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She made millions on OnlyFans. State fears she’ll flee US before Miami murder trial

Prosecutors want to keep model Courtney Clenney behind bars, pointing to her sizable wealth and ability to work as an “influencer” anywhere in the world.
Instagram model Courtney Clenney fatally stabbed her boyfriend, Christian “Toby” Obumseli, on April 3 in Miami. She is charged with murder but has said she acted in self-defense.
Instagram model Courtney Clenney fatally stabbed her boyfriend, Christian “Toby” Obumseli, on April 3 in Miami. She is charged with murder but has said she acted in self-defense. [ Instagram and Facebook via Miami Herald ]
Published Nov. 12

MIAMI — Prosecutors want to keep OnlyFans model Courtney Clenney behind bars, saying she could easily flee the country before trial on the allegation she murdered her boyfriend in Miami. And they’re pointing to her sizable wealth — she made millions from the racy webcam site — and her ability to work as an “influencer” anywhere in the world.

In a request to the court late Thursday, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said Clenney boasts “a profession she can maintain abroad if she flees the country, an act she can certainly afford financially. The defendant furthermore has the means of making quick escape and financially sustaining herself abroad.”

The filing pointed out that OnlyFans, the popular website where models make money producing explicit content, is based overseas, outside of the arm of U.S. law. Clenney’s “means of financially sustaining herself requires a mere internet connection,” they wrote.

The filing detailing Clenney’s wealth — and “suspicious” wire transfers after the killing that moved money to her dad’s bank account — adds another layer of intrigue ahead of Tuesday’s hearing in Miami court, when a judge will consider whether to release the model on bond before trial.

Clenney, 26, of Texas, faces up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder with a deadly weapon.

In a sensational case that has drawn media attention across the world, Clenney is accused of murdering her boyfriend, Christian Obumseli, during a raging argument on April 3 inside their luxury apartment in Miami’s Edgewater neighborhood. The two had a long-stormy relationship filled with public spats and violent arguments — her defense attorneys insist that Clenney was the domestic-violence victim and acted in self-defense when she stabbed Obumseli once in the chest.

In this Aug. 11 photo, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle talks about unsealing the arrest warrant for model Courtney Clenney, one day after U.S. marshals arrested her in Hawaii, for the homicide of Christian Obumseli, last April 3 in Miami.
In this Aug. 11 photo, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle talks about unsealing the arrest warrant for model Courtney Clenney, one day after U.S. marshals arrested her in Hawaii, for the homicide of Christian Obumseli, last April 3 in Miami. [ PEDRO PORTAL | El Nuevo Herald ]

Clenney’s attorneys say they plan to ask that Circuit Judge Laura Shearon Cruz to release their client on house arrest and allow her to complete treatment. When she was arrested in August, Clenney was staying at a Hawaii residential treatment center for substance abuse and trauma.

Defense attorney Sabrina Puglisi said on Friday that Clenney spent her money on buying a house in Texas, “creating ties to the community” there. “We don’t think she’s going to flee,” Puglisi said.

For Tuesday’s hearing, both sides plan to introduce evidence to support their version of events. Clenney’s legal team may introduce photos, taken after the killing, they say will show bruises Clenney suffered at the hands of Obumseli. Prosecutors, in their motion, say that Instagram posts showed the bruises were already on her body before the killing.

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The state’s presentation, meanwhile, will lay out the case that Clenney was the primary aggressor the night of the killing — and in a relationship that had grown increasingly violent in the months before the killing.

In their motion, the state pointed to Clenney’s arrest on a battery charge in Las Vegas in 2021, in which she admitted she threw a glass at Obumseli and she “likes” to throw objects at him.

The state also referenced text messages between Clenney and Obumseli that revealed she’d attacked him on several occasions in the months before his death. As first reported by The Miami Herald, those attacks included Clenney stabbing him in the leg and hitting him with a phone in October 2021, as well as stabbing him in the chin in January, shortly after they moved from Texas to Miami.

Courtney Clenney is taken away during an evidentiary hearing on Sept. 6 in Miami.
Courtney Clenney is taken away during an evidentiary hearing on Sept. 6 in Miami. [ PEDRO PORTAL | El Nuevo Herald ]

“Immediately following the incident, (Clenney) coldly told Christian to ‘Enjoy the hospital,’” Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Khalil Quinan wrote in the 12-page motion.

Prosecutors also said that after that attack, Obumseli began recording Clenney’s “outbursts and acts of violence.” The State Attorney’s Office previously video showing her attacking him in an elevator and recordings made by Obumseli that depicted her rage during arguments — and included her using racial slurs against Obumseli, who is Black.

Last week, defense attorneys Puglisi and Frank Prieto said the recordings, texts and other evidence were cherry picked and provided “a one-sided snapshot in time. It’s not the whole story.”

“As we prepare Courtney’s defense for trial, we are currently piecing together all of the evidence, so the jury may understand the totality of the situation when it is presented to them at trial,” they wrote. “Also, the majority of the records released so far have come from Christian’s cellphone. There is another side to this we look forward to presenting in court.”

In Florida, people charged with murder are not automatically entitled to a bond. But defense attorneys have asked the judge Cruz to allow Clenney out of jail.

Meanwhile, prosecutors filed its “pre-trial detention” motion, arguing that Clenney — a native of Texas — has no ties to Miami-Dade. They argued that Clenney has a history of skipping town, including on previous arrests for driving while intoxicated in Texas.

The state also provided the court financial records showing Clenney earned from OnlyFans $966,692 in 2020, and $1.8 million in 2021. “These totals do no consider any additional unknown sources of income from other influence or advertisement campaigns via other social media platforms,” Quinan wrote.

Also, prosecutors pointed to suspicious movement of money in the days after Obumseli’s death, but before her arrest: wire transfers totaling $1,134,000 and $50,000 from her account to her that of her father. The “suspicious timing” suggest Clenney was “attempting and otherwise preparing to frustrate justice and avoid criminal prosecution,” they wrote.

©2022 Miami Herald. Visit miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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