Client, lawyer charged with extortion over settlement talks

The lawyer is a prominent figure in Orange County, Calif. politics. As usual, the tricky part comes in distinguishing between actual extortion and the way lawyers are often known to behave in ordinary, garden-variety settlement talks [Newport Beach Daily Pilot via ABA Journal]


  • Maybe these two should stop doing business together.

  • What’s the basis for charging extortion rather than blackmail? In most jurisdictions, extortion requires a threat to commit a criminal act. Revealing damaging information may be a tort but is not generally a crime.

  • As near as I can tell, Bill Poser, blackmail is the threat to reveal substantially true information about another person. To demand money by threatening to publish substantially false information could be criminal extortion even in places where libel itself isn’t a crime. I can understand why a state would treat citizens defaming each other as a civil matter between them but treat the demand for money through threat of libel as a criminal shakedown.