An Illinois insurance executive accused of secretly filming former Florida Gators dazzler turned ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews nude in her hotel room on numerous occasions pled guilty to charges of interstate stalking in U.S. District Court on Tuesday.
Andrews, who faced Michael David Barrett, 48, for the first time on Tuesday, repeatedly called him a sexual predator who she hopes “never sees the light of day.” As expected, she urged the judge to give Barrett a harsh sentence and deny him bail. “His actions have had a devastating impact on me and my family,” Andrews said, adding that she still experiences taunts and chatter from sports fans in stadiums and arenas across the country while just trying to do her job.
Andrews also told the court that Barrett’s actions have had other affects on her daily life. She admitted that she is now “a little paranoid” when checking into hotels and even has nightmares about Barrett. “I live in hotels because of my job, and every time I check in, I look around, constantly thinking he is there,” she said.
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Barrett followed Andrews across the country over at least a period of nine months, calling numerous hotels in each of her stops to determine where she was staying. Federal agents say Barrett would check into a room next to her, alter the peephole device of her room and secretly shoot video of her before e-mailing it to a personal account. He shot and uploaded videos in at least three locations: Columbus, OH; Nashville, TN; and Milwaukee, WI, and is though to have videotaped other women as well.
An interstate stalking conviction carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000, though prosecutors and Barrett agreed to a plea bargain including 27-month prison sentence as long as he accepts responsibility for his actions, shows remorse and stays out of trouble. However, Andrews and her attorney Marshall Grossman did not agree to the deal and will address the court again on Feb. 22 to ask for a harsher sentence before U.S. District Judge Manuel Real delivers a punishment.
Barrett, who is being tried in Los Angeles, CA, is currently free pending in sentancing in February and could face additional criminal action from other states.