The man accused of taking a hacksaw to a hotel room peephole and then videotaping ESPN reporter Erin Andrews in the nude will be released on bail but kept on home confinement and electronic monitoring, a federal magistrate in Chicago ruled today after prosecutors called the man a danger to the community.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys placed Barrett on a 9 p.m.-to-6 a.m. curfew and barred him from using the Internet at home or work. He will be allowed to go to work but must be home the remainder of the time. The restrictions will remain in place until Barrett appears before a judge in Los Angeles on Oct. 23. Barrett was arrested in Chicago, but his case will be heard in Los Angeles, where the celebrity Web site TMZ.com is based. He’s accused of trying to sell the video to TMZ.
I think that maybe the company he works for might have lobbied for that part of his bail requirement, since, according to this, personal internet use accounts for over 44% of time "wasted" at work.
And, given the number of hits my blog gets whenever Erin Andrews gets a mention, I would think that not being able to surf the internet would be torture, something against which he is protected by the Constitution. If he is obsessed with Ms. Andrews, not being able to see her on the internet might be like "enhanced interrogation."
But is he obsessed with her?
Prosecutors called Michael David Barrett’s interest in Andrews an “obsession.”
Okay then. Dictionary.com has several definitions of "obsession." Among them
1.Compulsive preoccupation with an idea or an unwanted feeling or emotion, often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety.
2. A compulsive, often unreasonable idea or emotion.
Emphasis added. When we go to the definition of "compulsion" we find
Psychology. a strong, usually irresistible impulse to perform an act, esp. one that is irrational or contrary to one's will.
So, the prosecutors are saying that he couldn't help himself. In this case, it's possible that his bail requirements might be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so I won't give out free legal advice. I think that whoever made that video of Ms. Andrews is reprehensible, and I don't want to help out his lawyers in any way.
Counterintuitively, the prosecutors also claim that he worked in a cold, methodical manner in carrying out his "obsession":
Prosecutor Steve Grimes said Barrett, 47, of Westmont, tracked Andrews’ movements in a “methodical” manner.
“This was not just a whimsical act,” Grimes said of Barrett, who’s accused of covertly video-recording Andrews. "This was an obsession, one that was acted out...one he carried out through various states."
So maybe the use of the word "obsession" was meant metaphorically. Maybe the prosecutor was using such loaded language to make a completely sober point about the man in custody.
But the question is, How did Mr. Barrett, or whomever it was that made the videos, get such great access to Ms. Andrews' hotel rooms? Just because the person acted out his "obsession" in a "methodical manner," he still needed to get close to Ms. Andrews, so that he could set up his videotaping system.
Turns out, he (allegedly) had co-conspirators:
FBI agents charge that Michael David Barrett, 47, contacted the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University to request a room next to Andrews. She had stayed there on Sept. 4 for work. She had been given room 1051, and he was given room 1049, according to the FBI complaint. The rooms were together in an alcove, the complaint says.
Here's what the records in the Marriott's computer showed, according to the complaint: "INFO-GST RQST TO RM NXT TO (Andrews)" and another line listed this email address, Mike.Barrett@Combined.com.
Wow! Did you know that you could call up a hotel and request a room next to someone with whom you're obsessed? I didn't know that. Yeah, is Erin Andrews there? Really? Can I talk to her? No? Well, can I have a room next to hers please?
Is it really that easy? Well, it's not supposed to be.
Joe McInerney, CEO of the hotel industry's American Hotel and Lodging Association, told the LA Times that privacy is an issue "not just for celebrities."
Most hotels do not allow booking people in adjacent rooms merely because one of the guests requests it, he told the LA Times.
"They don't know what your motives are," McInerney told the LA Times, adding many hotels will not even confirm or deny a guest's presence.
Are these just more excuses from "Big Hotel," or did the hotels where Ms. Andrews was filmed just foul up that badly? Again, I'm not giving out any free legal advice here, but for crying out loud I'd sue the hotels where the videos were made-- especially if there's proof that Barrett asked for, and was given, a room adjoining hers.
Another thing-- why is Erin Andrews, who was Playboy's "sexiest sportscaster" in 2008 and 2009-- registering in hotels under her own name? When I worked for one of the movie studios back in the day, no one, and I mean no one, no matter how obscure, ever used their real name when they were booked into a hotel. But that's an aside, and I do not in any way want to imply that Ms. Andrews somehow "brought this on herself." She didn't. But she works for ESPN.
Does ESPN book travel and accommodations for their on-air "talent"? I have a hard time believing they don't, and, if so, why are they booking her into hotels under her own name-- do they care so little for her safety? If she'd been booked under a different name, no one would have known she was there, so the information couldn't have gotten out. While she's suing the hotels, she might want to look at going after ESPN, as well.
First pic source.
Second pic source.