The Smoking Gun is a website that posts legal documents, arrest records, and police mugshots on a daily basis. The intent is to bring to the public light information that is damning, shocking, outrageous, or amazing, yet also somewhat obscure or unreported by more mainstream media sources. Most of the site's content revolves around historical and current events, although it also features documents and photos relating to out-of-the-ordinary crimes and people. It is owned by TruTV.
One section of the site is made up entirely of "riders" in the contracts of popular music acts, focusing on the artists' personal demands; some of the publicized demands are either highly self-indulgent or inherently humorous.
The website was founded in 1997 by William Bastone and Daniel Green, former reporters for The Village Voice. Most of The Smoking Gun's content is obtained by Freedom of Information Act requests to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and from public records such as court documents. The site has used those requests to assemble a collection of mugshots of current and historical celebrities.
Court TV (now TruTV) purchased The Smoking Gun, as well as its sister website Crime Library, in 2000. In January 2006, The Smoking Gun was the first to report that James Frey fabricated parts of his bestselling memoir, A Million Little Pieces.
The site published its second book, The Dog Dialed 911: A Book of Lists from The Smoking Gun, in October 2006.
A series of the same name premiered on Court TV in 2005. The series features some of the site's stories and assorted sketch humor using string puppets. This series was later moved and shown on Adult Swim.