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June 09, 2017

Gay Performer Jarec Wentworth Asks Court to Reverse Conviction

LOS ANGELES—Jarec Wentworth—a former Sean Cody star and Men.com exclusive—has asked the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit to acquit him, order a new trial or vacate the sentence on his 2015 conviction for extortion, receiving the proceeds of extortion, making criminal threats and using an interstate facility for unlawful activity. Wentworth, whose legal name is Teofil Brank, was sentenced in October 2015 to nearly six years in prison for extorting an Audi sports car and $500,000 in cash from a man who had hired him as an escort. On Thursday, his attorney, Ethan Balogh, argued in front of a three-judge panel that the government failed to prove Wentworth committed extortion when he tweeted in February 2015, “How many porn stars know a man named Don? Yes Don.” Prosecutors argued the tweet was a threat to a former escort client of Wentworth, who they alleged also served as a liaison between the man and other gay porn performers and collected a $2,000 referral fee. According to the prosecution, when a tryst with another performer fell through, Wentworth declined to return the referral fee and the man decided to end their arrangement. It was then Wentworth sent the tweet, and continued to text with the victim, demanding the $500,000 and the car to take down the tweet. Text messages entered as evidence at his trial show Wentworth later demanding another $1 million in cash and a condo in Los Angeles. Wentworth was arrested on March 4, 2015, when he went to meet an FBI agent posing as the victim’s friend and accepted the title of the car and went outside to reportedly accept the cash. According to CourthouseNews.com, Balogh argued before the court on Thursday that the tweet was not, in fact, threatening, and that Wentworth was paid the money and the car to take down the tweet, calling it a lawful action. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eddi Jauregi argued the court should not focus solely on the tweet, but also consider text messages Wentworth reportedly sent to the man, some of which read, in part, “I can bring your house down Don,” “Don’t get me mad. I do have a twitter [sic] and your photos,” and “I’m feeling evil right now.” It was unclear when the judges would issue a ruling on the hearing. Wentworth is currently serving a 70-month prison sentence in Victorville, Calif. His sentence also ordered him to pay $500,000 restitution to his victim.

 
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