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Michigan Couple Convicted in John Stamos Extortion Case

MARQUETTE, Mich. — A Michigan couple was convicted Thursday of trying to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos by threatening to sell old photos of him with strippers and cocaine to the tabloids unless he paid up.

Allison Coss, 24, and Scott Sippola, 31, were found guilty of conspiracy and using e-mail to threaten a person’s reputation — charges that could land them in prison for up to five years.

The two were arrested in December in an FBI sting after Stamos’ lawyer complained that the actor was the target of an extortion attempt.

Defense attorney Sarah Henderson told the jury that it wasn’t a crime to sell photos to Stamos before going to the tabloids. FBI agents, however, testified that a search of the couple’s home failed to turn up any evidence of embarrassing pictures.

Coss, who met Stamos in Florida in 2004 at age 17, said she had a photo of him with cocaine but that it disappeared during an FBI raid on her home. Agents denied it.

“I don’t think Shakespeare could write a story to set up a fake blackmail scheme to set up a real blackmail scheme. But that is exactly what they did,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Maarten Vermaat told the jury.

“This is completely 100 percent made up,” he said of the “get-rich-quick scheme.”

As Stamos watched and listened from the front row, Henderson said Coss and Sippola were “in over their heads” but didn’t commit a crime.

“What happens to the pictures? I don’t know the answer to that. I wish I did,” Henderson told the jury, adding that it would be a “stretch” to believe Coss and Sippola would craft a scheme but have nothing to sell to Stamos or the tabloids.

There is no dispute that Stamos met Coss after he had just separated from his supermodel wife, Rebecca Romijn and stayed in touch with her.

Stamos, 46, testified that he did not use cocaine or act inappropriately in 2004. He said Coss sent him e-mails last year saying a man was harassing her about having incriminating photos of the pair.

“I’ll bust him up. … We didn’t take any bad pics. I’m too smart,” Stamos replied in an e-mail.


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