Judge and lawyer trade accusations of blackmail and extortion over ‘intimate’ photos

A Palm Beach judge says a prominent lawyer once threatened to reveal intimate photos of her if she didn’t back off her demands in her divorce and child custody case, according to one lawsuit.

Years later, the judge retaliated by trying to extort the lawyer — demanding $10 million to stop her from exposing the blackmail attempt, according to another lawsuit.

Now, lawyers for Palm Beach County Judge Marni Bryson and the politically influential attorney William Scherer are bracing for a bruising legal battle, hurling allegations that read like the plot of a prime-time soap opera — one that legal observers say could result in anything from professional discipline to the end of legal careers.

“I could actually see everybody involved getting censured for not handling this in a way that doesn’t bring dishonor to the legal profession and the administration of justice in South Florida,” said Nova Southeastern University professor Bob Jarvis.

According to Bryson’s lawsuit, Scherer sent an emissary to her court chambers in November 2015. “He revealed that Bill Scherer had sent him to convey a message,” the lawsuit alleges. “Unless Bryson acquiesced to her ex-husband’s demands in the child custody matter, intimate photos of the judge would be released publicly.”

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