A man who pleaded guilty to trying to extort $15,000 from former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward will spend two years on probation.
The Associated Press could not immediately reach 26-year-old Joshua Van Auker for comment Friday on his guilty plea, which was entered with little fanfare Tuesday before an Allegheny County judge.
The attorney who represented Van Auker after his arrest last year, David Shrager, told the AP he had no part in the plea bargain, even though court records continued to list him as the defense attorney. Shrager believes the county public defender took over the case, but officials there didn't immediately return a call to confirm that.
Those same court records show Van Auker plead guilty to a lesser version of the original charge of attempted theft by threatening to expose a secret.
Ward's assistant, Raymond Burgess, contacted authorities last fall after Van Auker sent him a text message claiming to have damaging information. Detectives with...