2 charged in Cruise extortion scheme

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – Two men were charged with plotting to extort more than $1 million from Tom Cruise for the actor’s stolen wedding photographs, federal authorities announced Friday.

David Hans Schmidt, known for brokering deals involving compromising celebrity photos and videos, was charged with sending communications for purposes of extortion, according to a criminal complaint.

Marc Lewis Gittleman, who authorities say helped recover photos from a computer disk, was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion, the complaint said.

Schmidt, 47, was arrested by federal agents Tuesday, while Gittleman, 33, was taken into custody Thursday.

Schmidt allegedly approached Cruise’s representatives about six weeks ago with photos from the actor’s Italian wedding last year to Katie Holmes, the actor’s attorney, Bertram Fields, has said.

The FBI was then contacted.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Schmidt or Gittleman had retained attorneys.

AP-ES-07-27-07 2023EDT

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