David Hans Schmidt, the celebrity sex tape broker who was facing prison time after pleading guilty to trying extort money from Tom Cruise, was found dead in his home yesterday afternoon, according to authorities.
Local ivestigators said it appeared David Hans Schmidt, 47, who was under house arrest in the Phoenix area pending sentencing, had committed suicide.
Schmidt was found dead in his townhouse around 3 p.m. Friday after police noticed an electronic tracker placed on him had not moved and he had not checked in with authorities as required, said Lt. Anthony Lopez.
It wasn't known when Schmidt, who was free on $100,000 bond, was to enter his plea in court. He also faced a $250,000 fine for trying to extort $1 million or more for stolen TomKat wedding photos August 24 in L.A.
David Hans Schmidt, 47, a notorious broker of compromising celebrity photos and videos (most recently, regarding TomKat) was found dead on Friday.
Schmidt admitted he was guilty of extortion after contacting reps of Tom Cruise and threatening to release wedding photos of the actor and Katie Holmes - which a client obtained illegally - if he didn't get between $1.2 and $1.3 million.
In the past, Schmidt had tried to auction off Paris Hilton's diary, as well as photos of her in various stages of undress and other items allegedly "stolen" from her.
The man also brokered deals to sell the rights to the Dustin Diamond sex tape, the amateur porn video of Tonya Harding's wedding night, topless shots of rescued U.S. Army POW Pfc. Jessica Lynch, and Jamie Foxx nude pics.
Schmidt was no stranger to the headlines his unusual line of work yielded him - in fact, he relished them. A "wall of shame" filled his office, with framed pics of the celebrities whose scandals paid the bills for the controversial "publicist."
David Hans Schmidt represented Gennifer Flowers when she came forward with allegations of an affair with former President Clinton. He also represented prostitute Divine Brown, famous for being solicited by Hugh Grant.
In a 1998 interview with The Arizona Republic, David Hans Schmidt said that days like when the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton broke were the kind of days and opportunities he lived for.