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Trial Lawyer Sentenced for Using Nude Pictures in Attempted Blackmail

Posted Nov 20, 2007 8:38 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A respected Missouri trial lawyer has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for trying to blackmail his ex-wife with nude photos of her younger sister taken when she was age 16.

Gary Peel, formerly with the Lakin Law Firm, was convicted based on allegations he threatened to send the photo to his ex-wife's parents if she did not stop pursuing a divorce settlement, according to the Belleville News-Democrat. Peel said the photo was taken more than 30 years ago when he had an affair with the sister.

The ex-wife had challenged a bankruptcy court's decision to void the divorce agreement.

Peel was convicted of possessing child pornography, obstruction of justice and bankruptcy fraud, the newspaper says.

Peel cried twice as he told the court his family lived extravagantly off his lawyer’s salary yet embarrassed him with leaks to a local legal publication, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. He said his family has shunned him and his children have never told him the names of his grandchildren.

He told the court had had lost his family and his wealth. "I don't even own a $10 watch," he said. "I have nothing left."

But prosecutor Kevin Burke told the court that Peel was "the architect of his own demise."

One of Peel’s biggest verdicts was for $3 million, won for a jockey who suffered injuries at a race track, the Associated Press reported in a story last spring.

A hat tip to Blogonaut, which posted the news.

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