Burns had groomed Brank for a life outside of pornography as a model. He had never feared for his reputation because his dalliances were one of the worst-kept secrets in gay porn. He had even taken a former Sean Cody actor on a jaunt to Paris and showed him off to his high-society friends, helping him through college and paying his living expenses.
This case was not about extortion. It was about broken promises. A million dollars is pennies to Donald Burns. Brank watched from the defense table. He was emaciated, and worn down by stress and sleepless jailhouse nights. His brown hair brushed the collar of his shirt, buttoned to the top. He wore no tie and his dress pants were beltless. On the first day of trial, Burns walked through the double doors at the back of the courtroom, strutted toward the witness box, and was sworn in.
Brank followed his every move, but Burns did not make eye contact. The only time the businessman acknowledged the porn star was when he had to identify him for the court.
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Dressed in a blazer with a handkerchief in his top pocket, Burns was well rehearsed, and he glanced at the jurors just enough to make a connection, despite his vaguely pompous air. His fear of Brank felt real, and as much as the defense wanted to paint him as a cold, calculating businessman who had indulged his most sordid fantasies, he came across as a victim, not an exploiter. Brank felt that his defense team did not ask the right questions of Burns and other witnesses, and that they were ignoring his suggestions.
He came to believe that the public defenders were in cahoots with the government prosecutors. Brank says that he butted heads with everyone in her office too. He wanted to take the stand to plead his case, but after a mock interrogation, his attorneys shot the idea down. That gave prosecutors free rein to portray Brank in whatever manner they chose. They filled the screens in the courtroom with a blurry surveillance image of the porn star, his sharp eyes peering at the jury zombie-like from beneath his gray hoodie.
The defense rested on the second day of the trial, after calling three witnesses, including Sean Cody executives Jason Bumpus and Matthew Power. As the jurors shuffled out of the courtroom on Thursday, July 9, the outcome seemed inevitable, the weight of the evidence too much to bear. By lunch, they had found Brank guilty on all counts. As the clerk read out the verdict, Brank crumpled, pressing his head to the table. He buried his flushed face in his hands and held back tears.
At his sentencing hearing in the fall, Brank wore a white jail uniform, his voice breaking as he apologized to Burns. Ahmad asked for leniency.
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After his mom tried to hang herself in the family garage, Brank had watched as his father cut her down. He had abused steroids, which can cause aggressive, manic behavior, the attorney added. Even taking that into account, U. For Jarec Wentworth, the show had been over for months. Now the curtain came down on Teofil Brank. U nder different circumstances, Brank might have gone on to greater things. Sire, who covered the trial for Str8UpGayPorn, believes the actor could yet make a comeback. But he was really good at having sex, and he did everything too.
Speaking from prison in Victorville, California, Brank is no longer remorseful. Though vague about his plans on the outside, he says he intends to hire a forensic analyst to review the audio recordings and text messages used at trial. The U. He is scheduled for release in April We humans are far more complex than the news headlines and clickbait would have you believe.
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Let the Narratively newsletter be your guide. Love this Narratively story? Sign up for our Newsletter. Send us a story tip. Become a Patron. Follow us. Fifty years ago, a left-wing radical planted bombs across New York, launching a desperate manhunt—and an explosive new strain of political extremism.
T hroughout much of , Sam Melville, an unemployed year-old with an estranged wife and 5-year-old son, frequently sat at his desk in a squalid apartment on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, contemplating how he could destroy America. Two years earlier, Melville had left behind a well-paying job as a draftsman, a spacious apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and his family.
His father, a former member of the Communist Labor Party, whom Melville once greatly admired, had recently given up the socialist cause, remarried, and opened a hamburger stand in an upscale section of Long Island. Fearing that he might follow his father on a similar path led Melville down an existential rabbit hole. In and around his neighborhood that year, he took part in marches and sit-ins, but by , as his anger toward the government grew, he secretly set off a series of bombs across Manhattan.
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To many in the counterculture underground, he was their equivalent of a masked avenger. There was no way some doped-up college kid was making them. You can be all those things and still not want to blow up buildings. Yet in the flashpoint of just four months, Sam Melville and a small group of followers took the American radical left on a hard turn into armed struggle. Melville was one of the first to turn to this kind of violence, but the country would soon witness the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, the bombings of the Pentagon and NYPD headquarters by the Weather Underground, and more.
What else would make a person act that way other than knowing they damaged their family? The one thing nobody can debate is the haphazard manner in which Sam Melville went about bombing Marine Midland. Though his intention was to destroy property and not people, he did not take into account the presence of an evening staff in the building when he set the device for a 10 p.
When more than a dozen employees were taken to the hospital — all with minor injuries — it forced him to rethink his future plans of attack. Army and Selective Services inside. The device went off at 2 a. There were no injuries.
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Melville and his cell soon learned that damaging federal property could elicit a furious response. The next day, the FBI went to an apartment Melville had moved out of months earlier, and later they tracked him down at the apartment on East 4th Street where he and Alpert were living. He told them his name was David McCurdy — the pseudonym he had used to rent a nearby apartment where he had set up an explosives workshop — and denied knowing who Sam Melville was. Unfazed by this close call, the collective went to work plotting their most ambitious statement on American tyranny yet: Meanwhile, Melville opted for his version of laying low: Army facilities across the Midwest.
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Melville also participated in a guerilla warfare workshop in North Dakota, hosted by the black nationalist H. Rap Brown. Penned by Alpert again, the message ended with the declaration: From the inside, black people have been fighting a revolution for years. And finally, white Americans too are striking blows for liberation. Another blast was planned to follow at the Lexington Armory on 26th Street, with Melville delivering the bomb himself with help from George Demmerle, a newer member Melville had befriended on the Lower East Side.
Demmerle, an overly rambunctious radical who not only was a member of the Crazies but also held rank as the only Caucasian member of the Black Panthers, greatly impressed Melville.
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Had they found his bomb factory? He had to mobilize.
The revolution was in full swing. N ot long after the explosive on Centre Street, Demmerle and Melville made their way uptown, to 26th Street. The plan was to chuck the timed bombs onto the large Army trucks parked in front of the 69th Regiment Armory, knowing they would later be brought inside the building. But as Melville approached, he noticed something different than the numerous times they had cased the building.
Figuring the action would have to wait for another day, Melville was just about to turn away when he was bombarded from all angles by FBI agents pointing pistols and ordering him to freeze. George Demmerle. Just like Melville, Demmerle was a man who had left his wife and child looking for purpose in life, but instead of becoming a self-appointed revolutionary, he found it as a low-level mole for the government, beginning in But to Melville, Demmerle was just another comrade in the struggle.
How the hell am I going to get out of jail, jackass? A month after his outburst in court, Melville pulled another act of desperation.
After racing down two flights of stairs, he was apprehended. On May 8, , Melville pled guilty to three charges: He was sentenced to a consecutive run of 31 years. Hughey ended up serving two years, while Alpert absconded.