Gossip Writer Probed in Extortion Plot

[b]Gossip Writer Probed in Extortion Plot[/b] By Associated Press NEW YORK — A gossip writer for the New York Post has been suspended pending the outcome of a federal investigation into whether he tried to extort money from billionaire financier Ron Burkle, the newspaper said Thursday. Jared Paul Stern, who worked as a freelancer for the newspaper’s Page Six column, is suspected of demanding $100,000 and an annual $10,000 stipend from Burkle in exchange for not writing negative stories about him, the Post said in a story on its Web site. Stern sometimes worked two days a week at the Post, its editor-in-chief, Col Allen, said in a statement. “Should the allegations prove true, Mr. Stern’s conduct would be morally and journalistically reprehensible, a gross abuse of privilege, and in violation of the New York Post’s standards and ethics,” Allen said in the statement. A spokeswoman for the Post, part of News Corp., declined to elaborate on the newspaper’s report. FBI spokeswoman Christine Monaco declined to comment.

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