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Media Watchdog - Court Clears Hack of Blackmail

A journalist who paid for a sex video showing a top German actor in bed with two prostitutes has been acquitted of coercion charges that could have seen him jailed.

According to a report in to media watchdog iMediaEthics Wolf-Ulrich Schuler, who worked for the Hamburg-based tabloid Bild had been offered the video in 2009 and agreed to pay 3,500 Euros for a copy. Bild is the sixth largest-circulating newspaper in the world.

The video, which showed Bavarian-born actor Ottfried Fischer, 59, romping with the two women in a brothel in Hamburg's red light district, was filmed without his knowledge. An unnamed source from the red light district offered the video to Schuler.

That resulted in a telephone call between the reporter and Fischer’s press agent of the time, a 59-year-old Hamburg woman whose identity is protected by Germany’s privacy laws because she is not involved in any of the legal actions.

Schuler claimed that he had repeatedly stressed that the video, which the court heard was purchased for 3,500 Euros, was "far too hot" for Bild to publish. Despite that, Fischer’s press agent explained to his lawyers that he should do an exclusive interview with Bild that it could mean the end of his career were it to get out.

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