and guitarist Robby Krieger said Morrison's behavior was influenced by an acting troupe that disrobed during plays.
"He was just doing a mind trip -- as they would say -- a mind trip on the audience and they totally fell for it," Manzarek said.
Some fans say the bandmates are telling the truth.
"We were watching and waiting because it was obvious that's where he was going with it," said Helene Davis, who was 18 when she attended the concert. "I just remembered thinking, 'Yes, it's going to happen! It's going happen! It's going to happen!' And it never did."
Some fans who were at the show feel otherwise.
"He actually unzipped and pulled his pants down a little bit, enough where you can see everything. I do remember being shocked when that happened, and definitely it happened," said Lee Winer, 56, who now lives north of San Francisco. "I can still picture it like it was yesterday."
Crist, who leaves office in January but had been considering the pardon since 2007, said he'd reviewed the evidence against Morrison and wasn't convinced he was guilty.
Morrison's widow, Patricia Kennealy Morrison, said Thursday that the pardon is a political ploy and that the conviction should be expunged or the verdict overturned. She said Morrison didn't expose himself and wouldn't be pleased with just a pardon.
Some, like Manzarek, say regardless of what happened at the concert or the outcome of the pardon, the Lizard King's legacy remains intact.
"Jim's legacy is one of Dionysian madness and frenzy and of a chaotic American poet," said Manzarek. "I don't think that the Miami episode has altered his image one iota."