Stealing Sinatra


IRWIN KRAMER: They say that crime does not pay, but that did not stop Barry Keinan from trying. On December 8, 1963, Keinan and his cohort kidnapped Frank Sinatra, Jr. They collected close to a quarter of a million dollars in ransom from his famous father, that is, before the State reversed the charges. Years after serving a sentence, Keinan still tried to profit from stealing Sinatra by selling the movie rights to History. When the son of Sinatra objected, a California judge stopped payment on the $1.5 million deal under a law named "For The Son Of Sam".

IRWIN KRAMER: The California statute took the profit out of crime by banning the sale of a convict story. Keinan tried to set the law aside. Would this kidnapper be foiled again? Not this time. California Supreme Court declared the law unconstitutional. The justices thought that blocking the sale of Keinan's story would restrict his freedom of speech.

California lost its Son Of Sam statute and the son of Sinatra lost to his own kidnapper.