July 6th, 2013
03:00 PM ET
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FBI agents on Friday morning arrested a 62-year-old man who, they say, tried to extort Paula Deen by threatening to divulge "true and damning" information about the embattled celebrity chef - unless he was paid to keep quiet.

Thomas George Paculis was taken into custody without incident in Ithaca, New York, by FBI agents and deputies from the Tompkins County Sheriff's Office, the FBI said in a press release.

There was no answer later Friday to a phone number linked to him in the FBI's criminal complaint, nor was there an immediate response from an e-mail address in that same document.

The former Augusta and Savannah, Georgia, resident appeared before a federal judge Friday in New York before being released on bond at about noon, said Stephen Emmett with the FBI's Atlanta office.

He is scheduled to appear the morning of July 16 at a federal court in Savannah, where the criminal complaint was filed.

That coastal Georgia city is also where Deen built her business and brand into what many consider the folksy face of Southern cooking.

But she's been on her heels in recent weeks after admitting, in a deposition related to a lawsuit brought by a former employee, that she's used the "N word" in the past.

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Comfort food, uncomfortable topics

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Filed under: Paula Deen

soundoff (2 Responses)

    not one comment see people are quick to judgement especially cnn

    July 6, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • AleeD® From Home Sweet Home

      Now there are two.

      July 7, 2013 at 10:06 am |
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