Appearing in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Richard John Gordon, 31, of Mesa, Arizona, was sentenced Monday to 21 months in a federal penitentiary for trying to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Family Feud host, in exchange for not telling tabloids that Anderson asked him for sex.
Additionally, Gordon, who in June pleaded guilty to blackmailing Anderson, was ordered to pay $4,000 in restitution and $400 in court costs. The prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Wright, says Gordon will also be monitored by parole officers for three years once his prison term is over.
Another man, Matthew David Auten, 26, of Laveen, Arizona, has admitted to being Gordon's accomplice, Wright says. Auten will be sentenced March 19 on charges of crossing state lines to commit a crime.
Anderson was not in court Monday, and his lawyer, John Libby, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday. However, at the time of Gordon's arrest, Anderson's camp released a brief statement that read: "Being a target of criminal activity is an unfortunate and increasingly common byproduct of celebrity. Louie Anderson has expressed his appreciation to the authorities for their swift and effective response."
In letters to the comedian, Gordon claimed Anderson approached him at a Southern California casino in 1993. Anderson purportedly asked Gordon to go home with him and strip down and let Anderson touch him, according to court papers. The letter says Anderson then changed his mind, instead asking just to see Gordon take his clothes off, but Gordon refused.
Authorities say Gordon's letters started showing up in 1997, when an assistant to the comedian was approached by Gordon at Bally's hotel in Las Vegas and was handed a letter. Gordon allegedly wrote that Anderson should take him seriously, because "stars are falling left and right," and "now that you are working with kids, it makes it even worse."
Apparently fearing a Pee-wee Herman-esque end to his TV career, which includes the Fox 'toon Life with Louie in addition to Family Feud--authorities say Anderson initially complied, paying Gordon $100,000 in hush money.
But Gordon then allegedly upped his demand to $250,000, and Anderson's lawyer called federal authorities.
Anderson's assistants arranged to meet Gordon in a Los Angeles restaurant to hand over the check, authorities say. Undercover FBI agents, posing as Anderson's aides, then confronted Gordon and arrested him after he jumped in a pickup and led them on a high-speed chase. He was eventually caught and held without bail in a federal lockup.