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Dismissal Sought in Threat Case

Prosecutors move to drop charge against man in incident involving a Times reporter.

March 01, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Federal prosecutors moved Friday to dismiss an indictment charging a Southern California man with threatening a Los Angeles Times reporter who was researching the relationship between actor Steven Seagal and a reputed Mafia associate.

Authorities charged that in June, Alexander Proctor, 59, left a dead fish with a rose in its mouth on reporter Anita Busch's car, punctured her window and attached a cardboard sign with the word "STOP".

She told authorities she thought the incident was related to her research on an article about Seagal and a former producing partner.

Originally, prosecutors charged that Proctor's alleged actions amounted to interfering with interstate commerce by threats of violence, a violation of the federal Hobbs Act.

But this week, the Supreme Court ruled in another case that the Hobbs Act applies only when force is used to obtain property.

But even as they asked for a dismissal of the indictment against Proctor, prosecutors filed a criminal complaint Friday charging the ex-convict with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

If convicted under the new complaint, he faces up to five years in prison. Some of the evidence for the new charge was uncovered during the investigation of the alleged threats.

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