Sex Tape Broker Schmidt Found Dead

PHOENIX - David Hans Schmidt, who last year brokered the deal for the Dustin Diamond sex tape, was found dead in his Phoenix home Friday after an apparent suicide, according to a report by the Associated Press. Schmidt was 47.

Red Light District in October 2006 reached an agreement with Schmidt to distribute the amateur tape, Screeched, that showed the former "Saved by the Bell" star Diamond, whose character was named "Screech," engaged in a three-way with two women. Schmidt had built his reputation brokering scandalous celebrity tapes such as a wedding night video of figure skater Tonya Harding.

In a recent high-profile case, Schmidt earlier this year agreed to plead guilty in a plot to extort more than $1 million from Tom Cruise for the actor's stolen wedding photos, according to published reports.

The AP reported that Schmidt was under house arrest and faced up to two years in federal prison in the Cruise case. According to AP, Schmidt was found dead in his townhouse around 3 p.m. Friday after police noticed a tracker placed on him had not moved and he had not checked in.

His attorney, Nancy Kardon, said she had spoken to Schmidt earlier this week and was preparing for an Oct. 11 hearing in federal court where he would enter his formal guilty plea to attempted extortion. She said she had planned to ask for probation, AP reported.

"I was greatly saddened by his loss and I found him to be a very kind man," Kardon told AP Saturday.

The story said Schmidt was arrested in July after federal authorities said a co-defendant obtained photos of Cruise's wedding to Katie Holmes in Italy last year from the event's official photographer.

Starting in May, Schmidt had repeated contact with Cruise representatives and threatened to release the photos if he didn't receive between $1.2 and $1.3 million, authorities said.

According to published reports, Schmidt also tried to auction off Paris Hilton's diaries, along with other personal items that had been locked away in a Los Angeles-area storage locker until a few months ago.