Journalist Charlie LeDuff’s version of 2009 arrest contradicted by police report ⋆

Nearly 15 years before controversial Detroit journalist Charlie LeDuff was arrested for allegedly hitting his wife in December, a similar incident brought police to his house in Pleasant Ridge.

Shortly before midnight in July 2009, LeDuff’s wife called 911, and the operator heard screams in the background before the phone hung up.

Charlie LeDuff in court, Dec. 19, 2023 | Screenshot

When police arrived, the officer said LeDuff’s wife bore the hallmark signs of abuse: There were scratches and slight swelling to her right eye, blood around her nose and left arm, and abrasions on her forehead, lip, and arm, according to a police report obtained by Metro Times.

Though the name of the victim was redacted in the police report, LeDuff, 57, wrote about the episode in his 2013 best-selling book, “Detroit: An American Autopsy.” But his narrative differs substantially from the police account.

In his book, LeDuff claims he “smeared pizza” on his wife’s face after she said she was tired of hearing about murder victims he had been writing about. LeDuff wrote that he told his wife that his reporting was “putting pizza in your fat mouth.”

After she told him to fuck off, LeDuff wrote, “I jumped out of my chair, took her by the wrist and smeared the pizza in her face. She slapped me.”

She dialed 911, and “then, like a spoiled sorority girl, hung up the phone,” LeDuff wrote.

According to LeDuff, the pizza sauce resembled blood, prompting police to falsely believe he assaulted his wife.

But that’s not how police described what happened. When they asked LeDuff’s wife about the abrasions and blood, she told them she had cut herself shaving, according to the police report. There was no mention of pizza sauce.

According to police, LeDuff’s wife, who was crying, denied being assaulted and said they were just having an argument, adding, “He’s a great guy.”

LeDuff was arrested and refused to answer questions from police or be fingerprinted, according to the police report. He was never charged.

In his book, LeDuff said he was hauled off to jail, wearing nothing but “striped blue underpants.” According to the police report, LeDuff was wearing a gray Polo shirt and blue jeans.

In his book, LeDuff also said he was “good and loaded” on red wine and that he consumed alcohol because “drinking was the only thing that would make Detroit go away.”

“My life was populated with dead men and liars and desperate people who would call me at all hours of the evening, and the only door of escape I could find was at the bottom of a bottle,” LeDuff wrote.

On Dec. 18, 2023, LeDuff was arrested again and accused of assaulting his wife. He was charged with domestic violence and is scheduled to appear in Oakland County District Court on Feb. 13 for a pretrial hearing.

LeDuff declined to comment for this story. When asked about the different versions of events, LeDuff texted, “You’d have to ask her.” LeDuff has been ordered not to contact his wife.

Metro Times couldn’t reach his wife for comment.

LeDuff, who won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of stories for The New York Times in 2001, is no stranger to controversy. In October, he was fired from his job as a columnist at the Detroit News after using a vulgar, coded phrase aimed at Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. In a social media post, LeDuff wrote to Nessel, “See you next Tuesday,” a backronym for the word “c–t.”

The accuracy of his writing and reporting have also come under scrutiny.

In 1995, he conceded that he plagiarized a story while working for The New York Times. He also has been accused of manufacturing quotes and featuring inaccurate descriptions.

After 12 years at The New York Times, LeDuff took a reporting job at the Detroit News, where details in some of his stories were called into question. In one story that made national news, LeDuff accused Detroit police of failing to respond to his call about a dead body discovered lodged in ice in an abandoned warehouse. Metro Times and the Detroit Free Press both published stories contradicting LeDuff’s accounts of what happened.

Journalist Charlie LeDuff appears in court after being arrested for domestic violence

In October 2010 LeDeuff left the Detroit News to join FOX-2 (WJBK-TV), where he was known for using bizarre antics to report on serious issues, making him a household name. His show, “The Americans with Charlie LeDuff,” was syndicated to Fox stations across the country, reaching even more viewers.

In 2011, a Detroit police officer sued LeDuff over two of his Detroit News stories that claimed she moonlighted as a stripper and danced at the long-rumored, never-proven party by then-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at the Manoogian Mansion. In the lawsuit, which was eventually dismissed, Officer Paytra Williams alleged LeDuff got facts wrong in the story and disputed that she moonlighted as a stripper.

In 2013, LeDuff was accused of urinating in public, biting a security guard at a St. Patrick’s Day party, and calling three policewomen “whores.”

He left FOX-2 in November 2016.

LeDuff wrote two critically acclaimed books, “Detroit: An American Autopsy” (2013) and “Shitshow!: The Country’s Collapsing and the Ratings Are Great” (2018).

In October 2018, LeDuff launched his ongoing podcast, “The No BS News Hour,” where he built a conservative following by attacking Democrats and taking a hardline position against immigration and President Joe Biden’s administration. He frequently appears on Fox News and podcasts hosted by far-right conservatives.

This story first ran in the Detroit Metro Times. Follow them: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

authored by Steve Neavling
First published at

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