16 episodes

Truck-stop brothels run by a web of ex-cons… a commonwealth attorney wasted on whiskey and power… protection exchanged for cash and flesh… a brash local reporter exposing it all… This is HOOKERGATE: Criminals and Libertines in the South. I am your host, Dr. Lindsay Byron, author, historian, and lifelong wayward woman—and this forgotten scandal happened in my hometown. Join me as I use crumbling news clippings, interviews, and dramatic re-enactments to bring to life for the first time in nearly 50 years this wild ride of hedonistic corruption. 

Hookergate: Criminals and Libertines in the South iHeart True Crime

    • True Crime
    • 3.5 • 200 Ratings

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Truck-stop brothels run by a web of ex-cons… a commonwealth attorney wasted on whiskey and power… protection exchanged for cash and flesh… a brash local reporter exposing it all… This is HOOKERGATE: Criminals and Libertines in the South. I am your host, Dr. Lindsay Byron, author, historian, and lifelong wayward woman—and this forgotten scandal happened in my hometown. Join me as I use crumbling news clippings, interviews, and dramatic re-enactments to bring to life for the first time in nearly 50 years this wild ride of hedonistic corruption. 

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    Dangerous to Himself

    Dangerous to Himself

    A chance encounter leads to the discovery of a salacious scandal that’s been lost to history for 50 years. Host Lindsay Byron sifts through crumbling news clippings to unpack a story of illicit sex and corruption involving elite powerbrokers alongside the forgotten castoffs of rural Virginia. 
     
    Written and hosted by Lindsay Byron AKA Lux ATL - goodtimesbadgirls.com
     
    Music and sound design by Guy Kelly - guykelly.com
     
    CAST:
    Newscaster - Lauren Vogelbaum
    Judge - Max Williams
    Prosecutor - Ben Bowlin
    Janet Barker - Anney Reese
    Buckeye - Tari
    Defense Attorney Johnson - Noel Brown
    Dr. Shield - Sean Rhodes
     
    SOURCES:
    All courtroom scenes are pulled from the transcripts of The United States VS Joseph Whitehead, Landon Wayne Holley, and Aubrey Henderson trial. These transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia.
    Opening newscast describing the Hookergate crime ring comes from an August 26, 1977 Danville Register and Bee article by Nelson Benyunes.  
    The courtroom exchange preceding the Edgewood diner scene comes from US Prosecuting Attorney Stubbs’ direct examination of Janet Barker on December 9th, 1977. 
    The courtroom exchange in which Buckeye describes how she made a booking comes from Prosecuting Attorney Robert Stubbs’ direct examination of Buckeye (not her real name) on December 7th, 1977.
    The newscast describing Whitehead’s role in the “anatomy of power” comes from an August 1977 Washington Star article.
    The courtroom exchange describing Joe Whitehead’s drinking problem comes from a psychiatric evaluation conducted by Dr. James Shield on January 4 1978, and presented as evidence by Whitehead’s defense team before sentencing.
    The above court transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia. 
    The first-hand accounts from Rodney Smith come from an interview I conducted with him on January 26th, 2022.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 31 min
    This Woman Was Different

    This Woman Was Different

    As the sex and money starts to flow at the truck stops, pimps and working girls unexpectedly find the type of love that can only end in heartbreak. Meanwhile, Rodney settles in to his new home and searches for a big story. Frankie Jones gives insight into the character of Danville.
     
    Written and hosted by Lindsay Byron - goodtimesbadgirls.com
     
    Music and sound design by Guy Kelly - guykelly.com
     
    CAST:
    Defense Attorney Rosenberg - Sean Rhodes
    Prosecutor - Ben Bowlin
    Thomas Barker - Chandler Mays
    Harold Wayne Dowdy - Joe McCormick
    Janet Barker - Anney Reese
    Newscaster - Lauren Vogelbaum
     
