Grim Sleeper · Tiger King · Jeffrey Epstein

Also: A true-crime longread that took two years to write

The second season of Broken: Jeffrey Epstein has been delayed. The Adam McKay-backed podcast is arguably the best of the slew of shows about the disgraced financial magnate to drop following his arrest for sexual assault, and it announced its triumphant return (with a new host, ABC News’s White House correspondent Tara Palmeri) earlier this month.

But according to an update that dropped last week, the show has been delayed by the new coronavirus (COVID-19), or more likely, work responsibility shifts and slowdowns related to the virus. Despite the delay, Palmeri dropped a tease about news reported on March 19 that we all likely missed: alleged Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Virgin Islands against Epstein’s estate, saying that she had “no involvement in or knowledge of Epstein’s alleged misconduct,” but that he’d promised to support her — and now she needs private security due to “regular threats to her life and safety,” The Guardian reports.

Then Saturday, the Daily Mail (so, as always, keep an eyebrow cocked) reported that “Maxwell, 58, allegedly sexually assaulted 16-year-old Annie Farmer at Epstein’s 7,500-acre ranch in New Mexico, according to the book by Bradley Edwards, a lawyer for more than 20 of Epstein’s victims.” That, and a load of other claims, appear in Relentless Pursuit: My Fight for the Victims of Jeffrey Epstein, which is teased as “the definitive story of the case against Jeffrey Epstein and the corrupt system that supported him.” The book drops today, and while there’s isn’t an audio option (unless you want CDs, ugh), the Kindle version is only $14.99 as of publication. — EB


Tuesdays are usually a subscriber-only day, but we’re keeping Best Evidence free again this week because it’s a hard crummy time out there. Don’t worry, subscribers will still get some extra perks this week — perks that you could also get if you sign up for a paid subscription now!


The Grim Sleeper has died. Los Angeles rapist and serial killer Lonnie David Franklin, Jr. was sentenced to death for the deaths of nine women and one girl in 2016, slayings relentlessly covered by LA Weekly (it was that alt-weekly, in fact, that gave Franklin his memorable nickname).

He was found dead in his cell in San Quentin Saturday, and officials say the 67-year-old showed no signs of trauma, the LA Times reports. Franklin’s crimes were covered by a 2014 Nick Broomfield documentary called Tales Of The Grim Sleeper, which you can watch for no extra charge if you use Amazon Prime. For my money, though, it’s the Lifetime dramatic adaptation of the Franklin case, simply called The Grim Sleeper, that has a Stefon-like all in terms of casting: Dreama Walker, Ernie “Ghostbuster” Hudson, Michael O’Neill, and MACY EFFING GRAY. The trailer for the show, which will run you $4.99 to watch on Amazon, is a real thrill ride and/or Lifetime true crime BINGO card waiting to happen. Macy Gray, y’all! — EB


I feel a little bad for San Francisco Chronicle reporter Jason Fagone. In fact, I feel bad for anyone who’s devoted enormous time to work that gets dropped this month, as it’s all overshadowed by the thrum-thrum-thrum of the pandemic. For the last two years, Fagone has been reporting out a story on Dan “Superman” Rush, a weed labor advocate with ties to the Hells Angels who was indicted for fraud and money laundering back in 2015, SF Weekly reported at the time. Of all weekends for it to drop, it was published on March 29. Ouch.

Timing aside, Fagone’s report on Rush’s rise and fall is a thorough but super-engaging piece that kept me scrolling for a solid stretch of time on Sunday. While it’s presented as “subscriber only,” I was able to see it even when signed out, so I assume you will be able to, as well? If not, it was offering some pretty sweet deals for digital subs that might be worth your while. You can read Fagone’s report, called “Operation Limelight,” here — and after that, let’s talk casting for the (so far, imaginary) dramatic adaptation. What do you think — Michael Rooker, maybe? — EB


Who am I kidding? All anyone cares about anymore is Tiger King. Would the Netflix series on Joe Exotic have captured as many hearts and minds if we weren’t all trapped at home? Maybe; it’s a pretty intense tale — but a nationwide (and beyond) captive audience sure didn’t hurt, I’ll bet. This weekend alone, the headlines related to the show felt like The Onion, and/or a April 1 prank come early. For your reading pleasure, here are the seven silliest headlines about Tiger King that crossed my screen.

