Serious Trouble
Serious Trouble
Because I Got Sued

Because I Got Sued

No indictment for Trump; a new indictment for SBF; Afroman goes to court

Dear listeners,

Ken is back from his vacation, and there were no Trump indictments while he was gone. Isn’t that nice? In fact, if you believe leaks about the activities of the Manhattan grand jury looking into the former president’s hush payment to Stormy Daniels, it won’t be in a position to vote on any indictment for several weeks, at the earliest.

So this week, Ken and I discuss the evidence that led many people, including Trump himself, to declare an indictment was imminent; and we discuss what we might infer about whether there will even be an indictment.

We also have updates on other Trump-related legal proceedings: Anonymity for the jury in E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit, and a not-yet-released ruling that requires Mike Pence to testify about some topics for a grand jury in Washington D.C.

But none of those is the big story of the week.

I don’t think there’s been any week when we got so many emails from listeners asking us to address a story in the news as we got from you this week asking us to talk about Afroman. Yes, Afroman, famous for the 2000 hit single “Because I Got High.”

If you have not seen the recent news about Afroman, here’s the short version: Adams County, Ohio police raided his home last year, looking for evidence of drug trafficking and kidnapping. They apparently didn’t find anything related to that, and they didn’t bring any charges. But Afroman took video footage of the raid — some from his security cameras, some that his ex-wife shot on her phone — and turned it into creative content.

For example, here is the music video for his new song called “Lemon Pound Cake.” It’s about one of the more rotund officers who raided Afroman’s home, and a tempting lemon pound cake sitting on Afroman’s kitchen counter that seemed to distract him from his official duties. The music video contains quite a bit of that video footage:

This and other raid-related songs have racked up millions of views on platforms like YouTube and TikTok.

Oh, and Afroman also made t-shirts with the cop’s face on them:

A post shared by O.G. Afroman (@ogafroman)

Now, the cops are suing — not for defamation, but for misappropriating their likenesses for commercial purposes. They say you’re not allowed to take video of police officers who raid your house and turn it into songs and merch you make money off.

Is that right? We discuss how the First Amendment interacts with law restricting how you can use other people’s likenesses commercially. And we talk about the Streisand Effect: won’t the added publicity from the litigation only worsen a key problem the officers raise in their lawsuit, that is, that people keep making fun of them while they try to do their jobs?

That Afroman conversation is for paying subscribers only. (Want to become one? Hit the button below and join for $6 monthly or $60 annually.) Paying subscribers also hear about how Sam Bankman-Fried has been indicted yet again for serious financial crimes. (Sam! Enough already.)

Free subscribers, of course, still get this week’s brief update on Trump litigation.

We hope you enjoy the episode and we’ll be back with you again next week.


Episode links and references

“Will You Help Me Repair My Door” by Afroman:

This post is for paid subscribers

Serious Trouble
Serious Trouble
An irreverent podcast about the law from Josh Barro and Ken White.