Pour yourself a cup of coffee, we have a lot of reading for you today. It doesn’t have to be coffee, I guess — there’s plenty in today’s Best Evidence to rev you up. My point is that this issue is a festival of links and longreads, intended to keep you entertained for a good long while. So, if you’re in a rush, bookmark* this baby and come back — and if you’re settled in, get comfy. — EB
*did I just date myself with “bookmark”? I did, didn’t I.
Fyre Festival settlement may award ticketholders more than $7,000 each [CNN] This is the result of a class-action suit filed by celeb lawyer slash restauranteur Mark Geragos’s firm back in 2017 and litigated ever since. A proposed settlement in Manhattan federal bankruptcy court offers 277 attendees of the infamous event $7,220 each, but according to Geragos & Geragos attorney Ben Meiselas, who spoke with Billboard, though money has been set aside for the claim, “there are multiple creditors involved in the bankruptcy case” and the actual award “may not come out to the full $7,220 apiece.” In actuality, Meiselas can only confirm that "there will be monetary relief in some form or fashion pending approval." So ticket holders probably shouldn’t spend that $7K just yet.
Podcast helped California cops crack 1996 student killing [Associated Press] When San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson announced two arrests in the 1996 disappearance of Elizabeth Smart, he singled out for praise Chris Lambert, the creator of the Your Own Backyard podcast. “What Chris did with the podcast was put it out nationally to bring in new information,” Parkinson said. “It did produce some information that I believe was valuable.” Lambert says he started the podcast after repeatedly passing a billboard calling for tips on Smart’s killer(s). “I thought I’d give it a shot and see if I could get a few people talking,” he tells the AP.
Sign of the Times: Caliphate and the perils of reporting online [Harper’s] I wasn’t kidding about that coffee: this is a veeeeery deep dive into the Caliphate scandal. It took me a couple runs at this one before I had the attention span to read and absorb it, so this might be one to save for bedtime.
“First eyewitness” comes forward in Making a Murderer case, suggests Steven Avery was framed [9 News] Lawyer Kathleen Zellner filed a Brady motion on Avery’s behalf last week, saying that [sic throughout] “a former newspaper delivery driver named Thomas Sowinski saw Avery's other nephew, Bobby Dassey, and an unidentified older man, ‘suspiciously pushing’, Ms Halbach's Toyota RAV-4 down Avery Road towards the family's junkyard.” (How does one push a vehicle suspiciously?) "The new witness affidavit is the first eyewitness observation ever reported in the case," Zellner tells 9 News.
Netflix starts filming in Stamford for true-crime thriller starring Eddie Redmayne and Jessica Chastain [Stanford Advocate] The thriller in question is The Good Nurse, which per a 2020 item in Deadline is an adaptation of journalist Charles Graeber’s 2014 book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness, and Murder. It’s the story of Charlie Cullen, who admitted “to murdering 29 patients and attempting to murder six others with drug with drug injections at hospitals in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” My Central Jersey reports, but officials say they believe he killed hundreds more. Redmayne is Cullen, obvs.
Book by Officer Who Shot Breonna Taylor Is a New Test for Publishers [New York Times] If I really wanted to troll Sarah, this is where I’d make some crack about her new shop, true-crime bookstore Exhibit B, but this is serious business so I won’t. Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, who shot Breonna Taylor and then sued her boyfriend for “severe trauma, mental anguish and emotional distress,” wrote a book called The Fight for Truth: The Inside Story Behind the Breonna Taylor Tragedy. The publisher is a far-right small publisher called Post Hill Press (Matt Gaetz is one of its best-selling writers, yikes). Post Hill has a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster, but the larger company says it won’t ship the book. Per Simon & Schuster’s CEO: “all of us involved in this decision shared an immediate and strong consensus about not wanting any role whatsoever in the distribution of this particular book.”
“Curation” is such a worn-out word. But I’m struggling to think of a better one when it comes to the hours Sarah and I spend a week, sifting through the tidal wave of content branded as “true crime” to get you the best and brightest intel on how the genre is told and sold.
