Nashua, NH asked in Criminal Law and Civil Litigation for New Hampshire

Q: If I say "I intend to publish this embarrassing info about you. Try to talk me out if it"?

In the state of NH, if I decide to publish embarrassing, but accurate, information about another person, does simply giving that person the opportunity to talk me out of publishing constitute blackmail, if talking itself is the one thing that other person doesn't want to do?

I got one answer below about "theft by extortion", but there is definitely no motive for theft here. A discussion, in and of itself, about why I should or shouldn't publish this information is all that is requested, and no gain but personal understanding and a reason to be more forgiving, is sought.

I'm am hoping this puts me on the same safe ground as a reporter or an author who requests an interview with the subject of a damaging story about to be published.

1 Lawyer Answer
Leonard D. Harden
Leonard D. Harden
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Lebanon, NH
  • Licensed in New Hampshire

A: Like many things in life. The answer to this question depends what the information consists of. There are criminal charges for blackmail (extortion), revenge porn and others. It largely depends on the nature of the embarassing information and the intent you possess that may dissuade publication.

Here is the NH law on theft by extortion:

637:5 Theft by Extortion. –

I. A person is guilty of theft as he obtains or exercises control over the property of another by extortion and with a purpose to deprive him thereof.

II. As used in this section, extortion occurs when a person threatens to:

(a) Cause physical harm in the future to the person threatened or to any other person or to property at any time; or

(b) Subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint; or

(c) Engage in other conduct constituting a crime; or

(d) Accuse any person of a crime or expose him to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or

(e) Reveal any information sought to be concealed by the person threatened; or

(f) Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another's legal claim or defense; or

(g) Take action as an official against anyone or anything, or withhold official action, or cause such action or withholding; or

(h) Bring about or continue a strike, boycott or other similar collective action to obtain property which is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group which the actor purports to represent; or

(i) Do any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit him but which would harm substantially any other person with respect to that person's health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation, or personal relationships.

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