Another development in the bizarre story of Seth Dunlap, the openly gay host of the weeknight sports show “The Last Lap With Seth Dunlap” on WWL Radio in New Orleans.
This week, a judge denied New Orleans police an arrest warrant for the radio host, who is accused of directing a homophobic tweet at himself from his employer’s Twitter official account in an attempt to extort millions from the station, after determining there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant the arrest.
The Times Picayune reports:
Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn rejected the warrant. The sources said Blackburn didn’t find the evidence backed up a charge of extortion, which is defined as making threats to a person ‘with the intention (to) obtain anything of value.’ The extent of the threat that Dunlap is accused of making — he allegedly warned he would go “scorched earth” on the station if it didn’t accede to his settlement demands — didn’t justify the felony charge, Blackburn said.
Blackburn advised NOPD that it could still pursue a warrant for a different offense, or provide additional evidence that would support a warrant for the extortion charge. Or, of course, they can drop the investigation.
The trouble began back in September when Dunlap was called a homophobic slur by the station’s official Twitter page after he wrote an open letter to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees about his partnership with the antigay hate group Focus on the Family.
The station conducted an internal investigation into the tweet that ultimately resulted in Dunlap being accused of writing it himself in hopes of extorting $1.8 million from his employer. His lawyer has denied the accusations.
The station told the NOPD that the forensic investigation found an IP address — a unique number given to a piece of hardware, such as a cellphone — connected to the tweet that was associated with Dunlap’s phone. Megan Kiefer, Dunlap’s attorney, has disputed the claims, saying the radio station has not done anything to prove them.
Dunlap’s attorney, Megan Kiefer, has maintained her client’s innocence, accusing the station of trying to “create a narrative to avoid its own culpability by implicating any innocent employee, including Seth,” and noting that Dunlap took a polygraph test that showed no indication of lying when he was asked about any involvement with the tweet.
If the accusations against him prove to be true, however, he could face up to 15 years in prison.