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The Smoking Gun: Wikis


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The Smoking Gun
Screenshot from The Smoking Gun
Slogan Paving the paper trail
Commercial? yes
Registration none
Available language(s) English
Owner truTV
Created by truTV
Launched 1997
Current status active

The Smoking Gun is a website that posts legal documents, arrest records, and police mugshots on a daily basis. The intent is to bring to the public light information that is damning, shocking, outrageous, or amazing, yet also somewhat obscure or unreported by more mainstream media sources. Most of the site's content revolves around historical and current events, although it also features documents and photos relating to out-of-the-ordinary crimes and people. It is owned by truTV and is part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment digital network.[1]

The name refers to the smoking gun metaphor, which is commonly used to describe an incriminating piece of evidence.

One section of the site is made up entirely of "riders" in the contracts of popular music acts, focusing on the artists' personal demands; some of the publicized demands are either highly self-indulgent or inherently humorous, while others (such as that of Debbie Reynolds) are extremely simple.

The website was founded in 1997 by William Bastone and Daniel Green, former reporters for The Village Voice, and graphic designer Barbara Glauber. Most of The Smoking Gun's content is obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and from public records such as court documents. The site has used those requests to assemble a collection of mugshots of current and historical celebrities.

Court TV (now truTV) purchased The Smoking Gun, as well as the website Crime Library, in 2000. In January 2006, The Smoking Gun was the first to report that James Frey fabricated parts of his bestselling memoir, A Million Little Pieces.

The site published its second book, The Dog Dialed 911: A Book of Lists from The Smoking Gun, in October 2006.

A series of the same name premiered on Court TV in 2005. The series features some of the site's stories and assorted sketch humor using string puppets. This series was later moved and shown on Adult Swim.

Presently on truTV (formerly CourtTV), The Smoking Gun sponsors a cable television series called The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest.... The series was originally known as World's Dumbest Criminals, but is now known for covering other topics.


The Smoking Gun has recently begun to organize in-depth investigations of criminal activity.[2] In August 2009, the site outed members of Pranknet, a virtual community who were notorious for tricking hotel and fast-food restaurant employees into setting off fire alarms, engaging fire-suppression systems, and engaging in humiliating acts such as disrobing and consuming urine. The group, whose members include 2 convicted child molestors[3][4], also engaged in threatening telephone harassment by placing fake Craigslist ads and shouting racial epithets and obscene language at people responding to their ads. Additionally, they responded to Craigslist ads placed by young mothers selling household goods, then when they had the sellers address, stated that they were on their way over to rape them and murder their children.[5]


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