Judge denies warrant to arrest gay radio host for ‘extortion’ on grounds of insufficient evidence
A New Orleans judge has denied a detective’s warrant to arrest gay radio host Seth Dunlap for extortion on grounds of insufficient evidence.
Dunlap was recently fired by WWL Radio after they claimed he sent a homophobic tweet about himself from the station’s official Twitter account for monetary gain.
The detective applied for a warrant to arrest Dunlap on a count of extortion last week but the request was denied as the judge said there was not enough evidence to back up the claim, Nola reports.
The detective reportedly presented evidence that Dunlap sent the tweet about himself from the WWL Radio Twitter account – but Magistrate Commissioner Robert Blackburn rejected the warrant. He said there was not enough evidence for a charge of extortion which is defined as making threats to a person “with the intention (to) obtain anything of value.”
Police may pursue gay radio host Seth Dunlap under other charges.
Dunlap allegedly threatened to go “scorched earth” on the station if they refused to settle a lawsuit he filed for $1.75 million in damages – but the judge has said that this threat does not justify a charge of extortion.
Police may pursue Dunlap under other charges or they may work to compile more evidence to support an extortion charge. Officials have said that the case remains “active and ongoing.”
Dunlap first made headlines in September when he shared a post about his own experiences as a gay man working in sport media.
The action of Entercom wrongfully terminating Mr Dunlap has compounded his damages.
Three days later, the official WWL Radio account retweeted an unrelated tweet from Dunlap and called him a “fag.”
The tweet was later deleted and the station issued a statement distancing itself from the slur.
“We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred,” they wrote.
The station’s owners later said they had passed the issue onto police and claimed that Dunlap had sent the tweet himself to get a big legal settlement from the company.
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Radio bosses claimed that Dunlap sent the offending tweet himself.
In its report to New Orleans Police Department, station bosses claimed that Dunlap had demanded a $1.8 million payout in compensation for the incident.
The company said it brought in a digital forensic expert who concluded that Dunlap “posted the tweet himself from his personal cellphone”.
Just weeks ago, Dunlap’s attorney Megan Kiefer announced that WWL Radio had fired Dunlap over the row.
“The action of Entercom wrongfully terminating Mr Dunlap has compounded his damages,” Kiefer said in a statement released on Saturday.
“It is truly reprehensible [the station] would be attempting to blame the victim of its own anti-LGBT culture, and they are only compounding the severe damage that Mr Dunlap has experienced at the hands of Entercom,” she continued.