    SOURCES:
    All courtroom scenes come from The United States VS Joseph Whitehead, Landon Wayne Holley, and Aubrey Henderson trial. These transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia.
    The cold open statement that it “takes two people to make a prostitute” comes from William Rosenberger’s opening statements of the 1977 Federal RICO trial of the Big Six.
    The first-hand accounts from Rodney Smith come from an interview I conducted with him on January 26th, 2022. 
    The first-hand accounts from Frankie Jones come from an interview I conducted with him in June 2022.
    The courtroom exchange detailing the nature of Tommy and Janet’s relationship comes from the direct examination of Thomas Barker by US Prosecuting Attorney Robert Stubbs on Dec 12th, 1977.
    The courtroom exchange preceding the scene of Harold Wayne and Robin’s first meeting comes from the cross examination of Harold Wayne Dowdy by William Rosenberger on Dec 14th, 1977.
    The courtroom statement about interstate prostitution was said by US Prosecuting Atty Robert Stubbs in his opening statement of the 1977 Federal RICO trial of the Big Six.
    The courtroom exchange discussing whether or not Janet gave massages comes from the direct examination of  Janet Barker by US Prosecuting Attorney Stubbs on December 9th, 1977.
    The above court transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia. 
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 36 min
    Cash and Flesh

    Cash and Flesh

    Just as the truck stops see success, a powerful force threatens the whole operation. Rodney discovers an unusual cluster of arrest records, and their mysterious dismissals. Connie instructs Buckeye in the art of seduction with a group of men from out of town.
     
    Written and hosted by Lindsay Byron - goodtimesbadgirls.com
     
    Music and sound design by Guy Kelly - guykelly.com
     
    CAST:
    Prosecutor - Ben Bowlin
    Newscaster - Lauren Vogelbaum
    Sergeant Bradley - Dylan Fagan
     
    SOURCES:
    All courtroom scenes are pulled from the transcripts of The United States VS Joseph Whitehead, Landon Wayne Holley, and Aubrey Henderson trial trial. These transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia.
    The first hand accounts  from Frankie Jones come from an interview I conducted with him in Danville, Virginia, in June 2022.
    The first-hand accounts from Rodney Smith come from an interview I conducted with him on January 26th, 2022. 
    The courtroom scene characterizing Wayne Holley as Hookergate’s primary liaison comes from US Prosecuting Attorney Robert Stubb’s closing arguments on Dec 20,  1977.
    The reportage describing Holley’s bribery of the truck stop operators is from the 1977 Grand Jury report indicting Whitehead, Holley, Henderson, Boyd, Dowdy, and Barker (“The Big Six”) on Federal RICO charges. 
    The courtroom description of the terms of truck stop lounge entry–”all you have to do is want to fuck”--occurred during US Prosecuting Attorney Robert Amidon’s direct examination of Sergeant Charles L. Bradley on Dec 5th, 1977.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 36 min
    And We’re All Out of Coffee

    And We’re All Out of Coffee

    Joe Whitehead becomes increasingly brazen with his exploits, and issues a menacing threat when he doesn’t get what he wants. Robin grows accustomed to a life of luxury as Harold Wayne falls deeper in love. Frankie Jones make a shocking confession   
     
    Written and hosted by Lindsay Byron - goodtimesbadgirls.com
     
    Music and sound design by Guy Kelly - guykelly.com
     
    CAST:
    Prosecutor - Ben Bowlin
    Officer Daniels - Noel Brown
    Tenita - Miranda Hawkins
    Newscaster - Lauren Vogelbaum
     
    SOURCES:
    All courtroom scenes come from The United States VS Joseph Whitehead, Landon Wayne Holley, and Aubrey Henderson trial trial. These transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia.
    The cold open courtroom exchange comes from US Prosecuting Attorney Robert Amidon’s direct examination of Thomas B. Daniels, Jr, an investigator with the department of the Virginia State Police, on December 6, 1977.
    The first-hand account from Frankie Jones comes from an interview I conducted with him in June 2022.
    The courtroom exchange that describes a working girl’s encounter with Whitehead and friend comes from US Prosecuting Attorney Morgan Scott’s direct examination of Tenita (not her real name) on December 9, 1977.
    The first-hand accounts from Rodney Smith come from an interview I conducted with him on January 26th, 2022. 
    The newscast concerning the Carriage Hill trailer park appointment comes from the 1977 Grand Jury report indicting Whitehead, Holley, Henderson, Boyd, Dowdy, and Barker (“The Big Six”) on Federal RICO charges.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min
    Keeping the Peace

    Keeping the Peace

    Janet grows uneasy with the truck stop operations as Tommy struggles to keep the money coming in. Robin finds her way out of the back room and into the front office. Joe Whitehead spirals out of control and takes out his frustrations on Janet. 
     
