David Copperfield's Warehouse Raided Amid Rape Allegations

Update Oct. 21: The FBI denies seizing currency during the search. Follow-up post here.


Original Post 10/19

The David Copperfield rape allegation story isn't adding up for me on so many levels.

A Seattle woman has made a rape claim against magician David Copperfield, law enforcement sources tell FOX News. The woman told Seattle police the magician raped her while she was in the Bahamas, sources said. Because the alleged incident happened abroad and the woman did not report it until she returned to the United States, Seattle authorities turned over the case to the FBI.

The F.B.I. raided Copperfield's Las Vegas warehouse, which is more like a museum of his stuff, and seized a camera and $2 million in cash.

What federal crime is being investigated? A rape in the Bahamas is outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. For a rape to go federally, it usually has to occur on an Indian reservation, in a prison or have to do with transporting an underage woman across state lines to commit a sex offense or use of a date rape drug.

Did Copperfield take the woman to the Bahamas? Did he fly her from Seattle to Vegas first and then to the Bahamas? Is that enough to constitute interstate coercion or transporting a woman across state lines for the purpose of committing a sexual offense?


Next question: Why would the FBI seize $2 million of his money? The man makes tens of millions of dollars a year, it's not drug money. Why did they think it was either forfeitable or of evidentiary value? This statute doesn't seem to apply.

Copperfield's attorney, David Chesnoff (who is currently in trial in the Darren Mack case)confirms the investigation and won't discuss the facts, stating only that it's easy to make false allegations against famous people.

Last question for now: If the woman returned to the U.S. without reporting the crime in the Bahamas, it's unlikely she had a timely rape exam. How would the Bahamas or the U.S. prove the charge?

Anyone have any ideas what might really be going on?

Update: I'm still pondering this. Perhaps the money would be relevant if the woman is claiming he offered her $2 million in cash not to go to the authorities. It would then be evidence. But of what? There was no proceeding pending that we know of. But, If there was an attempt to buy her silence after she returned to Seattle, I'm sure the feds could think of a statute that violates. So perhaps it's not the rape, but a cover-up they are investigating.

In order to get the search warrant for the warehouse and the theater where he performs, the feds had to convince a judge there was probable cause to believe evidence of a crime would be located there. I doubt they had pc for evidence of a rape. That they took a computer hard drive, combined with the money, again points to post-event communications in the U.S. and perhaps an attempt to buy silence.

I'm sure there's much more to this intriguing story, which unfortunately for Copperfield, has already made every cable network's news. Should it turn out to be nothing, how will he get his reputation back?

Even if there was an attempted payoff, it may not mean there was a rape. Like Larry Craig, Copperfield may just have looked at the most expedient, quickest way of keeping the media at bay -- do what you can, whether it's pleading guilty or buying silence, to keep the allegations, true or false, under wraps.

One last thought: If this turns out to be about a cover-up attempt, I'd bet Copperfield, again like Craig, tried to handle it himself rather than call his lawyer immediately. People should take a lesson from that.

< Brent Wilkes' Choice of Mark Geragos for Counsel | Be Very Afraid >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    somehow, this (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Oct 19, 2007 at 11:25:11 PM EST
    just doesn't pass the "smell test". frankly, why would a guy like david copperifield need to rape anyone, anywhere? it isn't as though he's some troll or anything, i suspect many, many women would happily bed him.

    it will be interesting to see how this pans out.

    WTF (none / 0) (#5)
    by squeaky on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 11:46:28 AM EST
    Rapists do not rape because they can't get laid. Rape is a crime of violence. This is really the dumbest thing you have ever said and I am really surprised.

    not really, i've said (none / 0) (#6)
    by cpinva on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 12:31:44 AM EST
    far dumber things, trust me.

    as to my comment, i stand (or sit, as the occasion warrants) by it. this is a guy who hasn't a need to prove himself or "control" anyone. as well, rapists tend to not be one-time individuals, they do it as long as they can get away with it.

    so far, unless his people have managed to bury it, i've never heard of him being accused by anyone else, ever.

    again, this doesn't pass the old smell test.


    Apples & Oranges (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 02:24:15 PM EST
    I also would be surprised if he was a rapist. Hard to know at this point.

    My point was that rape is a crime of violence unrelated to any of this:

    or it isn't as though he's some troll or anything, i suspect many, many women would happily bed him.

    Being horney, getting laid regularly etc have no relation to rape. It is about violation, hate and violence, not sex.  


    Acquaintance rape (none / 0) (#2)
    by Deconstructionist on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 07:57:25 AM EST
     takes all forms. It's not necessarily so that just because someone could procure sex from other willing people he would not take advantage of one particular woman. I'd offer the possibility that since digital images can be stored on the equipment seized it is possible the woman has claimed he took pictures or video of the encounter that will possibly document compulsion by him or her incapication by drugs or alcohol.

      As for the money, let's face it.  $2 million in cash is unusual even for the very wealthy.  It might be that while looking for evidence of the rape, the money was found and considered possible evidence of tax offenses-- but that money likely be beyond the scope of the warrant in a rape case unless as suggested, the woman had been negotiating with Copperfield (perhaps in monitored conversations and he was set up to make incriminating statements and take incriminating actions which help prove the allegations) and the cops were able to provide probable cause that a large sum of money related to the rape allegations would be found on the premises.

    i was just checking around, (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 08:49:35 AM EST
    and noticed just how little press this seems to have gotten. you'd think this would have made the front pages of most major newspapers, but that doesn't appear to be the case.

    as jeralyn noted, the offense purportedly happened in the bahamas, but wasn't reported until the woman returned to the US. absent eye witnesses, or photo/video evidence, this just seems like a long-shot. except, mr. copperfield's celebrity will get someone their 15 minutes, and then it will be dropped.

    if it proves true, that would be unfortunate, he always seemed like a decent guy. but then, you never know what darkness lies beneath.

    Outrageous.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by kdog on Sat Oct 20, 2007 at 09:23:47 AM EST
    I forget this is America when the feds can bust down your down and steal your money over mere allegations.  How is that not an unreasonable seizure?  

    Seizure law is abused to the point of tyranny.