Fyre Fallout · Mob Cops · Mindhunter

Plus: A true crime podcast that sharpens your Spanish

A post shared by @billy_mcfarland
October 23, 2020

Poor Billy McFarland. As Sarah told you last week, the Fyre Fest mastermind launched a podcast from prison, one intended to “set the record straight” on the scam that sent him to jail for six or so years. Now his lawyer says he’s being punished for the effort, and is stuck in solitary confinement as a result of the show.

Speaking to the New York Times, attorney Jason Russo says that “he has been in 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement since last week, after a trailer for the podcast was released online, and may remain there for up to 90 days or more, pending an unspecified investigation by the federal Bureau of Prisons.” According to Russo, McFarland’s cellie, who also participated in the show, has also been placed in solitary.

For their part, the Bureau of Prisons declined to comment, citing inmate privacy. That makes it harder to determine what prison rules, if any, McFarland broke — it’s not like podcasting from prison is forbidden, nor is (with caller consent, of course) repurposing phone calls placed from prison phones.

(As a side note, the Instagram account “managed by Billy’s team” that launched after he went inside is…something else.)

“We believe the investigation stems from his participation in the podcast and the photographs that were taken and utilized in the trailer, which were all properly taken,” Russo tells the Times. “We don’t believe he’s violated any rule or regulation, and there can’t possibly be anything else. He’s been a model prisoner there.” — EB

A post shared by @billy_mcfarland
October 14, 2020

The Boardwalk Empire guy is taking up a new set of baddies. Terence Winter, who married fact and fiction when he created BE, will adapt 2003 true crime yarn Friends of the Family: The Inside Story of the Mafia Cops Case for the small screen, Deadline reports.

Winter’s new series is a big jump forward in time for him — forget the old-time-iness of BE; the story of corrupt NYPD detectives Stephen Caracappa and Louis Eppolito doesn’t really start until the late 1970s when the pair started a side hustle helping with mob executions. Both died in recent years while serving life sentences.

Real players are expected to lend their expertise to the series, including “Joseph Ponzi, former Chief Investigator for the Brooklyn District Attorney, retired DEA agent Frank Drew… former NYPD Detective Frank Pergola,” and “former New York Gambino crime family underboss Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano.” So far, no casting has been announced, but Winter says that “Caracappa and Eppolito disgraced their badges like no one else in NYPD history.” (Really? No one? OK!)

No casting’s been announced, so we have a way to go on this one. But here’s a photo of Caracappa and Eppolito then and another of them at the time of their trial to help get your wheels turning. — EB


That’s a definite wrap on Mindhunter. It’s been well over a year since the second season of Mindhunter dropped on Netflix, but news that the show’s stars were released from their contracts suggested that a third season might not ever come. In an interview published last week by Vulture, show creator David Fincher confirmed that it’s game over, man.

Part of the issue was the location, Fincher says — the show was shot in Pittsburgh, so “We lived there for almost three years,” he said. “Not year in and year out, but … probably six or seven months a year … Mindhunter was a lot for me.”

Another issue is cost. “Listen, for the viewership that it had, it was a very expensive show,” Fincher says. “I honestly don’t think we’re going to be able to do it for less than I did season two. And on some level, you have to be realistic — dollars have to equal eyeballs.” 

Finally, it sounds like it was just loads of work. “It’s a 90-hour workweek. It absorbs everything in your life. When I got done, I was pretty exhausted, and I said, ‘I don’t know if I have it in me right now to break season three.’” So I guess we’ll never learn if Tench’s kid is a psycho, or see BTK come to justice — but if you miss the mesmerizing Cameron “Ed Kemper” Britton, remember that you can still catch him as Richard Jewell on Season 2 CBS’s Manhunt: Deadly Games, which is far less CBS-y than you might fear. — EB


There’s a lot going on for Scott Peterson. As we’ve previously noted, a San Mateo, CA trial judge will reevaluate Peterson’s 2004 murder trial for the slaying of his pregnant wife, Laci. At the time of his conviction, he was sentenced to death — a decision that was overturned this past August.

Now, as the judge mulls whether Peterson needs another trial, Stanislaus County Assistant District Attorney Dave Harris tells the Associated Press that if Peterson’s retried, they will forward with an effort to retry the penalty phase and, they hope, sentence Peterson to death for a second time.

Meanwhile, Janey Peterson (who in her Twitter bio identifies as “Advocating for the wrongful conviction of my brother-in-law, Scott Peterson”) seems ready to take the gamble. “We still need justice for Laci, Connor and Scott,” she told reporters. “We don’t have justice for Laci with Scott on death row, because Scott is innocent.” Peterson attorney Pat Harris seems less gung-ho, saying that he was “sandbagged” by the penalty push, and that he “needs to consult with Peterson before agreeing to put off the penalty phase until the judge decides whether to throw out underlying conviction.” — EB


El Gran Robo Argentino is a true crime-y way to help you work on your Spanish skills. The Verge reports that the podcast is about a 2006 heist that cost a Buenos Aires bank $20 million. It’s a great story, as this GQ longread confirms, which is why language-learning app Duolingo chose it as a story it would tell in serial form across its Duolingo Spanish Podcast, which has a pleasantly unintimidating description:

True stories for English speakers learning Spanish. From the makers of Duolingo, the most popular language-learning app, comes a new podcast that delivers fascinating real-life stories in easy-to-understand Spanish with English narration. These are not language lessons; they’re life lessons through language. Hosted by Martina Castro, co-founder of NPR’s Radio Ambulante.

Speaking with Marketplace, Duolingo spokesperson Michaela Kron says that “We knew that true crime was just such a popular genre … We were trying to think through, really, how do we adapt this unique format that we’ve created for language learning, and adding this true crime element to kind of cross those over.” The first episode of El Gran Robo Argentino launched last week, and can be subscribed to here. — EB


Wednesday on Best Evidence: More police corruption!


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