15 Minutes of Fame + Lawyers = Bankruptcy

For a brief period in 2004, Jessica Cutler was the hottest story in Washington. Cutler was the Senate aide who blogged at Washingtonienne about her sexual experiences with various Beltway insiders. After being exposed (pun intended), Cutler parlayed her notoriety into a six-figure book deal and Playboy photo shoot.

Unfortunately for Cutler, she had provided enough details in her blog for people to deduce the identity of some of her sexual partners. One of those, Robert Steinbuch, decided to sue her for $20 million for public disclosure of private facts (i.e., “invasion of privacy”) — thereby becoming only one of many recent examples of someone complaining about publicity… by filing a lawsuit that publicizes the acts he allegedly wants to keep secret.

In any case, Cutler began running into problems with her lawyers — namely, that they wanted her to pay them, and she had a different idea. We covered this in June 2006 (and see the Wonkette link in the comments). Now Cutler has filed for bankruptcy. Of course, we don’t know where all of her money went, but we know a good chunk of it went to her attorneys. Good luck collecting that $20 million, Mr. Steinbuch.

(As for collecting, Steinbuch had added some deep pockets to one of his lawsuits against Cutler — Hyperion Press (which published Cutler’s book), Disney (which owns Hyperion), HBO (which purchased the television rights to her story), and Time Warner (which owns HBO) — but that lawsuit, which Steinbuch filed in Arkansas, was dismissed in February on the grounds that it didn’t belong in Arkansas. Steinbuch has appealed, but his chances of success appear low, and his claims against HBO, Time Warner, and Disney are completely meritless anyway.)


  • Well, Mr. Steinbuch has succeeded in making Ms. Cutler very, very sorry she ever blogged about their relationship, which, in these circumstances, is probably more appropriate justice than $20 mil. anyway.

  • I don’t know…I think she might have filed for bankruptcy just to spite him. It seems like she was broke before all this happened…then she had some fun…and now she’s sort of back where she started. Sounds like another novel to me!