3 charged with trying to extort Saudi sheik's son

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Criminal charges have been filed against a woman and two of her attorneys for falsely claiming she was sexually assaulted by a Saudi sheik's son in a scheme to extort at least $15 million, Los Angeles County prosecutors said Monday.

Leyla Ors, Joseph Gerard Cavallo and Emanuel Karl Hudson were charged with attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to receive a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice, according to a statement from the district attorney's office. In addition, Ors, 33, was charged with one count of offering to receive a bribe by a witness.

Ors, a German national, told police in March that she had been raped by Thamer Albalwi, the 23-year-old son of Sheik Monsur Albalwi, one of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia, the district attorney's office said.

Based on her allegations, a physical examination and visible injuries, the junior Albalwi was charged March 13 with four counts of sexual assault.

In June, prosecutors allege, Hudson, 58, called Thamer Albalwi's father and told him that for $15 million, Ors would not testify against the son and "the case would be over." On the same day, Cavallo, 58, allegedly called the sheik and demanded $20 million, saying an account would be set up in Lucerne, Switzerland, to receive the cash.

The three were arrested last week. The attorneys were released on bail, but Ors remained in custody. Her scheduled arraignment Monday was postponed until Tuesday when she asked for a German interpreter.

Cavallo was scheduled for arraignment on Tuesday, and Hudson is expected to be arraigned July 31.

If convicted, each of the defendants could face up to four years behind bars.

The sexual assault case against Thamer Albalwi was dismissed on Friday.

His attorneys issued a statement Monday saying that an investigation showed the Albalwi family was "the target of a sophisticated, international extortion scheme."

Attorney Alan Jackson said that Superior Court Judge James R. Dabney issued a rare finding of "factual innocence" concurring with the district attorney's office that that "Albalwi was falsely accused of sexually assaulting a woman visiting him in Los Angeles."

Albalwi provided police with telephone and credit card records, emails, text messages and surveillance video which showed the accuser's allegations were false, Jackson said.

Thamer Albalwi issued a statement saying, "I prayed that the truth would come out and, thanks to the American justice system, it did."

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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