He hasn't gone back to newspapers, but the New Orleans-based journalist continues to practice the kind of investigative reporting that won him awards from the Louisiana State Press Association every year from 1983 through 1988.
Payne's recently-published book, Caught in the Crossfire, about his trial on conspiracy and extortion charges, was made into a television movie that aired on NBC Sept. 14.
Currently, he's working on a number of other projects in various stages of development.
Payne bills "The Brandon Lee Story: the Mysterious Extra" as the "true" story of what really happened to movie star Lee on the set his movie, The Crow. Payne and his co-author, a former prosecutor from Chicago, interviewed over 100 people for the story. Payne and his partner have finished a screenplay and currently are planning for magazine serialization.
Also, Payne co-authored the screenplay for "Outrage in Kansas: the Richard and Sharon Lytle Story," about a white policeman who blew the whistle on fellow officers in the 1990 shooting death of an African-American man.
Payne was left so shaken by his near-miss with prison that earlier this year he founded a nonprofit organization to help people in similar situations.
The Center for Truth and Justice is "dedicated to the constitutional rights of others" and truth in the media, Payne said. Plans call for the organization to provide legal assistance in cases where the federal government may have acted wrongly.
By: Dorothy Giobbe IT'S BEEN SIX years since R.E. Payne proved his innocence in court.