What Do Lori Loughlin, Tiger Woods, Robert Kraft, and Dennis Rodman Have in Common? A Busy Week in Sports Law!
Tabloids love to point out that celebrities are just like us, and that is especially true when it comes to legal issues. On the one hand, you could argue that the rich and famous have the money and power to get out of legal jams that would bury the rest of us. On the other hand, celebrities often have a legal target on their backs us anonymous folks may not.
Either way you slice it, it's been a busy week for one athlete, one former athlete, one owner, and one famous TV mom, and only one of them could say their week was a good one.
Everyone's favorite TV aunt, Lori Loughlin, conspired to get her daughters, Olivia Jade and Isabella Rose, into USC via faked athlete profiles, and the former assistant women's soccer coach who created the profiles, Laura Janke, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit racketeering on Tuesday. Janke also agreed to cooperate with the FBI's "Varsity Blues" investigation, which also nabbed actress Felicity Huffman
. Huffman pleaded guilty this week
to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud and could face four months in prison, while Loughlin pleaded not guilty to honest services mail fraud and money laundering charges
related to bribes paid to Janke.
The New England Patriots owner had been caught in a prostitution and sex trafficking sting at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, but a judge tossed video footage of Kraft in the act, because the underlying warrant authorizing surveillance inside the spa was faulty. Judge Leonard Hanser ruled that the warrant lacked guidance on minimizing the impact on innocent, female clients at the spa, and that "the detective-monitors did not have a common standard to guide them as to how they were to minimize surveilling innocent behavior or behavior that did not rise to the level of probable cause." Therefore, prosecutors can't use the video at trial, and, without similarly incriminating evidence, will likely end up dismissing his solicitation charges.
Nicholas Immesberger died in a drunk-driving accident in December 2018. Immesberger happened to be a bartender at The Woods, Tiger Woods's Jupiter (that town again!) Florida restaurant. And his parents claim that Woods, Erica Herman (the establishment's manager, whom Woods has been dating), and other "employees, management and owners" of the restaurant "over-served a young man they knew was suffering with the disease of alcoholism." While many state dram shop laws
only allow third parties injured by a person who's been overserved to sue, Florida limits liability for persons or establishments "who knowingly serves a person habitually addicted to the use of any or all alcoholic beverages
." The Immesbergers' lawsuit alleges Woods and Herman should've known their son was an alcoholic as the two were drinking with Immesberger "only a few nights before the fatal crash."
And finally, everyone's favorite rebounder-turned-North-Korea-diplomat
was back in the news, accused of stealing $3,500 in merchandise from the Vibes Hot Yoga studio in Newport Beach, including a "ginormous geode amethyst crystal." The ginormous geode is estimated to be worth $2,500, weigh 400 pounds, and absolutely explodes when one of Rodman's friends drops it on the floor of the studio to provide a distraction for some very un-namaste shoplifting.
It's an "Ocean's 8"-level heist that only fails to account for the comprehensive video surveillance system.
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