Seven: Popularity of Netflix's 'Tiger King' prompts sheriff to ask for leads in 1997 cold case [NBC News] Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister tweeted “Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads.” Here’s hoping none of our deaths ever come with a hashtag.

Six: Celeb ‘Tiger King’ fans fighting over roles in future movie [New York Post] I’ll let the social media shenanigans speak for themselves.

Is one of the signs of COVID-19 intense and embarrassing thirst? If so, someone should call 911.

Five: ‘Tiger King’ star Doc Antle, Britney Spears shared VMAs stage in 2001 [Fox News] This is about that iconic “ performance, which was pretty great! Per Fox, Spears opened “the performance by coming out of a cage with Antle and a liger.”

Four: 'Tiger King:' Shaquille O'Neal explains his cameo [CNN] O'Neal, who was seen visiting the Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park, says that he was traveling between Dallas and Oklahoma City via bus for a basketball game "On the way we see a sign that says 'Tiger Sanctuary,' we go in there and it's a beautiful place and the character that was there was Exotic Joe." It wasn’t until later that he learned that Joseph Allen Maldonado-Passage was “involved with all the stuff.”

Three: Artist transforms Uptown tiger into ‘Tiger King’ portrait of Joe Exotic [Trib Live] Artist Jeremy Raymer painted a portrait of Maldonado-Passage on a Pittsburgh wall because the wall “was just too perfect.”

Not sure who this dude is, but I heard some bitch named Carole Baskine down in Fl doesn’t like him. 🐅🍁
Uptown’s getting an exotic animal park. Moultrie st at Tustin right behind Forbes Field garage
The tiger was painted years ago, 1 block from my studio by another artist. UnPlanned collabs
March 29, 2020

Two: Everyone's Personality Matches Someone From "Tiger King" — Here's Yours [Buzzfeed] How am I motherfucking John Finlay? Jeez. [“I got Joe Exotic, so don’t feel bad.” - SDB]

One: Cardi B vows to start GoFundMe for incarcerated ‘Tiger King’ star Joe Exotic [Page Six]


Wednesday on Best Evidence: It’s The Blotter Presents, Episode 137 with Mike Dunn on The Scheme and Finding Steve McQueen! Some show notes for your previewing delectation:


What is this thing? This should help. Follow The Blotter @blotterpresents on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to The Blotter Presents via the podcast app of your choice. You can also call or text us any time at 919-75-CRIME.

The Less They Know About Us · Stonewall · Lizzie Borden

Plus the art world's mini-Madoff, R. Kelly wants out, and more

Welcome back, readers! Thanks so much for joining us for another week of the true crime that’s worth your time. Speaking of time, a strange side effect of life “A.C.” is that I have less of it — but when my schedule opens up towards the end of the week, expect a cloudburst of extra content, including author interviews, a book review, and of course the first play-in rounds of the N Crime AA.

But if you’ve got more time on your hands — or need to distract an anxious friend — go ahead and share the newsletter! (And don’t forget: we’d love to hear pitches.) — SDB

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Our look at the 2020 Edgar Award nominees for Best Fact Crime continues with The Less People Know About Us: A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets, and Stolen Identity by Axton Betz-Hamilton. Another entry in the Sarah-coined “crime-oir” genre (Down City by Leah Carroll, You All Grow Up and Leave Me by Piper Weiss, Fact of a Body by Alexandra Marzano-Lesnevich, etc.), The Less People Know About Us is a compelling, heart-wrenching tale of an adolescence mired in loneliness and family dysfunction, and the unraveling of the mystery underlying it.

