6 Infamous Scandals With Crazy Details The Public Forgot
After a lurid scandal makes the rounds of the news cycle, it's generally tossed in the ash heap and never spoken of again. But sometimes it's worth checking in after the lights dim and all the sentencing is done, just to see if there's any residual drama to be found in the debris. And indeed, sometimes there is, and the stories you thought you knew get even stranger. For example ...
The Duke Lacrosse Rape Accuser Is Now In Jail For Murder
In 2006, Crystal Mangum was working as a stripper, which was inevitable; stripper or hardboiled P.I. are pretty much your only career options with a name like that. She performed at a party for the Duke lacrosse team, and then, after being picked up by police and figuring she was about to be committed for substance abuse, claimed three players raped her. Her story later fell apart so hard that the prosecutor was disbarred. All of America, embarrassed about being wrong, agreed to never talk about rape again, at least not for another decade.
Mangum got a book deal out of the experience, so she made out okay. Then in 2010, she had another run-in with the law. Police received a complaint and showed up at her apartment, where they witnessed her punching and throwing things at her boyfriend, lighting his clothes on fire in the bathtub while threatening to stab him. And that's just what she did while the cops were standing there. She caught half a dozen charges, including attempted first-degree murder, but the affair ended in a mistrial and a sentence for time served.
In 2011, Mangum was living with Reginald Daye. The relationship ended when she cut open his torso with a kitchen knife. Daye was rushed to Duke University Hospital (is that irony or just darkly appropriate?), but there was only so much they could do for someone who had been stabbed in the lung, diaphragm, stomach, colon, kidney, and spleen. He died 10 days later. Mangum claimed self-defense, but the evidence shockingly failed to back up that argument. She was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to a minimum of 14 years. But she's projected to be released around Valentine's Day 2026, so mark your calendars, bachelors!
Bobby Bonilla Gets $1.2 Million A Year Until He's 62 (Thanks To Bernie Madoff)
Look at this happy fellow:
Bobby Bonilla had a pretty stellar baseball career, despite having a tumultuous relationship with the Mets and the New York media. Though he retired back in 2001, he still has plenty of reasons to get butterflies with each new baseball season. That's because every July 1, the Mets cut him a check for $1.2 million, and will continue to do so until 2035. All because of Bernie Madoff.
See, back in 2000, the Mets probably thought they grifted Bonilla as soundly as Madoff shafted, well ... everybody else. They agreed to buy out his contract for $5.9 million after becoming fed up with his stunts, like the time he pissed off to play cards in the clubhouse while his team was losing. During the playoffs. But instead of ending the whole issue with one lump sum, the team negotiated a long-term installment plan with interest.
Mets ownership didn't mind deferring the payment at a loss, because as one of good ol' Madoff's best customers, they believed they were about to make incredible returns on their multi-million-dollar investments and didn't want to redirect even a single cent from their portfolio. "Who cares that a $5.9 million debt will turn into $30 million, given what an incredible windfall must surely be coming our way?" they asked, even as the entire island of Manhattan shook with the laughter of Yankees fans. Of course, that windfall never came. And now Bobby Bonilla will make more money not playing for the Mets than he ever did playing for them.
The Dentist Who Shot Cecil The Lion Tried To Cover Up A Different Hunt
Remember when dentist Walter Palmer shot a lion in 2015, and we all agreed he was terrible? Like, it wasn't even a controversy, it was a hatred that united all of America. Lions are great, dentists are evil, and while we're a bit more divided on hunting and guns, this specific incident pissed off just about everyone. People trashed his business. And, uh, shared his home address. And called for him to be hanged.
OK, so people went a little overboard, especially considering that Palmer hadn't done anything illegal. He hadn't killed a member of an endangered species, he had a permit, and he had given a large sum of money for the privilege of killing that lion to a developing country that benefits from hunting tourism.
But Palmer did break the law on a different hunt. In 2006, he was in Wisconsin looking for black bears. He had a permit to hunt in one county, but he drifted over the county line, and then kept going for another 40 miles. When he finally bagged his quarry, he did so illegally. Palmer offered his guides $20,000 to lie about it, but he underestimated the integrity of the average Wisconsin guide, and they reported him to the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Palmer was sentenced to a year's probation and was fined a little under $3,000 ... which is a whole lot less than the bribe he'd been willing to pay, so he must have been pretty happy his guides turned out to be honest. So that's the killing we should have been mad about.
Oliver North's Typo Meant Millions Of Contra Dollars Were Sent To A Random Guy
Back in the '80s, Congress banned the American government from funding Contra fighters in Nicaragua. The Reagan administration refused to accept this, because the Contra's expertise at murdering nuns and attacking hospitals was apparently vital to defeating those godless commies. So White House goons like Oliver North and Elliott Abrams set out to find alternate sources of money. This eventually turned into the Iran-Contra affair, as North had the brilliant and totally foolproof idea of illegally selling weapons to Iran and then illegally funneling the proceeds to the Contras. But a different attempt at getting funding from Brunei turned into its own ridiculous farce.
