Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 6, 2013

Lawyers want out of Calif. man's extortion case

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A California man awaiting trial on extortion charges may have to get a third team of lawyers.

Aspiring actor Vivek Shah fired his first attorney in December. On Tuesday, his current legal team filed a motion to withdraw as counsel.

The reasons are unclear. All federal court filings in the case are sealed. Motions are just listed on the docket.

The West Hollywood resident was indicted last summer on charges he threatened to kill relatives of West Virginia coal company owner Christopher Cline if Cline refused to pay $13 million.

Shah allegedly targeted four other wealthy but unnamed victims, including a film studio co-founder from Connecticut, oil and gas millionaires in Texas and Florida, and an Internet company founder from Chicago.

His trial is set for Feb. 25 in Beckley.

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