According to the National Ledger, German male model Edis “Eddie” Kayalar allegedly attempted to extort $150,000 from supermodel Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber. The extortion plot centers around disturbing photos of the couple’s then 7-year-old daughter. According to a criminal complaint filed in Los Angeles, Kayalar, 26, stole the photos – which reportedly show the little girl bound and gagged – from the couple’s nanny. He threatened to sell the shocking photos to the tabloids if the couple refused to pay up.
Both the daughter and the nanny claim that the photos were taken as part of a game (a “cops and robbers” game is the way the prank is described in an affidavit) and the nanny is not being charged with a crime. That is not the case, however, with respect to Edis “Eddie” Kayalar. He has been charged with one count of extortion and thus faces up to two years in prison if convicted.
The Cindy Crawford extortion case comes on the heels of another high-profile story whose central theme is blackmail. I’m speaking, of course, of the David Letterman extortion scandal. On the October 1, 2009 broadcast of his show, “Late Night with David Letterman,” the comedian revealed that he had been the victim of an extortion attempt. Letterman alleged that his blackmailer threatened to reveal that he had had sexual relationships with multiple female employees of the show (in the form of a screenplay or book) and demanded that Letterman pay him $2 million to keep quiet. Shockingly, David Letterman confirmed that the allegations of sexual dalliances with female employees are true.
Letterman, in conjunction with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, conducted a sting operation in which the extortionist was given a bogus check to cash. Subsequently, the alleged blackmailer, Robert “Joe” Halderman – who is a producer of the CBS true crime program “48 Hours” – was arrested for trying to cash the phony check. He was indicted by grand jury and pleaded not guilty to the crime of attempted grand larceny.
A-list actor John Travolta was also allegedly the victim of extortionists. Back in January of this year, former Bahamian Senator Pleasant Bridgewater and two other people were arrested in connection with an attempt to extort millions of dollars from Travolta; the case centers around the blackmailers’ efforts to sell a “refusal to transport” document signed by Travolta when one of the alleged extortionists, emergency services technician Tarino Lightbourn, was treating Travolta’s 16-year-old son Jett, who died of a seizure (according to a Bahamian death certificate) while the family was vacationing in the Bahamas.
Cindy Crawford Extorted — $150k photos plot, The National Ledger
Police Reveal Details of John Travolta Extortion Plot, People.com
Letterman Extortion Scandal: Is Dave a Hypocrite or a Hero?, Associated Content