Michael Cohen · Keith Morrison · LuLaRoe

Plus: Remember 90s band Sublime? No, not 311. No, not Sugar Ray.

I feel like I heard Michael Cohen was launching a podcast, and promptly forgot. What can I say? The cast of characters within the former administration makes the credits list of Gandhi look like Saw’s, and tracking their current activities is a full-time job.

But the former attorney for Donald Trump (again, what a list) crossed my radar this week, as the guest on his podcast — which is called, I shit you not, Mea Culpa — is Stormy Daniels, the woman who he allegedly paid off after a sexual encounter with the former president.

The Associated Press essentially reblogged the pod for those who lack the patience to listen; some highlights:

  • “Cohen, in keeping with the title of his program, apologizes for ‘the needless pain’ he put Daniels through when he arranged a $130,000 payment during the 2016 presidential campaign to keep her quiet about an alleged dalliance with Trump a decade earlier. Trump has denied the affair.”

  • “The hourlong interview also includes graphic descriptions of Daniels’ 2006 sexual encounter with Trump — details she said supports the veracity of her claims. She calls the encounter ‘the worst 90 seconds of my life, for sure, because it just made me hate myself.’”

  • For Daniels, life after Trump has also included a new passion for ghost hunting and a related show, “Spooky Babes,” inspired by the “extremely haunted” house that bedeviled her in New Orleans’ Garden District. “I’ve been face to face with evil in the most intimate way,” Daniels said. “Demons don’t scare me anymore.”

Appetite whetted? The AP recap is here, and the episode is here (or above). — EB

Here’s some great copwatch coverage from Vice, that — watch your CBS-style procedurals — will surely make its way into a ripped-from-the-headlines show shortly. According to reporter Dexter Thomas, when an advocate for police transparency livestreamed his interaction with a Beverly Hills police officer Sgt. Billy Fair attempted to cut the stream off, by playing copyrighted music that would alert Instagram’s infringement tools.

According to vice, officers with BHPD have played songs like Sublime’s “Santeria” (which until I wrote this I had conflated at various times with 311’s “Down” and Sugar Ray’s “Fly,” all of which were released within the same calendar year the ’90s were GREAT) and the Beatles’ ”In My Life while being filmed by activists, a move that the activists say is intended to get the video quashed by social media. But, it might not work! Here’s a snip:

In May of last year, Instagram clarified its policies on including music in livestreams, and began to advise people to only use short clips of music, and to ensure that there is a "visual component" to videos—"recorded audio should not be the primary purpose of the video," the company said. Instagram declined to comment on this specific video, however, a spokesperson told VICE News that "our restrictions take the following into consideration: how much of the total video contains recorded music, the total number of songs in the video, and the length of individual song(s) included in the video." Under that rubric, Devermont's video should be fine, since it’s just one song, and is purely incidental.

Also, for anyone who is familiar with Sublime’s back catalogue, it seems unlikely that the band’s rights holders would do Fair a solid and complain to Instagram. 

In the cases detailed by Thomas, the song use didn’t keep the video from being spread, and no one’s officially confirmed what the music-playing cops’ intentions actually were. But there’s certainly great potential to take this real life case and apply it to a fictional case, with colorful results. The Good Fight’s next season, perhaps, with ChumHum in the hot seat? Here’s the full Vice story for your spec script inspiration. — EB

OK, here we go, Keith Morrison fans. The Dateline frontman, who gamely threw his now 73-year-old ass into the podcasting pool in 2019, is taking another dive. This time the show is called Mommy Doomsday (How is THAT not a late 90s band?), and (per Vulture) it’s about the “bizarre story of Lori Vallow, an Idaho woman whose two children went missing in 2019 and were later discovered dead on her husband’s property in 2020.”

This is Morrison’s second podcast, after The Thing About Pam, and he tells reporter Amy Wilkinson that “some of the most interesting criminal minds you run across are the women.” And, also, he is ambivalent about true crime! Here’s what he says about his journey into the genre:

When true crime sort of took over the genre of long form in America, I was one of the early resistors. I didn’t want to do it. I just thought, What? It’s almost like you’re intruding into a process, which it’s our right to intrude and look into it and see what happened. But I wasn’t sure it was a good thing for us to do, necessarily.

But as I have done it, it not only opens a window on human character, that is probably a uniquely suited way to get there. I don’t know of any other way to get to the heart of what makes a human being, a human being. To dive deeply into a criminal matter that a person has been involved in. And the victims of these murders or whatever they happened to be, the families of those people, we don’t talk to them unless they want to talk to us. If they want their privacy, we give them their privacy. But we find more often than not, they’re happy to do so. That it’s cathartic for them. That it’s a way to honor and celebrate the life that was lost. And so I feel better about it, but I will say, I never expected to be quite so fascinated about the many and varied facets of human behavior. How we’re all strange little ducks inside somewhere.

It’s an interesting little interview! You can read the full thing here, and subscribe to Mommy Doomsday (which drops on February 16) here. — EB

Is this it for LuLaRoe? Loyal Best Evidence readers know that the alleged legging sales pyramid scheme is one of my favorite alleged cons, and when a Google alert on the company name yields more than a sales item, my day is made.

According to the Business of Fashion (it’s a retail trade publication that does a lot of serious stuff, I recommend it!), the infamous MLM has agreed to pay $4.75 million to Washington state, an effort to settle claims that it “made ‘unfair and deceptive misrepresentations’ about how much money its individual retailers could earn working for the company.”

A press release from the state Attorney General has more, with its AG saying “LuLaRoe tricked Washingtonians into buying into its pyramid scheme with deceptive claims and false promises…As a result, thousands lost money and two individuals made millions from their scheme. Washingtonians deserve fairness and honesty — and accountability for those who don’t play by the rules.”

If you’ve somehow missed my previous rantings about the Facebook-reliant legging company that allegedly tricked scores of women into buying cheaply made product they couldn’t use, here’s a quick reading list:

  • Thousands of Women Say LuLaRoe’s Legging Empire Is a Scam [Bloomberg]

  • Multilevel-marketing companies like LuLaRoe are forcing people into debt and psychological crisis [Quartz]

(But, seriously, if you can’t make your massive athleisurewear company work during a work-from-home pandemic, maybe you’re just not good at athleisure?) — EB

Why not take that money you were going to put into leggings into Best Evidence? Sarah and I are happy to tell you that your ass looks great in the pants you already have, and we’ll do it in between bringing you the best true-crime books, TV shows, movies, podcasts, longreads, and more that the genre has to offer. Help keep us in unstructured pants by getting a paid subscription today.

Friday on Best Evidence: True-crime time travel!

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