A self-described isolated farm kid, Betz-Hamilton grew up in rural Indiana. Her mother, Pam, was chronically depressed, conspiratorial, and a compulsive shopper. John, her father, was mostly content to mind the farm animals and stay out Pam’s way. Betz-Hamilton found comfort in 4H competitions, but always felt different and alone. When she was 11 years old, the family’s bills and magazines began to go missing from their mail. Soon, the phone gets shuts off for non-payment and bill collectors come calling. Her parents’ paranoia mounts as they become convinced someone in their community has stolen their identities. The subsequent years are bogged down with food instability, family arguments, and escalating detachment from family and friends, all of whom are suspect in Pam’s eyes.

Betz-Hamilton has the self-awareness to recognize that her family’s dysfunction is harmful, and she manages to graduate high school early and escape to college. But financial troubles follow her as she discovers her credit ruined as a result of thousands of dollars of debt accrued in her name when she was a child. She herself was a victim of identity theft. Channeling her desire to uncover the roots of her family’s financial ruin, Betz-Hamilton becomes a scholar in childhood identity theft and fraud. Ultimately, she untangles the mystery of her family’s financial ruin, and it’s as satisfying as any fictional page-turner.

Betz-Hamilton is a great writer and effectively catalogs the long tail of childhood trauma and grief. This makes The Less People Know About Us resonant and compelling not only for the mystery at its center, but as a beacon for anyone who grew up feeling out of place, insecure, alone, or undermined by the adults entrusted with supporting them. — Susan Howard


Susan mentioned Mark Blankenship’s write-up of Indecent Advances last week; I’d thought it was in these archives already, but I hadn’t brought it over yet — so here’s that review now. — SDB

*******

We know it was bad. Even if we weren't there, we know that before Stonewall, gay men in this country were viciously oppressed. We know that's true, because we know what it's like now, in June 2019. We know that if an American pastor can still call for gay people to be executed, then it must've been brutal for the men who were alive when sodomy was a nationwide crime.

But knowing isn't the same as knowing exactly. James Polchin wants us to have the specifics. His book Indecent Advances, published this month by Counterpoint, collects and analyzes news reports of gay-related crime from the 1920s to the 1960s. The result is an act of witnessing that will reconfigure anyone who came of age after Stonewall. Once we know all this, we have to reckon differently with our country.

To start, we must acknowledge that many murdered gay men were effectively erased after death. Polchin describes how hard it was even to find the stories he compiled, since homosexuals were considered so offensive to "regular" people that newspapers and magazines used euphemisms to relate the crimes against them. If you couldn't crack the code, then you could overlook the genocide.

Genocide: There's no better word for what Polchin describes. He details story after story of men who were killed because they were gay. The most shocking tales involve beheadings and torture, but worse are the monotonously similar accounts that fill most of the pages. Here's how they go: A queer man brings a stranger home, or to a hotel, or to a park. They drink. They argue. The stranger kills the queer man, then later claims he was only acting in self-defense because the pervert made those titular indecent advances.

Then comes the kicker: The murderer gets a reduced sentence or even goes free, because the government and the church and the culture agree that normal fellows have the right to kill a pansy.

It's almost unbearable to see this pattern of shame and violence so clearly laid out. How do we cope with these victims, who were only guilty of trying to exist? How do we accept that many of these murderers seem to have been gay men themselves, warped by self-loathing until they massacred their own? It's beyond weeping.

To his credit, Polchin never commands us to weep. His writing is unvarnished and unsentimental as he takes us chronologically through these decades of crime, and when the facts need context, he clearly explains how scientific, religious, and political forces of the time helped endorse these murders. And while there are moments when he allows himself some tart editorializing, he doesn't linger over his own outrage. Instead, he trusts the details will make us angry on their own.

