Actor TJ Miller Accuses Rideshare Driver of Extortion

TJ Miller Extortion CaseActor TJ Miller claims that the cab driver who he allegedly assaulted was blowing the allegations up in an attempt to make money off of him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

A not-so-smooth rideshare

In December, the “Silicon Valley” star was arrested in Los Angeles for battery. Miller and his wife got into a rideshare service car around 1 a.m. on a Friday, when Miller and the driver got into a political argument about President Donald Trump. With opposing opinions, the heated dispute turned into an altercation, where Miller was then accused of slapping the driver over the head as they arrived at their destination, according to USA Today. The incident took place two days before the Critics’ Choice Awards in Santa Monica, the ceremony Miller hosted.

This was recorded as a citizen’s arrest, and Miller was taken into custody and released by LAPD officers without posting bail, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Was it extortion from the get-go?

The dust hasn’t settled just yet – Miller is under the impression that Wilson Deon Thomas III, the rideshare car driver, made these allegations in an attempt to extort him. Thomas sued Miller for assault and battery, as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress. He claims that the altercation between the two of them forced him to slam on his breaks, which caused physical injury and emotional anxiety. Miller believes these accusations are being blown out of proportion in an attempt to make money off of him.

Attorney Bryan Freedman replied to the complaint, filing a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court March 13 to drop it entirely. He stated these accusations made by Thomas are linked to an unethical strategy to take money from Miller.

“From the moment Mr. Miller and his wife stepped into Mr. Thomas’ vehicle and he recognized Mr. Miller as a comedian and Hollywood actor, Mr. Thomas started a plan to try and extort money from Mr. Miller, even commenting that Mr. Miller was ‘a rich guy,'” he said.

A history of extortion

Freedman, Miller’s attorney, claims that Thomas has a history of suing for money damages. Thomas had a previous lawsuit against his former employer, claiming he was wrongfully terminated for working – and asking for restrictions – after injuring his ankle.

Because of this, Freedman has not only asked the court to drop the complaint, but he’s also asking them to provide Miller with full costs and fees of the attorney services, according to Business Insider.

A common problem among celebrities

Celebrities across the country often fall victim to blackmail and extortion, due to their high status and stacked paychecks. But many of these stars are willing to take legal action and solve the problem before their name and reputation are altered by the accusations and the tabloids.

But even an average Joe can fall victim to extortion. It’s important to have an understanding of your rights, and what you can do if you have reason to believe that someone is falsely accusing you in order┬áto get to your money. Therefore, if you have any questions or if you would like to discuss the matter further, please contact me, Anthony Caruso, at 201-806-3364.

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Anthony R. Caruso is a business transactional attorney in New York and New Jersey with experience in structuring, negotiation and completion of legal deals involving business, entrepreneurs, athletes and performers.

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