Elle's Extortionists Plead Guilty

Threatened to post nudie photos of Macpherson on Internet

By Marcus Errico Dec 05, 1997 1:50 AMTags
Two would-be cyber-extortionists pleaded guilty Thursday to swiping nude photos from Elle Macpherson's house and threatening to post them on the Internet if the leggy Aussie model didn't pony up some cash.

Michael Mishler, 29, whose lawyer once claimed he was Macpherson's jilted "boy toy," faces almost seven years in the can for masterminding the scheme. He'll be sentenced in Santa Monica Superior Court on December 15. His accomplice, 26-year-old William Holt, was ordered Thursday to spend one year in a Los Angeles jail for his minor role in the crime.

According to the Los Angeles District Attorney, Mishler broke into the sometime actress' rented home and trailer several times in May and June, swiping some $100,000 in jewelry, as well as cash, blank checks, letters and, of course, the photos--which Macpherson took of herself for an upcoming picture book.

Mishler began sending the extortion letters (three in all) in late June, vowing to post the never-before-seen shots on the Web unless Macpherson paid him $80,000.

Macpherson notified the cops who arrested Mishler and Holt on July 4 as they showed up at the model's home believing they were going to collect the money.

During his arraignment, Mishler pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of attempted extortion and burglary (as per an agreement with prosecutors Thursday, Mishler pleaded guilty to only two counts). After entering that initial plea, Mishler's attorney, Lawrence Young, told reporters that his client had had a sexual relationship with Macpherson, calling Mishler the model's "boy toy."

Macpherson denied ever meeting Mishler and has filed a $5 million defamation suit against Young. (Young apparently hasn't learned his lesson. In court Thursday he said that Mishler might be the father of Macpherson's child, due in February. He said his client will take a paternity test.)

No word yet on when Elle's photos will officially be published.