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Tom Cruise blackmailed over photos

July 27, 2007 15:28 IST

In an age where photographs of celebrity weddings and birthing sell for million, Tom Cruise was asked to pay a hefty one million dollars if he didn't want photos of his wedding with Katie Holmes to hit the headlines.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced the arrest of Arizona native David Hans Schmidt in the case, and revealed that the photographs were stolen.

Tattletale website The Smoking Gun says Schmidt is know as the 'Sultan of Sleaze' for his role in the distribution of sex tapes featuring celebrities. He was attempting to re-sell to Cruise a large cache of private photos from the actor's November 2006 wedding to Holmes, that had been stolen from Cruise's home.

When Schmidt made the initial approach earlier this year, Cruise's lawyers contacted the FBI, which then monitored developments and affected the arrest once all the evidence was in.

Schmidt is reported to have been behind the outing of the Paris Hilton sex tapes, which had spread virus-like across the Internet some years back. The Smoking Gun says Schmidt routinely contacts celebrities offering to sell them their own private photos and videos, while warning them that if they did not ante up, he would splash it all over the media.

Schmidt, whose indictment has been sealed, has also been identified as the agent for Kimberly Bell, ex-girlfriend of baseball star Barry Bonds.

Bell features, nude, in the November issue of Playboy, and will soon feature in an article that details her personal and sexual relationship with Bonds.

Smoking Gun says Schmidt has in the past peddled pornographic material relating to the likes of Jamie Fox, Gennifer Flowers, Tonya Harding, Fred Durst and Amber Frey.

At some point, he is learnt to have attempted to sell topless photographs of Jessica Lynch, the US soldier who was briefly held as a prisoner of war in Iraq and whose 'heroic rescue' later turned out to be a Pentagon plant.