According to TMZ, officials have begun investigation into the extortion claims by Mel Gibson against his ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. Gibson claims that he has hard evidence of Grigorieva trying to extort him for money with the threat of releasing the audio recordings of a phone conversation between the two. The audio recordings may have indicated that Gibson committed domestic violence by punching Grigorieva and knocking out two of her teeth. Gibson is alleging that Grigorieva threatened to release the audio recordings if Gibson did not agree to pay her a sum of money.
Under California Penal Code Section 518-519, extortion is the obtaining of property from another, with his consent, or the obtaining of an official act of a public officer, induced by a wrongful use of force or fear, or under color of official right.
Fear, such as will constitute extortion, may be induced by a threat, either:
1. To do an unlawful injury to the person or property of the individual threatened or of a third person; or,
2. To accuse the individual threatened, or any relative of his, or member of his family, of any crime; or,
3. To expose, or to impute to him or them any deformity, disgrace or crime; or,
4. To expose any secret affecting him or them.
Every person who extorts any money or other property from another, under circumstances not amounting to robbery or carjacking, by means of force, or any threat, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for two, three or four years. See California Penal Code Section 520.
Attempting to extort money or other property from another is also a crime and considered to be a “wobbler.” This means that the prosecution has discretion to charge the crime as a misdemeanor or a felony. A misdemeanor conviction is punishable by imprisonment in county jail for up to one year. A felony conviction is punishable by up to three years in state prison. A fine can also be issued for up to ten thousand dollars ($10,000). See California Penal Code Section 524.
If you or a loved one is facing a charge for extortion, it is important that you speak with an experienced extortion attorney. At Wallin & Klarich, our Southern California extortion attorneys have over 30 years of experience. We will aggressively fight to get you the best possible result. Call us today at (888) 280-6839 or contact us through our website at www.wklaw.com. We will be there when you call.