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Federal prosecutors rested their case Wednesday in the trial of two people accused of plotting to extort $680,000 from actor John Stamos after investigators explained how they arrested the pair and found no unflattering photos during a search of a house. Police officers and FBI agents denied that anything was destroyed during the search, a recurring theme by lawyers for Allison Coss, 24, and Scott Sippola, 31.
The two are accused of threatening Stamos through e-mail that he give them money or they would peddle six-year-old photos of him with strippers and cocaine to magazines. The defense says it’s not a crime to make a business deal. Prosecutors, however, say it was a ruse and the photos didn’t exist.
The 46-year-old “Full House” and “ER” star who is preparing to join the Fox show “Glee” watched the trial from the front row, a day after telling jurors how he met Coss in Orlando, Fla., in 2004 while separated from wife and supermodel Rebecca Romijn.
Stamos denied defense lawyer Sarah Henderson’s accusation that he stripped and sat in a hot tub with Coss, who Henderson said was 17 at the time and wearing only underclothes.
More than a dozen officers, including FBI agents, searched the Coss-Sippola home last December. Jurors also saw a friendly photo of Stamos with his arm around Coss.
“Did you have people who were otherwise bored … volunteer to come in because this was an exciting extortion case?” Henderson said of the search.
Coss and Sippola were arrested last December after undercover FBI agents fooled them into believing that a Stamos representative would fly to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with a bag of cash.
Jurors could begin deliberations Thursday. The trial is front-page news in Marquette, a city of 20,000 on the shore of Lake Superior. The courtroom has been more than half-full with the curious, and Stamos has mingled with the public outside and signed autographs.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)