Cocaine Hippos · Theranos · Ring Doorbells
Plus: get your true crime bracket picks in before it's too late
|The Blotter Presents||Mar 26|| 3||5|
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.
“Ring's work with police lacks solid evidence of reducing crime.” Has any true crime content been more upsold to the public than the footage on Ring cameras? It seems like the Amazon-owned devices capture content that keeps TV news and Nextdoor afloat. But though the company says the doorbells have led to drops in crime, the data doesn’t seem to back that up. [CNet]
“Mistrial Declared in Merced Murder Case Amid COVID-19 Exposure Fears.” A three-defendant homicide case in California was over in a snap “after an expected witness told prosecutors he had been in contact with a police officer who tested positive for COVID-19.” Set your clock now for the first time an “infection scare” of some sort is used as a ploy on your favorite fictional cops and courtrooms show. [The Recorder]
“Pablo Escobar's 'cocaine hippos' show how invasive species can restore a lost world.” It’s been a while since I watched the first season of Narcos, Netflix’s vaguely fact-based take on the drug trade. I thought Wagner Moura (who, IRL looks less like the drug magnate and more like a young Frank Whaley) tore it up as Escobar, but he would have been completely overshadowed in my brain if the show had included the four adult hippopotamus found by officials at his Colombian ranch-turned-zoo. The non-native beasts have since multiplied and are now screwing up the nation’s waterways, some researchers said in January, but a new study says that they might “fill a unique ecological niche that has been lost since human occupation.” [Guardian]
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.