Man charged with trying to extort money from Paula Deen to appear in court
Celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on the ‘Today’ show on June 26, 2013 in New York. Deen dissolved into tears during the interview Wednesday about her admission that she used a racial slur in the past. (NBC/Peter Kramer)
Published Friday, August 9, 2013 6:22AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, August 9, 2013 12:53PM EDT
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- A New York man charged with trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen is scheduled to appear before a federal judge to change his plea.
Thomas George Paculis was to appear Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Savannah, where he pleaded not guilty during his last hearing in July.
Court records filed last week say 62-year-old Paculis of Newfield, N.Y., has signed a plea agreement with prosecutors. But details haven't been released.
Prosecutors and Paculis' defence attorney have declined to comment.
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.