arrest warrants Wednesday for four men accused of trying to
extort money from a former Washington State legislator who
resigned his post after an affair with one of the
accused became public.
prosecutors contend in court documents that Cody Castagna
and three others attempted to blackmail former
representative Richard Curtis in October. Castagna
turned himself in to authorities Wednesday night.
Republican, told a newspaper in his southwest Washington
district shortly after the story broke that sex was not
involved in what he said was an extortion attempt. He
also declared he was not gay.
But in police
reports Curtis said he was being extorted by Castagna, with
whom he had sex in a hotel room in Spokane, where Curtis was
attending a GOP retreat. Castagna has denied
wrongdoing and contended Curtis reneged on a promise
to pay $1,000 for sex.
charged with three counts of second-degree theft of a credit
card, one count of second-degree extortion, and one count of
conspiracy to commit second-degree extortion.
The other three
men -- Castagna's brother, Joseph L. Castagna; Robert H.
Fletcher; and Brandon D. Burchell -- have been charged with
second-degree extortion and conspiracy to commit
Bond has been set
in Spokane County superior court at $7,500 for each of
''I'm not going
to run. I have nothing to hide,'' Cody Castagna told
KREM-TV as he arrived at the Spokane County courthouse with
his attorney and a bail bondsman.
David Partovi, did not immediately return a phone message
The Spokesman-Review newspaper that he
would fight the charges against his client and that the
money his client sought from Curtis was not
''extortion money. It was prostitution money.''
contact the others implicated in the case were not
immediately successful. There were no listed telephone
numbers for Joseph Castagna, Fletcher, or Burchell.
court documents, Curtis met Cody Castagna in an adult
bookstore and then at a hotel. Castagna told police he
agreed to have unprotected sex for $1,000 but Curtis
then refused to pay.
evening, Curtis woke up and found that Castagna had left the
room. His billfold, credit cards, and Washington State
legislature identification were missing, prosecutors
allege. Castagna later called Curtis, demanded $1,000,
and threatened to expose him if he did not pay. Curtis
left money at the hotel's front desk for Castagna, and
Fletcher picked up the money, prosecutors allege.
additional money from Curtis, and Joseph Castagna and
Burchell helped Cody plan the pickup of the additional
money, court documents state. Curtis called police to
complain he was being blackmailed.
offering to pay Castagna for sex but acknowledged giving
him $100 for ''gas money,'' police reports said.
out a news release Monday asking for potential past
victims of Castagna to come forward.
multiple threats and multiple payoffs in this instance and
it just seems like this was not the first time,'' police
sergeant Joe Peterson said. ''And we've been told by
other people that this is not the first time the
suspects in this case have done this type of thing.''
Curtis, a married
father who voted against gay rights bills in the
legislature, resigned his office a few days after the
incident became public. He is cooperating with
investigators and will not be charged, deputy
prosecuting attorney Larry Steinmetz said. (AP)