This article contains descriptions of alleged domestic violence and sexual assault.
Athena Klingerman and Amber Rasmussen run a true-crime podcast called Ex-Wives Undercover and its accompanying TikTok account. Their mission is to share shocking stories of “love gone wrong.” It all started with their own.
Klingerman and Rasmussen say they were both married to the same man, Brandon Robert Johnson, whom they refer to as “Ben” on their podcast. According to one of their TikTok videos, Klingerman was in a relationship with the man from 2007-2012, and Rasmussen was in a relationship with him from 2013-2019. Johnson has since been hit with 11 separate charges—domestic violence, false imprisonment, threatening crime with intent to terrorize, vandalism, possession of burglary tools, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, battery of a spouse/ex-spouse, and stalking—and is currently being held on a $142,500 bail, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s website, which states he is in custody.
Klingerman and Rasmussen take credit for his arrest.
The Daily Dot spoke with Klingerman and Rasmussen about the years-long legal battles they faced. The duo said their story highlights not only the abuse that women and families are often subjected to by violently manipulative men but also repeated failures of the justice system.
While Klingerman and Rasmussen already had a dedicated fanbase, their story recently blew up on TikTok after each woman posted a video about their ex-husband.
In a clip that’s received well over 5 million views, making it the most popular video on the shared account, Rasmussen questions, “Who the fuck did I marry?”
@exwives_undercover #fyp #foryoupage #trending #trendingtiktok #truestory #storytime #divorce #marriage #exposedfyp #exposethem #cheater #cheatersgetcaught #liars #podcast #tinder #onlinedating #datingstorytime #narcissist #love #wtf ♬ original sound – Ex-Wives Undercover
The video features a Bumble profile that she says Johnson secretly used while they were married. She points out how the main photo on the profile is of the two of them, only she’s “scratched” out of it.
“Isn’t it amazing the things we find out about our husbands once we file divorce? Take this picture for instance. … This right here is a picture of my ex-husband’s dating profile while we were still married. Notice how he scratched my face out the picture,” she says.
The name on the profile is “Bradley,” which she says is not his name. “That’s actually my dead nephew’s name,” Rasmussen says. The Daily Dot verified Rasmussen’s nephew’s name is Bradley and that he died in 2016.
Rasmussen says that soon after she filed for divorce, a woman her husband was allegedly dating reached out to his first ex-wife, Klingerman.
“[The woman] had some questions, things weren’t adding up. Apparently my husband was going by a fake name, he told her he was a multi-millionaire who had homes all over the world, that he was actually looking for property in Norway and was gonna move there. … and he has never been married, nor had any children,” she says.
Rasmussen says he also told the woman he was a psychologist, which is “100% all lies,” according to the podcaster. The duo say they also discovered their ex flew this “other woman” out from Norway to Los Angeles “for a week getaway.”
“He, of course, told me he was on a business trip,” she adds.
“Three days into the trip, he ghosts her,” Rasmussen says. “He finally text messages her a couple of days later and said it’s his mom and that he was in a car accident … and was in a coma.”
Rasmussen adds her ex sent the woman a photo she believes he found on Google Images. The photo, featured in the video, appears to depict a person in a hospital bed with an IV needle in their arm. The Norwegian woman allegedly sent screenshots of her text conversation with Johnson to the duo. This text thread is featured in the video.
The Norwegian woman also allegedly sent Rasmussen and Klingerman a FaceTime still that shows Johnson in an Eeyore (from Winnie the Pooh) gown and a bandage on his face. The Daily Dot has reached out to the Norwegian woman.
“The truth was that he flew back to his wife,” Rasmussen says, pointing to herself.
Rasmussen sent the Daily Dot the dissolution of marriage document, which legally ended the marriage between Rasmussen and Johnson. She filed for the petition of the dissolution of the marriage, and Johnson did not have representation and failed to appear in court, according to the document. The document cites “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the “irremediable breakdown of their marriage.” Rasmussen was ultimately granted a money award set to be paid by Johnson.
