Eddie “Piolín” Sotelo, Spanish-language radio personality, was ordered by a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to pay the legal fees and expenses of six employees from his now-canceled Univision Communications’ radio show. Sotelo sued his former employees for extortion after they supported a sexual harassment claim made by a male producer of his show, “Piolín por la Mañana,” and claimed that they tried to extort $4.9 million from him. Attorneys for Sotelo’s former employees argued that the extortion lawsuit was really “an attempt to intimidate the former staff members and prevent them from exercising their free speech rights. The judge agreed that it was a strategic lawsuit against public participation or ‘SLAPP’.”
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard M. Stone dismissed the extortion lawsuit in March when Sotelo failed to demonstrate that his case could win at trial. Judge Stone advised Sotelo’s former employees to file a petition demanding that Sotelo pay their legal fees associated with case. In late June, Judge Stone approved the former employees’ petition and ordered that Sotelo pay $105,000 in legal fees and costs.