    Written and hosted by Lindsay Byron - goodtimesbadgirls.com
     
    Music and sound design by Guy Kelly - guykelly.com
     
    CAST:
    Defense Attorney Rosenberg - Sean Rhodes
    Breanna - Lauren Vogelbaum
    Robin Dowdy - Sam McVey 
    Newscaster - Lauren Vogelbaum
    Prosecutor - Ben Bowlin
    Janet Barker - Anney Reese
     
    SOURCES:
    The first-hand accounts from Frankie Jones come from an interview I conducted with him in June 2022.
    The courtroom scene in which a woman recounts being forced into prostitution comes from Defense Attorney William Rosenberger’s cross examination of Breanna (not her real name) on December 7, 1977.
    The courtroom exchange in which Robin Dowdy says she is “much more capable” of running the truck stop comes from her cross examination by Defense Attorney Rosenberger on December 14, 1977.
    The newscast that describes Whitehead’s psychological state comes from
    a psychological evaluation on January 3 and 4, 1978, by interviewer Nancy L. Foley, stored as evidence in the National Archives in Philadelphia.
    The courtroom exchange in which Janet Barker describes Whitehead’s explosive behavior comes from US Prosecuting Attorney Robert Stubb’s direct examination of her on December 9, 1977.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min
    The Pressure Builds

    The Pressure Builds

    The truck stop operators feel the squeeze of Whiteheads increasing demands. Whitehead feels the pressure from a local deputy. Rodney receives backlash from unexpected sources after his initial reports are published. Tommy reveals his dark side to Janet.
     
    Written and hosted by Lindsay Byron - goodtimesbadgirls.com
     
    Music and sound design by Guy Kelly - guykelly.com
     
    CAST:
    Newscaster - Lauren Vogelbaum
    Prosecutor - Ben Bowlin
    Harold Wayne Dowdy - Joe McCormick
    Janet Barker - Anney Reese
     
    SOURCES:
    All courtroom scenes come from The United States VS Joseph Whitehead, Landon Wayne Holley, and Aubrey Henderson trial trial. These transcripts are located in the National Archives in Philadelphia.
    The newscast that describes Officer Moss’s unpleasant encounter with Whitehead comes from the 1977 Grand Jury Report indicting Whitehead, Holley, Henderson, Boyd, Dowdy, and Barker (“The Big Six”) on Federal RICO charges. 
    The first-hand accounts from Rodney Smith come from an interview I conducted with him on January 26th, 2022.
    The courtroom exchange in which Harold Wayne Dowdy describes negotiations with Whitehead comes from US Prosecuting Attorney James Hastings’s direct examination of Dowdy on Dec 12, 1977.
    The courtroom exchange in which Janet Barker details the deterioration of her relationship with Thomas Barker comes from her cross examination by Defense Attorney David Epstein on December 9, 1977.
    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
200 Ratings

200 Ratings

Duncanomics ,

The Dramatic Narration…Please No…

Need a normal narration. Not at all Southern accent that put me off. She goes so dramatic all of a sudden changing tone of voice very cringe.

GaiaNin ,

Narration is Bad

I want so badly to hear this story. I simply cannot listen to this narrator. I’m sure she’s a great human and put a lot of hard work in. It’s a shame she thought this style of delivery was a good idea.

lizziebep ,

The narration lost is gonna lose your interest too

About ten minutes into it, I thought, “Oh, this is a story I can get into!” And then out of absolutely no where, the drama and accents went through the roof. As a rural WVian, accents don’t bother me - but these are awful. I have twelve minutes left until he first episode and I’m quitting.

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