Cruise extortionist sentenced to two years probation

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Washington, Jan 11 : A man who attempted to extort 1.3 million dollars from Tom Cruise in exchange for stolen wedding photographs of the actor and his wife Katie Holmes was sentenced to two years probation on Jan10.

Marc Lewis Gittleman, who pleaded guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion, has also been fined 3,000 dollars.

The 34-year-old computer technician told the court he was sorry.

"I brought unimaginable shame upon myself and my family. I'll be working the rest of my life to make it right," E! Online quoted Gittleman, as saying.

Gittleman lawyer described the crime as 'an impulsive act' that showed 'colossal bad judgment.'

U.S. District Judge George King and attorneys for both sides agreed that a prison sentence was not needed.

Gittleman obtained thousands of pictures from a damaged hard drive that was brought to his workplace by a photographer.

He then contacted David Hans Schmidt, a celebrity-photo peddler who was known for his exploits extracting money from famous people, and e-mailed Cruise demanding 1.3 million dollars to keep the pictures private.

The actor's reps called authorities, who promptly took Schmidt and Gittelman into custody.

Schmidt pleaded guilty to transmitting threatening communications with intent to extort. He committed suicide in September.

ANI

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