Romanian Princess: I Ran Cockfighting Ring

Irina Walker, husband plead guilty to running illegal gambling operation

By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2014 8:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – "Romanian princess" and "cockfighting" probably aren’t the two terms you were expecting to hear together today, but Irina Walker just made that happen—again. The 61-year-old daughter of the last king of Romania and her husband, John, pleaded guilty yesterday to running an illegal gambling operation from their Oregon ranch. The admission came as part of a government deal in which charges of animal fighting and conspiracy to violate the animal welfare act were dropped, the AP reports. The princess admitted to profiting from what authorities say were at least 10 rooster "derbies" that she and her husband hosted in which the birds fought to the death with sharp knives strapped to their legs. "I provided food and beverage, your honor, and the location," she said in court.

Prosecutors alleged the husband-and-wife team made a pretty penny from the operation: They charged 100 or so spectators a $20 cover and kept profits from alcohol sales, according to the Oregonian. Irina also attempted to make food to sell to the crowd, but prosecutors said attendees deemed her offerings “unacceptable”; the Walkers then commissioned a Mexican woman to make tacos (they reportedly let her keep her concession cash after charging her a fee). The Walkers are set to be sentenced in October, with an expected government recommendation for the duo to pony up $200,000 from their cockfighting proceeds and get three years of probation, says the AP.

In the image taken Oct. 24, 2011, John Wesley Walker, left, and his wife Princess Irina of Romania, center left, Alexander Phillips Nixon, center right, and Princess Elena of Romania attend the opening of an exhibition in Bucharest.
In the image taken Oct. 24, 2011, John Wesley Walker, left, and his wife Princess Irina of Romania, center left, Alexander Phillips Nixon, center right, and Princess Elena of Romania attend the opening...   (AP Photo/Razan Chirita/Mediafax)
An Aug. 16, 2013, booking photo shows Irina Walker, said to have run an illegal gambling business in connection with a cockfighting enterprise in eastern Oregon.
An Aug. 16, 2013, booking photo shows Irina Walker, said to have run an illegal gambling business in connection with a cockfighting enterprise in eastern Oregon.   (AP Photo/Multnomah County Sheriff, File)
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