Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Stevie Wonder blackmail plea deal

Two people tried to extort millions of dollars from Stevie Wonder
Two people tried to extort millions of dollars from Stevie Wonder

Two people charged with trying to extort millions of dollars from singer Stevie Wonder have pleaded no contest, Los Angeles prosecutors said.

The district attorney's office said Alpha Walker - Wonder's cousin - and Tamara Diaz were sentenced to serve 292 days in jail, which amounted to time-served and both were released within hours.

Walker was arrested in May after trying to market a video he had made making salacious allegations against the singer. Wonder's lawyer and police set up a sting after Walker allegedly sought up to five million dollars (£3 million) for the video.

Walker's lawyer Ian Wallach said the plea deal was reached after prosecutors encountered difficulty with the case.

Both will remain on probation for three years, but their charges can be reduced to misdemeanours.

A judge ordered the pair to stand trial in July after a preliminary hearing in which a police detective described the video as an 80-minute rant against Wonder.

Portions of it were filmed in the former home of the singer's late mother, which is now dilapidated, and it also shows Wonder's son, whom the musician is protective of.

Mr Wallach had maintained his client was innocent and that he had a constitutional right to make and market the video. Diaz is Walker's girlfriend and was present during a police sting that involved Wonder's lawyer and led to the pair's arrest.

The Los Angeles District Attorney's Office said both were ordered to stay away from Wonder and his associates while on probation.

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Sagittarius:

Family matters occupy most of your attention. It's important to attend to domestic chores if you're going to be comfortable. Take this opportunity to straighten up, stock the pantry and prepare some meals for the week ahead. You've always had a restless nature. Easing your anxieties can be as simple as creating a comfortable household. If you're busy at work, think about hiring someone to clean once a week. Treat the expense as an investment in your happiness.More