Former Laker Shaquille O’Neal was at the center of an investigation over the beating and kidnapping of a man who had claimed to have a sex tape of the 15-time NBA All Star, according to reports by the Associated Press earlier this morning.
Sheriff’s department records reviewed by the Los Angeles Times showed investigators probed allegations that O’Neal was connected to the attack, but O’Neal denied any involvement and has not been charged, the newspaper reported Wednesday. Also, O’Neal is not named in the criminal complaint.
Robert Ross reported in 2008 to being beaten and kidnapped at gunpoint by members of the Main Street Crips gang, who Ross claimed acted on behalf of O’Neal because of a “business deal gone bad and because O’Neal believed [Ross] had the tape”.
The tape in question allegedly features O’Neal and a woman other than his wife. Prosecutors said they do not have evidence as to whether the tape exists and that Ross had been “bluffing” about the tape before the beating and kidnapping.
The reports are only just coming to light as preliminary hearings have begun with Ross testifying against the seven members of the Main Street Crips, including alleged leader Ladell Rowles.
Ross said the gang members beat him, stole $15,000 in cash and some jewelry…Ross also said Rowles demanded the purported videotape of O’Neal having sex with a woman other than his wife and $100,000, according to the sheriff’s investigative report.
While detectives reported phone records of a “flurry of calls” between Rowles and O’Neal’s business partner Mark Stevens around the time of the 2008 beating, both O’Neal and Stevens denied involvement during their interviews with investigators in 2008.
As for now, the former Laker can concentrate on life after basketball, having retired earlier this month after 19 seasons in the NBA.