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Extortion charges dropped against candidate

Posted at 11:14 PM, Nov 30, 2015

It has been a long six months for Robert Avery after he was charged with one count of felony extortion for reportedly sending a threatening e-mail to his opponent in the race, Aaron Darr.

Darr has since dropped out of the race for Largo City Commission, Seat 3, citing another candidate he plans to support and the alleged extortion against him to drop out of the race.

According to the investigative report from the Largo Police Deartment Avery was under investigation after police said he sent an e-mail on Aug. 29.  That e-mail  arrived in Darr’s inbox at 2:16 a.m.

“It was mean spirited,” Darr said. “I was very shocked by it and disappointed.”

The email read in part:

You will end up publicly humiliating yourself... Got some nice things the citizens of largo will be seeing soon... Remember never post anything digitally you wouldn't want your mom or partner to see. just saying... could be a very bad decision to run...

Darr said the next day he called the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. He also posted the message on his Facebook page and got a phone call from a candidate Darr said he didn’t even know he was running against.

Avery would not comment on his case, even though the charge of extortion was dropped.  His attorney told ABC Action News reporter Michael Paluska over the phone his client was always innocent. 

According to the Largo report the IP address and e-mail were traced back to Avery's home and e-mail account.  At one point, Avery admitted that he might have sent the e-mail but was not mentally there when he wrote it, telling the officer, "I may have been out of my mind that night."

During follow up investigations Avery, his mother, and partner signed sworn affidavits that their internet was hacked.

 

The Office of the State Attorney for Pasco and Pinellas County in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida sent a letter to Darr that read in part, "please be advised that an investigation has been conducted in the above-styled case and it has been determined that the facts and circumstances as presented do not warrant prosecution at this time.

Darr said their conclusion is disappointing and he plans to fight it. 

"He needs to withdraw his candidacy.  He was wrong.  He needs to admit that he was wrong and he needs to do this if his heart is in the right place for the city of Largo," Darr said.  "I am going to see if there is a possibility for me to take legal action against the Pinellas and Pasco state attorney's office, which I will."

MORE | Police: Candidate for city office tried to extort his opponent

Darr has requested an audio version of the interview between Avery and the Largo police officer.

The entire email provided to ABC Action News reads as follows:

Name Yeah Right

Subject Dont bother filing

Message Hi Arron, wish you luck on your run but trust me might not be a good idea to run. You will end up   publicly humiliating yourself... Got some nice things the citizens of largo will be seeing soon... Remember never post anything digitally you wouldn't want your mom or partner to see. just saying... could be a very bad decision to run... Also you are already in violation of Election Laws, submitted the complaint as well... Fines of up to 5,000 will probably be asseted but only can if you file... Decision is yours... Sincerely, A Largo Citizen that watches for crooked people

Email yourscrewed@dropoutnow.com

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