Newfield man in court over celebrity chef extortion

By Matt Hicks

Newfield man in court over celebrity chef extortion

July 16, 2013 Updated Jul 16, 2013 at 8:08 PM EST

(WBNG Binghamton) A Newfield man pleaded not guilty to trying to extort money from celebrity chef Paula Deen.

Thomas Paculis, 62, was arrested in Newfield earlier this month.

Investigators said he tried to get $250,000 from Deen by saying he would disclose damaging statements made by Deen to the media.

What those statements are and Paculis' relationship with Deen remain unclear.

Paculis made his plea Tuesday morning in federal court in Savannah, Ga.

He is currently free on $10,000 unsecured bond.