The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

State News

February 14, 2013

California man's extortion trial set for May 13

Local coal executive was target of alleged plan

The trial of California man who allegedly tried to extort $13 million from a West Virginia coal executive has been postponed.

U.S. District Judge Irene Berger has rescheduled Vivek Shah’s trial for May 13 in Beckley. For now, he remains at the Southern Regional Jail.

Shah fired his first attorney in December. Last week, his second lawyer asked to withdraw. Berger granted that motion and ordered the appointment of a third.

The reasons behind those moves are unclear. All court filings in the case are sealed.

Shah was indicted last summer on charges he threatened to kill relatives of Christopher Cline, owner of Foresight Reserves coal company, if Cline refused to pay the $13 million.      

Shah allegedly targeted four other wealthy but unnamed victims from Connecticut, Illinois, Texas and Florida.

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