3:48pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Prosecutors Charge Private Eye With Illegal Spying on Richard Simmons
Richard Simmons' allegation that private investigator Scott Brian Mathews planted a tracking device on the vehicle of his caretaker to monitor his movements has led to criminal charges filed by Los Angeles prosecutors.
The fitness guru and popular television personality filed a lawsuit in June. According to the suit, Mathews planted the device in order to determine whether Simmons had visited hospitals in connection with a purported gender transition reported subsequently by The National Enquirer and Radar Online. Simmons calls the gender transition stories "false and fabricated."
On July 11, Simmons amended his complaint with a new bombshell: He's now alleging that In Touch Weekly, the tabloid owned by Bauer Media, hired Mathews, who allegedly has been tracking Simmons for more than a year. Bauer is now a co-defendant in the case and claimed to be vicariously liable for the privacy invasion.
Now prosecutors are involved.
On Thursday, a criminal complaint was filed in Los Angeles against Mathews. He's being charged with the misdemeanor crime under Section 637.7 of the California Penal Code of willful use of an electronic tracking device to determine the location and movement of a person. If convicted, Mathews could lose his license.
Mathews, his attorney, and a spokesperson for Bauer haven't responded yet to an opportunity to comment. The story will be updated upon further information.