Plea Deal Reached in Paula Deen Extortion Case

Paula Deen (Photo: Getty Images)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A New York man charged with trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen has agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors.

Records filed in U.S. District Court in Savannah say 62-year-old Thomas George Paculis signed a plea agreement with federal prosecutors last week, but details were not released. He is scheduled to appear before a judge Friday for a change-of-plea hearing.

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Paculis, of Newfield, N.Y., pleaded not guilty last month.

Authorities say he contacted Deen’s attorney threatening to reveal damaging statements made by the former Food Network star unless she paid him $200,000. That happened after Deen’s admission that she had used the N-word in the past became public.

Paculis’ lawyer, Richard Darden, and a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver both declined to comment Monday.

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