Indianapolis Monthly has a great longread on the issues many have with the Crime Junkie podcast. Reporter Adam Wren pulls no punches in his thorough piece for the mag, interviewing (unlike the controversial pod) host Ashley Flowers, as well as her critics.
You likely know the problems many have with the show, from the light tone it takes with cases, its lack of primary research, and the allegations of plagiarism against it. Wren reveals another problem, one that’s new, at least to me. This one isn’t on Flowers’ shoulders, it’s the fault of a man at the upper ranks of the Indiana State Police.
Wren reports that after Flowers approached him about participation in a new podcast about an infamous 1978 case known as the Burger Chef murders, District Investigative Commander 1st Sgt. Bill Dalton gave her full access to case files that journalists have been fighting to view for decades. When reporters learned that Flowers had the files, they, too, filed open-records requests, and were denied. It’s a troubling state of affairs --one that Flowers didn’t cause, but that she’s now arguably complicit in. If you’re looking to read one long thing today, this is a good pick. -- EB
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes saw some success in court this week. Did I tell you my genius plan for Halloween this year? My husband was going to dress like Dracula and I was going to wear a black turtleneck and pants, and a messy blonde wig. (Then he had to go out of town so I just dressed normal and got the dog a werewolf costume.) ANYWAY.
A judge in federal court has allowed a modest win for team Holmes, after her defense team claimed that prosecutors had not provided them with all the docs from the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that they had requested. Both of those agencies regulated Theranos while it was in business, and her defense says that both have docs that are crucial to their case: specifically, correspondence between officials and John Carreyrou, the WSJ reporter whose work for the paper eventually grew into Bad Blood (a book covered on this episode of The Blotter Presents).
Holmes has previously argued that Carreyrou tried to game the investigative system by pushing sources to file complaints, then turned around and encouraged officials to investigate those same allegations. These demands for docs are presumably a effort to bolster those claims.
U.S. attorney John Bostic argued that DoJ prosecutors aren’t empowered to demand docs from federal agencies, and that it wasn’t fair to ask them to come up with stuff even they don’t have access to. Judge Edward Davila wasn’t having it, the San Jose Mercury News reports, saying in his ruling that “The court finds that the Prosecution has knowledge of and access to the at-issue documents.” He ordered prosecutors to “assist the Agencies however possible to ensure the timely production of documents.”
Davila set a December 31 deadline for the production of those docs, and said that he would not be changing the date of the trial, which is scheduled for August 4, 2020.
This, of course, is when I remind you that if this newsletter has 2000 paid subscribers by August 1, 2020, we will cover that case, in person, from the San Jose courtroom. Don’t you want that? Of course you do! So please encourage anyone you think would enjoy this newsletter to subscribe for only $5 month (or $55/year) so we can afford to devote three months to original reporting on the case.
Why hasn’t this been adapted: The Hobgoblin grape murder case. This comes to us by way of game designer Katie Chironis, who fell into a true crime hole when she tried to figure out of the grapes she was eating were locally-grown. Grower Jakov Dulcich was allegedly slain by Kia-driving gunmen who (again, allegedly) almost killed a witness to the crime:
The top suspect in the case was, himself, found dead shortly thereafter. A few months later, another worker from the Hobgoblin farm was reportedly targeted by a drive-by. All the crimes remain unsolved.
It wasn’t me. Patreon supporters of The Blotter Presents might have heard me suggest that I’d like to see Felicity Huffman do a one-person narrative in the spirit of The Fear of 13 (one of the topics of this week’s main podcast). So I got a little anxious when I saw the headline “Jailed star Felicity Huffman picked on in podcast” on the pages of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
It turns out that reporter Jerry McLeod is concerned about 14 Days with Felicity, a scripted pod intended to satirize her time in prison. McLeod asks “does Huffman really deserve to be ridiculed in a podcast?” but never answers, so I guess it’s up to us to decide…in the comments, perhaps? -- EB
Monday on Best Evidence: Does your Attorney General have a true crime podcast? Then you must live in Arkansas!
What is this thing? This should help.