DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER UPDATE: 11-06-2007 TUESDAY
* Dog has charges dropped at last.
* Lands at LAX.
* Dog will appear on Larry King Live on Wednesday.
The Bounty Hunter got a bit of good news yesterday: he will not be extradited to Mexico to face a pending appeal on kidnapping charges against him, a judge ruled Monday.
Coming after 5 days of turmoil over the tapes of his private cellphone conversation with his son, Tucker, were made public and Arts and Entertainment Network first pulling his show from the air, then canceling it--this was good news.
Duane "Dog" Chapman, the star of Bounty Hunter has had two relatively quiet days, free from bad news. An appearance at an El Cajon, CA parade was canceled yesterday, but that's been about it.
Now he can finally put the Mexico legal hassles behind him.
The U.S. government was trying to send Chapman, his son Leland Chapman and a third man to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, where they were charged with kidnapping Andrew Luster, a Max Factor heir who had jumped a $1 million bond on charges that he drugged and raped three women. Luster's disappearance during his trial in Ventura set off an international manhunt by police, FBI and bounty hunters trying to recoup some of the bond money.
On June 18, 2003, Chapman and the other men apprehended Luster, and the fugitive was taken back to the United States to serve the 124-year sentence he was given while on the lam.
But because bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico, prosecutors in that country charged the three with kidnapping and asked U.S. authorities to arrest the trio and ship them to Puerto Vallarta.
On July 27, a Mexican judge dismissed the charges, ruling that Mexican prosecutors had taken too long in their attempts to bring the trio to trial. But the U.S. attorney's office in Honolulu, where the senior Chapman lives, declined to dismiss the extradition proceedings because Mexican prosecutors are appealing the judge's ruling.
Still, U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren in Honolulu on Monday dismissed the extradition attempt because the judge said the trio are no longer charged with any offenses, despite the appeal.
"I don't think they have any regrets whatsoever in facilitating the capture of Mr. Luster, who is a known and convicted rapist," his San Francisco lawyer, James Quadra, said Monday. "Though this has been a difficult process, they are proud of what they have done."
Quadra declined to comment on the tempest Chapman created last week when he was caught on tape using the racial epithet.
A&E pulled Chapman's show "Dog the Bounty Hunter" from the air indefinitely after a private phone conversation between the reality star and his son was posted online.
Chapman, 54, has been under fire since The National Enquirer posted a clip of Chapman using the N-word repeatedly about his son's black girlfriend. Chapman apologized and vowed to never utter the word again, but at least two advertisers have pulled out from the show and civil rights groups have called for its cancellation.
DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER-Canceled-Monday UPDATES:
Dog "Duane" Chapman, Day 6 in the continuing story of Dog the Bounty Hunter, the tapes of his cellphone call to his son about his son's girlfriend. Throughout the tapes, Dog can be heard using the N-word repeatedly, but says that he doesn't care if the girl is black or not and is more concerned with her character than the color of her skin.
Dog's spiritual adviser, Tim Storey, then issued statements repeating Chapman's remorse at his language. Storey also related that for the last year, he's been working with the Bounty Hunter to clean up his speech in general. Storey is black and testified that Chapman's use of the N-word was not hate-directed.
"Dog the Bounty Hunter" is first pulled from the air and then production is canceled by the Arts & Entertainment Network. A & E's statement seems to leave the door open that the popular series might resume at a later date, however.
FAN REACTION:Fan speculation has been both passionate and continuing. From the letters, comments and browsing, it seems that fan reaction is running about 80% in favor of the Bounty Hunter. The most common response seems to be "He shouldn't have said it, but he was on a private cellphone to his son. Get the show back on the air."
Of course, with any large group of people, you have people at both extremes of the issue. Some want Chapman's hide, some use the incident to spew slanderous things. But, on the whole for a story which stirred some passions, the reaction has been mostly passionate, but reasonable.
Chapman, upon the release of the tapes, apologized and expressed the wish to meet with black leaders and make amends. Tamkika Mallory, a member of Al Sharpton's group called for the show to be off the air at about the same time it was going down. This weekend, Sharpton himself issued a statement which called on Dog to march in an anti-hate demonstration at Jena, LA. No reaction from Dog on the Sharpton proposal.
Meanwhile, we also learned this weekend that Chapman's son, Tucker, sold the tapes for a "large sum of money" to the National Enquirer, which had released them. This wasn't the first time Tucker Chapman had sold the tabloids information on his perp-tracking father.
Tucker Chapman appears to have violated Hawaii law by making the tapes of the cellphone call without his father's knowledge.
That's where the situation stands now. Not much happening and it seems that Dog is laying low and taking the stand that "no news is good news."
Expect to hear more on this later today as everyone involved returns to their workaday routine after this bizarre and unfortunate incident.
& Little Baby Ginn
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