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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 July 2007, 11:10 GMT 12:10 UK
Cruise 'extortion' charges made
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes married in an Italian castle
Two men have been charged after allegedly trying to extort more than $1m (494,000) from Tom Cruise for stolen photos of his wedding.

David Hans Schmidt - known for dealing in compromising star photos - was charged with sending communications for purposes of extortion.

Marc Lewis Gittleman was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion.

Mr Cruise married fellow actress Katie Holmes in a lavish ceremony in Italy in November 2006.

Mr Gittleman - a data recovery expert - allegedly obtained the images from the event's official photographer, who went to him for help in recovering the pictures from a computer hard drive.

Mr Gittleman allegedly made copies of the photos and contacted Mr Schmidt after finding out on the internet about his ability to broker deals involving celebrity images.

Mr Schmidt is alleged to have repeatedly contacted Mr Cruise's representatives and threatened to sell the photos on the black market if he did not receive between $1.25m (620,000) and $1.35m (670,000).

He also allegedly emailed the actor's representatives more than 7,000 photos to prove he had them.

The deals Mr Schmidt has previously tried to secure include selling items and images of Paris Hilton and a video of actor Colin Farrell and a former girlfriend having sex.

His claimed successes include the sale of a video of skater Tonya Harding's wedding night.

If convicted, Mr Schmidt, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, faces up to two years in prison and Mr Gittleman, who lives in Los Angeles, faces up to five years.

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