The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

August 12, 2013

NY man pleads guilty in Paula Deen extortion case

(Continued)

"I thought that would make this more legal," Paculis said, though he also acknowledged: "I did try to take money from her."

A spokeswoman for Deen, Elana Weiss, did not immediately return a phone call and email message seeking comment.

Paculis faces up to two years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine after pleading guilty to one count of using interstate communications to try to extort money. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped a second count of the same charge.

No sentencing date has been set, though the judge said it will likely be in several months. He allowed Paculis to remain free on $10,000 bond and return to New York, but he'll have to submit to electronic monitoring.

Moore is also the presiding judge in the civil lawsuit against Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, by a former employee. Lisa Jackson sued them last year for sexual harassment and discrimination, saying she was surrounded by sexual innuendo and racial slurs when she managed Uncle Bubba's Seafood and Oyster House, owned by Deen and her brother.

The Food Network and others dropped their business dealings with Deen in June after her legal deposition in the case became public. Answering questions under oath from Jackson's lawyer, Deen said she had used the N-word in the past. She insisted "it's been a very long time."

FBI agent Brad Snider testified that Paculis first contacted Deen's attorney June 24, just five days after the first news reports on Deen's deposition. The lawyer contacted the FBI, which directed him to stay in touch with Paculis as agents monitored their email and recorded their phone calls. Authorities say Paculis also emailed Jackson's attorney, trying to see if he would pay more for information than Deen's lawyer would for Paculis' silence.

Text Only
AP story section
  • Iraq violence threatens OPEC's precarious balance NEW YORK (AP) -- The oil market has balanced out quite nicely for OPEC in recent years. Now, upheaval in Iraq shows that balance may be more precarious than it has seemed. Dramatic changes in oil production around the globe have offset each other ins

    June 13, 2014

  • Board of Trade Grain mixed, livestock mostly higher CHICAGO (AP) -- Grain futures were mixed Thursday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for July delivery was 1 cent higher at $5.9025 a bushel; July corn was 1.25 cents lower at $4.4075 a bushel; July oats were unchanged at $3.4625 a

    June 13, 2014

  • Health campaign among nation's costliest CHICAGO -- President Barack Obama's home state agreed to spend $33 million in federal money promoting his health care law, hiring a high-priced public relations firm for work that initially was mocked and spending far more per enrollee on television

    June 13, 2014

  • Some states roll back teacher tenure protections WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even before a judge's scathing ruling against California's teacher tenure policies, the once-sacred protections that make it harder to fire teachers already had been weakened in many states -- and even removed altogether in some pl

    June 13, 2014

  • Tigers' Scherzer outduels Sale CHICAGO -- Max Scherzer already has a Cy Young Award. Now he has a complete game. Scherzer tossed a three-hitter in his 179th career start for his first complete game and Victor Martinez hit his 16th homer to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 4-0 win over

    June 13, 2014

  • $40M casino for rural Iowa approved BURLINGTON (AP) -- The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has voted 3-2 to grant a license for a $40 million casino development that would be located in rural central Iowa. Supporters of the Jefferson casino burst into applause during a meeting in Bur

    June 13, 2014

  • Principal case leads to two hearings RED OAK -- Two hearings are planned related to a southwest Iowa school district's plan to fire a high school principal. The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reported the effort to fire Red Oak High School Principal Jedd Sherman will be the subject of a

    June 13, 2014

  • U.S. split outgrows voting booth WASHINGTON (AP) -- Political polarization in America has broken out of the voting booth. A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds Americans are divided by ideology and partisanship not only when they cast ballots, but also in choosing where to

    June 13, 2014

  • Cubs' offense no help for Samardzija PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Samardzija has some advice his pitching brethren when it comes to facing streaking Andrew McCutchen. Don't. The way the Chicago Cubs' ace looks at it, trying to get the Pittsburgh Pirates' star out at the moment only opens yourself

    June 13, 2014

  • State to reopen Juvenile Home DES MOINES -- A district court judge on Wednesday ordered the state to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home, telling Gov. Terry Branstad he cannot unilaterally change a law approved by the state Legislature. Judge Scott Rosenberg said the home in Toledo was

    February 6, 2014

AP Video
Facebook
National News