Legal questions about Lamar Odom’s long weekend

Celebrity, Divorce, News, Relationships, Sports

Fame is hard to handle, and Lamar Odom dealt with his double dose of celebrity—as an NBA champ and a reality TV star—by getting away from it all. Now, as Odom fights for his life* after three days spent cavorting in a Nevada brothel, questions are mounting: How did the basketball star end up on what may still end up being his deathbed? And as medical decisions are made on his behalf, how might Khloe Kardashian be involved? And how are brothels even legal in Nevada?

A pricy binge of sex and drugs

What we know so far: On Tuesday, October 13, Odom, 35, was found unconscious at the Love Ranch near Las Vegas. A brothel employee told HLN that the basketballer was there “to get far away from something.” And according to Love Ranch owner Dennis Hof, Odom paid $75,000 to guarantee that two women would “take care of any of his needs.” Hof told ET Online that Odom arrived “in a great mood” on Saturday night, but by Sunday “seemed upset, a little somber.”

Emergency responders were summoned at 3:15 P.M. and were told that Odom used cocaine on his first day at the Nevada brothel. A 911 call revealed that he took 10 sexual stimulant tablets (“herbal Viagra”) over three days. Odom was found lying in bed with a white fluid mixed with blood oozing from his mouth and nose. The 6-foot, 10-inch athlete was too tall for an available helicopter, so was transported by ambulance to Sunrise Hospital.

Khloe Kardashian—still Odom’s wife

Odom’s basketball talents made him famous, but his relationship with Khloe Kardashian, 31, made him a superstar. The couple wed in September 2009, just one month after they met, and appeared together on Keeping Up with the Kardashians and their own short-lived reality show, Khloé & Lamar. After some very public marital drama, the pair separated in December 2013.

Odom and Kardashian signed divorce papers this year, but the divorce has not been finalized. “By all reports, the marriage was over,” says high-profile litigation attorney Debra Opri. “The documents were signed but not entered as a final divorce judgment.”

Laws differ from state to state, according to Opri, “but the underlying aspect of securing a divorce requires a legal filing and an entry of judgment.” As such, Kardashian is still Mrs. Lamar Odom and has been making medical decisions on his behalf.

The Kardashians versus the brothel

In a statement released to Us Weekly on Friday, October 16, Kardashian’s reps asked Hof to be discreet while Odom remains in critical condition.

We reached out to Dennis [Hof] politely asking him to respect Lamar’s (and Khloe’s) privacy during this difficult time and refrain from talking to the press. This is a very painful situation, as I know you are aware, and the idea that anyone would use it to seek publicity is really sad.

The sex tycoon angrily dismissed Kardashian’s request. He continues to speak with various media outlets and told CBS News, “I know what happened. I’m the one protecting my business and telling the truth about it.”

In Nevada, each county can decide whether or not to allow prostitution. Ten of sixteen counties permit it—Las Vegas does not—and they are the only places in the nation where a person can legally purchase sex.

Hof’s seven brothels are legal businesses, and he has valid reasons for wanting to protect his investment. “Brothels are really a relic of the past,” according to Nevada Senator Richard “Tick” Segerblom. “Even here in Nevada, they’re relegated to what we call the cow counties. The urban areas have an appetite to abolish them. And given the state’s rapid urbanization, there’s really little popular support left for these businesses.”

Kardashian remains in control

From how to handle Hof to maintaining life support, decisions about Odom’s future remain in the hands of Kardashian. Despite their estrangement, the couple have remained close. Kardashian has continued to support her husband through his personal battles.

Odom was unfaithful to his wife before their separation. He abused drugs, was arrested for DUI, and received treatment for alcohol abuse. Kardashian filed for divorce but remained supportive.

“It’s very hard on her even though he’s her ex,” an insider tells Us Weekly. “There’s still a lot of emotion there and she wouldn’t want to ever see him like this. And to have to make decisions on top of it now is also very hard. It’s a lot on her shoulders and a lot weighing on her.”

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* Note: The state of Lamar Odom’s health continues to change; here’s an update from People Magazine on his status, posted on 10/27.

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