An attorney and a talent agent have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to extort $30,000 from KTLA and its news anchorwoman, Jann Carl.
Los Angeles police said Wednesday that talent agent Gilbert Cabot, 42, told Carl that he had access to sexually explicit video tapes that "would discredit her" and that he would make sure they "got lost" in return for the cash payment.
Carl could not be reached Wednesday. But Jeff Wald, news director at the independent Hollywood television station, said there are no such video tapes. And police spokesman Fred Nixon said investigators have no evidence of the tapes.
Released on Bail
Cabot was arrested Monday at the Sunset Boulevard offices of his company, Communication Arts Inc. Westside attorney Maurice J. Attie, 48, surrendered to police later Monday, Nixon said. Both men were booked at Parker Center on one count each of suspicion of extortion and suspicion of conspiracy to extort, Nixon said. Both were released on bail.
Reached at his law office, Attie said "I have absolutely nothing to hide," but he declined to make any further comment on the advice of his attorney.
Cabot could not be reached Wednesday.
Police would not say what the relationship was between Cabot and Attie, or how Attie was connected to the alleged extortion attempt.
Cabot was identified by police as the man who made the tapes-for-cash offer to Carl.
The unusual case began about three months ago, when Carl received a call from Cabot, Nixon said.
The arrests were made after an eight-week joint investigation by the FBI and police.
Carl has been co-anchor of KTLA's 10 p.m. newscast since December. Earlier, she was on KABC-TV's "Eye on LA" program.
Nixon said investigators "are looking at the possibility that there are other victims."
Cabot once surfaced as the producer who signed Wrong-Way Michael Lewis--a college student who, in 1985, mistakenly took an airliner to Auckland, New Zealand, instead of his home in Oakland. Lewis later claimed that he was victimized by Cabot, who paid him no up-front money for the rights to his story.
Cabot was sentenced to six years in state prison in 1980 for grand theft and writing checks with insufficient funds after trial testimony indicated that Cabot represented himself as a producer of the television show "Charley's Angels."
In a subsequent hearing in which Cabot's appeal of the sentencing was denied, the judge said of him: "All he has ever done is preyed upon people for his own good and never fulfilled any of the obligations that he has set out to do."