Thursday, May 18, 2006


Congressman/Screenwriter Involved in Scam

Here's an interesting mix of filmmaking and politics: California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher -- who apparently also dabbles in screenwriting -- said today that he would return the $23,000 he was paid by Joseph Medawar -- a con artist who claimed he was a Hollywood producer -- for a screenplay he wrote called Baja. At the time Medawar optioned the screenplay, he also claimed he was preparing a reality TV series on the Department of Homeland Security. With Medawar's interest, Congressman Rohrabacher, a former speechwriter for President Reagan, updated his 30-year-old script from being about a Vietnam War veteran to being about an Iraq War veteran. But the film never materialized. (Nor did the TV series.) On Tuesday, Medawar pleaded guilty in Los Angeles federal court to conning about 50 investors out of the $3.4 million. Rohrabacher reportedly said Medawar took a two-year option on his 1977 script with the understanding it would be updated. "I have done so and another film company is now seriously looking at this," Rohrabacher said. "Now that it has been determined that [Medawar] fraudulently collected the money, I think it is best for me to make sure that we try to return that money to some of the people he defrauded," Rohrabacher told Reuters. An earlier script Rohrabacher penned -- about a female spy in World War II -- was supposedly optioned three times, but has yet to be made. Meanwhile, Medawar could face up to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced in August.

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