Harry Marshall Rae, age unavailable, of Hernando, Fla., entered his “not guilty” plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary E. Stanley late Tuesday afternoon
Rae was indicted last Wednesday by a Charleston-based federal grand jury on a single count of extortion.
Rae traveled to West Virginia from California for the proceedings.
He was arrested just before the election by FBI agents following their investigation into extortionate e-mails, which he allegedly sent to a Wheeling greyhound dog breeder, Dean Miner.
In the e-mails, Rae allegedly threatened to release some type of video to the media and Tomblin’s primary, general election opponent Bill Maloney, R-Morgantown.
According to the e-mails the video depicted allegedly illegal practices used in the raising and training of greyhounds used in racing activities as the state’s two greyhound racing tracks.
Rae allegedly sent an email to Tomblin threatening to release the video to “the news media, (Republican Party Gubernatorial nominee Bill) Maloney and ESPN.” He allegedly demanded a payment of $50,000 in order for him to keep the video in hiding.
The video has never been made public.
The email allegedly continued to warn Tomblin that, “The other party IS offering $100,000 for videos that pertain to West Virginia., plus a consolting [sic] job for 2 years, if they win.”
The email did not identify which of the five gubernatorial nominees on the Oct. 4 General Election ballot or which of the three official write-in candidates is alleged to have agreed to purchase the video from Rae.
The e-mails refer Rae’s alleged possession of satellite images depicting 150,000 greyhound skeletons “with bullet holes in the head” buried on a Wheeling property.
The e-mails to which the criminal complaint refers are not clear as to whether the alleged video refers to one of Miner’s properties, or the property of another greyhound breeder.
“To make this go away for you and all your buddies up in W.V.,” one of Rae’s alleged e-mails reads, “I’d like a contribution of $50,000 made out to a Boy Scout troop of my choosing.”
In latter alleged e-mails Rae apparently changes his mind and demands that Miner send him the money for his own personal use and enjoyment.
All of the candidates have denied any and all involvement in the alleged scheme.
Federal agents arrested Rae, on Sept. 18, in Fresno California, after a U.S. District Judge issued a warrant for his arrest.
Maloney had made a campaign issue of the millions of dollars in payments received by members of the Tomblin family from the state Greyhound Breeders Fund.
In another e-mail to the governor’s website, Rae allegedly said, “Call Dean [Miner}, or I think your elections down the tubes . . . running (YOU) out of time before I tund [sic] this over to your rival, and t.v., and papers, and ESPN.”
Tomblin won the election over Maloney by a total of 148,625 (49.6 percent) to 140,630 votes (46.93 percent). Mountain Party candidate Bob Henry Baber, who was injured in a car accident just days before the election pulled in 6,049 votes, while Marla Dee Ingles (I) received 2,838 votes, Harry Lee Bertram (American Third Position Party candidate got 1,099 and the write-in candidates picked up a total of a mere 426 votes.
Federal jurisdiction in the case is based on the use of the Internet to send the e-mails.
Rae was able to post bond after a detention hearing and was allowed to remain free on that bond based upon his travel, as promised, from California to Charleston for his appearance at the arraignment. Rae’s trial date was not immediately available.
To reach Staff Writer Chris Stratton for story information, questions or comments, call 304-752-6950 extension 322.