On December 20, 1971, Larry King was arrested in Miami, Florida, and charged with grand larceny over his dealings with Louis Wolfson, a financier of questionable reputation. Although the details of the events are somewhat murky, apparently King was peddling his influence with the incoming US Attorney General, John Mitchell, suggesting to Wolfson that he could arrange an investigation that would clear Wolfson’s name. (Wolfson was in prison for selling unregistered stocks.) According to Wolfson, Wolfson gave King a total of $48,000, but King did not deliver Mitchell’s assistance. Wolfson pursued the larceny charge against King, but the statute of limitations had run out on the charges, so King was never tried; however, he did plead no contest to one count of passing bad checks in relation to the scandal.
King, born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, NY, was a rising star on local Miami radio and television at the time. The scandal derailed King’s career for three years, during which time he wrote articles for Esquire magazine and worked as the public relations director for a race track. Eventually, King’s broadcast career got back on track. Today, King has been hailed as “the most remarkable talk-show host ever” by TV Guide, and has conducted over 40,000 interviews over the course of his 50 year-long broadcast career.