Jacksonville man sentenced for trying to extort North Carolina attorney

Jacksonville

Gerald Jackson (Onslow County, NC Sheriff’s Office photo)

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The operator of a local news website has been sentenced to a minimum of 11 months in prison for attempting to extort money from a North Carolina attorney, a district attorney said Thursday.

District Attorney Ernie Lee says Gerald Jackson Jr., the operator of “The North Carolina Beat,” faces a maximum sentence of 23 months, news outlets reported. Jackson was found guilty on Tuesday.

According to Lee, between Sept. 18 and Sept. 19, 2019, Jackson is alleged to have tried to extort $4,500 from a local Jacksonville attorney in exchange for not publicly disclosing personal embarrassing information about the attorney. Lee said the attorney never paid the money and instead went to the sheriff’s office.

Court documents show that while operating the website and a Facebook page for NC Beat, the court says Jackson used the social media platform to post, report, and publish information about various individuals, including elected officials in Onslow County.

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