Klingerman shares her own experience with the man in a separate TikTok video that touches on several of the crimes Johnson was charged with. (Klingerman also sent the Daily Dot proof of her and Johnson’s own dissolution of marriage with children.)
@exwives_undercover #podcast #johnnydepp #amberheard #borderline #borderlinepersonalitydisorder #crimetok #fyp #fypシ #sociopath #simoneesimaria #policechase #netflix #ID #LIFETIME #EXWIVESUNDERCOVER ♬ original sound – Ex-Wives Undercover
Anatomy of a true-crime podcast
The duo told the Daily Dot that while Johnson tried to pit the two of them against each other, they began working together to unearth more information about him.
Both women reported that throughout their relationships with Johnson, he would leave for days at a time, say he was at work or on a business trip, only for them to later find out he was either with another woman or hiding how he got fired from his job.
They said he worked as a tech recruiter and would receive high commissions for placing people in specific jobs for major companies. Rasmussen accused him of being a “con-man” and of embezzling money in another TikTok video, saying, “He was charged with 13 counts of felony theft.”
The Daily Dot was able to verify that a person by the same name was hit with 13 first-degree charges for theft over $5,000 between 2015 and 2019. According to the King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office’s website, where these charges are listed, the case appears active.
The women told the Daily Dot their ex owned a “dummy company” he reported as assisting with these job placements.
According to a King County Superior Court charging document and case investigation report, the company he worked for is HTC Cooperation. The Daily Dot has reached out to HTC Cooperation. According to the case investigation report, a representative for HTC Cooperation said Johnson started working for the company—first in a temporary capacity and later as an employee—in 2012. According to the report, which was reviewed by the Daily Dot, HTC Cooperation suffered a loss of nearly $400,000. According to the report, Johnson, a senior recruiter at the time, recommended a company that allegedly provided companies with temporary—but prospective permanent—employees to his supervisors. The deal was, according to the report, that if a recommendee got hired for a permanent position, the company would receive a recruitment fee. HTC Cooperation allegedly worked with this company from 2015 to 2019, and 14 hires were made. According to the report, Johnson managed the account with the company, and Johnson brokered higher recruitment fees for the company without authorization. It was later discovered that, according to the report, the company was registered to a woman who is believed to be Johnson’s mother. Nine of the 14 employees in question allegedly said they had never heard of the company, according to the report. It was also later discovered, according to the report, that Johnson owned the bank account the recruitment fees got wired into.
In Klingerman’s video, she alleges her ex-husband convinced their daughter to lie for him on multiple occasions in order to keep his alleged secret life from Klingerman. Klingerman told the Daily Dot he once told his daughter to flee the scene of a car accident without seeking medical attention, allegedly insisting Klingerman couldn’t know about the crash or else they would never see each other again.
Klingerman also said Johnson often threatened to kill himself after she left him and that his violence toward her continued to escalate as he was worried she was going to expose him to his then-wife, Rasmussen. Klingerman added that she called the police on him and filed for a restraining order against him after he threatened her and attempted to break down the door at her home. According to the King County Superior Court Clerk’s Office’s site, Klingerman filed for a restraining order in 2019 that was granted.
The women said the justice system failed them at the time and favored Johnson.
Klingerman claimed that when she filed for a protection order against Johnson, she was interviewed by a social worker in the family law program. Unbeknownst to her, she said Johnson was interviewed separately and that he created “tons of fake documents, fake emails, [and] fake texts” he handed over to the social worker.
Klingerman said no investigation was made into the validity of these documents, nor was she questioned about them prior to her court date.
@exwives_undercover You can #stream our #PODCAST on #iheartradio #applepodcast #spotify #amazon #google… and many more! Watch us on #youtube ! #streaming #platforms #sneakpeek #season1 #episode5 #darknesswithin #truestory #storytime #fyp #fypシ #crimetok #messytok #podcast #relationships #exboyfriend #exhusband #narctok #bpd #sociopath #exwivesundercover ♬ original sound – Ex-Wives Undercover
Klingerman said while she wanted to pursue further legal action against Johnson, he had the means to hire a “sleazy lawyer” and was able to get social workers on his side with alleged false documentation. She said she felt like there was no way she could win a case and that she was pregnant again at the time.
