Bitcoin · Leaving Neverland · The Lindbergh Baby

Plus: Quibi claims another victim

I feel like we’re all living in a different world than we were the last time I sat down to write this little intro. How nice it is to feel this way, at least for the moment. To that end, I feel the need to do a little bit of a clean sweep of the good old Best Evidence story-budget document. So join me, if you will, for a quick tour through a bunch of stories that we think are too interesting not to mention — but, somehow, had yet to get into the daily coverage flow. — EB

Reuters couldn’t get the government to give them information on inmate deaths, so they decided to figure it out on their own. The result is a three-part investigation called Dying Inside, a massive project that also includes a load of accessory coverage. Here’s a roundup:

And then the fallout (you love to see it):

Leaving Neverland Director Dan Reed Fights Subpoenas As He Shoots Sequel To Channel 4/HBO’s Michael Jackson Film,” reports Deadline. Snip:

Jackson’s companies served Reed and his production outfit, Amos Pictures, with subpoenas demanding that he personally appear for deposition and hand over documents and materials related to Leaving Neverland and the sequel. The subpoenas, served on September 21, were followed by Jackson’s attorneys filing a brief in which they attempt to discredit Reed, persuade the court that he is not a legitimate journalist, and portray Leaving Neverland as one-sided. They are also attempting to ban him from filming in the courtroom.

Reed hit back with a motion to quash the subpoenas at the LA court last week. Within the 79-page motion, he makes clear that he is a UK resident and Amos does not operate in California, which could make it difficult for a judge to compel Reed to hand over production materials. He also points out that he has no personal affiliation with Robson and Safechuck, and has not paid the plaintiffs to appear in his sequel — a claim made to the court by the Jackson companies.

Read the full report here. — EB

I think I’ve mentioned before that every time I drive past the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public library, I smirk, because it’s the scene of one of my city’s most infamous arrests: Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of dark-web marketplace the Silk Road, was busted there in 2013. As a refresher in the saga, I always recommend this 2015 two-parter from Wired:

And here’s the latest, dateline November 5: according to a press release from the DoJ that dropped on Thursday, an unnamed hacker has helped the feds swipe about $1 billion in Silk Road-related bitcoin. Here’s the scoop from a couple outlets, none of which note that the Silk Road movie is out there, somewhere, with a release delayed until (???) by the pandemic.

  • United States Files A Civil Action To Forfeit Cryptocurrency Valued At Over One Billion U.S. Dollars [U.S. Attorney’s office, NorCal]

  • The US government seized $1 billion in bitcoin from dark web marketplace Silk Road [The Verge]

  • Bitcoin: $1bn seized from Silk Road account by US government [BBC]

Does no one want Quibi? So it would appear, as weeks after its demise was announced, no one has stepped forward to buy its assets.

That means that on December 1, it’s all over for the platform, which in addition to squandering $1.75 billion in investor money was, the Wall Street Journal reports, a super-spreading event. For real:

In March, the reality of the coronavirus pandemic began to set in. CBS and Quibi held a dinner at a Mediterranean restaurant in New York to celebrate the launch of “60 in 6,” a Quibi newscast developed with CBS meant to help “60 Minutes” reach younger audiences. Several CBS staffers contracted Covid-19, and health officials informed them they were among the first batch of known cases in the city. CBS News declined to comment.

In addition to that mess, and the squandered money, and the 250 or so jobs lost at the company (that’s not even counting the jobs lost at companies that had deals with Quibi — and trust me, jobs were indeed lost — there are victims like Coolfire Studios, the company behind Murder Unboxed, a Quibi show that dropped right before the platform announced its demise.

Coolfire, at least, is seeking a new home for its content, and isn’t waiting for someone to snap Quibi up. Per the St. Louis Business Journal:

"We're obviously disappointed," said Steve Luebbert, the executive vice president of original programming at Coolfire. "We felt we had great partners in Quibi in creating our show. They really embraced the vision."

"Obviously, the marketplace for true crime is incredibly vibrant," he said. "We're bullish on other opportunities that may exist out there."

The show was produced specifically for Quibi and its unique short-episode format, but Luebbert said "Murder Unboxed" is easily adaptable to a longer format and was produced with that in mind.

And now, a longread three-fer from Crime Reads:

Whew! The budget doc already feels more manageable; thanks for taking this ride with me. And remember, we always love to get recommendations for other great true-crime longreads, shows, and podcasts in the comments.

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Wednesday on Best Evidence: Whatever it is, it’ll be fresh!

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