By Jessica Dye
NEW YORK, Dec 4 (Reuters) - A divorce attorney was arrested
Tuesday and charged with threatening to hold a press conference
about his former wife's alleged sexual exploits unless she gave
him $200,000, Nassau County prosecutors said.
Dominic Barbara, 67, is facing up to one year in prison on
charges including attempted grand larceny, aggravated harassment
and stalking, according to the Nassau County district attorney's
office. He was released on his own recognizance after a brief
hearing in Nassau County District Court, during which he pleaded
not guilty, a spokesman for the district attorney's office said.
Barbara, who had a law firm in Long Island and whose clients
have included actress Lindsay Lohan's father, Michael Lohan, and
Joey Buttafuoco, was suspended from the practice of law for 18
months in 2011.
Between March and September, Barbara allegedly texted and
called his former wife numerous times, pleading for her to give
him $10,000, prosecutors said. When she refused, prosecutors
said he launched a "campaign of threatening calls and texts"
aimed at destroying her reputation and career at the law firm
where she worked, prosecutors said, and eventually increased his
demand to $200,000.
Barbara told his former wife that he had compromising
pictures of her and a partner at the law firm where she worked,
prosecutors said. He also allegedly threatened to release
compromising photos and videos of her and said he would hold a
press conference about the men she said she had slept with,
A spokesman for the district attorney's office declined to
release the name of Barbara's former wife or the name of the
firm where she works.
Barbara allegedly threatened to file a false civil complaint
and order of protection against his former wife, prosecutors
said. On one occasion, they said, he confronted her at a beauty
salon, telling her "things are going to get a lot worse."
"This was a cold-hearted campaign of harassment and threats
designed to put money in the defendant's pockets, and he didn't
care how many lives were destroyed along the way," Nassau County
District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement. "Mr.
Barbara's conduct indicates a complete lack of respect for the
people he maligned, the rule of law and common decency."
In September, in a related case, Barbara was arrested and
charged with violating an order of protection taken out against
him by his former wife. That case is pending.
Barbara, who is representing himself in both cases, could
not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.
The name of the case was not immediately available.
For Nassau County: Deputy Bureau Chief Theresa Tebbett,
Assistant District Attorney Emma Slane.
For Barbara: Pro se.
Follow us on Twitter @ReutersLegal | Like us on Facebook