Stevie Wonder videotape case: Couple pleads no contest to attempted extortion
Alpha Lorenzo Walker, who had said he was a nephew of Stevie Wonder and had threatened to release an "embarrassing" mystery video to the tabloids, has pleaded no contest to attempting to extort the singer.
The man and his accomplice and girlfriend, Tamara Eileen Diaz, who are both 38, both entered their pleas at a Los Angeles court on Monday, September 24 and were sentenced to 292 days in county jail. The charge had been amended from extortion to attempted distortion. Diaz had "falsely claimed" he was Wonder's nephew, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com.
Walker was also ordered to attend mental health treatments for at least two times a week, while Diaz must complete 78 Narcotics Anonymous classes at least three times a week. They were also ordered to stay away from Wonder, 62,. They were already on probation for past unrelated crimes Walker has an unrelated past felony conviction of grand theft auto, while Diaz was convicted of a narcotics violation.
The two were arrested on May 2 and had originally pleaded not guilty in a preliminary hearing in June. According to court documents obtained by OnTheRedCarpet.com, Wonder's lawyer, William Briggs, told police that on March 27, he received a voice mail from Diaz that was intended for the singer.
Briggs says Wonder believed her phone number was connected to Walker, who he called a relative and had, according to him, made "various threats" towards him in the past. Briggs called the number and spoke with Walker, who told him that he had a video. The lawyer asked for the tape to be delivered via a messenger. Diaz called Brigg's office and asked how to get to it. She and Walker arrived later that afternoon and waited in the lobby.
Briggs sent a man who works at his office, Dominic Urias, to retrieve the tape but Walker refused to hand it to him, saying he was not allowed to view its "unauthorized" content. Urias relayed this to Briggs and was told to tell Walker to hand over the video or leave the building.
Walker then threatened to release the tape to the tabloids, saying that the lawyer had a "one-time opportunity" to view it. He said it was worth $20 million but that he would demand $10 million from Wonder in exchange for keeping it under wraps.
Urias told this to Briggs, while Walker and Diaz left the building. Briggs' assistant called their phone number and Diaz answered and requested that the lawyer meet them at a nearby Coffee Bean. Briggs complied and they screened the video for him on a portable DVD player. He also recorded their entire meeting.
Walker then lowered his price to $5 million. When asked why he did so, he told Briggs: "Because this is embarrassing and [Wonder] is not going to want the world to know," according to court papers. He also threatened to release it to the tabloids again
Wonder met with detectives on April 14. He said that if the videotape was released, the contents "would be hurtful, embarrassing and detrimental" to him and his family. The singer is married to second wife, fashion designer Kai Millard Morris and has seven children from two marriages and other relationships.
Briggs called Walker a few days later and he lowered his price to $500,000. Briggs said he would discuss the matter with Wonder.
(Pictured above: Stevie Wonder performs on the season 1 finale of the FOX show "The X Factor" on Dec. 22, 2011. Credit: Ray Mickshaw / FOX)