Framing someone for possession of kiddy porn seems like a drastic way to get revenge. But former Phoenix Suns big-man Shaquille O'Neal -- a former member of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's "posse" -- is getting sued by a former employee for allegedly doing exactly that.
Shaq's former personal IT guy, Shawn Darling, is suing the "Big Shaqtus" in a Florida court for intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and civil racketeering for, the action says, using his Arizona law enforcement connections to frame Darling for possession of kiddy porn.
O'Neal's attorney responds to the suit by saying Darling is simply trying to shake Shaq down.
According to court documents obtained by Radaronline.com, Darling, who has a lengthy criminal history, claims Shaq hired him to do a "Defense Department type wipe of O'Neal's computer" to remove information about affairs Shaq was having, including one with hip-hop singer Alexis Miller, who ended up accusing him of harassment and stalking.
Following the harassment allegations, Shaq said he couldn't remember what he had sent the hip-hopper in terms of e-mails and text messages, Darling claims. According to Darling, Shaq asked him to permanently remove anything he had sent Miller.
After the "wipe" of the computer, Shaq threw it into a lake behind his house, the suit claims.
In another one of Shaq's affairs, which also ended with an allegation of harassment, one of his other mistresses, Vanessa Lopez, claims she got a call from Darling saying he had evidence on his computer that Shaq was trying to hack into her e-mail and voice-mail accounts.
Shaq caught word that Darling went behind his back and reached out to one of his buddies -- identified in the lawsuit as a former detective from Arizona -- who he planned to have help him plant kiddy porn on Darling's computer.
In e-mails quoted in the lawsuit, on December 15, 2009, O'Neal's agent wrote "got it he will be stopped n pay for this."
O'Neal wrote back "ok but in the meantime o boy needs to be put in jail, we have way too many law enforcement connections to let a criminal try to get over on mine o mine, we don't need any distractions as we deal with Harvard guy, shoe line guy, restaurant guy, real estate guy and everything we are planning to do after basketball life..."
Benjamin Reid, Shaq's attorney, made a statement calling the grounds for the lawsuit a "complete and utter fabrication." He says Darling tried to extort O'Neal by asking for a reported $12 million in exchange for not going public with the information.
"This is another unfortunate incidence of people targeting celebrities in search of a big payday," Reid says in the statement.
Read the entire lawsuit here.