62-year-old pleads guilty in Paula Deen extortion case - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

62-year-old pleads guilty in Paula Deen extortion case

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Thomas George Paculis Thomas George Paculis

A New York man pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen.

Thomas George Paculis, 62, faces a maximum possible sentence of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Court records filed last week say Paculis, of Newfield, N.Y., signed a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Authorities say Paculis contacted Deen's attorney threatening to reveal damaging statements by the former Food Network star unless she paid him $200,000. That happened after documents became public that showed Deen acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Paula Deen controversy

Click here to see documents related to the lawsuit against Paula Deen and her brother.

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