National Enquirer Reporters File Criminal Complaint in Edwards Controversy

National Enquirer reporters Alan Butterfield and Alexander Hitchen have filed a criminal complaint with the Beverly Hills Police Department against the security staff of the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The paper is also not backing off from its story — virtually daring Edwards to file a defamation lawsuit.

The criminal complaint alleges that the reporters were prevented from speaking with Edwards, who was not a guest at the hotel. The reporters were registered guests.

The confrontation occurred at approximately 2:40 a.m. on Tuesday, July 22 in the basement of the hotel. The reporters state that, when Edwards saw them, he ran down the hall, ran into a bathroom, and then blocked the door. Security staff moved in to prevent the reporters from questioning him.
They have cited various violations of the California Penal Code, including false imprisonment and preventing a guest from entering land.

In the meantime, at least one security officer is giving a less than flattering account of the encounter, click here.

Hotel and business security are often charged with false imprisonment, particularly in mistaken shoplifting cases, in tort cases. The civil actions turn on the time, place, and manner of the confinement.

A criminal case is very hard to make out unless there is excessive force. In this case, the hotel can argue that they were trying to prevent an incident and injuries. I have stayed at the Beverly Hills Hotel during big events and I have seen the security staff with the crush of media for celebrities. The problem here is that it seems clearly an effort to protect Edwards from being confronted, Nevertheless, the criminal case seems quite weak and opportunistic. Hotels have a legitimate right to protect guests — even visitors — from unwanted confrontations and unpleasant encounters.

In this case, a visitor was seen allegedly blockading himself in a bathroom — a situation that any hotel would have to deal with. The complaint may be an effort to further the story, particularly given the lack of attention in the main stream media and even a bar on blog coverage at the LA Times, click here.

A criminal charge tends to elevate the story and would also require a likely interview by police with Edwards. In the meantime, the National Enquirer (a magnet for defamation suits) seems to be virtually taunting Edwards to deny the story or even sue them. Truth is a defense in such cases and discovery would be a bonanza for the tabloid. As an accomplished litigator, Edwards know all to well that he would be the loser in such a fight — even if he could prevail on the merits.

For the story, click here.

22 thoughts on “National Enquirer Reporters File Criminal Complaint in Edwards Controversy”

  1. Mojo,
    I think you could be right about martha h! I was thinking it was Dundar under an alias, but I like your idea better.

  2. “All slime, all lies … and all about power at any cost.” I think you’ve just described the Bush/Cheney mantra.

    Isn’t it funny how Conservative tactics consistently trend toward accusing the opposition of that which the Republicans themselves are guilty of doing? Republicans pushing legislation against homosexuals, while prominent members of the Republican party are, themselves, homosexuals (albiet married, closeted ones). Telling Americans they are better at protecting our freedoms while simultaneously taking away said freedoms. The list goes on.

    Don’t worry, Patty C. Martha H is just Senator Larry Craig’s online alter-ego …

  3. martha h – who are you? Where do you come from? You couldn’t possibly of the female persuasion, a REAL woman – you have NO soul…

    3/25/07: Elizabeth Edwards, “I expect to live a long time. I expect us to have lots and lots of years together. I do believe that. But if that’s not the case, I don’t want my legacy to be that I pulled somebody who ought to be president out of the race. It’s not fair to me, in a sense … My feeling is, if we gave up what we have committed to as our life’s work, wouldn’t I be getting ready to die? That’s what I’d be doing. This cause is not just John’s cause, it’s my cause.”
    Source: Jennifer Steinhauer,, “Facing a New Battle, Mrs. Edwards Set Campaign’s Fate”, March 25, 2007.

    3/22/07: John and Elizabeth announced that her breast cancer had returned. They agreed that he would continue his campaign for President of the U.S., but John also said, “Any time, any place I need to be with Elizabeth, I will be there.”

  4. I forgot that marth h already has all the details and facts in this situation. And from your cryptic comments I guess you are suggesting that only Dems cheat on their spouses. I guess you must have been in a coma for the last 15-20 years. I don’t think you want to compare the numbers of proven Congressional Republican cheaters. You won’t like the numbers. Secondly, there is no evidence that Edwards has cheated so why don’t we act like an American and assume he is innocent until proven guilty. I realize that is hard for a Republican to do. But give it a try. It just may set you free.

