Being told on by a tattle tale is the worst. Wait, actually there is something that tops that. Being accused of a terrible crime that you did not even commit! That is what happened to the celebs on our list. These are 20 celebrities who’ve been wrongly accused of heinous crimes. From actors and singers to athletes and more, these are some famous faces who have had the unfortunate experience of trying to plead their innocence only to be wrongfully accused. Yes, it was wrong of them to be found in the wrong. How wrong!
Anyway, some of these people are more well-known than others, but they all understand the sentiment of being harshly sentenced to punishments that they did not even deserve. Some of those crimes includes murder or sexual assault. Others were related to alcohol and drugs. These events span the historical record from the early 20th century to the present day. We just can’t even imagine what it would feel like to have to fight to prove your innocence. Plus, when you are finally cleared of any charges, how do you just go on with your life?
We hope you enjoy reading a bit more about these events and circumstances. Perhaps you will even feel some of the exasperation that these people must have felt.
20. Snoop Dogg – Murder Charges
We can’t really blame the judge, considering that Snoop Dogg had a history of criminality. He also belonged to a vicious gang back in the day. So when Snoop (who is now Snoop Lion after being spiritually enlightened) was arrested on charges of murder. Snoop and his bodyguard were charged with conspiracy to commit assault, as well as voluntary manslaughter, second-degree murder, and first-degree murder. Philip Wolderamariam was the victim. Philip was a member of the gang, and it was reported that Snoop and his bodyguard were seated in a car from which gunshots exploded. Johnnie Cochran represented Snoop in court.
19. Mark Wahlberg – Attempted Murder
Yes, actor Mark Wahlberg was accused of attempted murder, but was then acquitted by none other than the victim himself! The crime was supposedly committed back when Wahlberg was just 16 years old. He was accused of throwing (and landing) punches at Johnny Trinh. It was also reported that another man was beaten in the head by Wahlberg. There were also accusations that Wahlberg shouted racial slurs at the men, who were Vietnamese. The actor served 45 days behind bars, but now, nearly thirty years later, he is pardoned from the crime. The victim said Wahlberg blinded him, but that was actually untrue.
18. OJ Simpson – Murder
In a long, drawn-out murder trial, OJ Simpson was accused in the stabbing death of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown. The trial lasted nearly a year, and Simpson ended up being acquitted of the crime, even though there are still people out there who think that he is guilty. For the trial, Simpson had some hard-hitting defense on his side. He hired Robert Shapiro first and foremost. In the end, the jury agreed that there was a preponderance of evidence that did hold Simpson responsible to pay $40 million in civil damages in the battery of Brown. This was one of the most high-profile cases of all time.
17. Lillo Brancato – Murder and Attempted Burglary
Lillo Brancato was most famous for acting in the hit television series The Sopranos. He was accused of murdering an off-duty cop. He was also charged with attempted burglary. Well, it turns out that Brancato was acquitted of the charges, much to the dead cop’s sister’s chagrin. She was disappointed and did not understand how on earth Brancato could be seen as not guilty. However, even though Brancato was not charged with the murder of the cop, he was charged with being an accomplice. For that charge, he received 3 ½ to 5 years behind bars, although the worst is said to be behind him.
16. Ruben “Hurricane” Carter – Murder
Ruben “Hurricane” Carter died in 2014 and was famous for his bouts in the boxing ring. He was wrongly accused of murdering a man in New Jersey and was eventually acquitted of the charges, but not after spending nearly two decades behind bars. He was freed with the help of a habeas corpus petition. The charge occurred back in 1966 when Carter and his friend John Artis were arrested for being linked to a triple-homicide. Yet, the cops did not even check for fingerprints at the scene of the crime. Pop culture references to this case include Bob Dylan’s song “Hurricane” and the film The Hurricane.
