A former employee of Shaquille O’Neal is suing the NBA star, claiming he hacked into phone systems and destroyed evidence, according to RadarOnline.com.
Shawn Darling, who worked as O’Neal’s personal IT specialist from 2007 to 2009, filed the lawsuit for “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” invasion of privacy and racketeering on Aug. 3 in Miami-Dade County, Fla., according to the gossip site.
The lawsuit contends that the new Boston Celtics center hacked into the voicemail and phone systems of both Darling and Vanessa Lopez, O’Neal’s alleged mistress. Darling also accused O’Neal of deleting Lopez’s messages and changing her password.
In a statement released Wednesday, O’Neal’s representatives said Darling is “an ex-con” who previously tried to extort O’Neal by asking for $12 million in exchange for not releasing the 7-foot-1-inch player’s personal emails and other communications, according to reports. Additionally, O’Neal’s attorney, Benjamine Reid, said in a statement that the allegations in the lawsuit are a “complete and utter fabrication,” according to RadarOnline.com.
Whether the accusations prove true, designating O’Neal as a hacker without knowing the specifics of the case would be a rush to judgment, Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at anti-virus firm F-Secure, wrote in a blog post Thursday. And based on what has been reported thus far, he is not..
“Listening to someone else’s voicemail isn’t very hard at all, neither is trying to hide computer evidence by throwing a laptop into a lake,” Hypponen wrote. “As such, we wouldn’t categorize Mr. O’Neal as a hacker.”
Meanwhile, the lawsuit also claims that O’Neal conspired with active and retired law enforcement to obtain restricted information about another one of his supposed mistresses, Alexis Miller, while he was involved in a lawsuit with her.
Darling also accused O’Neal of conspiring with law enforcement to frame him for child pornography possession and other criminal acts. Further, Darling claims O’Neal threw a computer into a lake behind his home, supposedly to get rid of evidence about the crimes.