Paula Deen

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

It looks like somebody's gonna be on kitchen detail and it's not Paula Deen.

A man who pleaded guilty to trying to blackmail the ex-Food Network star at the height of the uproar over her utterance of the N-word has been sentenced to two years in a Georgia prison.

Thomas Paculis copped to one count of extortion after demanding $250,000 from the bubbly 66-year-old Deen in exchange for not revealing damaging statements she had made in the past.

As the Savannah Morning News reports, in addition to jail time, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. gave the 62-year-old one year of supervised release and 40 hours of community service.

Once news surfaced about the Queen of Southern Cuisine dropping the N-bomb, Paculis reached out to Deen's attorney, Gary Hodges, and threatened to release some allegedly damning information to the media that the Savannah businessman said would "sink her ship before it left the dock."

After the legal eagle negotiated him down to $200,000, Paculis was taken into custody in New York City by federal agencys and charged with two counts of using interstate communications to try to extort money.

But because Paculis agreed to a plea deal, Assistant U.S. attorney Joseph Newman decided to drop the additional count against him. Explaining why he made the threats, Paculis cited "bad ecomonic times" as the reason.

In August, a federal judge signed off on a deal to dismiss a discrimination lawsuit against Deen. The lawsuit was brought on by a former employee of Deen's, who claimed she was the victim of sexual harassment while working at a restaurant co-owned by Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers. During a videotaped deposition, Deen admitted to having used the N-word in the past, which led to her getting dropped from numerous gigs.

And in a sign that perhaps she'll survive the scandal, the famed cook was greeted with a 10-minute standing ovation at the Metro Cooking & Entertainment show in Houston on Saturday.

  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.