15. John Holmes – Murder
John Holmes is an adult star who was accused of murder. He went through the arrest, trial, and acquittal that ensued after the deaths of the “Four on the Floor Murders” (or the “Laurel Canyon Murders”.) These were a series of murders that were unsolved by authorities. They took place in 1981 and most of them took place in a crack house. The traumatic deaths were said to have been planned out by Eddie Nash, who was notorious for his crimes. This incident also has references to pop culture. The film Boogie Nights is based on John Holmes and even includes a scene related to the murders.
14. Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle – Murder
Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was a star in the American silent movie scene. He was also a comedian, director, and screenwriter. We may even thank him for the genius of Charlie Chaplin. From 1921 to 1922, Arbuckle was caught up in a seriously scary trial. He was charged with the murder of Virginia Rappe, a famous actress. In three separate trials, Arbuckle had to undergo defending himself and proclaiming his innocence in charges that he raped and killed Rappe. The story was that Rappe got sick at Arbuckle’s party and died four days later. Arbuckle ended up being acquitted in trial number three and the jury even wrote a formal apology letter to him.
13. Nathaniel Richardson – Sending Ricin-Laced Letters to the White House
This is a story for a Lifetime movie. Nathaniel Richardson was the first person accused in the case of ricin-laced letters being sent to the White House from a Texas home address. Ricin is a very toxic substance which is obtained from pressing the castor-oil seeds. The letters were addressed to President Barack Obama himself, as well as the mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg. The letters contained hateful messages and threatened the President, saying that “Anyone wants to come to my house will get shot in the face.” The culprit was Shannon Richardson, who at first tried to blame her husband Nathaniel for the deed.
12. Tucker Carlson – Racist Comments
This is a sad case of how family relations can end up getting you nabbed for something that was not even your business to begin with. Bucky Carlson is the brother of Tucker Carlson, a prestigious editor at the Daily Caller. Tucker was having a bit of an argument with Amy Spitalnick, who was a spokesperson for the mayor of New York. Well, Amy was a bit offended by how Tucker’s office responded to her requests for revision. When Tucker’s brother saw the email exchange, he chimed in and well, and his rants were very much offensive. They got leaked, and Tucker ended up taking a lot of heat for that.
11. Brian Banks – Accused of Rape
Brian Banks was a pro football player in the United States, having played with the Atlanta Falcons. He was also the victim of being falsely accused of a terrible crime. He spent five long years behind bars after being accused of rape (his classmate outed him) and only in 2012, after careful consideration of the evidence, was he released and exonerated of the charges. Five grueling years in prison for something that he did not do. In fact, the classmate who accused him ended up admitting (in what she thought was private) that she made the whole story up!
10. Keanu Reeves – Hit and Run
In an example of an actor getting sued by the paparazzi, Keanu Reeves ended up getting his fair deal in the end. He was sued by a photographer for causing injury and harm. The photographer asked the jury to make Reeves hand over $711,974, which supposedly would make up for the medical bills and other expenses that the injuries caused. The story was that Reeves had hit the photographer with his Porsche back in 2007. The supposed hit and run resulted in a fall and wrist injuries. Yet, the jury said that the photographer’s story was so twisted up and contradictory, that Reeves was found not guilty.
9. Dewey Bozella – Burglary and Murder
Dewey Bozella was finally exonerated after about a whopping 26 years. He spent nearly three decades in jail for a burglary that he did not commit. The case stemmed from a 1977 case in which a 92-year-old lady was killed. It turns out that there was practically no evidence stating that Bozella was guilty of the crime. Two other inmates however, had claimed that Bozella had committed the crime. Yet fingerprints at the murder scene did not even match his! So why was he locked up for 26 years? Because the inmates said he did it. In 1990, another trial was set for Bozella and he was convicted again! Only years later was he cleared.
8. David Copperfield – Sexual Assault
The famed magician was accused of assaulting a female after locking her up in his home, in the Bahamas. Was it part of an elaborate magic act? Apparently not. The FBI interviewed Copperfield in the case that was brought up by Lacey Carroll. Carroll was a beauty queen, but was later sent to prison for falsely accusing another guy of sexual assault. Copperfield, for his part, said that the accusations had stifled his career and made it much harder to get new work. He even spoke out to Oprah about it. He was glad that things came “to light” and Carroll was arrested. Still, people remember the charge, not the fact that he was cleared.
