Loop 21 Exclusive: Man at Center of Shaq Lawsuit Explains Why He's Suing
1 year ago
Shawn Darling outlines his history with Shaq, why he helped Shaunie and more
Shaquille O'Neal may be retired from the NBA but his name has remained in the headlines due to some pretty explosive emails. To understand the origin of the emails one has to wade through a very complicated tale of extramarital affairs, scorned mistresses, divorce and … an IT guy?
While we've heard about the steamy contents of O'Neal's private emails, the person at the middle of the lawsuit [click here to see the court documents], to whom the emails were originally released, has mostly shied away from the spotlight. Shawn Darling was an associate of O'Neal, enlisted to help the NBA star track his electronic communications with various women in hopes of protecting himself from any lawsuits.
Darling, whose credibility has been called into question due to a previous conviction of bank fraud in 1999, spoke with Loop 21 to tell his side of the story. He claims that his lawsuit for emotional distress and invasion of privacy isn't about money but to repair his reputation. In fact, Darling (who declined to have his image shown) is only seeking $45,000 in damages from the multimillionaire, who along with his friends in law enforcement allegedly tried to frame Darling as a pedophile by hacking into his computer to plant child pornography images.
Loop 21: In the lawsuit filed it states that you and O'neal were friends but you also were in his employ. When did you two meet and how did your association begin?
Shawn Darling: I actually met Shaquille's assistant when I was doing an install at Puffy's (Sean Combs aka "Diddy") house on Star Island. At the time Shaquille had just basically arrived in Miami. It was not until 2007 that our paths crossed again and I had done some work for his assistant. Shaq and Shaunie had separated and Shaquille needed his condo set up (A/V, PCs, etc). So I was hired to set it all up. Thanksgiving of that year I got a call from Shaq with some questions about the software I had installed on his systems. I was invited over, and our relationship grew from there.
Loop 21: At some point in 2008, O'Neal asked you to help him secure his email after Alexis Miller filed a restraining order against him, claiming he was stalking her. You help him do this but when his marriage to Shaunie O'Neal headed for divorce, you decided to turn over his emails to her legal team to help her case. Why?
Darling: The reason I did this was simple. There was a huge dispute over the fact that the kids told Shaquille that they did not want to move with him to Cleveland. This was a shock to Shaquille and he took it to a level that I felt was uncalled for. He cut off all the family financially and emotionally. He went close to two months without even speaking to the kids or Shaunie. My hosting of Shaquille's emails had been found out accidentally by a friend of Shaunie's. And when the cutoff happened, I was asked repeatedly to help her in any way I could. So I found a way to get the emails to her attorney without revealing myself to anyone.
Loop 21: What were some of the things that were talked about in the emails that you gave Shaunie that the public doesn't know about?