Oksana Grigorieva definitely tried to flat out bilk Mel Gibson. But what constitutes extortion, a felony offense, and what's simple negotiating for her own future?
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is trying to answer that.
The central issue in the Oksana Grigorieva-Mel Gibson extortion case is that simple. Did she cross a legal line in her efforts to secure cash from the angry star?
We've established that Oksana Grigorieva tried to score major ca$h and that she would quash the Mel Gibson tapes in exchange. But was a crime committed?
An L.A. County Sheriff's Department spokesperson says "One of the challenges ... is what is considered a legal negotiating tactic and what constitutes extortion."
A couple of recent celebrity shakedowns as examples of each:
- Tiger Woods paid Rachel Uchitel a reported $10 million to never speak of him, or their affair, ever. Ever. Gloria Allred brokered the mammoth settlement.
- Robert "Joe" Halderman offered to "sell a screenplay" to David Letterman about his scandalous affair with Stephanie Birkitt. He ended up behind bars.
The Oksana Grigorieva extortion investigation is currently focused on the contents of her iPhone, as well as text messages and emails between herself and Mel.
Lawyers Eric George and Sonia Lee, who repped Oksana in the mediation to secure $15 million and destroy the taped Mel Gibson rants, may be questioned.
The only person who is the target of the investigation is Oksana. Whether she is charged with a crime at the end of it is anyone's guess, but she's a target.