In what seems increasingly like the plot of one of Steven Seagal’s own movies, new details are coming to light over the Gambino crime family’s purported extortion of $700,000 from the action star, with Seagal’s own producer, Julius Nasso, included among the 17 alleged mob associates indicted in a federal racketeering bust last month. The Associated Press reports that the extortion is detailed in court papers filed by prosecutors during a bail hearing for reputed Gambino captain Anthony Ciccone, who was ultimately denied bail on Tuesday.
While Seagal isn’t mentioned by name in the papers, both prosecutors and Nasso have said that the actor mentioned as the victim in the indictment is Seagal. According to the bail filing, Ciccone and three other reputed mobsters visited Seagal on the Toronto set of his film ”Exit Wounds” in 2000 and demanded that he pay $150,000 for each film in which he appeared, or else secure a producing job for Nasso, who had produced several of Seagal’s early-1990s hits. The filing also includes the content of wiretapped conversations, in which Ciccone allegedly told Nasso to pressure the actor for money.
Nasso, who is currently free on bail, has denied the charges. He has said that his indictment is Seagal’s revenge on him for a $60 million breach-of-contract lawsuit he filed against the actor earlier this year. Nasso’s suit claims that he and Seagal had a deal to make four more pictures, but that the actor broke off their relationship and backed out of the movies under the advice of his Buddhist spiritual advisor, who reportedly told Seagal that making violent films was bad for his karma. (Nonetheless, Seagal went on to appear in ”Exit Wounds” and the upcoming ”Half Past Dead.”) Robert Hantman, Nasso’s civil lawyer, told the Los Angeles Times that the timing of Nasso’s indictment followed awfully close on the heels of the March lawsuit. ”Do you think it’s a coincidence that this happens after that?” he asked.