Leon Black · Attica · Soduku

'Candy' adds some coolish cast members

Jordan Belfort has tied the knot for the third time. Belfort, the central figure in the movie The Wolf of Wall Street, married girlfriend Cristina Invernizzi back in February, Page Six reports.

It’s arguably a comment on Belfort’s relevance that it took until now for anyone to hear about the Las Vegan ceremony, who he’s reportedly been with since 2019. The 59-year-old, who spent 22 months in prison for his role in a $200 million fraud scheme. He was also required to pony up $110 million in restitution but has been slow to refill those coffers, a payback complicated by a dispute over the profits from the award-winning film based on his memoir.

These days, in addition to his work as a motivational speaker, Belfort is reportedly the owner of this mezcal company and is co-owner of a cannabis company. According to page Six, the pair recently moved from Los Angeles to Miami, which made me think of this story. Aw, ain’t love grand? — EB

A post shared by Jordan Belfort (@wolfofwallst)

Was Elizabeth Moss holding Candy up? As noted earlier this month Moss just bowed out of the Hulu (not the HBO) take on the Candy Montgomery case, and that Jessica Biel would take her place. No sooner did the Mad Men to Seventh Heaven switcheroo go down that even more cast members were named: Pablo “Pornstache” Schreiber will play Alan Gore, Deadline reports, and Timothy Simons — aka Jonah from Veep, will play Pat Montgomery, Candy’s husband.

I realized as I wrote this that I was having some real trouble remembering who is in which version, so I made a spreadsheet. This is my life!

I feel an overwhelming desire to mix and match these casts. Honestly, if you have me Olsen/Simons/Rabe/Plemons, I already know this would be the series of the season, but come to think of it, why isn’t Rabe playing Candy? Doesn’t that just feel right?

So far, neither show has announced a release date, so who knows, more shuffles could be in store. Until then, feel free to rearrange these castmates into a permutation you’d prefer, and drop it in the comments. — EB

Leave a comment

Sudoku has taken out a juror in the Theranos case. The fraud trial for Elizabeth Holmes, which is underway in San Jose, CA, lost a third juror last week for — this is not a joke — playing soduku during the trial.

Again, I am not making this up. As you might recall, one juror has already been dismissed when the realized that she would have to make a decision that might send someone to jail, which she says is against her faith as a Buddhist. A second juror departed over financial hardship — a reasonable issue, given the length of the trial (seven weeks and counting).

Now, reports CNBC, U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila questioned a juror in chambers after “he received an email from a juror” about the puzzle playing in the courtroom. Here’s a snip:

According to a court transcript the juror kept Sudoku in her court-issued notebook and played it for around seven to ten days of testimony.

“Were you playing this Sudoku?” U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila asked juror No. 5 while in chambers.

“I do have Sudoku, but it doesn’t interfere with me listening,” the juror said. “I’m very fidgety, so I need to do something with my hands. So at home I’ll crochet while I’m watching or listening to T.V.”

In chambers, Davila asked the juror: “So has this distracted you from listening?”

“No,” the juror said.

“Have you been able to follow and retain everything that is going on in the courtroom?” Davila asked. “Oh, yeah, definitely,” the juror said.

The prosecution hasn’t even finished with its witness list yet, so we still have a ways to go with this trial — and now, the jury consists of eight men and four women, with only two alternates left. Analysis are already suggesting that the diminished jury might help pave the way for a retrial, depending on the outcome of the case. If so, they’d have to do this thing all over again — a repeat that would have many of us reaching for something far stronger than a puzzle book. — EB

A new documentary on one of the best-known moments in prisoner rights drops late next week. Documentarian and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Stanley Nelson directed the doc, which premieres on Showtime on November 6. Here’s the description from the release:

In 1971, tensions between inmates and guards at the Attica Correctional Facility come to a head in the early hours of September 9 when inmates from the maximum-security prison in Upstate New York launched into the largest and bloodiest prison riot in US history. Through original interviews with former inmates, family members of the hostages, and those who witnessed the rebellion firsthand, Attica brings us back to a moment in time that resonated for decades, weaving hundreds of hours of never-before-seen, archival footage from inside the prison. The film captures the people, politics, emotions and tragedy, which continue to serve as a wake-up call about the need for prison reform and a reminder of the responsibilities of justice.

