The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Michigan residents Scott Sippola and Allison Coss on an extortion charge on 2 December (09) after they allegedly threatened to release snaps of the ER star unless he handed over $680,000 (£453,000).
Coss and Sippola were released on bond on 3 December (09), but in April (10) authorities charged the pair with using interstate commerce to make the threat.
Federal prosecutors have insisted the photos don’t exist and that the star’s private life should not be discussed when the trial hits the courtroom on 12 July (10).
But lawyers for the accused are adamant Stamos’ lifestyle is relevant, and accuse the government of helping to ensure the actor escapes “any discomfort” as the trial’s main witness.
Coss’ lawyer, Frank Stupak Jr., states in court documents, “If the witness does have a lifestyle that influences the witness’ credibility, the lifestyle is important.
“Certainly information delivered by a virtuous person such as a Mother Teresa is judged more reliable than information that may be testified to by a person with a Lindsay Lohan reputation.”
Sippola’s lawyer Sarah Henderson adds, “It appears that the government has anointed itself Mr. Stamos’ personal public relations committee, whose primary purpose is to avoid any discomfort whatsoever to its star witness.”
However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maarten Vermaat dismissed the claims, stating, “The defendants are merely attempting to paint Mr. Stamos in a bad light in the hopes (of) gaining an acquittal on that basis.”