The terrifying kidnapping of a British Instagram model may have been a "publicity stunt" -- that's according to the lawyer representing the man accused of kidnapping 20-year-old Chloe Ayling.
As Metro reports, 30-year-old Lukasz Herba was arrested for the ordeal, which included a kidnapping ring that intended to traffic Ayling for sex on the Internet, and his attorney is calling the entire incident a "sham."
Ayling said that she was lured to Milan under a false pretext of a photo shoot. When she got there, Herba and a gang of men drugged and kidnapped her. They kept her tied up and threatened to sell her on the Dark Web for sex. The ring apparently let her go because they found out she had a son. Herba returned Ayling to the British Embassay and was arrested.
"There is a real risk that the entire case is a sham," Herba's lawyer George Hepburne Scott said.
Scott is questioning Ayling's story and her credibility, citing that she seeks fame at any cost. He referenced a previous incident in which he says the model inserted herself into a news story for publicity. "The same complainant, it seems, generated publicity from the fact she was nearby the scene of a terrorist attack at the Champs-Elysees in Paris."
He also said the fact that Ayling and Herba were seen together prior to him returning her to the British Embassy in Milan was strange, as they were seen going shopping and getting food. "She also went to breakfast with the kidnapper before her release when the pair found the British consulate was closed." He continued, "It would amount to an abuse of process of the court if there was any evidence to suggest this was a publicity stunt."
Ayling has maintained that her story is true. She even told British media that she's not interested in leveraging the experience into a reality show gig or other opportunities.
District Judge Paul Goldspring notes much of the material that the lawyer is relying on comes from press reports and isn't necessarily relevant to the case. A ruling will be handed down on Friday.
[Photo: Instagram, Milan Police]