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Cruise Extortionist Found Dead

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A man who agreed to plead guilty in a plot to extort more than $1 million from Tom Cruise for the actor's stolen wedding photos has been found dead in his Phoenix home, authorities said.

He had been under house arrest and planned to plead guilty to demanding that Cruise pay up to $1.3 million for pictures of his wedding to Katie Holmes.

Schmidt was arrested in July after obtaining pictures of Cruise's wedding in Italy last year from a co-defendant, authorities said. Schmidt threatened to release the pictures if Cruise didn't pay up, authorities said.

Schmidt, who had served time for violating a restraining order taken out by the mother of his daughters, was due back in court on Oct. 11 and faced up to two years behind bars.

Schmidt was famous for getting hold of sex tapes and nude photos of celebrities. He tried to auction off diaries and naked pictures of Paris Hilton that had been locked in a Los Angeles storage locker.

He said he had a sex video of Dustin Diamond, who played Screech on "Saved by the Bell," and he sold topless shots of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, a former prisoner of war.

He also said he had nude pictures of Gennifer Flowers, who claimed to have had an affair with former President Bill Clinton.

According to the Daily News, the police said they found Schmidt at 3 p.m. on Friday after they noticed the tracking device he was wearing had not moved.