Lifestyle & Belief

Cousin pleads not guilty to Stevie Wonder extortion


Singer Stevie Wonder performs on stage during the Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace on June 4, 2012 in London, England.


Dan Kitwood

A couple charged with extorting the singer Stevie Wonder have pleaded not guilty in a Los Angeles court, the BBC reported.

The case concerns a video that reportedly accuses the singer of being a “slumlord,” and contains derogatory comments about his mother. It is also believed to contain footage filmed in her home.

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Alpha Walker, who is Wonder's cousin, and Tamara Diaz, his girlfriend, were arrested in May after they received $10,000 from Wonder's lawyers in a police sting, the Associated Press reported.

The Huffington Post reported that the money was a down payment on a $500,000 agreement to hand over the film, and keep its contents confidential. Detectives have described the film as an 80-minute rant against the Grammy-award-winning Wonder.

Earlier this month, a judge ruled there was sufficient evidence for the case to go to trial.

Lawyers fro Walker, 38, said the film was about his own life, and was therefore protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech. 

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