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Prosecutors: Man taped other women

10/5/2009

CHICAGO -- An Illinois insurance executive accused of
secretly making nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews
apparently uploaded videos of other unsuspecting nude women to the
Internet, a federal prosecutor said Monday.

Michael D. Barrett, 47, of Westmont, was released on $4,500 bond
but was ordered to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet, to adhere to
a strict curfew and not to use the Internet. He is due in U.S.
District Court in Los Angeles on Oct. 23 to face federal charges of
interstate stalking.

Barrett is accused of making the videos by modifying peepholes
in hotel room doors, using a hacksaw and a cell phone camera, and
then trying to sell them to Los Angeles-based celebrity gossip site
TMZ.

Barrett continues to be a danger to Andrews and "a danger to
other women," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Grimes told U.S.
Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys during Barrett's bond hearing
Monday.

"Yes, Judge, there are other women," Grimes said. "He has
used his computer to disseminate these videos to the world."

Grimes said the government has confiscated two computers and
cell phones used by Barrett, and "feels strongly that those items
will provide further evidence."

Like the Andrews videos, the videos of the other women were shot
through a door peephole and uploaded to the Internet under a name
Barrett used, "GOBLAZERS1," Grimes said.

Andrews appears in at least eight videos nude. An FBI affidavit
said Barrett specifically asked for a room next to Andrews at a
Tennessee hotel where seven videos were likely taken. An eighth
video may have been shot at a Milwaukee hotel.

Barrett was described by his attorney, Rick Beuke, as having
plenty of money and a good track record at work. Beuke said his
employer, the Combined Insurance Co., based in Glenview, where he
is in insurance sales, is "very supportive."

But Combined Insurance spokeswoman Amy Burrell-Tichy said later
Monday that Barrett has been suspended from his job and "there is
no timeframe with this suspension." She declined say whether he
would be paid while suspended.

She said the company is cooperating with the FBI and conducting
an internal investigation because the affidavit alleges Barrett may
have used Combined Insurance computers in the alleged crimes.

Beuke told reporters after court that Barrett has many friends
and that the person described in an FBI affidavit released Saturday
"is certainly not the Mike Barrett that any of us know." He said
he had spoken with Barrett's parents, who live near Portland, Ore.,
and "this is a tough time for them."

Keys said he did not "want to minimize the seriousness of what
Mr. Barrett is charged with here" and described it as "a very
horrific crime." But the judge said Barrett had strong friendships
in the community, no criminal record and no sign of drug or alcohol
abuse. He also had noted that Barrett had a steady job.

Barrett was released late Monday afternoon and sped away in a
yellow Mustang without stopping to comment. He avoided reporters
and went in a back door upon arriving at his suburban Chicago home.

Andrews attorney Marshall Grossman of Santa Monica, Calif., did
not immediately return a call seeking comment on Barrett's release.

Marriott International Inc. and Ramada Worldwide, which operate
the hotels where the videos may have been shot, have issued
statements saying they are concerned about their guests privacy and
safety, are looking into the matter and are cooperating with
authorities.

Interstate stalking carries a maximum penalty of five years in
federal prison and a fine of $250,000.