Probation ordered in Ward threat
PITTSBURGH — A man who pleaded guilty to trying to extort $15,000 from former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward will spend two years on probation.
The Associated Press could not immediately reach Joshua Van Auker, 26, for comment on his guilty plea which was entered with little fanfare Tuesday in front of an Allegheny County judge.
The attorney who represented Van Auker after his arrest last year tells the AP he had no part in the plea bargain. But court records show Van Auker plead guilty to a lesser version of the charge of attempted theft by threatening to expose a secret.
Authorities became involved after Van Auker text messaged Ward’s assistant and threatened to release unspecified damaging information about a woman Van Auker dated who was allegedly previously involved with Ward.