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   SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - A New York man charged with trying to extort money from embattled celebrity cook Paula Deen is scheduled to appear before a federal judge to change his plea.

   Thomas George Paculis was to appear Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Savannah, where he pleaded not guilty during his last hearing in July.

   Court records filed last week say 62-year-old Paculis of Newfield, N.Y., has signed a plea agreement with prosecutors. But details have not been released.

   Prosecutors and Paculis' defense attorney have declined to comment.

   Authorities say Paculis contacted Deen's attorney threatening to reveal damaging statements by the former Food Network star unless she paid him $200,000. That happened after documents became public that showed Deen acknowledged using racial slurs in the past.

 
Published in National News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - A Springfield company has received scores of messages from people complaining about the hits cooking maven Paula Deen has taken since admitting to using a racial slur in the past, and is hoping to use that attention to woo Deen to Missouri.

The Springfield News-Leader reports that the complaints being sent to The Food Channel are intended for the similarly named Food Network, which announced it's not renewing Deen's contract since she admitted using a racial slur years ago.

The Food Channel, which produces cooking-themed content in Springfield, says it would welcome giving Deen a chance "to get back to the food." It said Deen would have the chance to "shape a fledgling network."

Kay Logsdon, The Food Channel's editor-in-chief, says Deen has apologized, and America is "very forgiving."

Published in Local News

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