Michigan couple convicted in John Stamos extortion trial
A man and woman accused of attempting to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos in 2004 were convicted Thursday in a U.S. District Court in Michigan, CNN reports, and face up to nine years each in prison.
Prosecutors said Allison Coss and Scott Sippola had threatened to sell to a magazine allegedly compromising pictures of Stamos doing cocaine with a pair of strippers; when the FBI searched the couple's home, no such photos were found. Stamos had maintained that no pictures existed because nothing inappropriate had happened during a 2004 trip to Orlando, Fla., where he met Coss.
Stamos bounced back with a statement Thursday, made via his Twitter account, that read, in part:
"I am shocked and perplexed how individuals could fabricate so many false stories in an effort to defend a crime. ... These slanderous allegations to smear my reputation were part of their defense to redirect attention away from the federal crime of extortion. There was no hot tub, no drugs, no nudity and nothing sexual in nature involved in my friendship with this woman. They lied about everything from a pregnancy to compromising photos.
"I'm grateful these two criminals have been found guilty and I plan to go home to be with my family and friends and prepare to get back to work."
Stamos was visiting the Walt Disney World Resort area with friends in 2004, in the wake of his split from wife Rebecca Romijn. The FBI set up a sting operation after Stamos' attorney contacted the agency in November 2009 about the extortion attempt.
Coss and Sippola were arrested in December, and convicted after about five hours of jury deliberation. They'll be sentenced Oct. 8.
-- Christie D'Zurilla
Photo: John Stamos greets fans Wednesday outside the federal courthouse in Marquette, Mich., during the trial of two people charged with trying to extort money from him. Credit: John Flesher / Associated Press
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