Honestly, we’re just happy we get to share it with you — and when the end of the month comes and the rent check needs to be sent, it’s our paid subscribers who allow us to keep doing this. If you haven’t joined them yet, and you find this publication enjoyable or useful, perhaps it’s time?
Gucci heirs worry over family depiction in Ridley Scott film [Associated Press] My first reaction to this headline, given that I’d just looked at the Go Fug Yourself slideshow from the set, is “why?” After all, Gaga and Adam Driver look positively edible as Patrizia Reggiani and Maurizio Gucci. But “one of Maurizio’s second cousins, Patrizia Gucci,” says of the movie about Maurizio’s slaying that “We are truly disappointed …They are stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system.” She’s also mad about some of the casting, as “My grandfather was a very handsome man, like all the Guccis, and very tall, blue eyes and very elegant. He is being played by Al Pacino, who is not very tall already, and this photo shows him as fat, short, with sideburns, really ugly.”
John Cameron Mitchell To Play Tiger King Joe Exotic In NBCU Limited Series With Kate McKinnon [Deadline] McKinnon had already been cast as Carole Baskin, and I’d wondered who they could find to rise to the level of mustard she puts on pretty much every role she plays. Mitchell seems up to the task, I think! In a statement, the Hedwig and the Angry Inch (yikes, that show sure has aged poorly) creator says “I’m thrilled to take on the role of this modern folk antihero. Joe and I are the same age and like him, I grew up queer in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas so I feel like I know a little bit about this guy and his desperate attempt to conquer an inhospitable world.”
Netflix Acquires True Crime Article ‘The Poet’ for Feature Film Adaptation [The Wrap] The article in question is from a website called Truly*Adventurous; it’s about a woman named Ruth Finley whose unique stalking case (I’m vagueing it up here if you don’t want to be spoiled, but this article’s headline lets the cat out of the bag) spawned a 1994 book (again, spoilers abound if you click) called Little Girl Fly Away. The newly optioned story, which ran in March, is by English professor Corey Mead, and promises “hundreds of pages of never-before-seen documents and newly discovered sources.”
A Cautionary Tale for Nearly Everyone [New York Times] This one is a big-time “why haven’t they adapted this yet?” Tracii Show Hutsona, of the moderately popular (5.84K subscribers) Homeless Millionaires YouTube channel, was arrested in February and (per a press release from the DoJ) “charged with embezzling more than one million dollars as part of a confidence scheme.” Times reporter Gabrielle Bluestone takes us down the rabbit hole of the alleged con. Financial crimes fans will love this, as will anyone who’s ever been annoyed by a social media presence that’s based on conspicuous consumption.
Confronting a Serial Killer Director Aims to Expose ‘Dark Forces’ With True-Crime Stories [Variety] If I had a dollar for every interview in which Joe Berlinger expressed discomfort with the true-crime genre while promoting his latest entry in the true-crime genre…well, let’s just say that my “please subscribe to Best Evidence” entries would be a lot less urgent. This time, he’s pushing Confronting a Serial Killer, and “admits the criticism the genre has received was never far from his mind while making this new series.” [“Guess the criticism HE’S received vis-a-vis the Cecil Hotel project was less compelling. Zip it, JB.” — SDB]
John Stamos To Produce & Narrate True-Crime Podcast About Kidnapping Of Frank Sinatra Jr. For Wondery [Deadline] The show, which is called The Grand Scheme: Snatching Sinatra, will “uncover the event from the perspective of kidnapper Barry Keenan,” and will drop on Wondery+ on July 13 (and everywhere else on July 26). Per a press release, “Stamos will guide listeners through the ups and downs of Keenan’s madcap quest for redemption, from his moment of divine intervention, to his successful abduction of Sinatra, and his eventual bust by the FBI.”
Wednesday on Best Evidence: Housewives and other gangsters.