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Report: FBI investigating possible extortion by Rutgers whistle-blower Eric Murdock

Apr 7, 2013, 10:26 AM EDT

Eric Murdock AP

The FBI has reportedly launched an investigation to examine whether former Rutgers staffer Eric Murdock, the man who leaked videotapes that ultimately led to the firing of coach Mike Rice, tried to extort his former employer.

According to a report in the New York TimesMurdock’s lawyer sent a letter to the university with a request for $950,000 that came two weeks after Rice was suspended in December for his practice behavior. The university declined to pay the money demanded in the letter and Murdock leaked the practice footage to the media.

The video footage of Rice grabbing and kicking his players, as well as yelling homophobic slurs and throwing basketballs at them, has led to the resignation or firing of no less than four Rutgers officials, according to the report.

In the wake of his departure from Rutgers, Murdock filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the university and a number of officials there. The university claims his contract was not renewed for reasons that did not include his status as a whistle-blower and instead because “he left Rice’s basketball camp early and without permission, among other factors,” according to the report.

From the New York Times:

James Tareco, a special agent with the F.B.I., visited [former Rutgers AD Tim] Pernetti’s office and other locations at Rutgers, the university official said.

The investigation, which is being led by the F.B.I. office in Newark, is in its early stages. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. said that following policy, she could neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

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