Prosecutors reject extortion case involving Mel Gibson
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department spent months looking into whether Gibson hit ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva and launched a separate but related probe into whether someone tried to extort money from Gibson.
Gibson pleaded no contest Wednesday to a single misdemeanor count of domestic violence and as part of the agreement with prosecutors will receive no jail time.
According to prosecutors, the alleged extortion attempt took place March 15, 2010, but they did not provide additional details about what transpired.
"There is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime of attempted extortion was committed," prosecutors said in a sentence that described their reasoning for rejecting the case.
Last year, L.A. County sheriff's detectives began investigating allegations by Grigorieva that Gibson hurt her and their child and expanded that inquiry to include allegations that Grigorieva tried to extort money from him in connection with a series of taped phone calls and allegations of domestic abuse.
The extortion investigation centered around audio clips released by Radar Online in which Gibson told Grigorieva that she "deserved" to be hit.
Gibson also uses derogatory terms for women, Latinos and African Americans in the recording made without the "Lethal Weapon" star's permission.
In California, both parties must consent to have a phone conversation recorded. Under normal circumstances, legal experts said, that would make the Gibson tapes unusable in court and their recording potentially a crime.
Photo: Mel Gibson photographed at Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica on Jan. 16, 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times