Policeman's taste for fame gives the 'bling ring' a shot at freedom
LAPD veteran may have jeopardised case with role in Sofia Coppola movie
A detective who brought down the so-called "bling ring" of teenage burglars who stole money, jewellery and designer clothes from Hollywood celebrities has been accused of compromising their imminent prosecution by agreeing to play himself in a movie about the case.
Brett Goodkin, a veteran Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer, was hired to act as a paid "technical adviser" on Sofia Coppola's biopic The Bling Ring, currently in the middle of production, and also landed a cameo role for himself on the project. In one recently completed scene, Mr Goodkin strode up to Emma Watson, the Harry Potter actress playing one of the alleged group of burglars, and slapped a pair of handcuffs on her wrist.
News of his involvement in the film, broken by yesterday's Los Angeles Times, could impede the coming trial of Courtney Ames, Diana Tamayo and Roy Lopez, who stand accused of the notorious string of burglaries.
Mr Goodkin failed to inform prosecutors about his commercial relationship with the film-makers. "We did not know, and now that we do, we have to evaluate what impact this may have," a prosecution spokesman said yesterday.
He is also being probed for failing to gain proper authorisation from his LAPD superiors for taking the job, which paid $5-$6,000 (£3,100-£3,721). Although policemen often consult on movies, it is highly irregular for them to do so when the case has not yet gone to trial, legal experts said.
Mr Goodkin claimed he was now "distancing" himself from Coppola's film, which co-stars Kirsten Dunst and Gavin Rossdale. "I don't want it to look untoward," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I wanted to see what Sofia was going to do with the story... I'm certain I'll never work on a movie again."
But commentators said his decision to help with the movie could derail the entire prosecution. "Clearly, it presents a conflict of interest if someone's investigation becomes oriented toward creating a story or entertainment," Thomas Mesereau, a high-profile defence attorney, told the newspaper. "It's going to taint the investigation."
Ms Ames, Ms Tamayo, and Mr Lopez are accused of taking part in a string of audacious raids after tracking such stars as Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan via their Twitter accounts, and then casing their homes online.
In at least seven burglaries, they allegedly took artwork, cash, jewellery, and clothes worth $3.24m [£2.2m], according to prosecutors. They also enjoyed raucous parties at the homes they invaded, emptying the stars' drinks cabinets and, on one occasion, purloining their stash of cocaine.
Three of the six teenagers who were arrested by Mr Goodkin and his colleagues have already accepted plea deals that saw them forced to serve custodial sentences. Ms Ames, Ms Tamayo and Mr Lopez have pleaded not guilty, however. "For [Mr Goodkin] to be paid to play himself in a film where he is a critical witness against my client is highly inappropriate, and I'll certainly make sure the jury knows about it," one of their attorneys said yesterday.
Burgled: Star victims of the 'bling ring'
Returning to her home to find black fingerprints on her wall, the actress discovered her house in disarray with a fur coat, two paintings and jewellery among the missing items.
The Lord of the Rings star lost watches worth almost $500,000, snatched from his dressing table, along with artworks when his Hollywood home was targeted.
The reality TV star didn't realise she had been burgled until two months after the original raid, when the gang returned and stole $1.2m of jewellery.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...