Gay Porn Actor’s|Extortion Trial Begins

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – A criminal trial of a gay porn actor accused of extorting a wealthy businessman with demands for a sports car, condo and $1.5 million begins Tuesday in Federal Court.
     Teofil Brank, who performs as Jarec Wentworth, was charged in March with extortion and making criminal threats after the FBI arrested him in a sting operation at a Starbucks parking lot in El Segundo.
     According to an FBI agent’s March 6 affidavit , Brank extorted his victim, D.B., and threatened to ruin his reputation by posting sexually explicit photos on Twitter.
     According to court filings, the businessman, who successfully moved to have his identity kept secret until trial, had a relationship with Brank, who helped him find gay porn stars to pay for sex.
     Brank, dressed in a white jail uniform and green T-shirt, Brank was present in custody for a final status conference Monday before trial begins in U.S. District Judge John Walter’s courtroom.
     At the Monday afternoon hearing, Judge Walter granted Brank’s motion to dismiss count seven of the government’s first superseding indictment. Walter found that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month in Johnson v. United States, Brank’s attempted extortion of D.B. was not a crime of violence.
     The judge denied Brank’s motion to dismiss counts of extortion and attempted extortion affecting interstate commerce by nonviolent threat.
     Judge Walter appeared to allude to the mystery surrounding the alleged victim when he told Brank’s attorney to submit a list of witnesses.
     “Finally, all this secrecy is going to evaporate,” Walter said in court.
     Prosecutors say Brank made demands on his victim via text message from his smartphone after posting comments aimed at D.B. on Twitter.
     In response, D.B. allegedly agreed to wire $500,000 to Brank, and gave up his Audi R8 sports car.
     D.B. went to the FBI, telling them that Brank was continuing to make demands.
     As D.B. met with agents at an FBI office, Brank upped the ante, asking via text message for $1 million in cash and a bachelor pad in L.A., according to the agent’s affidavit.
     The FBI sent an undercover agent posing as a courier for D.B. to meet with Brank inside the Starbucks on March 4, prosecutors say.
     After handing over title to the Audi, the agent led Brank to a car in the parking lot, telling him he had the money in the trunk. Brank was then arrested and handcuffed.
     Brank’s associate Etienne Yim was waiting in the parking lot in a Ford hatchback after Brank’s arrest, prosecutors say. He allegedly told agents that Brank had asked him to bring a gun to the meeting for protection.
     Agents found a Colt Magnum revolver, six rounds of ammunition and the Samsung smartphone Brank had used to make the alleged extortion demands, the affidavit states.
     The estimated three-day trial begins Tuesday morning with jury selection.

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