Leave Oprah Winfrey alone!
Following the announcement of a ludicrous lawsuit by a displeased audience member, reports are surfacing that the talk show queen was the target of a foiled $1.5 million extortion plot, according to the FBI and other published reports.
The criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court against Keifer Bonvillain - yes, that's actually his name - states that he had approached "a public figure and the owner of a Chicago-based company" and threatened to release potentially damaging recorded phone conversations about the person.
It's not hard to determine that this is referring to Oprah.
Bonvillain has cooler name than even Drake Hogestyn. He's also scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Chicago on Monday and was arrested in Atlanta on Dec. 15, the day after he met an emissary with the intention of their exchanging money for the tapes.
After his arrest, Bonvillain was released on $20,000 bail.
In a phone conversation with the Sun-Times, Bonvillain said of the case: "There is nothing to it. It's nothing. It was a big mix-up." Sort of like the releasing of a Dustin Diamond sex tape, perhaps.
There has been no comment from Winfrey, her Chicago-based Harpo Productions Inc., or the U.S. attorney's office.
According to legal papers, Bonvillain met a California-based "business associate" of a Chicago-based company at a party more than two years ago, then recorded 12 hours of conversations with the employee about the owner and her business.
Although the complaint does not specify if Bonvillain had any direct contact with Oprah, it does say that in mid-October he sent her an e-mail, informing her that the employee said "awful things" about her.
We find this impossible to believe. It would be akin to referring to Eva Longoria as "not really hot."
In November, Bonvillain sent a letter saying he had tapes of the conversations, according to the FBI, which also alleges that Bonvillain told the associate he wanted to publish a book based on the tapes.
The associate, working in cahoots with the FBI, agreed to a $1.5 million price and planned to meet him in the parking lot, according to the complaint. Agents arrested Bonvillain the next day.