Stevie Wonder videotape case: Relative, woman accused of extortion appear in court
Alpha Lorenzo Walker, a relative of Stevie Wonder, and his girlfriend, Tamara Eileen Diaz, are facing charges of alleged extortion in a case involving a mystery videotape that the singer has deemed "embarrassing."
The two, who are 38 years old, appeared in a Los Angeles court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing. Wonder, 62, was not present. Walker and Diaz have pleaded not gulty to the charges.
Los Angeles authorities have been investigating the case since April. 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, 48, 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.
Walker is currently on probation for an unrelated felony conviction of grand theft auto. Diaz is also on probation - for a felony conviction for a narcotics violation. The two were arrested on May 2.
During Tuesday's hearing, a judge ordered Walker and Diaz to appear at another preliminary hearing on July 12. The two are being held without bail due to possible probation violations.
(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)