Entertainment & Arts

Stevie Wonder blackmail case: Pair plead no contest

Stevie Wonder performs during in the East Room of the White House in Washington 9 May 2012 file photo
Image caption Stevie Wonder has won 22 Grammy Awards during his career

A couple who tried to extort millions of dollars from Stevie Wonder have pleaded no contest and been sentenced to 292 days in prison in Los Angeles.

But Alpha Walker and his girlfriend Tamara Diaz were released after being sentenced, having already served their time since they were arrested in May.

Walker was accused of making a video that he said would make the singer "extremely" embarrassed.

He tried to blackmail the star for up to $5m (£3m), Wonder's lawyer said.

At a preliminary hearing, a police detective described the video as an 80-minute rant against Wonder.

It was said to feature the dilapidated home of Wonder's dead mother and to show Wonder's son, of whom the musician is protective.

A plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt but means the defendant does not contest the charges.

Walker had previously maintained his innocence and his solicitor Ian Wallach had claimed that he had a constitutional right to make and market the video.

A sting operation involving Wonder's solicitor led to the pair's arrest.

Wallach said a deal was reached after prosecutors encountered trouble proving the extortion case, according to the Associated Press news agency.

He added that the charges were eligible to be reduced to misdemeanours and expunged later if the pair comply with the terms of their release.

Walker and Diaz were both ordered to spend three years on probation and told to stay away from the singer and his associates.

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