George Paculis, 62, of Newfield, N.Y., was released on bail Friday after FBI agents and deputies from the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office arrested him in Ithaca, the FBI said in a release.
Paculis allegedly sent an email to Deen's lawyer June 24 asking for $250,000 in exchange for keeping quiet about information he had regarding her use of the "N-word," which she admitted she used to describe a black man in a May deposition, CNN reported.
Deen gave the deposition in response to a lawsuit from Lisa Jackson, who alleged Deen discriminated against her when she worked at Deen's restaurants The Lady and Sons and Uncle Bubba's Oyster House.
"The statements are true and damning enough that the case for Jackson will be won on it's merit alone," Paculis wrote as quoted by the criminal complaint. "As always ... there is a price for such confirmation.
"You can contact me here if you feel it is necessary," he added, referring to his email address. "Or I can go public and we will see what happens then."
Paculis is scheduled to appear July 16 in federal court in Savannah, Ga., where the complaint was filed, ABC News reported.