Longtime CNN Producer John Griffin ‘Ashamed’ After Arrest for Enticing Young Girls: Prosecutor

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.
December 21, 2021 Updated: December 21, 2021

Longtime CNN producer John Griffin made statements indicative of “volatility and dangerousness” when taken into custody earlier this month on charges of enticing minor children, according to a new court filing.

Prosecutors also said Griffin is a troubled man who should remain held without detention ahead of his arraignment in federal court in Vermont on Wednesday.

Griffin was arrested on Dec. 10 on three counts of using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice minors to engage in unlawful sexual activity. He faces at least 10 years and up to life in prison if convicted of a single count.

Authorities say he successfully convinced a woman last year to fly with her daughter from Nevada to Massachusetts, where picked them up in his Tesla and drove them to a ski house in Ludlow and engaged in sexual activities with the pair.

The girl was just 9 years old at the time.

After being arrested, without prompting, Griffin told authorities, “Without incriminating myself, I just want to let you guys know that I’m ashamed you even know my name at all,” according to a new filing from prosecutors.

“In the time I’m with you guys, in the event I do anything inappropriate, I just want you to know that I’d feel the same way you guys would if I were in your situation. Thank you,” Griffin also purportedly said.

Prosecutors outlined the statements as they asked a judge to not let Griffin have bail. He’s been held since being arrested.

Griffin’s attorney declined to comment on the filing.

Griffin’s lawyer plans on asking the court for bail for his client, according to the Dec. 21 filing.

Prosecutors say Griffin was diagnosed with deep depression and substance abuse. He received inpatient treatment for his problems.

While Griffin said in August that he had been sober for eight months, during an initial court appearance in Connecticut after his arrest, Griffin admitted to having consumed drugs and/or alcohol in the 24 hours before the hearing.

“Considering Griffin’s history of addiction, his recent relapse strongly suggests he will be unable to abide by conditions if released. Indeed, to the extent Griffin blames his investigation-triggering conduct on his substance abuse, his admission to recent drinking or drug use is a significant indicator of dangerousness,” prosecutors said.

The remarks Griffin made to law enforcement “are additional indicators of volatility and dangerousness,” they added.

The filing also contained new details about the evidence authorities have compiled in their investigation, which has lasted over a year.

The case includes a video captured by a drone operated by Griffin that showed the 9-year-old completely naked, standing next to Griffin, who was wearing underwear, and evidence Griffin paid a relative of the girl $4,000 in an attempt to keep him or her quiet.

The woman who brought the girl to the northeast was charged last year with child abuse and other counts.

Described as the girl’s adopted mother, the woman allegedly sexually abused the child both at her home and in Vermont with Griffin present, according to court documents filed in Nevada.

While in Vermont, the woman went to the hospital twice, leaving her daughter alone with Griffin, who was fired by CNN after being charged.

The girl told investigators in detail about what happened at Griffin’s ski home.

According to the new filing, Griffin was actually pulled over for speeding in a Mercedes convertible with the girl in his backseat last year, but a police officer let Griffin go with a ticket.

Prosecutors also said Griffin tried to persuade federal authorities not to charge him, claiming he “tried to cancel” the mother and daughter trip to Vermont but agreed to follow through when the mother “pressed the issue.”

Online activity shows Griffin paid the mother $3,350 to fly across the country.

Griffin wrote in a letter to an assistant U.S. attorney that he “assumed nothing inappropriate would occur with the child present,” a claim undercut by messages to the mother that it was “her job, in concert with me,” to train the woman’s other minor daughter to be sexually submissive.

Griffin has told law enforcement that his estate is worth upwards of $40 million. The court should not bend to attempts to wield the wealth to secure a pre-trial release, prosecutors said.

Griffin “faces not only a significant loss of liberty, but also extraordinary reputational damage. He has dishonestly tried to talk his way out of being held accountable. He has tried to buy his way out of trouble,” they wrote. “There is no set of conditions that can assure the Court of his continued appearance or address the danger he presents if released.”

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. news and stories relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He is based in Maryland.