Jarec Wentworth Found Guilty
LOS ANGELES — Gay porn star Jarec Wentworth was found guilty today on all six felony counts stemming from an extortion plot involving multimillionaire MagicJack exec Donald Burns.
Wentworth was found guilty of transmitting threatening communications with the extent to extort; two counts of extortion and attempted extortion affecting interstate commerce by nonviolence threat; use of an interstate facility to facilitate an unlawful activity; and two counts of receiving proceeds of extortion.
Wentworth, 25, faces up to nine years in prison. Jurors at Los Angeles federal court spent no more than three hours deciding the case.
The 14-person jury was comprised of 11 women and three men; two were alternates.
The prosecution's case was largely built on the numerous text messages found on mobile phones of Wentworth and Burns, as well as testimony from a law enforcement agent about the extraction of evidence from Wentworth’s phone, telephone audio recordings and bank records.
In testimony this week, Burns admitted to giving Wentworth money to have sex with him at least four times. He also said he gave him $1,500 to $2,500 every time the gay porn actor introduced him to other male models and performers.
"It was partly a coping mechanism from the loss of my long-term relationship," Burns said in court when asked why he had paid Wentworth to hook him up.
During opening statements on Tuesday, a federal prosecutor said that Burns had a "taste for young men.” The prosecutor told jurors that Burns flew out performers to and from the sexual trysts and offered referral fees to Wentworth, a former Men.com and Sean Cody performer.
Burns met Wentworth in 2013 when he considered investing in the gay porn industry, but two years later Burns told the FBI that he was the victim of a shakedown after Wentworth allegedly threatened to go public about his sexual interests on Twitter.
At the time, Burns had already paid Wentworth $500,000 and gave him an Audi R8 worth $180,000. Wentworth, however, demanded more, including a Los Angeles apartment and cash.
Wentworth told Burns in a text message that he could "bring your house down" if he didn’t deliver more.
Burns, who resides in Florida, is worth $140 million. In addition to his slot as chairman of MagicJack, he was a co-founder of the Telco Communications Group and heads the Donald A. Burns Foundation.
In March, FBI agents, who acted as Burns’ associates, arranged a meeting with Wentworth at an El Segundo, Calif., Starbucks to hand over cash and title to the Audi. Wentworth later was arrested and placed in handcuffs by FBI agents, who later found a gun and ammunition in a backpack in his car.
Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 21, according to the clerk of the court. Wentworth is currently housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles.