Man Pleads Guilty in Erin Andrews Stalking Case

"I feel personally threatened as long as he remains free," says ESPN reporter

By Fred Shuster
|  Tuesday, Dec 15, 2009  |  Updated 8:19 PM EDT
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Erin Andrews Faces Her Stalker for 1st Time

ESPN reporter Erin Andrews discusses her emotional court appearance and how she was able to face her stalker for the first time.
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A Chicago-area man who tried to sell nude footage of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews to a celebrity news website pleaded guilty Tuesday in downtown Los Angeles to one federal count of interstate stalking.

Michael David Barrett, 48, a former insurance executive, faces up to five years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 22 by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real.

Barrett, of Westmont, Ill., surreptitiously shot videos of Andrews in the nude through peepholes in hotel rooms in Nashville, Tenn.; Columbus, Ohio; and Milwaukee, and posting the footage on the Internet after trying to sell it to the Los Angeles-based entertainment news site TMZ.com.

During Tuesday's hearing, a trembling Andrews gave an emotional speech, saying she was "a victim of this sexual predator."

"I feel personally threatened as long as he remains free," the ESPN sideline reporter told the judge. She never looked at Barrett during the hearing.

"He stalked me in a calculated way," she said. "I've been humiliated. I've been embarrassed and my career has been ripped apart."

Andrews said that ever since the footage became public, "I am subject to crude comments. I walk into stadiums and fans make crude comments to me. I have nightmares about this sexual predator."

She added, "I hope he never sees the light of day again so nobody else has to go through this."

Barrett was arrested Oct. 2 at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

After the allegations came to light, investigators discovered the peephole had been altered in the door to a Nashville hotel room where Andrews stayed in September 2008, according to prosecutors.

Barrett had specifically requested and stayed in the hotel room adjacent to Andrews, prosecutors said. He had also registered at hotels in Columbus and Milwaukee where Andrews stayed in July and September 2008, a court filing alleges.

TMZ.com was offered the videos of the victim for an undisclosed amount via e-mail messages that later were linked back to Barrett, said FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller.

Barrett's attorney, David K. Willingham, has said his client had lost his insurance job and may lose his home as a result of the charges.

Until he is sentenced, Barrett will remain free on $100,000 bond under conditions that include house arrest, electronic monitoring and restrictions on his use of the telephone and the Internet.

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