A judge sentenced a California minister to prison Thursday for trying to extort millions of dollars from Celine Dion’s husband.
Ae Ho Kwon, 52, was sentenced to a minimum of 28 months in prison for his conviction on charges of conspiracy, extortion and soliciting a bribe. He was not ordered to pay restitution.
Kwon, a Presbyterian minister from Pasadena, Calif., was convicted in March of devising an extortion plot targeting the singer’s husband, Rene Angelil. Kwon’s wife claimed Angelil raped her at a Las Vegas hotel in 2000.
Angelil paid the couple $2 million as part of a confidential settlement in 2000, but authorities said the couple demanded $13.5 million more two years later.
The couple eventually went public with their rape accusation, filing a police report and a civil lawsuit. Angelil, through his lawyers, has denied any wrongdoing.
Police investigated, but later closed the case without filing charges when the couple failed to hand over a dress reportedly containing Angelil’s DNA.
Kwon’s wife, Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, was convicted last year and sentenced to a similar prison term of at least 28 months.
Kwon declined to formally address the court before sentencing.
Outside court, Kwon’s lawyer Lisa Rasmussen said she plans to appeal on several grounds, including the judge’s refusal to let her call Angelil to the witness stand to answer questions about the rape allegation.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)