Criminal Justice

Two lawyers charged in alleged plot to extort millions from wealthy sheik


Two California lawyers are charged in an alleged plot to extort up to $20 million from a wealthy Saudi sheik.

Orange County lawyers Joseph Cavallo and Emanuel Karl Hudson are accused of telling the sheik that a woman who accused the sheik’s son of rape would refuse to testify in exchange for a cash payment, report the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, LA Weekly, CBSLA and a press release (PDF). Hudson allegedly demanded a $15 million payment in a June phone call, while Cavalla allegedly upped the demand to $20 million in a later phone call that day.

Cavallo and Hudson, both 58 years old, are charged with attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to receive a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Also facing the same charges is Leyla Ors, 34, a personal assistant to the sheik’s son. Ors claimed the 23-year-old man raped and tortured her. She is also charged with offering to receive a bribe.

The sheik’s son, Thamer Albalwi, was charged with four counts of sexual assault before a judge dismissed the charges on Friday. Prosecutors claim Ors lured Albalwi into a sexual relationship and burned her own arm with a cigarette to support her false claim that Albalwi tortured her, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Cavallo’s lawyer, John Barnett, said his client believed Ors had been raped and tortured, and Cavallo “did nothing but pursue civil remedies in that regard.”

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