I'll Be Gone In The Dark · Wrongful Conviction · Theranos

Plus: Forget about America's troubles with a Venezuelan coup

There’s a new trailer for I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. The six part docuseries about the late Michelle McNamara’s search for the Golden State Killer doesn’t hit HBO until June 28, but the network’s PR machine is already revving up: Director Liz Garbus appeared at the virtual version of the ATX TV festival, which this year is sub-headed “From The Couch.” During her panel, Page Six reports, Garbus praised McNamara, saying that “True crime has become such an explosive industry and one of the things we wanted people to understand was how seminal her work was…She really was a pioneer.”

According to Variety, which moderated the panel, Garbus says that “We developed relationships with so many of the survivors and members of law enforcement and some of those people had direct relationships with Michelle, so in many ways, we were inheriting this relationship … It felt like an incredible responsibility to have so many people actually feel like we were somehow carrying on this relationship that they had with her.” — EB

I’ve been meaning to talk about this wild audio story from the Guardian for nearly a month. It was easy to miss the story of a former Green Beret turned private security guy’s effort to overthrow Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro, as it went down on May 3, when the rest of us were wondering if we’d ever get out from under the thumb of COVID-19.

Basically, Jordan Goudreau, whose Silvercorp USA security company still has a working website (!!) and Instagram (!!!), admittedly organized an independent incursion into Venezuela, with a plan to kidnap Maduro. You’ll be shocked to hear that it didn’t work out. You can get some great accounts of the abortive heist via the Globe and Mail or the AP, but the Guardian’s take is especially useful, as world affairs editor Julian Borger used the tale to explain why Goudreau’s faux-Rambo move might have made things even worse for Maduro’s constituency. I’m sure you’ll have casting ideas for the inevitable adaptation, you know where to put them. — EB

Leave a comment

There’s some sort of true-crime thing going on at 90 Day Fiancé. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and pretend that you don’t know that The Learning Channel’s 90DF is about people who are planning to marry folks from another country, often without the benefit of a proper courtship. It’s been a remarkably lucrative franchise for TLC, with spinoffs and reunion shows and all the other things a network does to a vaguely diverting reality show to make it fairly despicable.

On a recent season of the show, a U.S. resident named Geoffrey Paschel planned to marry a Russian woman named Varya Malina, whom “he met through an international dating site.” Things hit the rocks because he faces numerous criminal charges, Oxygen reports, including indictments for aggravated kidnapping and domestic assault against an ex-girlfriend.

The revelation prompted a Change.org petition demanding his ouster from the show, and here’s where things get weirder, as in addition to the actual, real life allegations against him, Paschel also played Dennis Rader, aka the BTK serial killer, on a 2017 episode of true crime series Snapped: Notorious. I don’t have a clever way to end this, except to say that the world sure is weird. — EB

‼ OUT NOW ‼⁣
@freerobwill’s long awaited episode of @nowthisnews brand new series #WRONGFULCONVICTION with @itsjasonflom via Facebook.⁣

See and hear Rob tell his story in his words for the first time in his almost 20 years on Texas Death Row for a crime he did not commit. The only alternative suspect was the son of a influential Houston police officer, who was never investigated for the crime. In his words, "My dad's a cop. I have pull. 𝙒𝙝𝙮 𝙙𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙠 𝙄'𝙢 𝙜𝙚𝙩𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙜𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙖 𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙧 𝙘𝙧𝙞𝙢𝙚?"⁣

• Link in @freerobwill’s bio •⁣ https://m.facebook.com/watch/1123130468065280/
June 10, 2020

The Wrongful Conviction podcast is holding a Facebook event this afternoon. That’s the show from music exec/criminal justice reform advocate Jason Flom, in which he interviews folks imprisoned for crimes they did not commit.

In this zoom event, Flom will moderate a forum with Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors; prison industry expert Bianca Tylek; Drug Policy Alliance executive director Kassandra Frederique; and civil rights lawyer and author Alec Karakatsanis. “The goal of this event is to empower people to take action, find resources, and learn how to use their unique talents/resources to move us forward in the urgent fight for racial justice,” the Facebook announcement for the event reads.

The panel discussion starts at 5 PM ET and will run for about an hour. It’s unclear how to access the information for the Zoom — perhaps you have to use Facebook to indicate interest and the rest will follow? Or maybe people are just using “zoom” as a generic term for a live event (a la “Coke” for soda and “Kleenex” for a facial tissue), because this press release I found says that it’s actually a Facebook live event. Keep an eye on this link, I guess, and all will eventually be revealed. — EB

The Theranos scandal grinds on. Elizabeth Holmes is now arguing that a new felony fraud charge against her is “patently unconstitutional,” which, given the “patently unconstitutional” things we’ve all seen the last couple lists seems hard not to “OK, Karen” over. The San Jose Mercury News, which has been kicking ass in its coverage of the case, has the latest — prosecutors scoffed at the latest argument from the Holmes team, characterizing it as “too much.”

Meanwhile, BE contrib Margaret Howie points us to a recent Ask A Manager advice column, in which a correspondent details a near Theranos miss. Back in 2015, the AAM column responded to a letter from someone who asked if they committed “a cardinal job-searching sin” by applying for a job sans cover letter. The lack of a letter “may indeed have torpedoed your chances for those particular jobs” and “The next time you see a role at LBC [the pseudonym used by the correspondent] that you’re interested in applying to, apply and include a cover letter. Make it a good one — personalized, engaging, blah blah blah.”

Last week, the cover letter leaver-outer followed up with AAM, saying, “I did not end up getting the job I wrote to you about. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise, though, because the company in question was Theranos. YIKES.” The correspondent says they got another job, and ended going to med school — they’re actually just about to graduate, and will begin their residency this summer. Hey, look at that, some good news! — EB

Friday on Best Evidence: Money-laundering!

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.