Extortion Trial Begins Tuesday for Jarec Wentworth
LOS ANGELES — The trial for gay porn star Jarec Wentworth, who faces a multicount indictment on federal extortion charges, gets underway Tuesday morning.
Wentworth currently is being housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on the charges and later denied bail.
Wentworth in March was accused of extorting $500,000 and an Audi R8 worth $180,000 from an individual identified as "D.B." by threatening to expose his "sexual liaisons" on his @jarecwentworth Twitter account.
Published reports have outed the alleged extortion victim as Donald Burns, a multimillionaire executive with MagicJack, the consumer telephone service.
In a superseding indictment handed down just recently, Wentworth has been formally charged with seven federal offenses, including single and multiple counts of transmitting threatening communications with the intent to extort, extortion and attempted extortion affecting interstate commerce by nonviolent threat, receiving proceeds of extortion, use of an interstate facility to facilitate an unlawful activity and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
In a memo to the court, federal prosecutors estimate that they will call seven to eight witnesses in no more than two days to present its case, not including jury selection.
“Should defendant offer witnesses in his defense, the government also may choose to call rebuttal witnesses,” prosecutors said in the memo.
And that surely might be the case.
Wentworth’s counsel is expected to unload its own ammunition — rape and underage prostitution allegations — to complicate the prosecution’s case.
“Defendant has made several allegations about the victim, namely, that the victim raped him and has solicited sex with minors,” prosecutors said. “To date, the government has found no evidence supporting either of these allegations, and has moved to exclude defendant’s rape allegation.”
According to prosecutors, the extortion victim, D.B., will offer testimony in court.
The prosecutors’ case, however, is largely built on the numerous text messages found on mobile phones of Wentworth and D.B., as well as testimony from a law enforcement agent about the extraction of evidence from defendant’s phone; telephone audio recordings; and bank records.
According to court records, D.B. asked for the FBI to get involved in the alleged extortion after he was initially fleeced out of $500,000 and the Audi.
Wentworth, who has credits with Men.com and Sean Cody, allegedly later increased his demands to D.B., asking for $1 million in cash, a motorcycle and a two-bedroom condo in Los Angeles.
As days went by, FBI agents, who acted as D.B.'s associates, arranged a meeting with Wentworth at an El Segundo, Calif., Starbucks to hand over cash and title to the Audi.
At the Starbucks, Wentworth was arrested and placed in handcuffs by at least three FBI agents.
Federal agents later discovered that the gay porn star had an acquaintance accompanying him at Starbucks, awaiting in a late-model Ford Focus.
That individual, Etienne Yim, claimed he did not actively assist in the alleged extortion scheme, but admitted that he knew of it.
Wentworth’s criminal trial begins at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday before Judge John F. Walter at federal court in Los Angeles.