  5. John Edwards is a typical Democrat:

    All slime, all lies, all about himself, and all about power at any cost.

    What is amazing is how the Democratic party over 25 years has fooled the most ignorant people in America into voting for them.

  6. The statement that the National Enquirer is “a magnet for defamation suits” may be taken to mean that that publication defames people, which it generally doesn’t. It did lose a defamation suit against Carol Burnet (when it claimed, falsely, that she got drunk and acted like an idiot), but it has a pretty solid overall track record.

    We have to distinguish between the choice of subject matter -which natually upsets people – and the quality of the reporting.

  7. Jill:

    The sanctimonious part was directed at the crowd who always jumps on anyone who is caught in these messes–not you, of course. I was just making the point that it is easier to criticize a man’s shoes than walk in them. No reference to you intended.

  8. rafflaw –

    Too true, but he’s “so yesterday’s news”. And then of course there’s Sen. Craig’s fancy footwork …

  9. If true, he and Kwame and Newsome definitely need to start hanging out together.

  10. No one knows what goes on in a marriage except for the two people in it.

    All the speculation and hand-wringing in the world doesn’t change that,IMHO.

  11. Mespo,
    I understand. I just have a problem with high profile people being held up as courageous when they are lying. The saddest thing in this situation is the impact on the family even if the claims or charges are untrue. How do you unring the bell. I hope the family can get past this. They have had enough grief for a few lifetimes.

  12. mespo,

    I don’t think you read what I wrote. I was not making a moral statement, my comments are practical. It appears that the Enquirer people are determined to make a federal case over this. I doubt it will just disappear from the radar screen as he is a noted public figure who may even be considered as a VP choice. I did not claim it was true and I did not condemn him. I pointed out that IF it is true the best way to limit the damage is to come out with it.

    I do feel sorry for his wife and children IF this is true. I would feel sorry for many people in this situation.

    None of this is sanctimonious and as you do not know me, you are not able to say what I’ve experienced in my life.

  13. rafflaw:

    Agreed, but I think his comment went to protecting them from public scrutiny and embarrassment. Obviously his conduct precipitated the problem, and that is a personal matter. I wasn’t as clear as I might have hoped.

  14. Mespo,
    I agree with your comment about admiring Spitzer for resigning after his indiscretions were made public. I cannot agree with your radio guest’s comment that he would lie to protect his family if he was found to have been unfaithful. I find that the sudden (post infidelity) concern for his family a bit self serving. If he really had a concern for his family he would not have engaged in the course of action that got him into trouble in the first place. I am not saying that it might not be human nature to lie to protect your own skin, but the lie does not protect his family. When the truth comes out that he engaged in the adulerous activity, the lie will just be one more mistake on top of his other mistakes. And the family will not be better served because “dad” lied about it. In my opinion, it would be easier to forgive a spouse if he/she is honest with their partner once the activity is discovered.

  15. Jill:

    I once interviewed a famous criminal defense lawyer on my radio show while we were all in them midst of the Clinton impeachment debacle. He said something I found quite profound. He said that were he confronted by overwhelming evidence of marital infidelity he would certainly lie and that he believed he had a DUTY to his family and the paramour to do so. I thought it quite absurd at the time, but the more I considered his position, the more I agree with it. He also added that the honorable thing to do would be to resign any public post to diffuse the situation. While disapproving of the underlying conduct, I admire Spitzer for this and think it the proper course of action. I will also say it is easy to be sanctimonious when temptation is not likely to come knocking at your door.

  16. Until I see a legitimate journalistic site discuss this issue, I will assume that it is the usual National Enquirer crap. If it is indeed true, it is sad for their family, but this kind of activity should not be an issue. People are human and they will cheat on their wives. Is the National Enquirer attempting to talk to the Republicans who have cheated on their spouses? I think we all know the answer to that question.

  17. If Edwards did this he should speak quickly, confirm the affair, say he’s sorry and stop. I don’t think the reporters are going to get much sympathy. If it’s true I feel quite sorry for Elizabeth Edwards and their children.

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