LOS ANGELES – Charlie Sheen told Matt Lauer on “Today” that he came forward with his HIV positive status because he was the victim of “shakedowns” by individuals who threatened to reveal his condition to the public.
In California extortion is a felony—punishable up to four years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. However the actor may also face criminal charges.
Former LA prosecutor, Alan Jackson explained to FOX411 that Sheen could be liable for a misdemeanor.
“He is liable for a misdemeanor if it can be established that he willfully exposed himself to a sexual partner while he was afflicted with HIV,” he said. “In other words, it is a crime to intentionally place another person at risk of contracting your contagious disease.”
Sheen admitted he did have unprotected sex since being diagnosed, but also claimed he had told every partner since being diagnosed that he was HIV positive.
Entertainment based lawyer, Julian Chan, explained that Sheen can also sue his alleged extortionists.
“He can file a criminal complaint with the DA and the DA can go after them for extortion,” he said. “He can also file a civil action for the harm done, to get his money back and intentional inflection of extreme emotional distress.”
In his interview with Lauer, Sheen said he is done paying. “What people forget is that’s money they’re taking from my children. They think it’s just me, but I’ve got five kids and a granddaughter," he said. "I release myself from this prison today.”
Lawyer Deborah Blum predicts Sheen will not recoup the money he paid out, but instead faces legal peril himself.
“A person can be prosecuted criminally or sued civilly for infecting former sexual partners or for their potential exposure to HIV,” she explained. “Charlie Sheen should not expect to recover the money he had to pay out despite the fact that he was in part buying silence. If anything, further legal recourse against him, not against those who he had to pay out, is likely.”
Jackson explained another possible criminal ramification including jail time for Sheen.
“If it can be established that Sheen intended to transmit HIV to his sex partner, he would be guilty of a felony offense punishable by imprisonment for three, five or eight years,” he said. “Obviously, the proof requirements are far greater in this instance because the prosecution would be required to prove that Sheen actually intended to transmit the disease to his sex partner.”
Sheen has sued for extortion in the past. In 2010, he claimed porn star Capri Anderson, tried to extort him for “at least one million dollars.” Anderson was with Sheen the night he was found drunk and naked at New York City’s Plaza Hotel. Sheen’s complaint detailed that Anderson made allegations “to embarrass him and attempt to damage his career by going to the media with her false tale” and “to shake him down.”
You can follow Blanche Johnson on Twitter @blancheFOXLA.