7. Joan of Arc – Heresy and Witchcraft
Joan of Arc’s circumstances were carried out long ago. In 1431, Joan of Arc was interrogated by the Cardinal of Winchester while imprisoned. She insisted that she was obeying God, and she inspired the military victory of France over English rule. Her story has been documented in loads of books, movies, and paintings. She was accused of being a witch and was burned at the stake when she was just 19 years old. She was canonized in 1920 and is now one of the most revered saints. She was charged with heresy and witchcraft, but ended up leading the French troops to military victory, particularly in the siege of Orleans.
6. Hawley Crippen – Murder
Hawley Crippen was a homeopath in the United States back at the turn of the 20th century. He was charged for the murderous death of Cora Crippen, his wife. For the crime, Hawley was hanged. The hanging occurred in 1910, yet nearly a century later, in 2007, researchers stated that he was probably innocent. DNA evidence and research showed that the remains that were thought to be Cora’s were actually male. Of course, there are still many people who argue about that, but it seems that Hawley Crippen was charged with a crime that he did not commit. Will the mystery ever be solved?
5. Charles Butler McVay III – Losing A Naval Ship
Charles Butler McVay III was a Naval officer in the United States Military. He was brought into a court case for losing his ship, which was destroyed and sunk in the war. He was also plagued with mental issues, and ended up committing suicide. He was exonerated only after his death, and President Bill Clinton himself had the honors of releasing him from his charges in 2000. Even though McVay’s ship was sunk, the Navy man was undergoing a top secret undercover mission. He even had the backup exoneration of a Japanese commander who sank the ship. Yet, McVay was still charged with the delayed rescue.
4. John Paton Davies, Jr. – Being A Communist
John Paton Davies, Jr. was an American with an impressive resume. He was a diplomatic scholar and received the Medal of Freedom. He also worked in the Foreign Service in China, which was dismantled during the McCarthy era. He was accused of being a commie and trying to bring Communism to the United States. Davies was accused of being in the “China Lobby”, and underwent nine investigations between 1948 to 1954. However, the evidence did not show that he was disloyal to the United States. Even so, he was fired for showing a serious “lack of judgment, discretion, and reliability.”
3. Tupac Shakur – Accused of Rape
Tupac Shakur was one of the most famous rap stars in the United States. He did not have the cleanest track record, but he was accused of a crime that he did not commit. In 1993, Tupac, along with his posse, was accused of raping a woman in a hotel room. Yet the rapper was found not guilty of that crime. But wait! While he was innocent of that charge, he did get sentenced to some time in prison for committing sexual abuse. So, he was innocent of rape, but he did have a bit of dirty work that he had to pay for. Now Tupac is gone, but he still has a fan base.
2. Pee Wee Herman – Possession of Child Pornography
There was always something kind of weird about Pee Wee Herman. Well, a warrant was granted for police to search his home in 2002. Jeffery Jones stated that Herman was in possession of child pornography. Charges were dropped, but not after 2 exasperating years. Sure, Herman was found to have some erotic content, as well as Rob Lowe’s sex tape, but there was no child porn, as was the claim. What a strange case. While this case was going on, Herman’s children’s television show was taken off the air and toys related to the actor and his show were pulled from toy store shelves immediately.
1. Ben Roethlisberger – Accused of Rape
The famed professional quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers was accused of a nasty charge in 2009. He faced allegations that he had raped a woman in a hotel after attending a celebrity golf tournament. The civil court case was the result of the woman not having enough of an alibi to file for a criminal court case. The hotel itself was involved in this case and worked to help out the woman. The case ended up being “settled” in 2012, with neither Roethlisberger nor the supposed victim confirming the details. Then in 2010, the footballer was accused of rape again! There was a lack of evidence, so no charges were pressed.