The 10 Best Smoking Gun Stories of 2002
Shift Magazine’s profile of The Smoking Gun mentioned a number of great scoops the guys have put together over the years, but they’re only a taste of what the site has to offer — mere appetizers to fuel your hunger for dishes marinated in eau de political scandal and smothered in creamy, steamy celebrity hypocrisy sauces. So just in case you haven’t been logging on to The Smoking Gun on a near-daily basis like all of us in the Shift office, here’s a collection of the best stories from the past year:
10. THE WESLEY SNIPES INCOME TAX SCANDAL
In 2001, the now-outlawed tax preparer Douglas Rosile filed an amended return for Snipes’s 1997 taxes, in which Rosile reduced his gross taxable income from nineteen million and change to zero. Yeah, that’s right: zero dollars. The claim suggested that Snipes should be awarded a $7,360,755 tax refund. Apparently, acting isn’t a taxable source of income anymore. (Well, it ain’t philanthropy: The charitable thing would be to remove the phrase “Always bet on black” from our cultural history.) The amended form is reprinted on the site.
9. ELVIS’S CORONER REPORT
On the 25th anniversary of Presley’s death, we were treated to the nitty-gritty details of the Memphis Medical Examiner’s report. Apparently The King was circumsized… in case you wanted to know.
8. THE CASE OF THE KOURNIKOVA NIPPLE LOOK-A-LIKES
Frank Ramaesiri sold a video of a topless sunbather, who he claimed was Anna Kournikova, to Penthouse — who then published the “exclusive” screen caps. Turns out, it wasn’t Kournikova. TSG’s transcripts of Ramaesiri’s court testimony reveal the exacting process he went through to verify that his footage was indeed of the popular young tennis star: He compared the sizes of the areolas and determined he had a match. Match point, that is. I mean, pointy match. I mean… Oh, never mind.
7. THE WORST “BAD MOMMIE” STORY OF 2002
Danyle Fowler was arrested for sending her eleven-year-old son out to buy her crack, and threatening to beat him if he didn’t. Runners-up in this category (the former PTA president who arranged a birthday party for her sixteen-year-old son that included a felating stripper, beer, Jack Daniels and lessons on joint-rolling technique; and the woman who shot her ten-year-old with a bb gun ’cause he wouldn’t get into the car) are trumped in this category by the hideous photo. Ouch.
6. SOFT-CORE SURVIVOR
The Smoking Gun published pics of new Survivor contestant Brian Heidik — who is listed as a past stockbroker, motorcycle salesman, writer and actor on the CBS press bio — in his soft-core acting roles. Spokesperson Colleen Sullivan told TSG that network brass were “absolutely aware” of Heidik’s soft-core resume, adding that she did not believe CBS officials “sat down and had a screening of the films.”
5. MICHAEL JORDAN VERSUS KARLA KNAFEL
As Shift’s Associate Publisher Kevin Siu puts it: “Because it’s Jordan.”
4. THE JACKASS APOLOGY LETTER
The details of Dave England’s stunt, and how he offended this woman, are pretty much irrelevant. What’s worth noting here is the sincerity that drips and oozes from his scrawled script when he scribbles, “Frankly, I’ve been having a hard time just living with myself. I wish there was some way to go back in time and take on the role of a respectable human being instead of a reckless animal… I hope you were able to make a speedy and full recovery, and again, I am very sorry.
P.S. — I hope you have a great mother’s day.”
3. THE COLLECTED CONCERT RIDERS / MUG SHOTS
In 2002, TSG collected the mug shots and concert riders they’d been publishing since the site’s inception. Hours and hours of entertainment: Peep in on ZZ Top’s medical needs (“Oxygen and face mask must be available 30 minutes prior to performance in immediate backstage area and remain available at all times until 30 minutes after conclusion of performance”), Snoop’s gaming habits (“VERY IMPORTANT: Snoop’s dressing room should have one (1) complete Sony Playstation with miscellaneous 1999 sport video cartridges (Madden 99, NBA Live 99, NCAA College 99, Triple Play 99, and 4 controls)”) and browse the mug shots to answer the question “who the hell are all those people on the Shift cover, anyway?”
2. THE 20TH HIJACKER’S BEAUTIFUL MIND
A defense memorandum of law filed by Zacarias Moussaoui’s lawyers compared the 20th hijacker to the character portrayed by Russell Crowe in Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind. The report states that Moussaoui “would not answer the question directly as to whether he had had hallucinations currently or in the past,” and concludes, “Because [John Nash] was such a genius, his illness was difficult to recognize by those around him. Mr. Moussaoui’s high intellect has much the same effect here.”
1. ENRON’S CODE OF ETHICS
The 10 Best Smoking Gun Stories of 2002