The ‘Son of Sam’ Legal Drama Around Netflix’s Shonda Rhimes Show, Explained

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Daniele Venturelli/WireImage; TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Shonda Rhimes (L) and Anna Sorokin (R)

Anna Sorokin made plenty of headlines in May 2018 after posing as a fake German heiress named Anna Delvey and gallivanting around New York City’s social scene — ultimately being found guilty of attempted grand larceny, theft of services, and larceny nearly a year later. She made even more headlines last month after Netflix and Shondaland acquired the rights to the viral New York Magazine article about her.

But Sorokin might not profit off the series, if the state Attorney General’s Office is successful in invoking a Son of Sam law.

Basically, a Son of Sam law is any law that prevents criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes. Son of Sam was the nickname of serial killer David Berkowitz, who aroused speculation that he might sell his story for publication following his August 1977 arrest.

According to the New York Post, Sorokin was paid $70,000 for the Netflix deal on June 8, and according to her contract, she’ll be paid $7,500 in royalties and $15,000 in consulting fees for each episode.

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And now the Attorney General’s office is trying to divert the profits from the show to the victims of Sorokin’s crimes, according to the Post. “The monies sought to be preserved herein, constitute ‘profits from a crime,’” Assistant Attorney General Adele Durand wrote in court papers.

In any event, writers are still working hard on the Netflix series, the newspaper reports. It was the first project announced under Rhimes’ record-breaking Netflix deal.

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Meanwhile, former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams, a witness in the trial, sold her story about Sorokin to HBO and Simon & Schuster, and her book, My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress, was released on July 23.

And as for Sorokin? She’s serving a prison sentence of four to 12 years, she has been fined $24,000, and she was ordered to pay restitution of more than $198,000.