ESPN reporter Erin Andrews and the man accused of secretly making nude videos of her will come face-to-face next week in a Los Angeles courtroom when the Illinois insurance executive enters an expected guilty plea.
“This entire process has been very difficult and trying for her and her family,” said Andrews’ attorney Marshall Grossman. “I can’t imagine what it will be like for her to be in the same courtroom with this predator.”
Michael Barrett, 48, of Westmont, Ill., will plead guilty to interstate stalking in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman with the U.S. attorney’s office. Barrett agreed to the guilty plea in court documents filed Thursday and first obtained by The Associated Press.
Barrett is suspected of renting hotel rooms adjacent to Andrews in three cities last year, altering the peepholes and shooting videos of Andrews in two of the locations _ in Columbus, Ohio, in February 2008 and in Nashville, Tenn., seven months later. He adjusted a hotel peephole in Milwaukee, Wis., in July 2008 and called 14 hotels to find out where Andrews was staying, prosecutors said.
Barrett is accused of uploading the videos to the Internet and trying to sell them to the Los Angeles-based celebrity gossip site TMZ this year. Several TV networks and newspapers aired or published images of Andrews taken from the videos.
“Mr. Barrett accepts full responsibility for his conduct,” said Barrett’s attorney David Willingham. “He apologizes to Ms. Andrews, and expresses his deep regret for his conduct that caused her so much pain. It is his sincere hope that these events can now become an opportunity to make positive changes in his life.”
Barrett could face up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. But as long as he accepts his responsibility for his actions, shows remorse and stays out of trouble, prosecutors will recommend a sentence of 27 months in prison, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Wesley Hsu.
Grossman told the AP that his client and her father will attend Tuesday’s hearing and may ask the judge to impose a harsher sentence.
Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have agreed not to pursue further charges against Barrett. However, he could face criminal action in other states stemming from other videos he allegedly shot of unsuspecting nude women through peepholes.
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