However, as the years progressed Klingerman said she kept uncovering more details about Johnson’s life. She said he had their daughter live in multiple girlfriends’ houses.
@exwives_undercover #greenscreen #cheatingboyfriend #cheatinghusband #sociopath #podcast #stream #burner #burnerphone #secretlife #doublelife #crimetok #exwivesundercover #busted #applepodcast #messytok #stream #storytime #fyp #fypシ ♬ original sound – Ex-Wives Undercover
Klingerman claimed Johnson eventually agreed to comply with a parenting plan she paid around $40,000 for in legal fees.
This parenting plan was reviewed by the Daily Dot. It cites a history of “domestic violence” as one of the reasons limitations should be put on Johnson’s contact with their then-11-year-old. “If a parent has any of these problems, the court must limit that parent’s contact with the children, the right to make decisions for the children,” the document states.
According to the document, Johnson had “a long-term emotional or physical problem that gets in the way of his/her ability to parent,” used “conflict in a way that endangers or damages the psychological development of a child,” and had borderline personality disorder.
Other limitations outlined in the document are that Johnson cannot take their child out of the state without her permission, must take his daily borderline personality disorder medication, make sure their child takes her own medication, and will not introduce new women to their child without first receiving Klingerman’s consent.
The plan was signed by a judge as well as by both Klingerman and Johnson.
Klingerman told the Daily Dot Johnson later backtracked, claiming he was unaware the parenting plan was permanent. She said he threatened to stop paying child support if she didn’t un-sign or invalidate the parenting plan he allegedly originally agreed to.
The court, Klingerman also alleged, initially decided to go with a parenting plan Johnson proposed (the Daily Dot reached out to the Superior Court of Washington).
The duo said this is just one example of how the legal system failed them.
Raihl, an influencer who boasts nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram, told the Daily Dot she spoke out about Johnson to help other women who were not only victims of abuse but also post-breakup vindictiveness.
Raihl said she was a victim of slut-shaming online at the hands of Johnson. Raihl provided links to 25 blog posts she claimed he wrote about her, and all but one is inactive. The only working link takes readers to a blog post that’s dated March 16, 2019. This anonymous blog post accuses Raihl of lying and cheating. It also accuses her of falsely accusing men of drugging and raping her and mentions an Instagram handle she posts under.
The post is published on a site that claims it aims to “expose homewreckers, cheaters, bad girls, bad people.” Raihl said her picture, name, and other personal details were listed on various websites like this one. The same post was also published on another site with Raihl’s photo, according to a screenshot of it reviewed by the Daily Dot.
Raihl worked in tech, marketing, and digital advertising. She was also a cheerleader for the Seattle Seahawks. Raihl told the Daily Dot these blogs were so damaging that she even entertained advice to change her name so that prospective employers wouldn’t associate the slut-shaming sites with her. She decided against this as she felt morally she shouldn’t cave to the pressure of Johnson’s alleged harassment and slander against her.
Raihl said the blog posts were published shortly after she broke up with Johnson. Raihl provided the Daily Dot with court documents that show she was granted a protective order against Johnson in 2019 and that the protective order was renewed in 2021.
Raihl also sent the Daily Dot a court document in which she accuses Johnson of physical and sexual abuse. In the document, Raihl said that in 2019 she reported that Johnson raped her in 2017 with the Seattle Police Department. The Daily Dot has reached out to the Seattle Police Department.
The Daily Dot spoke with Johnson several times, both in-person at the El Dorado County jail and through follow-up correspondence via the jail’s inmate communications system, NCIC. Johnson denied most of the allegations made by Klingerman and Rasmussen, saying the women are using “20% of what is true,” namely his infidelities, to shill “80%” of “trash” accusations. He added that he’s “not the monster they [Klingerman and Rasmussen] make me out to be.” He said he believes the women are lying in order to to secure book deals and viral fame.
