Baffert sues social-media critics, claims attempted extortion

Baffert sues social-media critics, claims attempted extortion
Photo: Coady Photography

Bob Baffert is suing horse-racing, social-media influencers Justin Wunderler and Dan DiCorcia alleging the pair attempted to extort the Hall of Fame trainer and defame his character.

The law offices of Shepard Kopp filed the complaint Wednesday in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of California. Baffert seeks $75,000 in damages and asks that the defendants "produce the video in the court for the court's and plaintiff's view."

Reached by telephone Wednesday, Kopp only would confirm the lawsuit.

"As of this time we have no further comment. We think the complaint speaks for itself," Kopp said before adding that he is available by email for additional follow-up questions.

Attorney Clark Brewster, who has represented Baffert in his ongoing fights regarding both Medina Spirit's disqualification from victory in the 2021 Kentucky Derby as well as the trainer's suspension from Churchill Downs Inc.-owned racetracks through 2024, released a statement via the platform formerly known as Twitter.

"Bob Baffert took legal action today by filing a suit ... against Wunderler and DiCorcia for defamation and actions taken by the defendants to extort money and solicit physical assaults against Mr. Baffert, his wife and minor son," Brewster says in the post. "The federal action details the actions of the defendants as published on social media and in direct written communications to others."

Wunderler is known as @Swifthitter and DiCorcia as @Barshoelife on the platform. The complaint includes only posts from Wunderler, who took to X on Wednesday night to say he is not backing down from a fight.

"The lawyer I'm working with wants Baffert on animal abuse charges," Wunderler said. "My lawyer will have a field day with Baffert under oath and (Churchill) people telling me what to ask him. (I) will get to face Baffert in court and get justice for all horses he has killed."

At the heart of the complaint is the supposed existence of a video that Wunderler alleges would compromise Baffert's training operation.

"Defendants now claim to possess two videos of unknown content that they allege will 'end' Baffert's career as a Thoroughbred trainer if exposed," the complaint reads. "Based upon information and belief, the alleged videos are deceptively edited to cast Baffert and his staff in a false light with the specific intent of manufacturing a scandal, whereas the full context and character of the video would affirmatively refute such characterization."

The complaint then details Wunderler's discussion of the video on X before ending with a message from Wunderler asking an unidentified intermediary to tell get a message "to them" that he would share content for "1k".

Kopp is no stranger to celebrity cases. He defended Winona Ryder against her shoplifting charge, and has done legal work for Sean Diddy Combs and the late Nate Dogg. 

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