In 1986, the sultan of Brunei made a deal with Abrams to send $10 million to the Contras. But North somehow managed to give the sultan the wrong Swiss bank account info, handing over a number that started with 368 instead of 386. So the money went to a random Swiss businessman. That level of incompetence would be embarrassing for a 19-year-old using Venmo for the first time, let alone high-ranking government officials. The new Jack Ryan series is unlikely to end with the CIA accidentally transferring their entire budget to a random Twitch streamer via untraceable bitcoins.
Meanwhile, the Swiss guy who woke up to find himself $10 million richer immediately transferred the money to a different account. In other circumstances, that could have been the banking equivalent of Josh Brolin taking the suitcase in No Country For Old Men, but Swiss banks are kind of known for their secrecy, and no one involved could take legal action without blowing their whole despicable scheme wide open. North and Abrams were powerless, and the sultan understandably declined to provide more funds.
The Iran scheme's eventual exposure was a disaster for North and Abrams, but great news for the sultan, since the subsequent investigation uncovered the whereabouts of his wayward $10 million and he could finally get it back. The Swiss man agreed to return it, although there was an unseemly squabble over the $253,000 in interest he had made and wanted to keep. Anyway, this is why you should always check your crimes against humanity for typos.
O.J. Simpson's Lawyer Was Jailed For Robbing A Pot Smuggler
F. Lee Bailey got his law degree in 1960 and built up quite the roster of clients. He defended Sam Sheppard (the inspiration behind The Fugitive), Patty Hearst, the Boston Strangler, Ernest Medina (who faced a court martial for the My Lai Massacre), and noted Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson. Bailey famously helped keep Simpson out of prison for double homicide, but he couldn't keep himself from winding up there the very next year.
His conviction was related to another of his clients, drug dealer Claude Duboc. Duboc had trafficked a massive haul of marijuana into the country -- one estimate says that for every year he was active, he brought 60 tons of weed into America and made $160 million doing it. No one knew for sure how much he was worth because he had hidden so much of his wealth, but the government was willing to give him a reduced sentence of as little as three years if he revealed and turned over his assets.
Those many assets included biotech stocks, which had been worth $6 million when the plea deal was made, but had appreciated to $20 million when it came time to hand them in. Bailey, who had been controlling the stock in the interim, felt entitled to keep the profits as payment for his services. He was supposed to have been putting the profits toward maintaining Duboc's car collection, massive French estates, and other rich person shit until it could all be sold, but he had ignored a very narrow legal mandate and treated the stock like it was his own.
The government, as you can imagine, was not willing to "chill" and hash the issue out over a bowl. Not only was Bailey basically robbing the country, but he was also reducing his own client's negotiating position, which led to the Supreme Court declaring him guilty of "the most serious and basic trust account violations."
Bailey held firm right up until the court sentenced him to six months in federal prison -- six weeks of which broke him. He agreed to relinquish the stock, but he never recovered from the debacle. Bailey was disbarred, and repeated attempts to return to law have been rejected. As for Duboc, the three-year sentence he was going to get in exchange for turning over his assets never happened, and he's currently serving a life sentence. Maybe he should have hired a better lawyer.
An Executive Dodged The Enron Scandal By Getting A Stripper Pregnant
2001 was a simpler time. Bush was president, boy bands dominated the radio, and people still went to jail for financial crimes. That's when energy company Enron was caught cooking the books to inflate their value and hide their many debts. When the truth came out, Enron's stock tanked and anyone who had invested in the company (like the low-level employees who had been encouraged to put their retirement savings there) found themselves broke.
Billions of dollars vanished, but at least many of the bigwigs responsible for the fraud served jail time. But one lucky executive, Lou Pai, managed to both avoid jail and keep hundreds of millions for himself. How did he pull that off? Brilliant foresight? A tip-off from a friend in the government? A sudden change of heart about his shady business practices? Nope, he knocked up a stripper.
Less than a year before the fallout, Pai got his mistress pregnant, and his wife divorced him over it. As part of the settlement, Pai had to sell off his Enron stock, which netted him about 280 million sweaty, glittery dollar bills. Here, for once, Pai pulled out at the perfect time. When he sold his stock in the spring of 2001, a share in Enron was worth $54. By December, a share was worth 40 cents.
After paying a $31.5 million settlement for insider trading charges and throwing his wife a few million for the divorce, Pai took a chunk of his remaining fortune and bought a 77,000-acre ranch in Colorado that included his own damn mountain. Oh, and when Enron CEO and noted asshole Jeffrey Skilling was released from jail in early 2019, he and Pai started looking into getting the band back together and launching a new energy company. Surely this one will be legit!
E. Reid Ross has a book called BIZARRE WORLD that's on store shelves as we speak. Or you could just order it now from Amazon or Barnes and Noble and leave a scathing/glowing review. Follow Ryan Menezes on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other stuff no one should see.
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