Writer won't be charged for extortion

NEW YORK, Jan. 24 (UPI) -- Former New York Post gossip writer Jared Stern won't be charged for allegedly trying to extort a California billionaire, the writer's attorney said.

Stern, a long-time contributor to the newspaper's Page Six, allegedly tried to extort $220,000 from Ron Burkle -- managing partner of Yucaipa Cos., a Los Angeles investment firm -- in exchange for managing coverage about Burkle that appeared in the column, New York Daily News said.


Federal officials had considered prosecuting Stern on extortion and other charges since the Page Six scandal surrounding gifts and other "freebies" last year.

"I've been notified by the U.S. attorney that they're not going forward against Jared Stern," Stern's lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said.

Conversations about the purported request occurred during two meetings in New York and were videotaped by Burkle as part of a sting operation monitored by law enforcement officials.

A source close to the criminal investigation said Stern was not charged because he never threatened Burkle if he didn't pay, the Daily News said.

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