HOAX UPDATE: How Many Are Involved In "Balloon Boy" Stunt?

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- The lawyer for the man accused of perpetrating the balloon boy hoax to promote a reality show said Monday that he expects authorities to bring charges against his client in the next day as investigators analyze e-mails that show Richard Heene and an associate discussing the stunt months ago.

"These folks are absolutely willing to turn themselves in, so I don't want to see a perp walk done for media consumption," lawyer David Lane said on the "Today" show on NBC as he made the rounds on the morning talk shows.

In addition to drawing up possible felony charges against Heene, investigators say they want to question an associate of his after e-mails surfaced showing the two had discussed a balloon hoax months ago as part of a public relations campaign for the reality show.

Robert Thomas of Denver claimed Heene had told him he was planning a media stunt to promote a proposed reality show. Thomas, a self-described researcher, sold his story to Gawker.com and provided the Web site with e-mail exchanges between him and Heene. Thomas said the show would feature Heene as a mad scientist who carries out various scientific experiments.

"This will be the most significant UFO-related news event to take place since the Roswell Crash of 1947, and the result will be a dramatic increase in local and national awareness about The Heene Family, our Reality Series, as well as the UFO Phenomenon in general," according to a copy of the show's proposal provided to the site by Thomas.

Gawker.com editor-in-chief Gabriel Snyder confirmed the New York-based Web site paid Thomas, but declined to say how much for the story billed with the headline: "Exclusive: I Helped Richard Heene Plan a Balloon Hoax."

Heene has a profile listed on a Web site that helps people get cast in reality shows, and the producer of "Wife Swap" said it had a show in development with the Heenes but the deal is now off. TLC also said Heene had pitched a reality show to the network months ago, but it passed on the offer.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by P on Oct 22, 2009 at 03:09 AM
    Sometimes people need a license for planning, having, and raising kids!
  • by Anonymous on Oct 21, 2009 at 02:00 PM
    It was pitiful when that child was voimting on national TV. Wonder if that was for show too. These kids are going to need serious counseling.
  • by John Y Location: Richlands on Oct 20, 2009 at 03:42 AM
    I'm going too add to this story but I should not simple because it is feeding into what they want. I do think there is another group that does things such as this more devastating but still the same concept n the end. The more we play into it the more they gt of coverage, any coverage is better than non at all. Sadly when a child is put into the picture every one will jump, it will only make those who want to help be more hesitant later. That is the really sad part about this mess. If the adults get $5000 out of it they should have to pay back $6000.
  • by Lisa Location: Eastern Carolina on Oct 19, 2009 at 05:01 PM
    I feel sorry for these small children and to have parents like this is so sad..Some people will do anything to get attention..
  • by P on Oct 19, 2009 at 01:40 PM
    This guys lawyer is complaining about the media, who caused the media? This guy wanted his own reality show, well he got it. If shouldn't have gotten in the kitchen if he couldn't take the heat! What a group of parental idiots.
  • by sue Location: greenville on Oct 19, 2009 at 01:02 PM
    What a sorry family this is. The only one that can tell the truth is a 6 year old boy. This family is sick.
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