Johnson said not being able to see his daughter is what’s most upsetting for him. Johnson also maintains he didn’t do anything illegal with regard to his position with HTC Cooperation. Johnson’s mother, Barbara Tolomei, whom the Daily Dot also spoke with, said Johnson launched his side business with her as a means of helping her to earn extra income.
Johnson is currently being held at El Dorado County Jail for charges brought about after an altercation he had with an ex-girlfriend. Brandon declined to comment in-depth regarding these charges, but he did give a brief statement pertaining to them. He said Klingerman and Rasmussen “got in” his ex-girlfriend’s “head” and that they broke up as a result. Johnson said he went to her home in El Dorado county to take back a French bulldog he allegedly paid $4,500 for.
He said he heard another man’s voice in her house. His ex-girlfriend had allegedly told him she wasn’t seeing anyone else, so he said he figured the man was a stranger and that she was in danger. Johnson said he entered the house with a taser. He said that when he saw “the guy there,” his head spun, and everything “happened so fast.” He claimed he has no recollection of what transpired. Following the incident, Johnson was arrested on charges of domestic violence, false imprisonment, threatening crime with intent to terrorize, vandalism, possession of burglary tools, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest, battery of a spouse/ex-spouse, and stalking.
Johnson denied being violent with any of his partners, Klingerman and Rasmussen included. “I never touched any of them in my life or even threatened them, ever,” he told the Daily Dot.
Johnson denied that he raped Raihl.
Johnson also denied faking the injuries Klingerman and Rasmussen accused him of faking. Johnson admitted to having at least one fake ID after learning the identity of his birth father. He said he was in the process of legally changing his last name to that of his biological dad and decided to get an ID to reflect his parentage.
When speaking of the documents Klingerman and Rasmussen accused him of faking, Johnson said “that never happened.”
Johnson said he “moved away,” had “about 50 mental breakdowns,” saw two psychologists, and medicated himself after the women released their book. He said he then found out about their podcast. He said he is unable to publicly deny the women’s allegations since he is in jail.
“I couldn’t even respond. … I can’t even go online or say this isn’t true,” he said.
‘We came together… to protect other women’
Because of their shared experience, Rasmussen and Klingerman centered their podcast on similar stories of spousal betrayal. The duo, who hail from the Pacific Northwest, were first interviewed by the Portland news outlet KOIN about their series.
They ultimately decided to tell their story, and release Johnson’s name as a means of protecting women, especially after Klingerman’s sister was murdered in an unrelated instance of domestic abuse.
“We came together … to protect other women and protect my young daughter, and then it really took off when we lost my sister Jessica this past May due to an act of domestic violence,” Klingerman told KOIN.
Rasmussen said she didn’t decide to “team up” with Klingerman until after she divorced her now-ex. “What we uncovered together because she had some information and I had some information … was even more than we ever expected. It’s just crazy, crazy stuff,” Rasmussen told KOIN.
They said they have since been getting “messages from women all over the world … saying, ‘Oh my gosh. I went through something similar.'”
Rasmussen and Klingerman also released a book featuring their story.
Raihl said she will continue to advocate for people who are victims of domestic abuse regardless of their sex and gender and is continually working on her own path of healing.
This story has been updated to note Johnson denied sexually assaulting Raihl.
If you are a victim of sexual assault or want more information on sexual assault, contact the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
Today’s top stories
|‘Fill her up’: Bartender gives woman a glass of water when the man she’s with orders tequila shot|
|‘I don’t think my store has even sold one’: Whataburger employees take picture with first customer who bought a burger box|
|‘It was a template used by anyone in the company’: Travel agent’s ‘condescending’ out-of-office email reply sparks debate|
|Sign up to receive the Daily Dot’s Internet Insider newsletter for urgent news from the frontline of online.|