In his wallop of a conclusion, though, Polchin does describe being haunted by his own research, as well as being deeply moved. He's especially eloquent about scouring the private scrapbooks of Carl Van Vechten, the writer and arts patron. Along with pictures of hunky men in magazines, Van Vechten used these books to collect clippings of crime stories, underlining the sentences that indicated the gay subtext that could not speak its name. As Polchin says, "In composing these scrapbooks amid the fears, harassment, and homophobic resentment of the 1950s, Van Vechten saw in the crime articles both a collective history of queer experience and a documentation of suffering that needed to preserved."

In other words, Van Vechten paid witness, and now Polchin is carrying on his legacy. Both men are right that we should look. For the same reason Americans must go to the lynching memorial in Montgomery and follow the historical markers across the Trail Of Tears, we must stare directly at this book. If we want this country to become just, then we must be honest about who we are.

Anyone who cares about the lives of queer Americans should read Indecent Advances as a way to remember what we've lost, what we've gained, and what we must keep resisting. And yes, it's harrowing to face what happened. But it's inspiring, too. Because despite the evil they endured, thousands of queer Americans made it out of the mid-20th century. They still found joy and love, and when we understand what this required, we can marvel at the legacy they've left for us. We can better appreciate what we have now, and we can know exactly why we have to protect it. — Mark Blankenship, 6/27/19


Today’s vintage Previously.TV installment of The Jinx coverage addresses the fourth episode…and who was really “directing” the series at this point in the proceedings.

*******

Why is Andrew Jarecki putting himself on camera?

The leather portfolio, the patented Furrowed True-Crime-Interview Brow Of Rilly Hard Listening...it comes off mannered, much like the re-enactments.

Unless Jarecki's softball-y questions and glibness are all part of a longer con.

Did Durst ever not think he would get away with it?

Durst's response to the reading of the verdict is one of disbelief -- he quietly asks one of his attorneys to confirm that they said "not" -- and he seems genuinely relieved. But nothing in his behavior or demeanor at any other time indicates that he had the slightest concern about getting convicted. He carried guns around. He stole a hoagie. He stopped wearing his disguise in front of Morris Black (apparently). And he's withering on the stand about the quality of the prosecution's re-enactment; I'm not a hundred on what "the two of you look like spaghetti" means vis-a-vis the recreation of the shooting," but there's no mistaking the tone.

Why would a defendant be that rude? 1) S/he thinks there's absolutely no way a jury will convict him/her; 2) s/he is unable to control his/her arrogance and feelings of intellectual and social superiority, even when it's absolutely critical to do so. It's like watching a train heading for a split rail -- yeah, the jury is supposed to base its decision on whether they believe the defendant committed murder, not whether he's a cock, but ask Jeffrey MacDonald if he thinks most citizens bother with that distinction.

Is it possible Morris Black's death went down the way Durst and his lawyers say it did? Or has Durst just talked himself into believing it?

It's a brilliant defense strategy, particularly for this specific defendant, because I think parts of it are true -- enough of it that Durst can sell it. It's like the conventional wisdom about undercover identities, and how you should pick a name and pieces of personal history close enough to your own that you won't get caught in inconsistencies; I think Durst probably did have a friendship with Black, or at least a friendly rapport. I think they did watch Wall Street Week together, because that's the kind of weird detail that rings true.

But...that's the kind of weird detail that rings true. Durst's "I don't think he had a bow saw... Anyway!" is inappropriately cazh and cheery; that rings true, too.

Could Durst have gotten a not-guilty verdict anywhere but in Texas?

The guy who "jokes" that, in Texas, they'll hang you for stealing a horse but not for killing another person is not shown saying that for no reason. Durst himself cites the fact that Texas law gives homeowners much more latitude than elsewhere to protect their property using whatever means they deem necessary.

