LOS ANGELES — Gay porn star Jarec Wentworth will face federal weapons charges, possibly adding 15 years in prison if convicted on numerous extortion counts, a judge ruled today.
Wentworth, who wasn't present in court today for a pretrial hearing, had asked the court to dismiss the seventh count in his indictment on extortion charges. That count stemmed from evidence that he possessed a Magnum 357 revolver along with six rounds of ammunition at time of his arrest.
His counsel had asked for the count to be dismissed on the grounds that the crime of attempted extortion is not a “crime of violence.”
However, U.S. District Judge John F. Walter, in his order today, disagreed.
“The main risk of extortion by wrongful use of fear (or by nonviolent threat) arises from the possibility of a face-to-face confrontation between the extortionist and the victim or other third party,” Walter ruled. “Attempted extortion poses the same kind of risk, and may even pose a greater risk than completed extortion.
“Indeed, violence may be more likely to arise in an attempted extortion, where the extortionist does not actually obtain the property he seeks or when the attempt ‘is thwarted by some outside intervenor.’”
Wentworth, who has worked on SeanCody.com and Men.com productions, was accused of extorting $500,000 and an Audi R8 worth $180,000 from an individual only identified in court papers as "D.B." by threatening to expose his sexual liaisons on Twitter.
D.B. — reportedly multimillionaire Magic Jack exec Donald Burns — told the FBI that Wentworth later increased his demands, asking for $1 million in cash, a motorcycle and a two-bedroom condo in Los Angeles.
Days later, FBI agents posed as D.B.'s associates to meet 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 Wentworth 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.
Yim also gave federal agents permission to search the vehicle where the gun and ammunition were found.
Wentworth stands charge on seven counts under a first superseding indictment, including transmitting threatening communications with 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.
Wentworth, who wasn’t granted bail, currently is housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown Los Angeles. His trial is set to begin on Tuesday, July 7.