Criminal Justice

Two lawyers and housekeeper are indicted in connection with sex tape of Waffle House CEO

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Two Georgia lawyers and their client were indicted on Friday in connection with a secret sex tape of Waffle House CEO Joe Rogers and the client.

Lawyers David Cohen and John Butters of Marietta were indicted along with the client, Mye Brindle, who worked for Rogers as a housekeeper and personal assistant, report Law.com, Reuters, the Associated Press and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They are charged with conspiracy to commit extortion; conspiracy to commit illegal eavesdropping and surveillance; and unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance.

Prosecutors allege the sex video was recorded without Rogers’ knowledge to extort money from him. The lawyers say through a spokesperson that Brindle was a victim of “serial sexual abuse” and the tape was evidence in the case.

Cohen had claimed in a June 2012 letter to Rogers that he had “numerous audio and video recordings” of sex acts between Rogers and Brindle, and Brindle’s claims of sexual harassment could be resolved outside of public litigation. In pre-lawsuit mediation, Brindle’s lawyers asked for $12 million, Law.com reports, citing information in an order by a Cobb County judge. Rogers made a counteroffer of $100,000.

Afterward, Rogers sued Brindle for alleged invasion of privacy and unjust enrichment. Brindle countersued for alleged battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Rogers’ lawyer, Robert Ingram, says the indictment is an important step to bring justice to the perpetrators of “sextortion,” according to Law.com. Rogers has maintained the sexual encounters were consensual.

A lawyer for Cohen and Butters, Seth Kirschenbaum, also commented on the indictments. “This is a very sad day for lawyers and victims of sexual harassment,” Kirschenbaum told Law.com. “It’s unprecedented in my 40 years of experience that a victim of sexual harassment trying to develop a case to prove that she is a victim of sexual harassment and the lawyers trying to help her were indicted. I have never heard of an indictment based on a demand in a civil case, and I think it’s a very troubling development.”

Fourth paragraph corrected on June 24 to state that the purported sex acts were between Rogers and Brindle. Last paragraph corrected to state that Seth Kirschenbaum commented on the indictments.

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