Nov 15, 2009
Man charged over Cindy Crawford extortion bid
Nov 15, 2009
LOS ANGELES, Nov 12, 2009 (AFP) - A German man has been charged with attempting to extort 100,000 dollars from Cindy Crawford over a photo showing the former supermodel's daughter gagged and bound to a chair, federal prosecutors said Thursday 12 November.
The US Attorney's Office in Los Angeles said 26-year-old Edis Kayalar -- who was recently deported to Germany -- had threatened to distribute the photograph to media unless Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber gave him the money.
The photo was apparently taken by the couple's former nanny and shows the girl, then seven, tied to a chair wearing shorts and a T-shirt, according to court papers.
The girl told her parents, who were unaware of the image, that the nanny had taken the photograph as part of a "cops and robbers" game, according to an affidavit filed in the case.
Kayalar, a friend of the nanny, took possession of the photo and threatened Crawford and Gerber with its release unless they met his demands, officials said.
The German national, a professional model according to entertainment site TMZ.com, has been charged with one count of extortion, which carries a maximum sentence of two years.
Crawford and her husband reported the extortion attempt as soon as Kayalar approached them, authorities said, triggering an FBI investigation.
Crawford's publicist, Annett Wolf, issued a statement saying the couple supported the charges against Kayalar.
"Rande Gerber and Cindy Crawford intend to pursue any and all available legal action against anyone who aids the perpetrator in the distribution or sale of the photograph of their daughter," the statement said.
Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the US Attorney's Office, said US prosecutors were "in contact with Germany authorities concerning the matter."
Crawford and Gerber have been married since 1998 and have two children together.
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