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"I had, I guess, some bad judgment," 62-year-old Thomas George Paculis told a U.S. District Court judge in Savannah.
"I do take responsibility for what I have done."Paculis, of Newfield, acknowledged sending emails to Deen's attorney offering to trade his silence for cash in June. It came a few days after documents became public that revealed the former Food Network star had said under oath that she used racial slurs in the past.
As Deen's culinary empire began to crumble, Paculis claimed he could reveal things that would bring her "financial hardship and even ruin," according to one email that invited Deen's lawyer to "make me an offer I can't refuse."
Neither Paculis nor federal authorities have revealed what sort of dirt the defendant claimed he could dish up regarding Deen or if he truly had any at all. He owned a restaurant in Savannah in the 1990s, but Deen told the FBI she didn't recognize his name or his face.
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