I do wonder how the jury was instructed as far as the difference between murder and manslaughter; and whether they had the option to drop down to a lesser charge (I don't think they did) if they didn't find he'd premeditated Black's death. I don't think Black's death was an "accident" the way Durst (re-)conceived it for the trial, but I also don't think he sat around planning to kill Black. I think Black came in with the eviction notice and tried to put Durst over a barrel for rent money, and Durst freaked out and killed him, which depending on the state and its statutes is not necessarily murder, and the defense was very smart to separate the grisly demise of Black's remains, which happened after his death, from Durst's thought processes before Black's death.

It's not self-defense, obviously. But it's probably more manslaughter with aggravating circumstances than it is murder. ("She says confidently, having watched many many Law & Orders.")

Why would he go back to the dump site?

This goes back to my feeling that he really believed he couldn't get caught/convicted. What kind of maroon returns to the dump site? This is, like, the first place a profiler starts looking for you. And then he fishes the head out of the water...where's the head? I seriously want to know.

Did Jarecki know he would catch Durst rehearsing his next answer on a hot mic?

He must have, and I tip my hat to the guy: the stagey-seeming "wanna take a break?", the careful laying of the groundwork with questions about what the lawyers had told Durst to say or leave out both at trial and to Jarecki, Jarecki possibly even playing on Durst's control issues and subtly inciting Durst to defy his attorneys' control -- Durst relaxed, and got zoomed. His lawyer, like, lurches into the frame all "YOU KNOW WE CAN HEAR YOU RIGHT oh god fuckety fuck," and it's not like Durst is as careful as he should be in the first place. He's slipped up or phrased things poorly dozens of times so far, and giving Jarecki a whole paragraph on how his defense team focused him on subatomic loopholes in the oath is not exactly a ringing endorsement of anyone's trustworthiness.

But I can't wait to see next week's episode, so whatever Jarecki's level of involvement or skill in ensuring Durst would tip that hand for us, it's effective in the macro sense. — SDB, 3/2/15


A few bits and bobs from the weekend…

  • Please tell me someone watched Saturday’s 48Hrs on the Lizzie Borden case. Eve’s and my favorite bit of the press release was the consterning “What if the rhyme was incorrect?” but, my admiration for Erin Moriarty’s horseshit tolerance notwithstanding, I didn’t watch. Should I? [CBS]

  • R Kelly wants out of jail because of COVID-19. There are a number of truly tasteless jokes involving that number that, FOR ONCE, I will not dignify. Instead, I’ll say that coronavirus and its imminent rampage through the country’s prisons/jails is a human-rights issue, and there shouldn’t be a double standard of any kind for incarcerated people facing that cruel and unusual illness. But between Kelly and Weinstein, it’s…hard not to feel cynical about the situation, and I’ll leave it there. [ABC]

  • Were you interested in A&E’s Crime Central, but not so interested in paying for it? Then you’re in luck — if you have a Roku — because it’s free for the next month. [CNet]

  • Kenny Schacter’s account of getting taken by “the art world’s mini-Madoff” is very readable…even though he’s very off-putting. This is one of those “even a broken scammer is right twice a day” stories, like the Fyre Festival docs, where a crime was committed but you kiiiiind of don’t feel bad for the “victims”? I’d like to see this piece redone on the investigative side by, say, Vanity Fair or NYMag’s own Jerry Saltz, because the jazzy first-person diction is effective per se but Schacter doesn’t do a great job with the nuts and bolts of Inigo Philbrick’s scheme. [Vulture]

  • Still looking for a decent embedded poll set-up for the N Crime AA. If you can help/have any ideas, bunting at the-blotter dot com, or hit me in the comments! — SDB

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This week on Best Evidence: College-hoops shenanigans, Margo’s cooking up a true-crime-title bingo card, and…well, can we call the administration’s “handling” of the pandemic criminal yet?


What is this thing? This should help. Follow The Blotter @blotterpresents on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to The Blotter Presents via the podcast app of your choice. You can also call or text us any time at 919-75-CRIME.

Good-Time Charlies: Who made the best Manson?

