Attorney General Bill Barr’s Department of Justice (DOJ) struck on Tuesday when a Virginia attorney was arrested for allegedly engaging in a scheme to extort a public company, according to a Justice Department press release.
The scheme highlights why it’s so important to have a vigilant DOJ protecting Americans.
Extortion to the tune of millions
According to the release, 37-year-old Timothy Litzenburg, of Charlottesville, Virginia, was charged with “transmitting interstate communications with intent to extort, attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit extortion and transmit interstate communications with intent to extort.”
Litzenburg had allegedly demanded $200 million from an unnamed company and threatened them with litigation if they didn’t comply.
Litzenburg had previously been involved in representing a groundskeeper in a $289 million lawsuit against Monsanto, CBS News reported.
Monsanto was not a party to the extortion case, but the threats Litzenburg made involved one of the ingredients used to create Roundup, the popular weed killer manufactured by Monsanto. The DOJ report describes the companies targeted by Litzenburg as a privately owned chemical manufacturer and a publicly traded corporation that has owned the chemical company since 2018.
The demands were both extreme and bold. Litzenburg made threats over the telephone, in emails, and during in-person meetings. The emails will likely be the first thing prosecutors are going to want to see.
It is hard to imagine how Litzenburg thought this was going to end well for him. Litzenburg made multiple documented threats to the company demanding payments to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. It is likely to end with him in prison for a long time.
Even more interesting will be the attention this case will draw to the company Litzenburg attempted to extort. At this point, it’s unknown what Litzenburger was using against these companies, but it could be very valuable information to some.
There are many entities in the U.S. that would love any information that could indirectly damage the agriculture giant Monsanto, which has long been the subject of controversy.
Barring any new evidence coming out, we may never know if Litzenburg had anything real against the unnamed company.
What we do know is that Barr’s DOJ is in good order, protecting Americans and American companies from all forms of criminality.