According to the [Virginia] Department of Justice, 38-year-old Timothy Litzenburg, of Charlottesville, and 41-year-old Daniel Kincheloe, of Glen Allen, each pleaded guilty to one count of transmitting interstate communications with the intent to extort in the Western District of Virginia.
They both admitted their roles in the extortion scheme, which the Justice Department says threatened to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if their demands for a $200 million payment disguised as a purported “consulting agreement” were not met.
“This is a case where two attorneys blew well past the line of aggressive advocacy and crossed deep into the territory of illegal extortion, in a brazen attempt to enrich themselves by extracting millions of dollars from a multinational company,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
As part of their guilty pleas, Litzenburg and Kincheloe admitted that around October 2019, Litzenburg approached a company and threatened to make public statements alleging that the company had significant civil liability for manufacturing a purportedly harmful chemical used in a common household product used to kill weeds.
Litzenburg and Kincheloe also admitted that after describing the possibility of damaging lawsuits against the company, Litzenburg proposed that he and Kincheloe enter into a “consulting arrangement” with the company to create a conflict of interest that would stop them from representing their clients in litigation against the company.