The arrival of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood on Starz this weekend prompted us to wonder: Who was the best Manson? Damon Herriman, pictured, took Charlie on in both OUATIH and in Mindhunter, but for my money, Gethin Anthony’s performance is the best; it captures that cheesily defensive charisma IRL Manson leveraged so well.

Who’s your best Manson? (Need a quick refresher on some dudes who’ve played the role? The Wrap’s got you.)

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Tiger King Casting · Forrest Fenn · Walmart

Also: Hahaha remember when the college admission scandal was big news?

An inventive Facebook user has cast a dramatic adaptation of Tiger King. In a post that (as of this writing) has garnered over 3,900 comments, Savannah Scruggs says that her significant other, Kyle, said “this is like a real life Danny McBride movie” while watching Netflix docuseries Tiger King.

That comment prompted the pair to cast the whole set of exotic animal-adjacent characters, complete with side-by-side photos to sell the deal. It is quite remarkable. Do you agree with her picks? — EB

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The Intercept is launching a true crime podcast. Of course, the highbrow publication isn’t calling it that — Somebody, as the show is called, is an “investigative podcast.” But what they’re investigating is the 2016 death of Courtney Copeland.

You might have heard of Copeland as the subject of a somewhat viral Change.org petition, posted by his mother. Shapearl Wells says that police were slow to investigate his slaying, and that they didn’t appear to track down footage that could have identified his killer. Journalist Alison Flowers (presumably no relation) says “for the last three years, investigating Courtney’s death has been at the top of my list, my mind, my everything,” and the result is this podcast, which drops on March 31. You can listen to a trailer for Somebody here. — EB


Another person has died in pursuit of Forrest Fenn’s treasure. Fenn, as you likely know, is an 89-year-old New Mexico antique dealer who self-published a book called The Thrill Of The Chase in 2010. The memoir claimed that Fenn had stashed $2 million in valuables somewhere in the Rocky Mountains area, a statement that has spurred countless treasure hunters to seek out the loot.

Four people have died in search of the treasure since then, the Denver Post reports. The latest victim, 53-year-old Michael Wayne Sexson, was found dead last weekend at Dinosaur National Monument, after a days-long search. According to Westword, even now, Fenn isn’t sorry about what he did, saying “Accidents can happen anywhere.” New Mexico State Police Chief Pete Kassetas said that things are getting to the point where the whole operation might be shut done, though, saying, “I think he has an obligation to retrieve his treasure if it does exist.” So, if this story isn’t true-crime enough for you yet, expect it to get there pretty soon. — EB


The new coronavirus (COVID-19) might be the best thing that has happened to the college-admission scandal people since Lifetime’s decision not to name and shame them. First, Agustin Huneeus, the wealthy winery scion who was sentenced to five months in prison for paying $300,000 to have someone cheat on his daughter’s entrance exam and fake her water polo abilities, was released early due to fears that he might contract the disease.

Then, lawyers for actor Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli levied charges of prosecutorial misconduct against the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston Wednesday, saying that “investigators bullied their informant into lying and then concealed evidence that would bolster the parents' claims of innocence,” the AP reports. As federal courts are shutting down in an effort to contain the pandemic, Loughlin and Giannulli’s October trial date could be indefinitely postponed — or dropped completely, as some court systems say that shedding non-violent cases might be the only way to recover in a timely fashion. — EB


Three last longreads before we leave you for the weekend…

It’s been fun having all of you with us all week! If you like what we’re doing, please don’t hesitate to support us with a paid subscription — but we also know that a lot of people are very suddenly hurting, and completely understand if you’re prioritizing support for the abruptly laid off, for example, or a local business. We’ll get you later!

Meanwhile, here are three last things to read from us, to you. They are good ones!


Monday on Best Evidence: More Susan Howard on the 2020 Edgars. It’s good stuff!


What is this thing? This should help. Follow The Blotter @blotterpresents on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to The Blotter Presents via the podcast app of your choice. You can also call or text us any time at 919-75-CRIME.

