By Maegan Rocio
Former Baylor student and Waco resident Richard Kharmir Hurd, age 26, will be sentenced on Nov. 21 by U.S. District Judge Walter S. Smith for attempted extortion of Washington Redskins quarterback and Baylor alum, Robert Griffin III.
Hurd pleaded guilty to federal charges of attempting to extort money from Griffin III. Hurd faces up to two years and three years in a federal prison for “interstate communication of a threat, and receipt of extortion proceeds” respectively.
Daryl Fields, public affairs officer of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, sent the Lariat the official FBI press release and an excerpt from the plea agreement, but declined comment on the case.
According to the FBI press release, Hurd appeared before Smith on Sept. 27 and pleaded guilty to the charges.
According to the plea agreement, the FBI received information from Ben Dogra and Jeffrey Freedman of Creative Artist Agency (CAA), the sports agency that represents Robert Griffin III. Dogra and Freeman told the FBI that Hurd was demanding $1 million or he would release information to the media through his business “The Truth About RGIII,” that he claimed would damage Griffin III’s reputation.
As stated in the plea agreement, Hurd, the former boyfriend of Griffin’s fiancee, who is a Baylor alumna, claimed he had information about Griffin III being unfaithful to her while the two were engaged. Roughly 20 emails were sent between Dogra and Hurd between June 14 and June 20. In one of the emails sent to Dogra, Hurd claimed his business was worth the market price of $1 million and threatened to disclose damaging information about Griffin III unless his business was bought out at the market price. Dogra acted on behalf of the FBI by negotiating for $120,000 instead of $1 million by informing Hurd that Griffin III was not married, had no children, and the amount for this information was worth $120,000 instead of the demanded $1 million due to those circumstances. The emails were forwarded to the FBI during the investigation.
The FBI approached Waco Police Officer Ben Selman, who is also an attorney with the Waco law firm of Naman, Howell, Smith, and Lee. Selman aided the FBI with their investigation. On June 21, Hurd began sending correspondence to Selman’s law office through email. The two exchanged approximately nine email messages between June 21 and June 22.
The emails were forwarded to the FBI as they were made. Most of the correspondence discussed negotiations about the “non-disclosure’ agreement between Hurd and Selman about what Griffin III would “say” about Hurd.
Hurd replied to one of Selman’s emails and said, “This is a very one-sided agreement that provides me no protection, and allows RG to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants which can adversely affect my business around the Baylor community. No. Make it 2 sided.”
Hurd later agreed to meet Selman at the law offices on June 22 to close the deal.
According to the Plea agreement, at approximately 6 p.m. on June 22, Hurd arrived at the law offices of Naman, Howell, Smith, and Lee. Hurd identified himself with a passport and his Baylor ID. Hurd met with Selman then signed the “non-disclosure” agreement. Hurd was handed a check payable to his name from CAA. The negotiations were directed by the FBI and the transaction was recorded. At approximately 6:30 p.m., Hurd was approached by FBI agents who informed him of his constitutional protections as they took him into custody. Hurd admitted to demanding the $1 million bribe and using the cellphone and laptop in his car to communicate with Dogra. Hurd said he planned to give Griffin III the chance to buy the story instead of immediately going to the media.
The investigation was conducted by FBI agents with the assistance of the Waco Police Department and the Woodway Department of Public Safety. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gloff.