It’s not claiming to have new footage or interviews, but that might be OK — given that the events of the doc happened 50 years ago, a lot of the information presented is going to be new to a huge segment of viewers.

It doesn’t hurt that Nelson is great at what he does: this is the guy who brought us Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, the 30 for 30 on Michael Vick, and Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre and Crack: Cocaine, Corruption & Conspiracy, among others. This is a guy who has period content down, and who manages to package it in a way that doesn’t feel like homework. I’m intrigued. — EB

Leon Black just stuck his head out, and at what a strange event. Black, the investor who described himself as Jeffery Epstein’s “best friend,” has been pretty quiet since March, when he left the investment firm he co-founded over his ties with — and compensation of — the convicted sex offender. Last month, two women accused Black of rape (he denies the claims), with one saying the alleged assault occurred in Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse.

Vanity Fair reports this week that Black made one of his first public appearances earlier this month, at an event with one of the wildest guest lists I’ve seen lately: Michael “junk bond king” Milken, Questlove, Uma Thurman, and Steven Mnuchin were reportedly in attendance at the Milken Institute Global Conference, a Beverly Hilton conference on high finance. But even as he did, an investigation into the allegations against him continued:

Black’s attempt to return to public life is being complicated by mounting legal problems. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has opened a criminal investigation into Black, according to two sources briefed on the probe. Sources said prosecutors are examining allegations in court documents that Black raped and sexually assaulted the two former models. The allegations were included in former Russian model Guzel Ganieva’s civil lawsuit against Black. Ganieva and a woman identified in court documents as “Jane Doe” recently met with prosecutors to discuss their claims, one of the sources said. A spokesperson for the Manhattan D.A. declined to comment. 

A spokesperson for Black said, “We have no knowledge of any investigation of Mr. Black. As we have previously stated, Mr. Black has provided substantial documentary evidence in legal filings, including text messages and recordings, that show Ms. Ganieva’s claims to be completely false. In addition, we have been in contact with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and provided detailed evidence of Ms. Ganieva’s extortion of Mr. Black.” Ganieva’s lawyer, Jeanne Christensen, declined to comment specifically on the investigation, but said: “We believe in our clients and seek to hold Black accountable.” 

BNN Bloomberg has a gossipy and loose piece on the conference, which was themed “Charting a New Course.” There isn’t much true crime to be found in the story, barring the ongoing heist that is capitalism, but it’s packed with fun passages like this one:

A Washington lobbyist ran back to her hotel room to get more business cards mid-conference because she’d underestimated how many she’d need after more than a year of not using any. Carlyle Group Inc. partner Macky Tall said he wrestled with whether to fist-bump, shake hands or hug an industry colleague he hadn’t seen in two years. He settled on a hug.

For some, the event is watered down. For others, it’s a welcome return to an intimate setting among their own. Ex-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and former Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross roamed the hallways, at ease in their natural habitat after a four-year run in the Trump administration. Ross is scavenging for deals for his own special-purpose acquisition company, the cherished toy this year for every recognizable financier.“The Stock Exchange was very nice to welcome me back with the ROSS stock symbol for my SPAC,” Ross said. “So I feel like I have a vanity license plate trading on the New York Stock Exchange.”

Blech, I need a shower. — EB

Wednesday on Best Evidence: A midweek festival of longreads.

What is this thing? This should help. Follow Best Evidence @bestevidencefyi on Twitter and Instagram. You can also call or text us any time at 919-75-CRIME.