Cocaine Hippos · Theranos · Ring Doorbells

Plus: get your true crime bracket picks in before it's too late

Admit it, you need us. At a time when every piece of non-new-coronavirus (COVID-19) news is buried beneath layers and layers of virus-focused coverage, it’s easy to miss what’s going on in the world of true crime. But it’s cool: Sarah and I are on the case and have your back. And this week, every issue of Best Evidence goes out to all subscribers, but the party won’t last forever. If you want to ensure you’re getting five days of coverage a week, exclusive content, and access to all comment sections and threads, you know what to do…


Woody Allen’s memoir dropped Monday. Like a B-lister killed in a plane crash that also took out a major star, the book’s publication was overshadowed by, well, you live on earth, you know the score.

As you might recall, the book was dumped by publisher Grand Central after outcry from Ronan Farrow, whose book Catch And Kill was published by Grand Central’s sister imprint at parent company Hachette. The book ended up at Arcade Publishing, the AP reports, and “arrives at a time when much of the world is otherwise preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic.” It will presumably be available at bookstores when they are again open for business, as well as online. — EB


Things got pretty bad for Elizabeth Holmes this week. No, she didn’t share a lollipop with Idris Elba (sidebar: who has two thumbs and would take that risk? Maybe this guy? Then again, his DJ career is kind of a deflating element. Maybe not). The San Jose Mercury News reports that a federal judge has ruled that a San Jose, California plaintiff is among a group of people who will have class-action status in a case against the disgraced blood-testing startup.

The plaintiffs claim that they were defrauded by the at-home blood testing kits peddled by Theranos, and “are seeking compensation for the test costs, plus damages including punitive damages, but their lawyers have said the plaintiffs have agreed not to seek damages for emotional distress, re-testing or medical care.” The ruling means that thousands of people who purchased the test (which sold for around $60) might be able to join a suit against Holmes, Theranos, and Walgreens (which sold the tests).

“Was the Theranos blood testing program market-ready? If not, would anyone deem Theranos/Walgreens’ blood test results reliable?” U.S. District Court Judge H. Russel Holland wrote. “Resolution of the plaintiffs’ contention that defendants’ test results were all unreliable is central to the validity of all of plaintiffs’ claims.” — EB


You only have two more days to make your picks for our N Crime AA True-Crime Content Championship. Sarah explains it all here, the TL;DR is that we wanted to make a March Madness for malfeasance, but instead of college basketball teams (basketball season? What basketball season?) we’ll be ranking the best regarded and most lasting true-crime properties out there.

Your nominations are sought in the comment section here (it’s open to everyone, subscription status is not a factor). We’re closing the first round of suggestions on Friday, though, so name your faves before then. — EB


Just in case you thought true crime was getting too prestige-y…HLN, the CNN-owned network that says it is “Headline news by day, mysteries and investigations by night,” apparently still has its nights free despite the abundance of headlines there are to be covered. That’s why it just launched a series with the decidedly un-prestige-y name Sex & Murder, in which “detectives undercover dirty secrets, scandalous sex affairs, online sex addictions, dangerous jealousy, and stunning twisted fantasies which have all led to murder.”

Any other time, I might be talking smack because based on its press release, there’s a little bit of gender-based stuff that is a little hackle-raising. But these days not so much! So with episode titles like “Mommy’s Dirty Deeds” and “Sugar Daddy Death,” this might be the perfect series to pop a bottle of wine, get on a Zoom with some true-crime-minded pals, and MST3K the heck out of it. Here’s the episode rundown; it’s on Monday nights at 9 PM. — EB


Looking for some more to read? Get off Twitter, and get into these longreads. They might still be infuriating, but they’re less ick-inducing, we promise.


Friday on Best Evidence: A new podcast, and another reason to be mad at Walmart.


What is this thing? This should help. Follow The Blotter @blotterpresents on Twitter and Instagram, and subscribe to The Blotter Presents via the podcast app of your choice. You can also call or text us any time at 919-75-CRIME.

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