murder of Gianni Versace

Max Collins, in one of his CSI spin-off books (‘Heat Wave’), says the Miami-Dade Police department worked hard to solve the murder of Gianni Versace. (This sadly is a real case, where Andrew Cunanan was later convicted.)
However he then continues “the FBI shouldered forward, front and center, to take the credit for bringing down the ‘mad dog’ killer.”

  1. Is this true?
  2. Presumably there is a legal risk when any author includes a real-life case in their fictional story?

Why would there be? Someone has to claim damages and bring a lawsuit. Those are hard to win especially if there is just opinion and speculation. Countless people have speculated much worse things about 9/11.

No idea about 1) but 2) is a yes, but.

What’s the legal risk here? You can’t libel the FBI as an institution. If Collins mentions real individual FBI agents and accuses them of crimes, he could be in legal trouble. However, accusing them of taking undue credit is probably not actionable. And since Andrew Cunanan was convicted of the crime, there is no legal risk about saying he done it.

Anybody can sue anyone for any reason, as the saying goes, but the truth is a solid defense against libel claims, public figures can’t be libeled unless the accusation is known to be false and made with actual malice, and institutions can’t be libeled at all. I don’t see any problems here.

This is not said to be a jerk - just since this is SDGQ I want to point out that Cunanan was never convicted of any of his crimes - he committed suicide to avoid capture.

I would say to #1 “NO”. The FBI had been chasing Cunanan across the Country since from April, traced him to Miami and when he killed Versace in July he was dead within weeks. Link

If I am going to give credit and diss others I am going to say it was in fact the media sh^tstorm that erupted after Versace’s murder that captured Cunanan and not Police work of any kind really … The FBI put the most time and effort into the chase - more than Miami-Dade certainly.

Thanks for your replies. :slight_smile:

Convicted? He committed suicide rather than be captured!

One image that haunts me is Versace’s funeral and a crying Elton John being comforted by Princess Diana, who herself would be dead a month later.